Douro Things to Do
It is not only the trip to Pinhão which boasts spectacular views, it is also the road continuing from there. N 323 takes you straight back into the hills and eventually leads to the small town of Sabrosa. The best views can be enjoyed at the very beginning of the road when Pinhão is still visible at the lower end of the valley. From there on, great panoramas open up every few metres. Fortunately, there are also enough laybys where you can stop for a photo. Further up the hill, the road leads through some photogenic vineyards and allows for nice views of a distant village on the next hill. Altogether the drive is worth it, even if you're not into switchback driving.Related to:
- Road Trip
Pinhão is a small village located in a bend of the River Douro. It's nothing special, but a nice place to spend some time. The logical first port of call is the giant river bridge which you have to cross to get into the village. It was built in 1906 and measures some 68m. Its two arches make it a nice eyecatcher, particular with the hills in the back. Pinhão's second sight is, curiously, its railway station. No matter where you go in Portugal, you will come across so-called azulejos, painted tiles that either have a nice pattern or display pictures. Pinhão's railway station is full of these azulejos. All of them show scenes from the countryside around the village or the work people used to do there (such as harvest scenes). Apart from that, there's not a lot that will keep you there.
The drive from Mesão Frio to Pinhão will take you about 1 hour if you only stop every now and then to take a picture. If you stop for some wine tasting at a quinta or get lost or decide to take a little more than just the odd photo, it's likely to take much longer. Still, do it! It's the perfect place for a slow and relaxing afternoon ride, watching the river nearby and the wine terraces which the area is famous for on the hills around you. If you do get lost (as we did on the roundabout after Peso da Regua), don't worry - just drive up the next valley which is similarly beautiful and look for a different way down again. The whole region seems to be spectacular. While we are at it: wine tasting is a very popular activity around here. I didn't do it because I had to do the driving, but we got some Douro wine later during our holiday which was very good. The area is also renowned for their port wines.
Another way to discover the Douro Valley is a boat trip. You can take a full day trip from Porto for some €75, but in the tourist places along the route smaller tours are also on offer (and probably much cheaper). All of these will include wine or port wine tasting.Related to:
- Road Trip