magazine | Travel | Birthday Bucket Lists
This Portuguese Train Ride is a Nine Hour, Michelin-Starred Feast
Alyssa Brown
byAlyssa Brown

Formerly the Royal Train of Portugal, this luxurious 19th-century train with its moody, rich colors and big windows gives passengers a sense that they could be traveling the Portuguese countryside in another era altogether. The Presidential Train combines a love for place, food and nostalgia to create an experience that’s unlike any other. So, if you’re looking for a creative and enjoyable way to indulge all your senses for your next birthday celebration, this may be just the thing to add to your list. 

Photography courtesy of The Presidential Train

A Very Good Day

Hop aboard The Presidential for a 9-hour journey through the Douro wine country region. The train adventure starts and ends at the beautiful Porto train station São Bento, known for its elaborately tiled interiors that tell the story of Portugal’s past wars, royals and transportation history. The train departs at 11:45, with a gourmet lunch served shortly thereafter. Following lunch, guests will arrive at Quinta do Vesúvio for an exclusive Port tasting then head back onto the train to continue through the countryside and return to Porto.

A Food Person’s Paradise

Each train excursion offers a different food experience, always with a Michelin starred chef guiding a four-course degustation menu. Wine pairings are always part of the offering as well as port wine tastings, a bar and afternoon tea. Musicians perform on the return trip, capping off your birthday ambience with a bit of entertainment.

Nostalgia of a Different Variety

Though you may not have been alive to experience the glory days of railway transportation firsthand, this beautifully crafted vessel offers the modern-day traveler a sense of nostalgia. And isn’t that what a bucket list worthy birthday is all about? That sense of wonder, of forgetting what year you’re celebrating and just enjoying it? Built in 1890, The Presidential Train – once the Portuguese Royal Train – has hosted kings, queens, presidents and popes in its time. Even the train cars feel like time capsules with their original, luxurious furnishings, woodwork and details. Fit for a birthday queen, some may even say.


Get the full guide to Portugal →

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