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Linha do Douro – The Porto to Douro Railway and Train

The Douro Valley conceals some of the most beautiful natural scenery of northern Portugal, which is formed of terraced vineyards and steep valleys. Snaking along the meandering river, for much of the route is the scenic the Linha do Douro Railway.

This railway connects Porto with the Pocinho, high up in the Alto Douro, and the later sections of the route are considered as one of the most picturesque railways in Europe. This guide will provide an overview of the Linha do Douro train service, different suggested tours and details of the towns that can be visited along the route.

Important Note: As of Jan2019, there is major building works along the Linha do Douro and there is a rail replacement bus service between Caíde and Marco de Canaveses. This construction has altered all departure times and made many of the day trips to long to enjoy, for the revised timetable please see the link to the CP website which is given later in the article.
Related articles: Porto day trips

Linha do Douro railway

The Linha do Douro railway as it follows the river upstream

Why explore the Douro Valley by train?

The main advantage of the Linha do Douro is that more of this stunning region can be visited than seen by a cruise boat. The train connects Porto with the small village of Pocinho, whereas the 1-day river cruises from Porto only travel to Pinhão, much further downstream. The Douro river between Pinhão and Pocinho is the most scenic section and can only be seen via car, train or boat cruise that starts in Pinhão. The train also allows for greater flexibility and time to explore the different towns along the route.

Régua douro portugal

The pretty town of Régua on the banks of the Douro

 

 

Train Times and Information

The Porto to Pocinho train departs from Sao Bento train station in central Porto and a single ticket to Pocinho costs €13.30. The train journey takes around three and a half hours, but there are multiple trains with different connections, our suggested routes are detailed in the following section. The latest timetable can be viewed on the CP (Comboios de Portugal) website:
https://www.cp.pt/StaticFiles/timetables/oporto-regua-douro-regional-trains.pdf

(link opens new window)

The first hour of the journey is through non-descript residential areas and bland countryside but after the town of Peso da Régua the railway starts to follow the river. The final section between Pinhão and Pocinho could be considered one of the most beautiful train lines in Europe, with stunning views of the Douro River and the terraced vineyards that climb the sides of the steep hills.

Suggested Itineraries for the Linha do Douro

There are multiple options for a day trip along the Linha do Douro and this section will detail some of the feasible choices. Please note these were correct in Aug 2018 and are based upon the timetable detailed above; always check train times and boat cruises are seasonal dependant and should be pre booked.
Jan2019 update: Due to all the disruptions along the railway, the number of enjoyable day trips from Porto along the Linha do Douro is severely limited. The best option is to take the train (and replacement bus) from Porto to Peso da Régua (referred to as Régua on the timetables). When at Peso da Régua visit the Museu do Douro, join a boat cruise or even visit the town of Lamego. The return trains from Peso da Régua to Porto are the 14:53, 16:53 or 18:53. Please always check latest timetables due to other alterations to the timetable.

Pinhão train station

Pinhão train station and the hills of the Douro region

Option 1 - Direct train to Pocinho. The 9:10 train, which departs from Sao Bento, is the only daily direct service to Pocinho. This is a great service as there are no connections and arrives in Pocinho at 12:36. The return train is at 13:21 (Monday to Friday) or 15:08 (Saturday, Sunday or public holidays). Pocinho is a very small village and can be easily seen within 45minutes.
Jan19 update: This route is still possible, but the service departs from the Campanhã station in Porto at 8:00 and arrives at Pocinho 12:38. There is presently only one return train from Pocinho at 15:22 and arrives in Porto at 19:35. This gives just under 3 hours in Pocinho which in our opinion is too long. Until the train timetable returns to the original one, we would not recommend this as a day trip.

Option 2 - Train to Pinhão and River Cruise to Tua. This option combines the train with a boat cruise along the most beautiful stretch of the river to the Confluence of the Tua River with the Douro. Try to catch the earliest train as the boat cruises depart at 10:30 or around 14:00-15:00. The stretch of river between Pinhão and Tua is wonderful and is much better experienced on a boat than train.

Jan19 update: Again this service is badly affected so that there is only one connection for an outward journey (8:00 from Campanhã, gets to Tua at 11:53) and return (16:07 from Tua). Due to the very long journey we would again not recommend it.

Option 3 - Train to Pinhão and visit the Museu do Douro in Regua. For this trip catch the direct 9:10 train to Pinhão, explore Pinhão for a couple of hours and then catch the train to Régua. In Peso da Régua you can visit the informative Museu do Douro, which details the history and traditions of the region. Another option in Régua is to hike to the Miradouro de Sao Leonardo em Galafura, which provides one of the best views of the Douro.

Towns along the Linha do Douro

Pocinho – End of the Railway

The train line ends in the tiny village of Pocinho. The village is in the heart of the vineyard region but as it is so small there is not much to see, apart from the dam, hydroelectric plant and the two bridges. The railway terminates in Pocinho as this was historically the junction to the defunct Linha do Sabor, a narrow gauge railway that connected to the Miranda do Douro.

two bridges of Pocinho

The two bridges of Pocinho

Pinhão

Pinhão is a town that is reliant on the Douro River and the vineyards it supports. From Pinhão there are boat cruises of the more interesting section of the Douro river and these tours depart from the praia (beach). Pinhão is a popular destination to explore the wine producing Quinta (farms) of the region. A popular hiking route is the 7km uphill path to the Casal de Loivos.

 

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