I love to drive in Europe but I don’t like to miss a thing so the train is my favorite way to see the Douro. Plus, the Linha do Douro is one of Europe’s great railway journeys.
It’s 160 km of river-hugging track from Porto to Pocinho, through more than 20 tunnels, 30 bridges and 34 stations.
About an hour outside Porto the landscape becomes unforgettable especially as you get close to Régua. This is where the Douro Line gets amazing, sticking closely to the river from then on, clinging to the rocks as the river – and track – passes through the Douro gorge. Some of the stations are just a shelter on a platform, used by the local wine quintas, though there are stops at Pinhão (a pretty port-producing town) and Pocinho (for Vila Nova de Foz Câo and its rock art).
Note: If you board the train before Ferradosa, try to get a window seat on the right hand side of the train for the best views of the river, the hills and the wine estates. Once the train crosses the river, switch to the left side of the train.
How to get there, fly into Lisbon and drive or take the train 3 hours north to Porto.