Spain and Portugal
Stunning Castilla y Leon and the Serra da Estrela
Ride some ‘off road trails’ with Intrepid Trails!
The Tour starts at Portsmouth where we will meet for introductions before boarding our late afternoon departure on board Brittany Ferries Pont - Aven to Santander. We’ll find some time during the crossing to get together for the full tour briefing. Our early evening arrival the following day in Spain is followed by a short ride along the coast to Suances in Cantabria and the first of our quality (half board) tour hotels, where we spend the night in familiar hospitable surroundings!
Day Two allows for a leisurely departure and a fabulous route south following the twisty N-621 from Unquera, through the heart of the Picos de Europa towards our next (half board) hotel in Salamanca. Known as Spain’s ‘Golden City’ with important historic, cultural and Romanesque architectural significance, our impressive five star half board hotel, with underground parking, is based just a short walk from the famous Plaza Mayor. We are here for two nights, the perfect opportunity to explore this important, vibrant city and the surrounding region on our ride out day, including the stunning Parque Natural Arribes del Duero. Make no mistake this is breathtakingly good, expansive, twisty bike riding country where the roads endlessly sweep through some amazing landscape!
Day Four sees the Tour heading west towards the Parque Natural Serra da Estrela, the highest mountain range in Portugal. With some fabulous, technical roads criss- crossing the Serra da Estrela including the N232, the N231 and the N339 (accessing the Torre monument, marking the highest point of mainland Portugal) endless challenging fun, twisting and weaving through a region of true outstanding natural beauty! Our Tour (half board) hotel for three nights is situated to the north and to the west of the Serra da Estrela, close to the N232 for a twisty ride into the mountains! A former farm and cattle ranch our accommodation in Portugal has a lovely rustic charm combined with superior modern comfort and wonderful Portuguese cuisine!
Guests will now have the opportunity to participate in an ‘off road trail bike’ riding experience, hosted by our good friends at Intrepid Trails, based on the coast at Figueira da Foz. The cost is just €95.00 per rider, to include a three hour guided ride, Sherco 300 ‘factory replica bike’ hire, fuel, Insurance, full protective riding gear and lunch at a beach side restaurant! What a great deal to have some amazing off-road fun and tuition riding the local trails with Intrepid Trails!
Day Seven is a ride north through Portugal towards the Parque Natural de Montesinho and back into Spain as we head towards our hotel for the next two nights, the Parador de Benavente. Four star, (half board) quality accommodation located on the site of a former twelfth century castle. A visit to Zamora, close to the frontier with Portugal, which lies on the banks of the Douro River, with its twenty four Romanesque style churches and Torro to the east, wonderfully rich in culture, history and exciting wine!
Day Nine sees us heading back north towards the region of Asturia, following a route along a part of the historic ‘Ruta Via de la Plata’(Silver Road), which runs from Sevilla in the south to Gijon on the north coast. The historic city of Leon with its stunning thirteenth century cathedral, also known as the ‘House of Light’ and the exquisite eleventh century frescos in the Basilica of San Isidoro, should definitely be worth a visit, together with the town of Astorga to the west, the important crossroads of the Camino de Santiago de Compostela pilgrims route. Our next (half board) hotel for two nights is on the coast at la Franca! A great opportunity for one more ride out day and a final tour around the incredible mountain roads of the Picos de Europa. Or maybe just take the time to relax and rest for the day before the boat home at our hotel that overlooks the wonderful, well serviced, extended beach and bay at La Franca!
Finally Day Eleven allows for a leisurely breakfast and a ride east back along the coast to Santander, where we re-board Brittany Ferries Pont - Aven for our mid-afternoon departure and overnight return back to Portsmouth. Plenty of time then to discuss the Tour and share our stories on a wonderful trip as we steam back home!