Overview: This route is an ambition for me as it takes in a string of my favourite places in Portugal.
I’ve cycled quite a few sections of it. Other parts I’ve only seen from a car. But I’m absolutely confident this would make a fantastic ride… and one day I will do the whole thing myself!
To keep things relatively simple, I’ve split the route into two section:
Border Castles – Alentejo: from the ancient city of Évora north to Castelo Branco in the Beira region
Border Castles – Beiras: from Castelo Branco north to the Douro valley.
In time, I hope to extend the route to include a southern section through the Algarve and a northern section going up to Braganca (and then maybe west towards the Atlantic).
For me, the castles are just the most obvious attraction along this route – but they’re just the dots along the line. This route takes you through some of the most spectacular, traditional, least-populated parts of Portugal.
As you head north (assuming you do it in this direction), you’ll ride some lonely roads across the rolling lands of the parched Alentejo and then north into a wild, open landscape with views of Portugal’s highest mountains – the Serra da Estrela – to your left and Spain in the distance to your right.
Highlights of the Border Castles Tour include:
- Castles – lots of them. From 12th century eyries to huge 17th century military complexes
- Solitude – you might find yourself riding for hours without hardly seeing a soul
- Timewarp towns and villages – much of the border region of Portugal seems like it’s hardly been affected by the 20th century, let alone the 21st.
Visit the individual pages for detailed descriptions – or see the maps below for an overview:
Map One: Évora – Castelo Branco
Map Two: Castelo Branco – Vila Nova de Foz Côa