As a traveller, when doing research for a day trip here from Porto you either needed a car or pay high prices for tours. So… a big question remained, can I get to the valley on a budget? or did I have to accept that this is something for my next career break or long trip with a car?
The Douro valley has a magnificent landscape and not to mention one of Portugals largest and oldest wine valleys. Porto, back in the day became a thriving city for Port wine due to proximity to the Duoro Valley. The wines were transported by boat down the valley to Porto.
Fear not… here is the perfect itinerary if you only have one day in the Douro valley. Or at a loose end in Porto and looking for something different.
How to get there?
Thank you to Portugals national train line that provides a direct train service from Porto Campana station! https://www.cp.pt/passageiros/en
Check out the website, there are regular trains to Pinhao, I would recommend taking 9.15 am train from Campanha Station (in Porto city centre) which arrives at 11.36 am just in time for lunch!
Be sure to sit on the right hand side of the train which will give you the perfect view as the train literally follows the river.
Arriving at Pinhao station is a tourist site on its own, it feels old school and traditional. It brings you back in time, and the architecture panels in the station itself are worth a Kodak moment.
Now after the 2 hour train journey lunch time calls. Just before I would recommend having a stroll around the town, small, but worth seeing the effect of trade and wine. Pinhao still feels like a traditional town with local businesses still operating in the area.
Nestled under the main bride in Porto was Restaurante Veladouro. We had their charcuterie board and local Porto wines. This was the perfect fuel before the afternoon of wine tastings!! They have seating indoors or on the terrace which offered beautiful views of the valley.
Wine Tasting Afternoon @ Quinta Do Bomfim
I decided to have our afternoon at Quinta Do Bomfim due to being walking distance from Pinhao. I also really wanted to visit Quinta Do Popa, however given the long train journey thought it would be best to visit the one near the station.
They don’t take walk ins so make sure you book before your visit via the website, and you don’t need to pay or decide which tasting you’d like to do until you arrive 🙂 You get to taste 3 wines from different collections depending if you’d like to do Port, Premium Port, Wine etc with variable prices.
Before the tasting starts, they take you on a guided tour of their vineyard. Before this trip I didn’t know much about Port wine, the history, or the process of making Port Wine. I thought the tour was very informative in broadening my knowledge! Quinta do Bomfim is owned by the Symington family which is the largest producer of wine in the Douro Valley. They also produce Grahams Port which I also tasted and have seen all over the world!
After this, everyones favourite part, the tasting! They have a tasting room which they have organised based on the type of wine you purchased when arriving. If you go with a few people, I would suggest purchasing separate ones so you can taste more 🙂
The guide goes through each wine and provides you with more details. After drinking you can also spend time sitting on their terrace with beautiful views of the valley.
End of Day – Back to Porto
After the wine tour, we took the 18.20 train from Pinhao and the train journey is just under 2.30 hours. Back at Porto we went back to our apartment for home cooked meal and a glass of Port to finish a fantastic day!