Take the train
If you want a wonderfull vieuw from the Douro river, take the train from Pinhào or Peso da Regua in the direction of the Spanish border to the village Pacinho ( 5,70 euro )
You always ride near the Douro-river where no cars can come. This is the only possibility to see the pure nature off the Douro Valley.
- Wine Tasting
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Cruising the Douro River is now a major tourist activity in Portugal, made possible by the construction of dams along its lower stretches leading down to Porto itself. Here, we met a cruise ship, the 'Dora Azul', coming down-river from Pinhao on the headpond of a dam that we passed not very far east of Regua. These cruises sometimes come from Spain and can take 8 days or so, including visits to Port wineries and vinyards. Others may be a day trip up-river from Porto to Regua where passengers are bussed back to Porto or you can select a short cruise out of Regua itself. The 'Dora Azul' usually departs from Regua for an all day cruise up the river, traversing the locks at three different dams as it continues past Pinhao. Transportation back to Regua is by train. Costs for these cruises vary greatly depending on which option you choose! On our drive back from Pinhao, we noticed that this cruise ship was nowhere to be seen. It had obviously used the lock at the side of the dam to reach the very shallow looking water on the downstream side of the dam, but we did notice that this part of the river had Red and Green navigational markers along its rocky looking riverbed!
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There are regular trains to Pinhão and also special trips made on a "historical train" (an old model train that works with coal).
Travelling in the regular train is more economic and faster, although it doesn't have the magic of travelling in a slow coal train, reminding us of long gone days.
Nevertheless, both options will entitle you with a fantastic trip on a rail that is situated on the bottom of the mountain's slopes by the River.
For further information, check the national rail operator: www.cp.pt. There are also combinations of train and boat in some operators, such as Douro Azul (www.douroazul.pt). In this case you will arrive by boat and leave by train (towards Régua or Porto, in most cases).
Arriving in Pinhão by boat is something I will not forget. The landscape is breathtaking and the first sight of the village situated on the valley makes you feel like you are arriving in some fairy tale - the white houses, the beautiful hotel with the blooming pink flowers, the metallic bridge and the little marina with the wooden boats.
To arrive in Pinhão by boat contact one of the cruise operators, as there aren't regular connections. We made a cruise from Régua to Pinhão and then back to Régua, which allowed us some time off in Pinhão. The operator we used was Douro Azul (www.douroazul.pt).
Arriving in Pinhão by car it’s easy: if you are driving from other major cities such as Vila Real or Porto, just follow the signs to Régua (city). When you are in Régua region you will see signs to Pinhão. The road leading to Pinhão is winding through the mountain. Drive slowly and enjoy the view, it is magnificent. Once in Pinhão, parking is somewhat easy.
Wandering around the village's narrow streets and taking a stroll along the marina is for sure the best option to explore Pinhão. As the village is small, you will quickly discover some hidden spots and visit major highlights of the lovely village situated by the River.
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