005 - Regua to Tua - Portugal

 Visit the birthplace of the most famous wine in the region - the Port Wine - while traveling on a beautiful and quite fast steam train along the Douro Valley - this is our adventure from Regua to Tua.

Click on the map

Let's address the elephant in the room -> getting tickets to catch the historic steam train along the Douro Valley (from Regua to Tua) is not that easy. 

This means that those of you who are spontaneous, you must be really lucky if you did not book many months in advance and still found a last minute ticket.

We got a few tips, so be sure to read this article to learn more. Also, this is one of my best adventures in Portugal, namely because of all the trains it involved 😍

005.1 These are the famous French stainless steel Corail Coaches -> I love them so much, that I made them in 3D (as you probably saw in the beginning of the article). On another note, we started our trip from Spain and we took the train from Vigo to Braga (included in the whole package, if you buy the tickets in person, in Portugal). From there we went to Porto.

005.2 This is a repainted Alpha Pendular (as we saw in the previous article, in 004-Braga), something that in those days, was a rare sight. This picture is made from inside our train, while waiting on the platform at Porto train station. 

The trip to Regua will depend for each. Some might come with the plane to Porto, so they have to get to the train station and get to Regua from there, or rent a car and drive it to here (could be faster by car). We came from Galicia/Spain and we took only trains because that was the package that we bought (for us it was more convenient, this way we could do wine tasting). 

005.3 We arrived a lot earlier than "should" so the locomotive was still in the shed. So we left to check the town of Regua.

005.4 The town is not that big and the main attraction, is the valley of course so having a drink next to the river can be very romantic. Parked there were two hotel boats so we got to check also how they look inside (through the window).

005.5 A beautiful Jeep parked outside the Regua Train Station. 

005.6 I love how old and new collide in this one photo, from top to bottom. Also, remember those bridges, as they will indicate on the return trip, when we have arrived back at Regua.

005.7 Back at the Regua Train Station, the coaches are already waiting for everybody to get on board. This train will go to Tua, and then the locomotive will come to the rear so that means that if you sit on the right side, you will see the river on both trips (go and back). So make sure you consult the website well to make sure you take the tickets that you want. 

005.8 Last minute preparations of the 0186 (built in the 1925 by Henschel and Son). I made a ton of pictures of this locomotive and a few years later, I even made it in 3D (as it can be seen on the top of this article). They did not let us climb inside, but I could make photos from the platform. They will let anyone do that, even private documentary crews (they even flew a drone in the area, this was in 2017).

005.9 There is another train making this route and that one is very different. You will see later in this article so make sure to check that one also before buying the train tickets for this trip. Both trains are historic, but only this one is steam.

005.10 Music and tv cameras -> we are preparing to leave

005.11 The train is packed full, and the space for legs is practically none existing. For this reason, many stay on foot or outside, between the coaches. My wife took the seat while I stood next to her on foot. 

005.12 We just left and it feels so good to be here and wow it really is beautiful to see all these paralel lines of vineyards. I just hope my camera won't die on me on this trip as it happened before.

005.12 The music band came and some people were actually singing along (we don't really speak Portuguese), and at the same time we got a sample of the famous Port Wine that is at home in this region. It might not look much but this is 20% alcohol and is the sweetest wine I ever drank. Luckily we got also a bottle of water.

005.13 The local music band heading into the next car.

005.14 We could have taken also the boat, but as a huge railways nerd... it would just not fit. Maybe next time, but I think my little daughter would love more the train because she can run, play, and interact more than on a boat.

005.15 One of my favorite shots on the journey, with the moon, the mountains and the vineyard. This whole region is one giant UNESCO site and it is well known since the celtic population lived here (well before the Romans). There are many archaeological sites in the valley so check those ones out alsoqszw if you wish.

005.15 We just got at Pinhao and we barely had time to look around (from the train) because we were already leaving. 

005.15 And we are back on tracks.

005.16 Sitting outside, between the cars, while the tracks slightly curve to reach Pinhao. The train does not really stay there so do not get off the train just yet.

005.17 We continue our trip and all of a sudden it is dinner time for all these eagles - wish I had a bigger zoom lens than the 135mm. After 2 years of many, many, trips in Portugal I can say for sure that at certain hours (mid-day), eagles are very easy to spot, even on the highway so don't be sad if you missed your photos here.

005.18 I think that sitting on the boat would have gotten me closer to them, but not by much. Back when I did those pictures, I had a Canon APSC with a lens 18-135mm (all in one). I knew it will be a very old train, so no place to store baggage, so I wanted to make all kinds of pictures, without changing lenses.

005.19 And in almost no time we reach Tua but here also we won't be staying much sadly. We just have time to go to toilet (make the line) while someone else makes the line for ice-creams. And in a blink of an eye, all is ready for the return trip.

005.20 Remember at the beginning of this article when we said to make sure you take tickets for the steam train, because there is another option? Well this is the other train and it looks so good, but I find that is better to go by steam in this romantic trip, and leave the deliciously coloured coaches for sea side. The locomotive is diesel and is ok looking, but for me the coaches are the star of the show.

005.21 Old school Land Rover in beautiful mustard yellow.

005.22 While many are waiting in line to take goodies from the store, the locomotive also is carefully treated with water and fuel (I did not see charcoal so it must be heating oil or something).

005.23 Old, but not forgotten - sitting inside the shed, a few carriages are house for a few birds. One day a new fresh coat of paint will make them shine and place them at the center of every phone camera. Also note how these 1st class coaches look as "good" as 2nd class (to the left).

005.24 Filled with energy, the locomotive is waiting for us to board to head back to Regua.

005.25 One of the many hydroelectric plants, sitting on a river that feeds into Douro. (I think is Tua River)

005.26 The beautiful Douro Valley

005.27 Not all best pictures are on the river side. 

005.28 Not all wine houses are the same, in fact they are almost all very different. 

005.29 Royal Oporto (Porto) looking nothing like the other ones, but there is one common aspect -> they are close to the river, for obvious reasons.

005.30 A vineyard in the making -> not a very romantic sight with all those machines. Funny how marketing works, advertising people at work when in reality, none in sight, only machines. 

005.31 Now this is a beautiful Rabelo boat (with engine...). We will see many more in the next articles, parked and showcasing the wine house they belong to, floating on the same river, but at Porto/Gaia.

005.32 Waves upon waves of man made structures.

005.33 More we get closer to Regua, more the area gets greener, but the horizontal lines are still very much present

005.34 Sandeman vineyard - we will visit the caves in another article. 

005.35 Remember that in the beginning of the article we said that the big bridges will show us when we get to Regua... well sadly our trip did come to an end. 

005.36 E1 at Regua (Henschel 1939/1922).  The CP acquired it second hand from Leixoes docks in about 1943.  It was originally a 900mm gauge loco and was presumably converted to metre gauge as a pat of the 1930 gauge conversion (source : https://www.internationalsteam.co.uk/trains/portugal01.htm)

005.37 And from Regua we took the train to Ermesinde

005.38 And what a view as you get on the platform

005.39 As the night slowly comes, we are leaving Portugal for Spain.

For fans of railway, this was a dream come true! 

Great adventure, great experience and with many cherries on top -> Douro Valley in all it's mightiness, fauna, entertainment, wine tasting, and Portugal in general. 

Wish I could see the future and know when I shall return, but if the steam train continues to run, I shall come back and I shall bring a bigger zoom (probably rent one). 

To get tickets for this trip, by train, use this link: https://www.cp.pt/passageiros/en or search for historic steam train Douro Valley. 

It's been a while, so I don't remember all in great detail, but I do remember having to go in person in an Portuguese train station, to purchase the ticket, choose a seat and also book from Vigo to Regua and back (we got a special offer on the full price by going in person and not via internet). Now I am writing this in 2022 so I checked again the CP website and I don't see anything about the special offer... so perhaps that one is gone, in which case... contact them to be sure.

There are roads so many people actually visit the area by car, as it is far cheaper and it is better for making pictures. Rise early, find a great spot and wait for the train to come. If you do come by car, check also archeological museums on the way, as this area is historical. 

We hope you enjoyed this article and we hope you shall see more of this website. Thank you!



The photos on this article were made in 2017, July 2nd

They were shot on Canon 80D

The camera lenses used in this article are:

Canon 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 Canon EF-S Mount: all

All shot in manual mode.

No phone camera photos in this article. 

No HDR photos in this article.

No AI in any way, shape or form

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