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Old 08-22-12, 08:39 AM   #1
Ewar111
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Cycling in Portugal????

Hi
I am planning a week long cycle in Portugal for next summer. I aim for approx 60 miles a day. I would really appreciate any advice or recommendations of places to visit/ stay etc. having done London to Paris and genoa to Rome I prefer a route rather than a loop back to start
Thanks in advance
ed
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Old 08-22-12, 09:10 AM   #2
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I find The Rough Guide travel book series to be extremely thorough. There is one for Portugal. They give honest opinions about cities, restaurants, accomodations, etc., including campgrounds. If they think a place sucks, they will say so. The books are also packed with information about things like historical, religious, cultural and archaeological sites of importance. I used the one for Andalucia and the Michelin map to plan a 6-week trip. Well worth the $20 or less it will cost you.
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Old 08-22-12, 09:17 AM   #3
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I really enjoyed the ride from Lisbon to Sintra.
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Old 08-22-12, 05:58 PM   #4
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Hi, and welcome to the Forum

The route from Lisbon to Evora, Beja, Serpa, and the Spanish border is interesting. Evora is an especially nice place. That route travels through mostly rural areas and small towns. However, transportation from your terminus might be a challenge. Southern Portugal is very warm during the summer, with temperatures over 40C.

We rode this route on our way to Valencia, Spain, and it may not be my first choice if I was just going to tour Portugal. Maybe some of the folks that have ridden in the northern part of the country might have some ideas. We really liked Portugal and would go back there if we had the chance.

Adventure Cycling Magazine had two articles on riding in Portugal. They were in two separate issues which just came out in the last 3 months. If you can find copies they are good references, and perked my interest in seeing more of a wonderful country.

Yes, that means do not enter



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Old 08-22-12, 08:28 PM   #5
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My favorite part of the country for biking was the Douro valley, followed by the Minho valley in the north. Lisbon and Porto are both nice cities. Sintra, near Lisbon, is worth visiting, too.
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Old 08-23-12, 04:25 AM   #6
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I've cycled the whole coastline. It's all good, from the Pyrenees foothills in the north to the more touristy Algarve coast in the south. Much less populated than Spain. However, the Portuguese seem to LOVE cobblestones, not only in towns but for whole stretches of roads inbetween - so I'd recommend 32mm tires or wider. The amount of work put into laying cobblestones is mind boggling, but I swore that if I caught up to the guy laying them (following in his father's, grandfather's, great grandfather's etc steps) I would seek retribution!!!

North to south (on the west coast) and especially east to west (on the south coast) may give you a wind advantage, aswell as putting you on the sea side of the road.

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Old 08-23-12, 10:41 AM   #7
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Originally posted by imi
However, the Portuguese seem to LOVE cobblestones, not only in towns but for whole stretches of roads inbetween - so I'd recommend 32mm tires or wider. The amount of work put into laying cobblestones is mind boggling, but I swore that if I caught up to the guy laying them (following in his father's, grandfather's, great grandfather's etc steps) I would seek retribution!!!
If you find him, let me know and I'll help you

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Old 08-23-12, 11:39 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imi View Post
I've cycled the whole coastline. It's all good, from the Pyrenees foothills in the north to the more touristy Algarve coast in the south. Much less populated than Spain. However, the Portuguese seem to LOVE cobblestones, not only in towns but for whole stretches of roads inbetween - so I'd recommend 32mm tires or wider. The amount of work put into laying cobblestones is mind boggling, but I swore that if I caught up to the guy laying them (following in his father's, grandfather's, great grandfather's etc steps) I would seek retribution!!!
The Pyrenees foothills are nowhere near Portugal. Also, I honestly don't recall encountering much cobblestone. We did not ride anywhere south of Lisbon, in case that's where you found lots of cobblestone.
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Old 08-23-12, 09:55 PM   #9
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Any small town,and the older sections of the larger cities generally had "cobblestone" streets. We rode on quite a lot of it. All of our riding in Portugal was south and east of Lisbon. On a 2900 mile tour last summer (several other countries beside Portugal), over 500 miles of it was on some sort of paver stones. We rode so much of it, my curiosity was aroused about the differences. FWIW--They are not true cobblestones. They are "sett paving". However, most people, including the Paris-Roubaix classic cycling race, call them cobblestones.

Sett Paving, commonly known as "cobblestones".


True cobblestone paving.

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Old 08-29-12, 03:58 PM   #10
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I did the southern Portuguese coast last spring, and the northern part last month. I concur strongly with the warning about "cobblestones": almost all city and town centers seem to have them, but worse still are the forest roads, e.g the coastal roads N of Cabo Mondega, and the Marinha Grande area.

I can highly recommend the scenery of the Algarve, but you'll have trouble avoiding heavy traffic, especially just W of Faro, and you'll be surrounded by Brits. The Sagres area is especially interesting (I have lived in Africa). I didn't find the area around Sines very interesting - Setubal much more so. I took the train to Lisbon from Setubal, to avoid traffic and bridges.

The coast west of Lisbon is beautiful (but again very heavy traffic), and Sintra is a gem. If you want to go to the lighthouse at C. da Roca (westernmost point of Europe) you'll have a steep climb back out, but it's beautiful. Avoid the area between Santarem and Lisbon (horrendous traffic), but the Alentejo E. of Santarem is quiet and pretty, and the country around Porto Alegre on the Spainsh border is magnificent. Tell me if you make it to Marvao! Coimbra, Leiria (John of Gaunt is buried at Batalha near here) and Nazare' are beautiful. The Ilhavo area (near Aveira) has beautiful coastal rides and lots of campgrounds. I found Oporto too full of tourists, but I hit it at the worst possible time. The route from Ciudad Rodrigo to Guarda is very strenuous (canyons) but pretty, and Guarda is on a high hill - it took me an hour to push the bike up it.

I can recommend good places to stay if you send me a note off-list. Be aware that a Spanish "Hostal" (cheap hotel) is a Portuguese "Residencial". Also be aware that bikes on most Portuguese trains are free, and the trains are ridiculously cheap if they are needed. Portuguese food, in my opinion, is better than Spanish food.

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Old 08-30-12, 04:53 AM   #11
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The Pyrenees foothills are nowhere near Portugal.
oops, my bad... that's the Cantabrian mountains in north-west Spain. Sorry, I always thought the Pyrenees was the name for the whole mountain range across northern Iberia
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Old 08-30-12, 07:21 AM   #12
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I went to Portugal in Spring and its probably much more pleasant than riding through midsummer heat. The cork-oak forests East of Evora are green and wet and the wildlife is far more evident.
I moved around the North from Porto down to Coimbra and spent a few days in the lovely small coastal town of Aveiro
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