Excitement is mounting here at Pedal Portugal HQ. And not just because Bournemouth Air Show is on at the moment and I’ve got fighter jets screaming through the skies above my house, flying upside down, doing loop the loops, and generally making a racket.
No, the reason for the excitement is that in less than three weeks times me and the missus will have landed in Spain and be on our way down to northern Portugal – for almost four weeks of cycling and exploring new routes.
We’re taking the 27-hour ferry trip from Portsmouth to Santander – so please keep everything crossed for smooth seas in mid-September.
Once in Spain we’re going to have a couple of days looking at cycling routes through the Picos d’Europa and then we’ll be making our way down into the north-east corner of Portugal.
Our tandem will be loaded into the back of our van and the plan is to spend some time around towns like Braganca, Miranda do Douro and Chaves. We’ll be exploring the upper reaches of the Douro where it borders Spain, as well as the mountains along Portugal’s northern border, including the gorgeous Peneda de Geres national park.
Some of it’s places we’ve been before, some of it will be completely new to us. My hope is that I’ll be able to plot some longer routes – I’d really like to extend my Border Castles Tour north of Douro (ultimately creating an inland route all the way from the Algarve to Galicia).
I’ll also be taking notes as we travel through Spain so I can give more help in the future to anyone else wanting advice about riding down from the northern ferry ports.
I also want to add a few more day rides to the website for northern Portugal. At the moment, the only one is the Montalegre Circuit, which covers some gorgeous and remote countryside between the border town of Chaves and the Peneda Geres.
From a couple of fairly brief visits I made in the past, I know there’s some wonderful countryside to explore – it’s remote, wild and one of the least visited areas of Portugal. Should be fun!