Presidential travels about to reach the end of the line

History has already been more than detailed, but for those who don’t know, the Presidential train was built in 1890 and transported presidents, kings – such as Isabel II – and Pope Paul VI. It traveled for many decades, until in 1970 it was placed in the National Railway Museum. After being restored in 2010, entrepreneur Gonçalo Castel-Branco decided to create the luxury experience The Presidentialwhich since 2016 has taken tourists on this train from Porto to Douro, and the respective return, with lunch cooked by chefs with Michelin stars and a stop at Quinta do Vesúvio, once considered the quietest place in Portugal.

The project was born after Gonçalo Castel-Branco saw the carriages in the museum. Since its inception, which began as an experience in partnership with the Algarve restaurant Vila Joya, and later became the The Presidential. received the attention of average and the tourism sector, having been considered the best public event in 2017 by the Best Event Awards.

However, despite the success, the trips come to an end this year. Gonçalo Castel-Branco, mentor and promoter of the Presidential explains that the last trip was to have taken place in 2020, but with the pandemic it was postponed and the contract ends this year.

The question is obvious, after so much success, is there no desire to continue? The person in charge indicates that the Presidential “it could have been one of the best things that were done in Portugal. I say it without false modesty. And I’m sorry it’s going to end”. But he adds: “Objectively, it arrived at a place where I don’t see how it could continue. It met and exceeded its objectives, especially for its partner, the National Railway Museum. But the project was never aimed at making a profit, it never won a euro. And obviously , after five years I would like to take the project to a place that would make money, but that place doesn’t seem to exist. I’m sorry, yes. But rationally it has to end”, explains Castel-Branco.

“The idea is to show the best of Portugal on that trip. The best chefs, the best wines and the landscapes of the Douro. We tried to invite the best talent from Portugal and, instead of having one chef a day, we are going to have two”.