Posted by: paulgilders | May 11, 2012

Into Portugal

Despite the beauty of the cities of Madrid, Segovia, Ávila and Salamanca, we were all beginning to feel that we’d seen enough grandeur and that it was time to head to more rural areas, and particularly to reach Portugal.

We spent a few days riding over rolling terrain, mostly with a strong and cold head or side wind. We passed a mixture of scrubland over the hills tops and more open rural farms in the valleys. It was hard, but pleasant riding.


Camping was still wet and cold – down to 2 degrees at night


The day we crossed the border to Portugal, the weather and scenery completely changed. We suddenly had temperatures in the high 20s, the roadside was covered in wildflowers and the landscape became highly managed terraces of almond and olive trees. We descended some 700m into the Douro Valley and it was a different world. Vineyards covering the banks and every small parcel of land was cultivated. It felt wonderful.




We stopped at the bottom of the valley at Barca De Alva. Unfortunately no camping, but we were able to stay at the local hotel for a good price. The local food and wine was excellent.




The following day we climbed back up to 800m again along a winding road. It was a hard slog, but the views over the valley were magnificent.



We are currently staying in the town of Figueira, which sits underneath the castle Castelo Rodrigo. It is a wonderful walk to the castle and the views over the plain are amazing.





In short, we’ve been in Portugal now for 2 days and I love it here!


  1. Do I write WOW every time. Getting a bit bored by my WOW but what we can see in the photos really is spectacular. What a great thing to be doing… good on you for doing it. Would love to be there too but I have to get by on the beautiful scenery of Morton Bay and surrounds. Love it here too.

  2. The phrase ‘Templed Out’ comes to mind with your first comment, i.e. seen too many grand buildings. Sometimes its nice not to have to look at another beautiful grand old building, mind you living here in Aussie, we have the opposite and we do miss them. One of your last posts reminded me of the phrase, ‘the rain in spain falls mainly on the plain’ and its bloody cold to boot!!. Now as for Portugal, Oporto for the port houses next? And only six weeks until Le Tour !!! will you be in Belgium for the start?

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