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Douro Valley day trip

Rotterdam, The...
Level Contributor
601 posts
460 reviews
Douro Valley day trip


We will be visiting the Porto area (staying in Gaia) in one week and want to do a day trip to the Douro Valley. We will have a car, but also want to do a boat trip on the river during the trip. A few questions related to this:

1) What is the most interesting part (accessible from Porto) of the valley? I have read somewhere that simply doing a boat cruise from Porto and back will not get you far enough up the river to enjoy the highlights of the valley.

2) The most important question - what would be the best (most scenic) combination of car, boat and perhaps train to visit the valley (e.g. car from Porto to x, train from x to y, boat from y to x, car from x to Porto)? We like the idea of driving along the valley because we can stop wherever we want and explore at our own pace, but also the train and boat rides look gorgeous, so we would love to combine them somehow if possible.

3) Is there anything worth visiting along the river, but "inland", like for example Lamares?

Thank you in advance.

3 replies to this topic
Porto, Portugal
Level Contributor
337 posts
1. Re: Douro Valley day trip

You may want to check this thread, where I made a suggestion for a car itinerary that will take you to see most of the Douro region away from most of the tourists: https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g18910…

Most boats, tours and tourists seem to be focused on a narrow line between Régua and Pinhão and they generally don't go any further than Pinhão. Which is a shame, because the most beautiful part is precisely beyond Pinhão, either by car, train or boat.

In my opinion, taking a boat from Porto to Douro Valley is a tourist trap and a waste of money. Most of the journey is suburban landscape. You will only start to see proper vineyards near Régua. By the time you reach Régua and are about to start to see something, then you have to turn around to get back to Porto. Food on board is never great, either.

On the other hand, cruises leaving from Régua are far more interesting because they will really take you to the most amazing part of the Douro Valley beyond Pinhão. But be aware that most will only take you up river, as the journey back to Régua is made by train or bus. Some include a visit to a winery and others a visit to Coa Museum.

By land, there are no roads that follow the river course beyond Pinhão . If you want to follow the river, then you will have to take the train. Although less romantic, the train is way less expensive than any boat, but you will see the exact same landscape. You can check the full train schedule in PDF here: https://www.cp.pt/StaticFiles/horarios/regio…

Finally, by car. As I mentioned, after Pinhão the roads start diverting from the river, which is only accessible via detours or viewpoints in the hills. This is by no means less spectacular than boat or train. Douro valley is an immense region not restricted to the river margins. Traveling by car will allow you to see more and more diverse landscapes than any other mean of transportation, allowing you to do it at your own pace, choosing which wineries you want to visit and to visit places with way less tourists.

I recommend to go to Douro Valley (Régua) by car, and then decide if you want to take a train up river, a boat (returning by train), or explore the region by car. This is my suggested itinerary by car, but takes a full day: https://www.google.com/maps/dir/Porto/Mes%C3%A3o+Frio/Museu+do+Douro/Miradouro+de+S%C3%A3o+Salvador+do+Mundo/41.2078994,-7.4178372/Alij%C3%B3/Pinh%C3%A3o/41.1594951,-8.7014372/@41.2242656,-7.7714799,11z/data=!4m40!4m39!1m5!1m1!1s0xd2465abc4e153c1:0xa648d95640b114bc!2m2!1d-8.6291053!2d41.1579438!1m5!1m1!1s0xd24ae19a06595d7:0x950533ca6f8351b8!2m2!1d-7.8899228!2d41.1598648!1m5!1m1!1s0xd3b51ab43ee4ed3:0x3b99a71329167c24!2m2!1d-7.7899012!2d41.1615716!1m5!1m1!1s0xd3b66917b9956dd:0x4abcebcf2b663bcd!2m2!1d-7.3674604!2d41.1527405!1m0!1m5!1m1!1s0xd3b418b5a7814b9:0xef37b0a2376c5f02!2m2!1d-7.4770302!2d41.2772797!1m5!1m1!1s0xd3b5b4a79d9197d:0x9f06373ba234c06e!2m2!1d-7.5328476!2d41.1874919!1m0!3e0

Rotterdam, The...
Level Contributor
601 posts
460 reviews
2. Re: Douro Valley day trip

Wow, thank you so much for your answer, J M. It even clarified aspects I hadn't asked about but got myself wondering after posting, like the exact point in which it is worth it to even start driving along the valley.

One follow-up question if I may - I tried looking up boat tours starting in Regua or Pinhão, but could not find too many: only 3 from Regua to Pinhão and 2 from Pinhão to Tua. They seem to be what we want, but if they are only so many, then we can not be very flexible about it, so go there and simply decide without planning. Are there more boat tours not listed online? Or is there anywhere I can find a list with more boat operators?

Thank you!

Edited: 18 July 2018, 10:04
Level Contributor
69 posts
38 reviews
3. Re: Douro Valley day trip

I am also interested to know about boat trips from Pinhao or Tua. Do you need to book for September or are there boats that you can just turn up and get on. We will be going part of the way by train.

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