A Riverfront Palace in Porto,
and a Douro River Cruise to the
Great Wine Regions of Northern Portugal

Trip Date:
October 14-24, 2025

Palácio do Freixo & The Vintage House

Palácio do Freixo at dusk

We invite you to join Castles and Concerts in the Fall of 2025, where we will all experience the culture, history, music, food, and wine of Porto and the Douro Valley together. We have a wonderful trip lined up with excellent guides, great food, fabulous properties, and an incredible cast of musicians to bring you great performances every night!

We are very excited about both of our hotels that we’ve secured for our group. In Porto, we will stay at Pestana Palácio do Freixo for 6 nights. Built in 1742 by the famous architect Nicolau Nasoni, the Freixo Palace is a National Monument and a 5 Star Hotel, set just on the outskirts of Porto along the Douro River. After being occupied by several important Counts and Barons, it was purchased in the early 20th century by an industrialist who hoped to retire in luxury. He quickly found that he was bored by a life of leisure, and decided to build a factory adjoined to the palace that he could oversee.

Vintage House in the Douro Valley

In 2005, the government helped fund the Pestana Hotel Group to restore the Palace’s opulent rooms into common areas with all the original 18th century flair, and to turn the adjoining factory into tastefully modern and well-appointed hotel rooms. We found the classic stylings and 21st century comfort to be a perfect match for our group, and quickly made arrangements to secure the palace hotel.

After we’ve experienced the best food, wine, music, and culture that Porto has to offer, we’ll embark on a leisurely river cruise up the Douro River. Our cruise will end at the private dock of the Vintage House Hotel, our home for the next 3 nights. Set in the heart of the Douro Valley and on the Douro River, this 18th Century Wine Estate turned hotel boasts panoramic river views and furnished balconies for every room, and is in close proximity to best wineries in the region.


Clérigos Tower

Climbing up the banks of the Rio Douro like a pop-up book, Porto will enchant you with its medieval alleys, old world shops, cobbled streets, and baroque monuments. We will also have a chance to enjoy the fashionable modern sections of this magnificent city. The city has a nickname Cidade das Pontes, or "City of Bridges," with the most notable being the Dom Luís I Bridge, which was built in 1881–85 from a design by a disciple of the French civil engineer Gustave Eiffel, and the Maria Pia Bridge (1876–77), designed by Eiffel himself.

Portugal was founded by Celts, and later occupied by Romans, Visigoths, Moors, and finally becoming a kingdom under the rule of Afonso Enríquez in 1143. From all this history, you’ll find Porto to be home to a fascinating blend of Baroque, Neoclassical and just a bit of Belle Epoque architecture, which you see through our tours of the city. In the 1700’s they built the Clérigos Tower, a great Baroque church with a bell tower that you can see from anywhere in the city . In the 1800’s they concentrated less on heaven and built an opulent stock exchange: The Palácio da Bolsa.

Dom Luis Bridge
Palácio da Bolsa
Taberna Real do Fado

In small groups, we’ll visit these sites, as well as the famous Ribeira neighborhood. The Ribeira is in the old town along the Rio Douro, and with its colourful and wonderfully decorated façades, it is one of the most authentic and picturesque parts of the city.

Port was invented during the 17th century while Britain was at war with France. Britain obviously didn’t want to buy wine from their enemy, and looked to Portugal. Wine was fortified with Brandy for long voyages, which gave the wine the distinct flavor that we know well today. The English grew to enjoy this Port quite a lot, and even more so after a treaty was signed in 1703 reducing the tax on Portuguese wine.

Ribeira Neighborhood in Porto

Of course we’ll have a fabulous Port Tasting while in Porto, but that is only but one part of this premiere wine destination. The regions around Porto (especially the Douro Valley) have a plethora of fabulous wines which we will learn about and enjoy. The food and drink of Porto are to be celebrated, and we have some wonderful restaurants and wineries that we will visit in small groups throughout the week.

The national music is of course Fado. It is played on a unique version of the guitar and in an emotional, dramatic singing style. We had never experienced “true Fado” music before hearing Andre Mariano at the Taberna Real do Fado. It made believers of us, and we can’t wait to share him and his musical friends with you, as well as other phenomenal local performers that we’ve discovered that will astound you.

A Cruise to The Douro Valley

Cruising the Douro River on our way to The Vintage House

After 6 glorious nights in Porto, we’ll board a sensational river cruise to take us down the Douro River. We’ll enjoy extraordinary views and great music on board as we pass through this beautiful region. We’ve arranged for lunch at the famous winery Quinto da Todo for a tasting and a special private lunch.

That afternoon we’ll arrive at The Vintage House, which sits mere steps away from the dock. The Vintage House overlooks the Douro River and is surrounded by hillsides etched with rows of terraced vines. We’ll have exclusive use of this wonderful riverside hotel, and every single room has a balcony with a river-view. There are several impressive suites available on the property as well.

Quinta do Tedo

After a busy week in the city of Porto, we look forward to a relaxing stay in this Portuguese Wine Region, where we will have private visits to several important wineries and cellars, a beautiful hotel with a library bar all to ourselves, and some special musical guests!

After three nights in the Douro Valley, we’ll spend our final night in Porto with a fabulous farewell gala and concert.

Details and Costs

Please note that your first deposit is 100% refundable for any reason, up until the second payment. If you’re interested in joining us, we highly recommend securing yourself a spot in the likely event that the trip sells out. We will not be asking for the second deposit until later in 2024.

We try to be as all inclusive as possible with our pricing, which includes all hotels, transportation, tastings, nearly every meal, with wine and beer served during meals.

October 14th to October 20th, 2025

The price of the Main-Trip is $6,950 per person for a double occupancy room. There are also a limited number of upgraded rooms that are available on this part of the trip, also available on a first come, first served basis. Please let us know if you are interested in one of these. Single rooms are available with a $300 per day supplement.

We recommend flying into the international airport in Porto where we will look forward to greeting you when you arrive.

Douro Valley
October 20th to October 24, 2025

The price of the Post-Trip is $3,950 per person for a double occupancy room. Single rooms are available with a $250 per day supplement. Please let us know if you are interested in an upgraded room, please let us know as we have a limited number of these rooms that will be available on a first come, first served basis.

We will provide transportation to Porto Airport on the morning of the 24th.

Cancellation Policy: After the second deposit, your deposits are fully transferable to someone else at any time. If you need to cancel, you will receive a full refund if either you or Castles & Concerts can find a substitute traveler to take your place. If you are interested in travel insurance, please let us know and we can help.

Porto at dusk
Douro River

Our Entertainers

We have a great cast of musicians that will be travelling with us and entertaining you nightly, in addition to some wonderful local musicians that we have lined up that we can’t wait to share with you.

Tim Hockenberry, who rose to fame as a semi-finalist for America’s Got Talent, is an incredible multi-instrumentalist, singer, and songwriter. We’re so grateful to have him joining us again.

Deanna Bogart will be joining us for a third time! 2008/2009/2010 BMA’s Horn Instrumentalist of the Year not only brings virtuosic sax playing to our band, she’s also an incredible pianist, singer, and songwriter.

Filling out the band we’ll have the Castles and Concerts Rhythm Section featuring Barnaby Finch on keyboards (George Benson, Lee Ritenour), Scott Thompson (Fantastic Negrito, E-40, Marcos Silva Group), Andy Fraga (Tom Scott, Diane Schuur, Queen Latifah), Dean Parks (Steely Dan, Eric Clapton, Michael Jackson), and of course Tom Montgomery and Matt Montgomery adding accordion and fiddle respectively.

Tim Hockenberry
Deanna Bogart
Dean Parks
Barnaby Finch
Tom Montgomery
Andy Fraga
Matt Montgomery
Scott Thompson