Alentejo, Cycling Portugal, Guidebooks

Updated Alentejo Circuit

A cyclist’s dream – newly-surfaced back road in the southern Alentejo

The updated version of my Alentejo Circuit guidebook is now out – in both print and e-book versions.

The first edition came out in 2014 and, as mentioned on the blog last month, I had decided it was time for a few revisions.

I originally hoped it would be a fairly straightforward job but, of course, it turned out to be pretty involved. (The worst part was all the formatting for the two different formats!)

Another reason it took me a while is that over the last five years I’ve discovered one or two more good roads to ride and, being a kind and sharing type of guy, I had to incorporate them where I could.

So, what’s changed?

Well, the principal thing is that the route is now a bit longer. The main circuit still goes through the same main stops (Évora, Monsaraz, Moura, Mértola and Beja) but it is now 438km as opposed to the original 383km.

For the three-day coastal extension out to Odemira, Zambujeira and Vila Nova de Milfontes I’ve added a mere 21km to the total.

The main purpose of the changes has been to avoid traffic on those roads that have got busier since the original version came out in 2014. Although an extra benefit of finding more of those tiny back roads should be that the overall route is even more scenic.

But, I’ve still included details of the shorter options for anyone who’s in a hurry. As well as a few new detours to see various sights along the revised route. Like the waterfall at Pulo do Lobo, the remains of a Roman villa and the Shariz Gin distillery.

Mertola – one of the stops on the main circuit

All the maps in the book (21 of them showing towns and villages along the way) have been revised – hopefully making them easier to read and giving better detail.

I’ve also added extra background notes, such as explaining why there is a statue of Cristopher Columbus in the small Alentejo town of Cuba. (Any connection with that island in the Caribbean?)

Christopher Columbus – was he really a Portuguese spy?

Plus I’ve updated all the nuts-and-bolts type stuff like accommodation links and ideas for where to stay, and where to find things like supermarkets and bike shops.

Overall, the print version of the updated guide is about a dozen pages longer so it’s a little bit larger to carry around. Sorry. But hopefully the updates and extra information will make the extra weight worth it.

The kind of scenery to be found on the coastal extension


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