Cruise from Régua to Barca d'Alva
On this route we did a cruise from Régua to Barca d’Alva, returning by train along the Douro line. This route is the most wonderful in the Douro, as it passes through the heart of the Douro vineyards, several Quintas, three dams and many places with breathtaking views. It is a mandatory route to discover this region in a unique way. A cruise we highly recommend!
- In summer wear cool, comfortable clothes.
- Beware of the sun, use sunscreen.
- Don’t forget your camera!
See detailed route below.
The cruise starts at Cais da Régua at 7:45 am, so wake up early. If you are staying in Régua, you can walk to the Quay, however, if you are staying in a hotel in the region and bringing a car, you can park next to the Quay, or alternatively, in a nearby car park.
We arrived in Régua at around 7:30 am and finding a place for the car was not difficult, we parked right next to the pier. Several boats were docked at the pier and in a brief observation we found the one that will take us to Barca d’Alva, the Princesa do Douro, from Rota do Douro Company.
We wait for the boarding time, the passengers arrive and gather near the boat. While we wait, we take some photos of the Douro, of Régua’s bridges, which have a special glow under the morning light.
Around 8 am, boarding begins, and we proceed to the dining room where breakfast will be served. The boat then departs starting the ascent of the Douro, passing over the Régua bridges and soon arriving at the Bagaúste dam, which is located next to Régua and is the first of the 3 dams that we will climb along the way.
The ascent of a lock is a unique experience, the boat enters with millimetric precision and when the locks close, the ascent begins. It is a moment when all the passengers move to the outside of the boat to better live this experience and take photos. The boat quickly rises, and as the floodgates open we continue upstream.
In this part of the route we pass through Folgosa do Douro and Covelinhas. The river at this hour still has some fog that is quickly lifting, it is a good occasion to take some photos in this morning light.
Continuing our journey we pass by Quinta do Tedo, where the Tedo river makes a beautiful bend before flowing into the Douro. By boat this curve is not well visible, but we have a beautiful view over the estate from the river. A few kilometres up we pass by Quinta do Seixo, on our right (where Sandeman wine is produced) and shortly after we reach Pinhão.
The boat passes slowly in front of the town of Pinhão, nestled between the river Pinhão and the river Douro in a bend in the river. We are in the centre of the Douro Wine Region and here we can find most of the main Douro wine and Port wine producing estates. On the right side of the river we find Quinta das Carvalhas, we pass the Pinhão bridge and slowly the town is behind us.
Next stop: Tua. We arrived at Foz Tua from where we could see the dam’s works. The train station is just beyond and we can see the famous Calça Curta restaurant from the boat. The passage by boat in this place is made with special care, due to the narrow navigation channel.
Next we head towards the 32m high Valeira dam, the second highest in the Douro.
The heat is now being felt more intensely. We climb the dam. The boat will pass through Cachão da Valeira (an old waterfall and navigational limit of the Douro for centuries). Awaiting our ascent of the dam was a hotelship, which allows for some beautiful photos framed by the impressive landscape of Cachão da Valeira. There is a plaque (see photo) next to the cascade.
Next we pass near São Xisto and the Ferradosa bridge.
We are in the Upper Douro, on the way to Pocinho and we will soon find the mouth of the Sabor river.
We pass by the beautiful Quinta do Vesuvio, and in the meantime it is time for lunch.
Lunch consists of: starter, soup, the main course accompanied by Douro wine (alternatively water or juice). It also includes dessert, and coffee.
The boat continues up the river, passing by Mós do Douro, the island of Saião, one of the Douro islands and finally we find the river beach of Foz do Sabor.
Soon after we arrived at Pocinho and managed to sight the yellow station that stands out in the landscape.
We then continue towards Barca d’Alva, and after climbing the Pocinho dam we continue our journey. We pass by the mouth of the Côa river and shortly after by the Côa Museum. On the bank we see the Douro line, which in this section is abandoned. The international connection to Salamanca was closed in 1985 and in 1988 the connection between Pocinho and Barca d’Alva was closed.
We arrived in Barca d’Alva close to the scheduled time. The boat makes a 45-minute stop, which gives you time to visit the small village.
We return to the boat, heading for Pocinho. The route takes 1h30. One of the highlights is the view of the Côa Museum, which from above seems small, such is the immensity of the landscape.
It’s snack time. Sandwiches, juices, snacks and crisps are available.
We arrived at Pocinho and disembarked. We are transferred by bus to Pocinho station to catch the train.
At 6pm the train arrives. The return to Régua is fast, the train has air conditioning which is very pleasant considering the heat.
The route is beautiful! The train runs alongside the river, making the bends and dazzling the passengers at every turn, after every tunnel.
We arrive in Régua at 7pm. The station is about 500 metres from the Quay so the journey is done on foot to the car.
This route is a wonderful experience that is recommended to those who want to know the best of the Douro.
Roteiro do Douro
- Avoid the hottest days to make this trip.
- In summer wear cool, comfortable clothes. Beware of the sun, use sunscreen.
- Alternatively, you can do this same route but only as far as Pocinho, which takes a few hours off the journey, making it lighter.
- Don’t forget your camera!