Come with me, I’m going to take you on a memorable journey. We need to hurry up, the train is departing at 9.25am from Estação de São Bento (Porto). Just in time!
I really like to travel by train. It is so convenient, you don’t have to be worried about parking your car or paying the tolls and you have the freedom to move around, enjoy the views and make some last minute arrangements.
We are going to cross to the other side of the river through Ponte de São João (São João Bridge), this bridge started to operate in 1991 and it was built to substitute the old, though very beautiful bridge D. Maria Pia one of the biggest projects of Gustave Eiffel (that’s true, the very same person responsible for the construction of Eiffel Tower). The journey will take approximately 2h30m. We have 5 stops until we reach our final destination, Pinhão, located in the UNESCO world heritage very well known as being the place where Port wine is produced.
Take a look at the beautiful small train stations, some of them decorated with beautiful tile panels. At the train station in Régua look for the lady with a white coat carrying a basket. She is selling the famous Rebuçados da Régua (made with honey, lemon and sugar), buy some (you don’t need to leave the train, she is coming closer to the window).
After this train station the landscape is breathtaking, the journey is all by the side of Douro river. Look at those superb terraced vineyards and its reflection in the river, so peaceful and so beautiful. It’s unbelievable how nature can make us feel so overwhelmed with its beauty!
Our final station is the picturesque Pinhão train station with gorgeous tiled panels that show the wine harvest. In the past the Port Wine barrels were transported from here in trains and the famous Rabelo boats to Vila Nova de Gaia. I truly recommend you spend some time roaming through Pinhão.
If you decide to come during the wine harvest, in September, you can also book a visit to a vineyard and be part of the process called Vindimas. I did that some years ago with some friends and I can only say that it’s a unique experience, you will feel the camaraderie and joy of people together chanting some popular songs whilst stomping the grapes with the feet. In the past women weren’t allowed to go with the men to press the grapes as they believed this would bring bad luck as the wine wouldn’t be of good quality, but fortunately the minds changed and women are now allowed to participate in this festivity and ladies, your legs will feel much smoother after that.
If you return by train (as we did) at Régua I also recommend you taste some wine accompanied by a fantastic sande de presunto. Oh my God, it’s simple divine!