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Portugal . Twin Centre Porto and Regua/Pinhao

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We were investigating the possibility of taking a holiday next May by flying into Porto spending one night there then taking the "scenic " train up to either Regua or Pinhao. We would the spend 2 nights at one of these places (not both) before getting the train back to Porto where we would spend a further 2 nights. We cannot afford the best choice being the boat up the river so the train seems to be the best alternative option. Is this all feasible and how easy would it be do it all be train from Porto. What are the connections like and are they quite a few trains on this line each day.Can we book a seat in advance so we ensure we are sitting on the side of the river. Any feedback on our proposed project will be appreciated. We have just reached 60 and retirement but we are fairly fit so we need to bear this mind nothing too energetic!!

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    First of all, though others may disagree, I personally think the boat is not the "best choice". I think the train is just as spectacular. But what I would say is that the absolutely best part of the train ride is from Pinhao east to the end of the line, in the little hamlet of Pocinho. This is the part of the Douro where cars can't go and the scenery is spectacular.

    What I would do is to take the train to either Regua or Pinhao, get off, go to your hotel and get settled, see the town, and then at your leisure take the train to the end. If I remember correctly, Pinhao to Pocinho is about 45 minutes one way, with a 15 minute stop in Pocinho (two bars plus a place to buy homemade olive oil and honey, both recommended), then the return trip. This is a little train with very few passengers, I don't believe you can buy tickets ahead, nor can you reserve seats.

    As far as the difference between Pinhao and Regua, Regua is bigger, has more eating options, but is not a particularly pretty place IMO. Pinhao is much smaller, pretty dead aside from a little waterfront park and a few small restaurants (but it does have a pretty tiled train station). There is also a museum or two in Regua that you might enjoy, along with lots of port-related things.

    It's probably preferable to have a car so you can get out into the Douro Valley, but this is a pretty good next best option.

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