From Régua to Barca d’Alva

This portion of Douro river, between Régua and Barca d' Alva is, no doubt, the most interesting and magnificent of the whole trip, from the mouth to the Spanish border. The trip in cruise ships is an unforgettable experience.

At the heart of the Douro Wine Region, during the trip you may have a notion of the huge efforts required to cultivate the vineyards in steep hillsides lining the river. Here are located the famous farms such as the Kopke, Cockburns, Quinta de la Rosa, Vesúvio, and others. The area of Pinhão, a village situated on the right bank of the Douro River, is the center of the Port Wine geographical status and is located in the area classified by UNESCO as World Cultural Heritage, which will grant special protection to this region over time. On the way there, you have to go through the dams of Bagaúste (difference of 28 meters), Valeira (difference of 32 meters), and Pocinho (difference of 22 meters), using their sluice-gates, which is a unique experience in Portugal. One advantage of this boat ride is the ability to be performed on cruise ships with excellent facilities, offering drinks, meals and other entertainment on board. The departure from Régua shows a curious image of the three bridges over the Douro: the metal one, now abandoned, which initially was used as a road; the stone one, which today is used by cars, but originally was built to enable a narrow rail track up to Lamego, which never came to work; and finally, the high concrete viaduct of the A24. Um pouco a montante dá-se a subida da primeira eclusa, na barragem de Bagaúste. Os viajantes maravilham-se com a lenta subida do nível da água entre comportas, até o barco ficar nivelado com o curso superior do rio. Até ao Pinhão o rio apresenta-se largo e alto, com múltiplos panoramas sobre o Douro Vinhateiro. Depois, o nível começa a baixar e começam a surgir as primeiras ilhas rochosas, algumas arborizadas. O canal navegável torna-se mais estreito e aparece mais sistematicamente balizado. E assim se passa frente à confluência com o Tua e à estação donde parte a linha de via estreita para Mirandela (ver Passeio 1). Later on comes the new dam, the Valeira dam, at the point where it stood one of the most feared slopes of the river, that once caused numerous shipwrecks, such as that suffered by the Baron of Forrester in mid-nineteenth century. Overhead, one of the most beautiful viewpoints of the region, São Salvador do Mundo. Upstream from Valeira, the Douro line moves to the left margin, on the bridge of Ferradosa. The Douro river begins snaking amidst rocky shores and describes a sharp curve at the point where it crosses the fault of Vilariça, near the confluence with the river Sabor. The dam of Pocinho is the last to be crossed and the boat trip ends sliding to Barca d'Alva and the International Douro with terraced vineyards and the Coa Paleolithic engravings on the right.

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