The charm, comfort and exclusivity of the boats – from the 50s and 60s – earned an international award for the Douro operator, which reached passenger transport records in 2023.
Propelling the innovative concept of Vintage Wine Travel – Luxury River Tourism in the Douro, Pipadouro has just launched renewed proposals for the summer of 2024. This after reaching a historic passenger milestone, highlighted by the recent award of the Best Luxury Vintage River Cruise Award Company 2024 – Iberian Peninsula at the Travel & Tourism Awards, from the British magazine LUXLife Magazine.
The company’s two classic yachts, boats that stand out for their charm from the 50s and 60s, received 1,455 passengers throughout 2023, an increase of 18% compared to the previous year and a record occupancy in the history of the operator, founded in 2007.
From a private pier in Pinhão, where the vessels anchor, Pipadouro stands out for its commitment to programs based on the tailor-made concept, to the taste and measure of each client. It also develops other differentiated proposals that allow exploring the oldest Demarcated and Regulated Region in the World, dating back to 1756, from the Douro, the only Iberian river with a lock system that allows its navigability for around 200 kilometers, from Porto to Barca D’Alva.
Presenting itself as a complete option for tourists who want to have an unforgettable experience in the Douro Valley in a short space of time, the “One Day in Douro Valley” program has been the most sought-after by customers over the last few months.
The program consists of a two-hour trip aboard the Friendship I, or the Pipadouro II, followed by a visit and a harmonized lunch at one of the three emblematic farms to choose from: the award-winning Quinta do Crasto, a partner of Pipadouro, represented in the company by Tomás Roquette; Quinta Nova de Nossa Senhora do Carmo, distinguished a few days ago as the Best Wine Tourism in Portugal; and Quinta de Ventozelo, an exponent of productive and environmental sustainability. After lunch and the visit, customers return to Pinhão in the company’s Gentleman’s Vintage Boats.
The exclusive tour lasts six hours (between 11 am and 5 pm) and costs starting at 1,100 euros for a maximum group of 12 people on board the Friendship I and 750 euros for a maximum group of eight people on board of Pipadouro II.
“This experience has exceeded our customers’ expectations, as it offers them the possibility of combining the discovery of the Douro River aboard different vessels, the only ones to sail these waters that fall into the vintage luxury class, with an immersion in the reality of three reference farms, which provide an unforgettable day for those who visit them”, highlights Ana Clara Silva, Operations Director at Pipadouro.
The company also presents exclusive proposals for Vintage Lunch, Bed & Breakfast, Douro Superior, Late Afternoon, Charming Dinner, Vintage Breakfast or Wine with a View, in addition to the countless possibilities of tailor-made programs, and regular departures between the Pinhão and Tua.
Celebrating 17 years of activity, the premium concept designed by Gonçalo Correia dos Santos, founding partner and manager of Pipadouro, is based on two boats that perfectly combine history and modernity.
The company’s star is the Friendship I, a 1957 vessel that served the English Navy. The Wooden Yacht Classic, 66 feet long, underwent a thorough restoration process in 2021, combining the original character and the amenities required in modern times. It has a complete suite with a king-size bed.
In turn, the Pipadouro II, a boat classified as a Vintage Boat, 30 feet long, dates back to 1967 and was built in the João Brites shipyards, in Lisbon, using designs from Americana Chris-Craft.
Internationally recognized as a reference operator in the Douro, with 75% of foreign customers in 2023, Pipadouro was distinguished last March with the award for Best Luxury Vintage River Cruise Company 2024 – Iberian Peninsula, from the British magazine LUXLife Magazine.
“For us, this award has a deep meaning. The company’s partners have always believed in the project and even in the most challenging moments, such as the Covid-19 pandemic, when activity was completely stopped and restoration work on Friendship I began, they never gave up. Pipadouro was created by the partners’ passion for the Douro and their belief in what river tourism can be in the region, and is now recognized for its quality”, concludes Ana Clara Silva.