Through winding roads next to slopes covered with grape vines we reached the picturesque town of Pinhao. On the banks of the Douro River, it's a quiet town, but due to it's location is essential to the transport of Port wine and a starting point for those who exploring the Douro valley by boat.
It's also known for having one of the prettiest train stations in Portugal and also has a railway bridge that was designed by Gustave Eiffel himself in the 19th century.
Pinhão Train Station
The Douro landscapes are easily identified by the slopes which were built in the 1970's in a way that made it possible to plant terraced vineyards, with each terrace surrounded by shale walls. The area has been classified by UNESCO as a World Heritage site in 2001.
|Pinhao Train station, terraced vineyards|
|Tiled panels at Station|
The train station, which opened in 1937 is famous for the 24 gorgeous panels of blue and white tiles (azulejos) depicting scenes from the harvesting of the grapes and daily life in rural areas.
We parked our car near the station, took photos, asked for recommendations for a restaurant for our lunch and then walked down to the river's edge.
|Views of river from restaurant|
We had lunch at Veladouro restaurant across the river beach - it was packed and service was slow, the food was reasonable, fish was fresh, but son in law ordered steak which was quite tough!
After lunch we drove uphill to Quinta do Seixo (Sandeman estate) to join a Port wine tour.
|The 19th century bridge designed by Gustave Eiffel|
|View of village of Pinhao as we climbed to Sandeman estate, bridge designed by Eiffel (top left)|
Quinta do Seixo (Sandeman estate)
Sandeman, is a brand of Port wines founded in 1790 by the Englishman George Sandeman. The logo features a caped man - Don - wearing a Portuguese student's black cape and a wide Spanish hat.
The company remained a family business until it was bought out by the drinks company Seagram in 1970 which then sold it to Sogrape in 2001. A descendant of the original Sandeman - George Thomas David Sandeman is a member of the board of Sogrape Vinhos (wines).
The tour guided by the Sandeman Don who explained the production process and the characteristics which make the Douro region so unique.
After the tour you can taste some Port wines while enjoying the panoramic view of the valley and river.
|A boat tour on the Douro|
|The train going past next to the Douro River|
You can also take a train from Porto to this area and travel through some of the most beautiful scenery of Northern Portugal.
And it was time to return to Porto and prepare for dinner with our friends G & J who live there, the same ones with whom my daughter and I had coffee the day before.
While everyone got ready I took some photos from our terrace of the preparations going on on the Douro river for the Red Bull Air Race Championship that would be held there on the weekend (2nd & 3rd September).
Dinner at Dona Porto/ Drinks at Hard Rock
And guess what? They asked us to meet them at Dona Porto Restaurant (Rua Campo dos Mártires da Pátria 64) where they eat frequently.
It was just a short walk for us, and the name sounded familiar, but it was only when we arrived there that we realized it was the same restaurant where we had our first lunch the day after our arrival in Porto. Great dinner and once again I admired the decor and all the art they had on the walls, and even got an idea for a canvas with Portuguese azulejos ... (will show when I have done it).
|Dona Porto restaurant|