Scenic Train Journeys in Portugal

Portuguese train routes offer a delightful escape into sun-kissed nature and heritage. Here’s how to take advantage of these scenic journeys.

Immerse yourself in Lisbon’s rich heritage on a full-day tour led by a local expert guide. Explore the Alfama district’s crooked cobblestone streets and stroll past grand cathedrals, before discovering Jeronimos Monastery and Belem Tower.

Porto to Pinhao

A full day trip from Porto to Pinhao allows you to experience some of the most beautiful scenery in Portugal. Traveling by train along the Douro River, you’ll see vineyards and villages clinging to hillsides and valleys with stunning vistas. You can also hop off at one of the many “miradouro” (viewpoints) and enjoy a lovely lunch overlooking the mountains.

The CP Douro line, which runs from Porto to Pinhao and back again, is renowned for its timeliness and comfort. The trains are modern and spacious with large windows, and the service is efficient. On-board amenities include free WiFi, power outlets, and comfortable seating. The Douro River valley is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the views of the steep terraced vineyards are simply spectacular.

This scenic train journey is a great way to experience the Douro Valley, but it’s also possible to take a tour by bus or boat instead. Tours typically visit a number of wineries and offer tastings. They can be a great option if you’re interested in learning more about the region and exploring some of the most famous port houses.

You can book your trip with a guide or on your own. If you want to avoid crowds, we recommend booking your tour in advance and arriving early. This will give you plenty of time to explore the wineries and landscapes before catching the train back to Porto.

The Douro Valley is a gorgeous place, and it’s worth spending the extra time to get to know the region in depth. The best way to do this is by combining the train ride with a full-day tour that includes a visit to Mateus Palace, a traditional Portuguese lunch, a cruise on a rabelo boat, and wine tastings at amazing wineries. We can help you plan your trip to the Douro Valley and book your tours, hotel, and car rentals. Contact us now to get started.

Porto to Pocinho

The Douro Line, or Linha do Douro as it’s called locally, runs between Porto’s Sao Bento Station and the towns of Pinhao and Pocinho, with the last stretch from Regua to the Spanish border being hailed as one of Europe’s most scenic train journeys. The first hour of the trip, passing through suburbia and nondescript countryside, isn’t very exciting but after the town of Pala, the train begins to wind its way along the banks of the Douro, with the vineyards and vine-covered hills climbing up each side.

If you have time, sit by the window to enjoy the precious views of the hilly countryside and riverside villages, with a few windmills dotted about for good measure. This is the land where Port wine takes its name and a trip on the train is a great way to see it all, with the smoky, fragrant barrels of Port making their slow journey down the Douro in the flat-bottomed boats known as rabelos.

Once past the town of Foz de Douro, the landscape broadens into a vast river valley strewn with olive trees and flanked by a dam and power plant that loom ominously in the distance. This is a wild part of the Douro, where craggy rock formations and gorges cut deeply into the mountainside.

As you approach the town of Tua, the railway cuts through a series of tunnels and then up to a dam that’s the highest point on the line. This is where the scenery starts to really come into its own and once the train is over the dam, you’re in the final stretch towards Pocinho.

Many tourists take the entire trip all the way to Pocinho but it’s a bit of a long haul for a day trip from Porto and the village of Pocinho doesn’t have much to do other than walk around a little and have a drink or two. Instead, a more realistic option is to take the direct train to Pinhao which takes two and a half hours and then spend a relaxed afternoon in the pretty town exploring its streets, joining a short boat cruise or visiting the Miradouro de Casal de Loivos viewpoint.

Porto to Vila Real

If you’re looking for the perfect way to relax and enjoy a scenic train journey in Portugal, the Porto to Vila Real route is definitely one to consider. Starting from the dazzling tiled treat of Sao Bento station and heading through picturesque countryside, this trip offers plenty to keep you entertained along the way.

This route is served by a number of intercity and regional train services operated by Comboios de Portugal (CP). Train types include International trains that connect to Spain and France; Alfa Pendular, high-speed services between Porto, Lisbon and Faro; and Intercidades and Interregional, which are medium-distance options. The latter two operate in tandem with the International services, meaning you can easily switch between them to suit your schedule and budget.

When you arrive at Pocinho, the landscape widens into a lush valley studded with olive trees and a dam and power plant looming in the distance. Stretch your legs and take a moment to admire the stunning scenery before boarding the return train. If you’re feeling peckish, you can always grab a beer and unique crispy hot dog or Portuguese sandwich at the Gazela Cachorrinhos da Batalha snack bar right outside of the station.

Once back on the train, your journey begins to wind its way through the vineyards of the Douro Valley and up into the hills. The rolling landscape is a photographer’s dream, with the beautiful sunlight reflecting off the greenery. Whether you choose to sit in the front car or the rear, you’re sure to be impressed by the views as you head deeper into the heart of the Douro wine region.

Before your return journey to Porto, make sure you’ve visited Casa de Mateus, the 18th-century Baroque palace that houses some of the finest wine in all of Portugal. If time allows, don’t miss the chance to visit other enchanting historic manors like Quinta do Paco or Morao mountain, where you can marvel at the sweeping views over the region.

Your trip doesn’t have to end in Vila Real, as the local train service makes it easy to travel from here to popular destinations like Lisbon, Braga or Peso da Regua. Book your tickets and explore these amazing destinations with Omio today!

Porto to Sintra

The 167-mile (269 km) journey from Porto to Sintra is a scenic train ride in Portugal. The trip takes less than four hours by train and offers spectacular views of the Portuguese coast, forests, and countryside. The route passes through a number of beautiful villages and towns along the way.

The train is operated by Comboios de Portugal (CP), the national train company. The train leaves from the Campanha station in Porto, and arrives at the Lisbon Oriente station. From here, you can change to an urban train that runs to Sintra. This is a safe route, but you should always use common sense when travelling late at night and be aware of your surroundings. Avoid sitting next to people who look suspicious, and don’t show off expensive items in public.

Taking the train to Sintra is a great option for travelers who want to explore all of Portugal’s scenic railways without having to drive or rent a car. It is also a good choice for those who want to avoid traffic and parking problems in Sintra. The roads in the historic city center are narrow and steep, and there is very limited parking space. During the summer, this leads to traffic jams around the city as frustrated drivers try to find somewhere to park.

Buses are also a good option for getting to Sintra from Porto. There are direct routes offered by travel companies such as FlixBus and Rede Expressos. Direct services tend to save time and add convenience in terms of traveling, but they also cost a little more.

Regardless of the type of transportation you choose, it is always best to book your tickets in advance. Purchasing tickets at the last minute can be a hassle, and it may result in you missing your departure time. In addition, it is against the law to board a train without a valid ticket.

When booking your train tickets, be sure to select Comfort Class if you are looking for added amenities. This class offers reclining seats, power outlets, free WiFi, and a personal attendant who can assist you with any questions or concerns you might have. The class is also more spacious and comfortable, making it a great option for long trips.

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