when it’s hot it’s hot (+36C/+96,8F) – pinhão, portugal

Encircled by terraced hillsides that produce some of the world’s best port – and some stellar table wines, too – pretty little Pinhão sits on a particularly lovely bend of the Rio Douro, about 25km upriver from Peso da Régua. Wineries and their competing signs dominate the scene. Even the delightful train station has azulejos (hand-painted tiles) depicting the grape harvest.

The town itself, cute though it is, holds little of interest but does make a fine base for exploring the many surrounding vineyards.

3.5 hours train journey from Porto, Sao Bento train station (09.20am) …. the first hour of the journey is through non-descript residential areas and bland countryside but after the town of Peso da Régua the railway starts to follow the river. We didn’t get seats on the riverside and the windows on the trains were not the cleanest, so Oscar was struggling to deliver any useable images.

The final section between Pinhão and Pocinho could be considered one of the most beautiful train lines in Europe, with stunning views of the Douro River and the terraced vineyards that climb the sides of the steep hills, we didn’t do the last part of the railway – we got off at Pinhão.

We arrive in Pinhão just before 1pm and it was already then a frying hot day, +30C and we check-in directly to our little cute hotel just opposite the railway station, Hotel Duro (https://www.hotel-douro.pt/) – run by two brothers. We were allocated room 12 … quite a few stairs before we reached it, a twin room with a lovely balcony with the most stunning view over the river and the vineyards hills. A true little gem – 1* accommodation with a 5* hospitality … the rooms are clean and basic … it has been awarded Tripadvisor’s “Certificate of Excellence” for about 6 years.

We had booked a 2 hour Rabelo boat cruise with  MAGNÍFICO DOURO (https://magnificodouro.pt/en/) at 3pm …. so we made our way down to the quay that was just opposite the beautiful 5* The Vintage House Douro Hotel … and we decided to enjoy the hotels beautiful terrace and the shade under all the greenery – it was extremely hot, the staff told us said that it was +36C and no wind what so ever. We enjoy a great Club Sandwich … and a couple of P&T (port wine and tonic) during waiting to go aboard. We met a lovely Jewish couple from Florida that was on their way to Italy by car … that was guests at the hotel.

3pm was the departure time for the river cruise and at that time it was melting hot and to be cruising on the river didn’t help much. The boat was close to fully booked and we were all suffering … *smile

Stunning view over the hillsides and the terraces with grapes, olive, and orange trees, but it was hard to really enjoy it because of the heat. I had real problems to capture the greatness of the surrounding and even Oscar was out of focus.

See all the tarraces of vine stock during the train journey and the cruise … they never ended, so long as you can see on both sides of the river … you can wonder how much port wine is really made???? Wikipedia tells me that in 2013, there were 8.7 million cases of port sold, 3.6% less than the previous year, at a value of $499 million. There is suppose to be around over 200 Quintas (vineyards) in the Duoro Valley.

Imagine that all those grapes are handpicked in extremely hot weather. I don’t think all the money in the world I would be able to make me pick only one terraces levels.

After the cruise we had some uphill walking to do … and we weren’t really in the mood to go back to the hotel before dinner and have to do the climb again after dinner, but we were too early for the few restaurants on the riverfront to be open. The only place open was a combination of a craft shop, bar and tapas bar.

I don’t have a clue how the lady manages to provide us with such great food … the kitchen wasn’t bigger than a cleaning locker. I enjoyed a very tasty ink pasta dish with tuna. After the last P&T for the day were we ready for that climb up to the main street and our beds.

The heat had really taken the vigor out of us .. even if it was only after 8pm we were ready for a shower and our beds, so no nighly extravagance for us, even if there was a very inviting party cruise up for grab.   

Next day was going to be without any climbing … a visit to the Quinta does Bomfim.

“Dear weather, stop showing off …
we know u’re HOT!!!”

10 thoughts on “when it’s hot it’s hot (+36C/+96,8F) – pinhão, portugal

  1. I sat on that same terrace with a glass of white, Vivi, and Mick nearly fainted at the price. 🙂 🙂 Your little hotel looks more our style, although I loved the experience. We stayed at a great place at Peso da Regua. I really must go back up there next year. Possibly Amarante. Coincidentally I have a wine tasting on mine today, with a brief guest appearance from the daughter. Love this post. Hugs, darlin!

    • Yes, the hotel was a bit pricey … but it was every cent to sit there in the shade and enjoying the view … and in the shade. The little hotel was a gem .. and located just opposite the train station on the main street. Paid 65€ for a double with a breathtaking view and balcony .. and sufficient breakfast. Next time will I do the full train journey and make sure that I get a seat on the riverside. We did wine tasting the following day, great wines. Thank you so much for the lovely comment. HugHug.

  2. Would love to go for a cruise on Douro Valley and visit Pinhão – just like the rest of Portugal, it looks absolutely amazing. Thanks for sharing, loved reading your post. Aiva

    • Aiva, thank you so much for your lovely comment … there are “real” local river cruisers. Fantasticly beautiful area. So just go!!!!! *smile. My pleasure, there will be another post about our visit the next day to a stunningly beautiful vineyard.

    • Beth, it’s a beautiful place, but very little to do … there – but it was far too hot when we were there. Felt sorry for all the grape pickers that had to work in that heat.

  3. Looks absolutely beautiful Vive. I’m going to Portugal for the New Year, although I’m going to Lisbon. A friend of mine in Liverpool was there last New Year, and she says she enjoyed it. Lisbon looks to me to be an eclectic sort of place, somewhere that you could step out the front door – and get run over by a tram!. It’s somewhere different for me, as I’ve never been there before.

    I can understand how you feel about the heat. I was staying in Calahonda on the Costa del Sol in Spain in 2001. Me and my American friends went on a day trip to Seville, which is about a 2 hour drive away. On the coast, it was 24c. By the time we drove over the mountains, and arrived in Seville, it was 38c. Eventually, it went up to 45c. I’d never felt heat like it before or since. Mind you, this was the middle of August, probably the hottest time of the year in that part of Spain. And of course, in the afternoon, a lot of places close for a siesta. There were a few coffee shops open, but that was about it. The heat very much curtailed the visit.

    I’m sure all those grape pickers will have plenty of water nearby.

    • Barry, thanks for your great long comment. Love it. Lisbon … I was there when I lived in Belfast … we didn’t click at all. But it’s quite a few years ago now. All my friends that has been there love it. I don’t click with Paris neither. I’m sure you will get a fantastic New Year. It’s a beautiful city with lovely people.
      When I was in Seville … I had to take on the 41C – hard to handle. I was there in September. But it is still hot down in South this year, Portugal is still very hot. I just can’t take the heat anymore … got sunstroke in Porto … not a great experience. Have to visit Porto early in the spring next time, because I been in May, June and September and it has been oven temperature every visit.
      Barry, I know you will get a fantastic New Year in Lisbon. Cheers .. and thanks for the visit.

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