Spain & Portugal

Douro Valley, Portugal, Europe

Ride the Star Mountains of Portugal and the Picos de Europa

New Routes - This tour has become a firm favourite with our customers, and it is difficult to know how to make it better, however, we believe we have by tweaking the routes to keep in old favourites whilst finding new ones that we know you will enjoy. This as also given us the opportunity to try new accommodation and we are giving you the very best in the form of Spanish Paradors and Portuguese Pousadas. Our tour starts with an overnight ferry from Plymouth to Santander. On arrival, we head southwards into the Castilla y Leon region of Spain before turning westwards to pass through the Montezinho and Peneda -Geres National parks. The beautiful Douro Valley is next, its terraced river banks covered with vines that have made this the Port wine capital of the world. Cockburns, Taylors, and Sandeman are just a few of the famous names you will see along the valley walls. Our next destination is an old favourite, as we head for the Serra da Estrela Mountains, the highest in the country; they offer not only stunning scenery, but traffic free roads that our customers tell us are some of the "best they have ridden". Crossing back into Northern Spain we re-enter the Picos De Europa. What this area lacks in size, it makes-up for with attitude, with its jagged peaks, mountain valleys and beautiful coastline. Our journey is completed as we take the Brittany ferry back to Portsmouth.

Organised by White Rose Tours

Spain & Portugal


Itinerary

The tour itinerary is based on a Brittany Ferries crossing to Northern Spain (See travel choice) Sunday 20th September Today we start our tour by catching the mid afternoon ferry from Plymouth to Santander (Northern Spain). Our crossing will be on the 'Pont Aven', Brittany ferries flagship which takes just 20 hours to get to Northern Spain. Once onboard, you can relax and enjoy the facilities provided, which include cinemas, bars, various restaurants and even a swimming pool. To make your crossing more comfortable we have included a 2/4 berth en-suite cabin (for two persons), but we leave you to make your own dining arrangements. Monday 21st September (170 miles) Our ferry docks in Santander just after noon, Giving us a good start for our journey southwards to our first night south of the Picos. Our accommodation is a Parador complete with leisure facilities which include both an indoor and outdoor swimming pool. Dinner, B&B Tuesday 22nd September (220 miles) We turn westwards into what was once the most remote region of Portugal -Trás-os-Montes (literally “Behind the Mountains - a bike friendly road takes us to our next overnight stop, a Pousada in the Peneda -Geres National Park. The hotel is situated in an elevated position offering fantastic views, just time to enjoy a drink before sitting down to a traditional Portuguese meal. Facilities include an outdoor pool. Dinner, B&B Wednesday 23rd September (200 miles) Leaving the mountains behind we head southwards to the soft rolling hills of the Duoro Valley. This area is perhaps best known by most as the home of port wine, but as you ride down the river valley, nothing quite prepares you for the sight of the hills covered with terraces of vines falling steeply down to the river banks. Evidence of the port industry can be seen all along the valley with all the famous company names - Cockburns, Taylors, Sandeman and others - appearing on large placards on the hillsides. We continue southwards until our final destination comes into view - Serra da Estrela - Portugal’s highest mountain range. Our location for the next two nights is a recently restored Pousada. Sitting in a privileged location on top of the mountains, it offers panoramic views over the Cova da Beira along with modern facilities including an indoor and outdoor pool, spa, gym and sauna. Dinner, B&B. Thursday 24th September (free day) The Serra da Estrela (“star mountains”) form a mighty granite ridge which extends some 40 by 20 miles and lies within the boundaries of the National Park bearing the same name. With its bizarrely-shaped crags and gorges, mountain streams and lakes, beautiful forests and magnificent views, the Serra da Estrela ranks among Portugal's outstanding scenic attractions. The range contains the country's highest peak, the Torre or Malhao da Estrela (1,991m/6,532ft). More importantly for motorcyclists, there is the opportunity to ride some fabulous roads, considered by many to be the best in Portugal. On return, what better than to enjoy a beer on the hotel's terrace with its views as far as the eye can see. Dinner B&B Friday 25th September (112 miles) Reluctantly, we must come down from our lofty heights, as we take a cross-country route to re-visit the Douro Valley. We follow the river has it flirts with the Spanish border before heading north back into the Trás-os-Montes. We finish the day on one on my favourite twisty roads before arriving at your hotel for the night, a Parador just over the border into Spain. Once again the hotel has all the facilities you would expect of a hotel of this standard, including an outside pool. Dinner, B&B. Saturday 26th September (210 miles) Today, we leave the open plains of Spain behind, as we enter the Picos de Europa via the Embalse de Riano. The road twists and turns through the mountain range until emerging to our next hotel for a two night stay. This family run 3 star hotel is one of our customers favourites and ideally placed for touring the area. Situated in the centre of the village, we have the opportunity to dine-out in one of excellent local restaurants. B&B Sunday 27th September (free day) With a free day there is the opportunity to ride-out and see more of this lovely part of the world, with its fabulous roads through the valleys and mountain ranges of the Pico's. If you fancy a quiet day, you can shop in the local town of Potes, take a scenic cable car at Fuente Dia or maybe a bike-free day, sunbathing by the hotel pool? B&B Monday 28th September (60 miles) A final chance to enjoy the the beautiful Cantabrian coastline as we take a gentle ride back to Santander to catch our mid afternoon ferry. Once again our return is on Brittany ferries flagship 'Pont Aven' ferrry with its extensive facilities. With bike stowed, there is time to relax over a drink or two and reflect on the tour's events, before taking advantage of the onboard dining options. A 2/ 4 berth en-suite cabin (for two persons) is included in the package. Tuesday 29th September We arrive back in Portsmouth at 1415 hrs, from where we make our way home.

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