Viking Helgrim sailed into the Viking River Cruises' fleet in 2014 and is named after a famous Danish explorer and alleged son of King Harald. Step aboard this petite ship as she sails along Portugal's Douro River and enjoy an intimate river cruising experience with a maximum of 105 fellow passengers. Viking Helgrim's four passenger decks are lined with a bar and lounge with adjoining open-air terrace, two restaurants, library, boutique, and sun deck with swimming pool, organic herb garden, and putting green. Each of the staterooms and suites feature river views, a 40-inch flat-panel TV with infotainment system and movies on demand, individual climate control, complimentary Wi-Fi Internet, and daily-replenished bottled water. The ship drops anchor most mornings at a fascinating port of call, where you can explore independently or join a guided shore excursion.
Take your seat in the Restaurant and enjoy the panoramic views through the floor-to-ceiling windows as you dine on delicious and destination-focussed cuisine. The adjoining Al Fresco Restaurant is the perfect spot for open-air dining in the sunshine or under a star-filled night sky.
Relax with a book and a cup of fresh coffee in the lounge or visit the bar for a glass of wine to enjoy as you soak up the ever-changing riverside vistas. Step out onto the adjacent open-air Aquavit Terrace for al fresco drinks with friends. All drinks at the bar and in the restaurant plus daily-replenished bottled water in your guest accommodation are included in your cruise fare.
Days afloat are all about relaxing on the Sun Deck or losing yourself in a book in the library corner. Challenge your partner to a round of golf on the putting green or admire the plants on display in the organic herb garden. The Culture Curriculum brings the local area to life with history and art lectures, wine tastings, locally-inspired dining, and informative port talks. Viking's Local Life, Working World, and Privileged Access experiences also enhance your time in port. After dinner, retreat to the lounge and bar to socialise with other guests or to enjoy occasional folkloric shows and local musicians playing regional and classical music.
Day 1: UK – Lisbon, Portugal
Fly from your chosen UK airport to Lisbon, Portugal. You'll be met at the airport and transferred to the superior first-class Hotel Tivoli Lisboa (or similar) in the heart of Lisbon. Relax this afternoon and evening or explore the city a bit on your own.
Day 2: Lisbon, Portugal
After breakfast, embark on a half-day tour of Lisbon. Begin at Belém with a tour of the UNESCO-listed Jerónimos Monastery and Tower of Belém. Then take a walking tour through the narrow streets of the Alfama District, where you'll learn about Lisbon’s long, multi-cultural history.
Day 3: Porto, Portugal
Have breakfast, then check out of your hotel and take a scenic ride to Porto. Stop for lunch in Coimbra, birthplace of six Portuguese kings and home to one of Europe’s oldest universities. Upon arrival in Porto, proceed to the dock at Vila Nova de Gaia to board the ship, Viking Helgrim. Then, after boarding, you can relax and get settled in your stateroom before a welcome cocktail and dinner is served.
Day 4: Porto, Portugal
After breakfast, take a city tour of Porto, a charming riverside community with a UNESCO-listed historic centre. Admire its graceful bridges, baroque cathedrals, and romantic 16th through 19th-century buildings nestled together on narrow cobblestone streets. This afternoon, you have time to explore Porto on your own, or take an optional excursion to Guimarães and its medieval quarter. Perhaps experience an evening of culinary delights as you indulge in traditional fare paired with wine at Porto’s famed Graham’s 1890 Lodge and sample a selection of their award-winning ports. Sample wines that have been in the making for generations at the historic Quinta da Aveleda estate, or soar over the historic 'City of Bridges' on a thrilling helicopter sightseeing tour. Enjoy your evening at leisure in Porto, where the ship remains docked overnight.
Day 5: Régua, Portugal
This morning the ship sails along the Douro, arriving at Régua in early afternoon. Disembark for an excursion to Vila Real, site of the extraordinary Mateus Palace (the building depicted on the Mateus Rosé wine labels). This stunning baroque palace was the home of the last count of Vila Real; its facade, stairway, interiors, and objects on display will amaze you, as will the formal gardens featuring cedar-lined walkways, exquisite sculpted hedges and statues, and idyllic bodies of water. Visit one of the area’s iconic port wine–making institutions; see its vineyard, tour the facility to learn how port is crafted, then sample a glass of port in the tasting room. Rejoin the ship in Pinhão for dinner.
Day 6: Barca d’Alva, Portugal
This morning, your cruise continues east along the Douro. See dramatic rock formations, terraced vineyards, bridges and trestles along the way; the ship also passes through two of the river’s locks at the Valeira and Pocinho Dams. Arrive at Barca d’Alva in mid-afternoon. This afternoon, enjoy a tour to Castelo Rodrigo, one of Portugal’s 12 historic parishes; its streets are narrow and steep, and the houses have 16th-century facades and Portuguese Manueline-style windows. View Sinagoga Street, once home to a Jewish community of refugees from the Spanish Inquisition and also visit the local church. As you ride back to the ship, there will be stops along the way to admire panoramic views.
Day 7: Salamanca, Spain
Today you have a full-day excursion to Salamanca, Spain. This ancient UNESCO-listed city is a living museum that takes you back to the Middle Ages; yet it is also a cosmopolitan and multi-cultural city with a large population of international students. Take a ride through the Iberian countryside to Salamanca, and then spend some time exploring the shops and cafés of Plaza Mayor (Main Square) at your own pace. Your afternoon guided city tour takes you to the Gothic House of Shells, the 13th-century Salamanca University, and the New Cathedral. The Old Cathedral still exists and can be visited during free time. Re-join the ship in Vega de Terrón.
Day 8: Pinhão, Portugal
This morning, the ship sails west along the Douro, passing quintas (vineyards) where you may catch glimpses of vintners tending their vines. After breakfast, disembark for a scenic drive up to the little village of Favaios, and make your way to one of the last traditional bakeries in the Douro River Valley. Discover how bread was made in the old days and how it tasted with a sample fresh from the oven. Visit the local museum for a wine-and-bread snack and explore a typical Portuguese village not yet discovered by many tourists. Enjoy lunch at Quinta da Avessada, a rustic centuries-old winery in the heart of the UNESCO-listed Douro Wine District, and sample some local varieties of port including moscatel. Re-join the ship in Pinhão and set sail to Régua, where Viking Helgrim remains docked overnight.
Day 9: Régua, Portugal
After breakfast, disembark for a visit to Lamego, a small town known for its baroque 14th-century Sanctuary of Our Lady of Remedies. Visit the shrine, decorated with exquisite Moorish-style tile work, and descend the grand baroque staircase. You'll also see the town’s Gothic cathedral and the ruins of 12th-century Lamego Castle with its unusual vaulted cistern. Return to the ship for lunch and a scenic afternoon sailing along the Douro back toward Porto. After arriving in port, enjoy a festive farewell dinner. Viking Helgrim is docked here overnight, so feel free to take an evening stroll or join the activities in the Lounge.
Day 10: Porto, Portugal – UK
Your cruise comes to an end after breakfast today, when you disembark the ship in Porto and are transferred to the airport for your return flight home to the UK.