Cruise in Miranda do Douro / International Douro

Route details

Environmental Cruise in Miranda do Douro, in the International Douro, where the river marks the border between Portugal and Spain. The route goes along the Douro cliffs, in an impressive and very beautiful landscape, in the middle of the International Douro Nature Reserve.

See below for a description of this cruise.


We went to Miranda do Douro for an environmental cruise on the International Douro.

Entrance to the Quay

Departing from the town of Miranda do Douro, this cruise is framed by the magnificent landscape of the Douro cliffs, sculpted by the passage of the river over thousands of years. It is a unique landscape in Portugal.

The departure starts at 16:30 (Portuguese time) / 17:30 (Spanish time), the river operator, which is the result of a Portuguese-Spanish partnership, will bring many tourists of both nationalities here. The river in Miranda marks the border between Portugal and Spain.

Leaving Miranda we go down to the Miranda dam next to the town, and turn left where we find a car park. We proceeded to a second park further on where we parked by the river. The remaining way to Miranda’s pier is on foot. Once there, we exchanged our voucher purchased online for the ticket.

Passengers gather around to await the departure time. From here you can see the famous “2” carved by nature on the opposite cliff, amid lichens and moss. Tradition says that whoever manages to find the “2” will marry a local… So here’s the challenge: find the number in the middle of the cliff.

The famous “2”. Can you spot him in the picture above?

At the appointed time we boarded the boat. It is a large boat with a glass roof that allows you to see the high cliffs of the Douro. It is a hot day, and several fans allow the air to circulate. The guide begins to describe what we are going to visit, speaking in Spanish and Portuguese, addressing people of both nationalities who are on the boat.

Environmental Cruise

The tour begins. The boat is completely silent, which minimises environmental impact and does not interfere with the many birds of prey that inhabit this area: vultures, eagles and Egyptian vulture.

Along the way we see various birds that fly between the cliffs and find shelter in the steep walls. More rare is the black stork, a rarer and more elusive bird that on this trip we did not have the opportunity to encounter. We only identified with the help of the guide the place where a couple nests.

We continue the cruise along the cliffs, with the passengers inside the boat, and we can observe the vegetation on the banks, some unique species in the world, and some bird nests.

Vegetation on the banks

Halfway through the trip the direction is reversed and we are invited to go outside the boat, where we can take photographs and see the landscape in greater detail.

The return journey begins

On the way back to Miranda, as the boat sails, we imagine the force of the water that has sculpted this landscape over thousands of years, and we feel small when faced with the size of the cliffs and the force of nature.

Return to Miranda from outside the boat

After what seems like a short time, Miranda is in sight up there. The boat docks at the pier and a wine tasting is available on arrival.

Below we see a demonstration with birds of prey. Eagles, vultures and buzzards. We all sit while the bird keepers call them. One by one, coming from the top of a hill, they make a choppy flight to catch the food that the keepers show them down here. They fly between the poles placed in the enclosure and even over our heads. In a mixture of apprehension and excitement everyone enjoys themselves, particularly the children for the possibility of seeing the birds up close, and even wearing a glove to allow them to land on their hands.

After this experience, the tour ends. It was an evening well spent and we recommend it to anyone who has the opportunity to try it.

Nuno Franco
Roteiro do Douro