Cork & carpets

Overview:

A gentle ride through rolling Alentejo countryside from Évora to the small town of Arraiolos and back.

The route starts (and ends) following part of the Ecopista do Ramal de Mora. This cycle path follows an old railway line between Évora and Mora (about 60km to the north). The rest of the route is mainly on fairly quiet back roads but it does also involve some busier roads.

Cork & carpets

Click on the map to see this route on Ride With GPS

Note: I originally designed (and first rode) this route in 2011. Since then, traffic levels have increased around Évora and I’ve made a couple of changes as a result.

Distance & difficulty:

55.1km/34.2 miles. Easy. There are a few minor climbs but no real hills. Surfaces are mainly good.

Facilities:

Accommodation – there are hotels and pensions to suit all budgets in Évora , plus a campsite on the edge of town.

Shops & supermarkets – again, a good selection in Évora , which is the main town for the region. There are also some small shops and a MiniPreco supermarket in Arraiolos.

Cafes & restaurants – everything you want in Évora, plus there’s a cafe in Graça do Divor (about 11km from the start), a choice of cafes and restaurants in Arraiolos and more cafes etc. in Igrejinha.

Detailed description:

Leaving Évora: The ride starts at the beginning of the Ramal de Mora ecopista. This is off the Rua de Timor, which is just to the south-east of the main road (N18) going around Évora’s historic centre. There are very few signs to mark the start of the ecopista – just a blue pedestrian/cyclist sign.

You could also start from the Pingo Doce supermarket by the roundabout at the junction with the N254 for Redondo – the ecopista runs around the back of the car park.

Following the ecopista not only avoids traffic around Évora but also avoids a lot of the cobbles that make riding in or around the historic centre such a pain.

Stay on the cycle path out of town until it passes the O Pastor cafe. Turn left on the road then almost immediately right for Sr. Aflitos.

Follow this road north and then right past the turning for the Sr. Jesus de Aflitos chapel. Keep going to the T-junction with the M527 and go left. 

On to Arraiolos: From here it’s a gentle ride northwest to the low-rise village of Graça do Divor, where you go right to join the N370 to Arraiolos. This is a main road and has some fast commercial vehicles but visibility is good and traffic levels are not normally too high.

The scenery is  mostly open pasture dotted with cork oaks much of the way, with a few gentle ups and downs but generally climbing gradually.

Stay on the N370 to the village of Ilhas. As you leave the village and come downhill to cross the N4 there’s a concrete barrier on the right providing a safe lane for cyclists and walkers.

Continue over the N4 into Arraiolos, a lovely old town with a ruined hilltop castle. The place is famous for its carpets – supposed to be the best in Portugal. It’s also a pretty little place and well worth spending a bit of time wandering its cobbled streets. There are great views of the Alentejo plains from the castle.

Heading west: Go back out of Arraiolos to the junction with the N4, going around in a loop and on the N4 east towards ESPANHA (Spain). This road does have quite a few trucks but also has a wide shoulder and good visibility.

You are also only on the road for 4km and its a fast (and very enjoyable!) downhill as you leave town. Keep going to the first right turn for Igrejinha.

From here, the it’s all a lot more rural and quiet. Hopefully, you’ll see more cows and egrets than people or cars.

There’s an unusual church in Igrejinha, which also makes a convenient spot for a picnic, plus a couple of cafes and restaurants.

Back to Évora: Turn right in the centre of Igrejinha and simply follow the signs for Évora. The M527 has been resurfaced relatively recently and is now a lovely smooth ride through open countryside.

You’ll rejoin your route out of town just north of the flyover crossing the A6 motorway.

After crossing the A6, you can just keep straight on and you’ll meet the ecopista by the O Pastor cafe. Otherwise, take the left turn for Canaviais and then go right at the next T-junction. Keep going straight on until you meet the ecopista and then go left to follow it back to the start.

Riders: Huw & Carolyn Thomas, October 2011. Updated November 2020.

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