If you’re anything like me, you don’t pass up an opportunity to enjoy delicious wine right from the source. The Douro Valley is an exquisite landscape, home to a number of legendary and innovative wine producers. As such, a trip to Porto would not be complete without at least a day tasting Portuguese wine while enjoying panoramic views of the Rio Douro.
Getting to the Douro Valley is very manageable. You can catch the train from São Bento Train Station in the heart of Porto for Pinhão every two hours beginning at 7 AM. The journey should take two and a half hours so be sure to leave early and you’ll want to fuel up before boarding. Stop in one of the small bakeries on your way to the train station and pick up a few pastel de nata, the round, local treat filled with a vanilla custard and dusted with cinnamon and sugar. The flavor is both unique and delicious. Once on board, do your best to secure a window seat as the views of the valley are spectacular.
You will likely have time to visit and tour two separate wineries and enjoy a meal while visiting Pinhão.
Quinta das Carvalhas is a natural first stop, as it is situated just across the river from Pinhão and is the largest Qunita in the Douro Region. It is said that the first references to Carvalhas can be traced back to 1759, making its history long and unique. For € 35,00 you can schedule a guided vineyard tour, which includes a full exploration of their expansive property as well as the in-depth history of the Quinta and the story of how the winery is directly linked to the history of the Douro Valley itself. The tour ends at the wine shop for a tasting of a red, a white and a port along with a local cheese pairing. (The tour will take approximately 1.5 hours. Booking details below!)
Your next stop is Quinta do Pôpa, a modern, family owned winery that was founded in 2003 and began production in 2007. Today, the grandchildren of the original owner, (already third generation!), have taken over the responsibility of running the Qunita. As a result, this property has both stunning views and a truly modern feel throughout. The process used on site to produce the wines are equally modern and innovative, giving way to a fascinating tour. A number of tour options are available, starting at €12,50, ranging from a simple tour with a tasting to a premium visit with a wine and food pairing.
You will likely be hungry, and if so, Pôpa is a fantastic location to enjoy lunch. Splurge on the tour with full “wine lunch” and be sure to sit outside, admiring the view and wasting the afternoon away under the Portuguese sun. At only €50,00 a person, trust me, it’s a steal. (The entire experience, with lunch, should take approximately three hours. Booking details below!)
As you head back to the train station take in the views one last time. Pinhão is a beautiful landscape and truly the perfect place to spend a day outside of Porto.
Transportation | Taxis are available throughout the region. All Quintas and restaurants are able to call a taxi for you upon request. I recommend meeting a driver outside the train station upon arrival and arranging your day’s transportation with them directly. I had no problem meeting a fabulous husband and wife team who were happy to drop me off and pick me up throughout my day!