Visit Douro Valley. Budget day trip itinerary

Wondering how to experience some of the best of the Douro Valley on a budget? If you’re keen to visit the Douro wine region, taste its wines, see its landscapes and take a boat trip on the Douro River and can’t stretch to an organised one day tour with transport, there is another way.

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Planning a DIY trip into this beautiful region takes lots of research so I’ve made it easy for you by compiling my findings into an easy to use guide.

In this flexible, self-guided Douro itinerary, I’ve provided the necessary logistical details to get you from Porto into the heart of the Douro Valley so you’ll see some of the magnificent terraced hillsides from the train.

Once you arrive in Pinhão, you can take a boat trip further upstream to appreciate the beautiful landscape from a different perspective.

Choose between two wineries that are within walking distance of the train station and offer the chance to walk through their vineyards.

If your budget and time permits, visit one of the Douro wine region’s most impressive viewing spots where you also have the option of visiting an olive oil museum.


  1. HI Julie, thanks for the info! We are doing two nights in Lamego and would like to do one night on the river. We will have a car. What area do you recommend most? I looked at the Duoro Royal, but don’t see that listed anywhere in your articles.

  2. Hi Julie, We will be in Porto for two full days and driving a car. I was wondering if we can drive ourselves to the wineries in Douro Valley. Is your self guided tour can be used for driving? Or the experience will be much better with a tour? We will be there between Nov. 29 and 30.

    1. Author

      Hi Jenny, I would definitely not drive if your driver wants to enjoy the wines. You’ll learn more and get to do more stuff on a tour than you would alone. And you’ll have to make the bookings at the wineries in advance if you do it yourself but the info in the guide would be useful for that.

  3. Hi Julie! My family would like to take a day trip to Douro Valley from Porto to check out the beautiful sites and with 2 kids age 15 and 11, we are not interested in any wine tastings. Would you recommend taking the train one way and a boat the other way? I’m interested in definitely seeing Pinhão as it sounds amazing so want to ensure the train/boat covers that area too. Thanks!

  4. Hi – four of us will be staying in Porto in late May and want to make a day trip to Douro valley. Is it too ambitious to train to Regua AND Pinhao to visit the area plus wineries? If yes, it seems Pinhao would be the better choice of the two, would you agree? Thank you.

    1. Author

      The issue is really that the train timetables are very limited and winery tour times may make this a logistical nightmare. Of the two, Pinhão is easiest.

  5. We are looking to come from Salamanca to the Duoro Valley by public transportation and to then wend our way downriver, stopping at various places as we have time in October 2019. I can see that there is a bus to Hinojosa de Duero and what looks like limited accommodation there. I understand that boats go as far upriver as Barca d’Alva but that one probably needs to take a taxi from Hinojosa de Duero to get to Barca d’Alva, and it is not clear how much accommodation there is right there for people without a car. If you have any particular recommendations about routes, transportation options, good accommodation options, we would be very appreciative.

    1. Author

      Hi Dorothy, I think you’re setting yourself an extremely difficult challenge and one that I would need to do considerable research in order to help you with. Good luck 🙂

  6. Hi Julie, great info, thanks! How easy is it to find a taxi around Regua for short point to point trips? Most of what I have seen looks like only options to hire a car for a half or full day.

    1. Author

      There are usually several taxis at the train station so that shouldn’t be difficult to arrange if you don’t want to drive.

  7. Hi, we’re planning a family trip with our 2 year old and have a full day to visit Douro valley and also have a car rented. What would you suggest we do to take advantage of the time? Thanks!

  8. Hi Julie, great information! we have just a few hours for 2 hours boat trip from Pinhao and we wanted to visit at least one unique authentic village, what would be your first choice for a village? what about a local place for lunch?
    Thanks so much!

    1. Author

      Hi Tal, You could take a taxi (or drive) to Provosende and have lunch at Papas Zaide (book ahead)

  9. Julia Rominger here again! What can you suggest for hiking on our own in the Douro? We’re experienced trekkers and comfortable going on our own. Appreciate any help.

    1. Author

      Hi Julia, truly independent hiking is tricky in the Douro given the lack of marked trails and the fact that most of the area is privately owned vineyards. I would suggest doing some or all of a self-guided walking holiday like this:

  10. This is great info! What towns would you suggest as a base for day trips? We are likely to be renting a car and would do walking, vineyard trips…and eating and relaxing. We will likely go in May.

  11. Hi Julie we are heading to Portugal from Australia in may for our honeymoon. I was wondering what you think of this cycling route? We simply want to get a good taste of Portugal and experience some different landscapes and some of the smaller villages.
    Thank you for sharing your wisdom on this site.

    1. Author

      Hi Katie, Looks good to me. You’ll get a range of scenery from mountains to coastal and riverside with plenty of greenery and some of my favourite towns in between. Happy honeymoon!

  12. You forgot the Tua dam. Some of engineers think it is a sight worth checking out.

    1. Author

      I didn’t forget it – it’s just not possible to see everything in a day trip with no car 🙂

Over to you. Please share your thoughts in a comment.