Eurovelo 1 Portugal to Spain
Is it the Ride You’re After? Eurovelo 1 Portugal to Spain
Day 4 ~ Comporta – Villa Nova de Milfontes (105km)
Today we actually made it out of the campsite in record time: 7am, the earliest yet! Having no luxuries at all meant we were quicker than usual packing up and getting on the road. All we had to brush our teeth and wash our faces with was the local well conveniently located across from our tent.
At this early hour, the sun hadn’t came up yet so we made the most of the cool air, got the legs peddling at a speedy pace and managed to cover 25km by 9am.
The roads were calm and peaceful at this hour, even more so when you are literally in the middle of no-where.
If you look at the location of Comporta and the other villages dotted along the west coast of Portugal to Sines you will see it is pretty much baron land or national parks.
Luckily for us it was mostly flat land and by lunch time we had already managed to make it to Sines (60km away). Go us!
Our lunches so far were mostly consisting of bean, pulses and bread and as the little saying goes….”beans beans are good for your heart, the more you eat, the more you fart.
The more you fart, the more you eat, the more you sit on the toilet seat”! This was more than accurate for me at this point!
Our final destination today was the beautiful little town of Villa Nova de Milfontes. We struggled with the last few kilometres to reach the view point overlooking the praia (beach), where we sat in the sun and enjoyed our dinner with a view.
We totaled 105km today and 250km in total, still a long way off but it felt good!
Yesterday we saw Dolphins, today we saw Ostriches. Every corner there was something new to see. We also didn’t feel guilty at all eating a pastel de nata (or two in my case) every single day.
The joys of cycling the medateranian coast is always reaching a beach town at the end of the day, cooling off with a dip in the ocean! Just what the bike doctor ordered.
Day 5 ~ Villa Nova de Milfontes – Aljezur (80km)
As usual we planned to set off early, but we were growing quite accustomed to these lye in’s. We managed to get the best nights sleep so far, in our tent, perched between two french families in their camper vans overlooking the bay.
We treated ourselves to breakfast, specifically coffee at an actual coffee shop with our lidl bought chocolate croissants, managing to charge up our phones for a bit as we ate.
A lovely french woman shared the secret public bathroom location that had shower facilities, so we felt well and truly rested, clean and ready for the day ahead.
A little morning treat is what was needed!
Initially looking at the map it seemed we had a number of hills and steep inclines to cover today. Thoroughly traumatised by the previous climb in Arrabida National Park we were not looking forward to today.
In actual fact the roads were long and flat for most of the day and the only steep climb we had seemed to be shaded by the tall mountain trees, making it an easy and somewhat enjoyable climb.
Wild camping or cozy hostel??
With a lot of downhill descents, through more scenic national parks, we sailed into Aljezur with smiles on our faces.
Having still not mustered up the courage to wild camp yet and finding no secure location to pitch our tent without facing the uphill climb back to the beach, we checked into the Aljezur Living Hostel.
Aljezur Living Hostel, Portugal
The guy at the reception was kind enough to allow us to store our bikes inside, the rooms were clean and well equipped with hot water, clean towels and free wifi. We were happy as larry!
A quick shower, another picnic dinner and a few episodes of “Orange is the New Black” and we were both out cold.
Day 6 ~ Aljezur – Lagos (80km)
The road from Sagres to Lagos should have been an easy 30km. Little did we know at the time the glorious decent we’d happily sailed down passing struggling cyclists on their accent, was soon to be our next destination.
One way in, one way out! We departed Sagres, bellies full of beer and pastries, not looking forward to the road ahead.
The wind pushed against us as we clambered our way, while the sweltering sun radiated it’s heat trough our bodies. To say the road up was a struggle, would have been an understatement!
Sagres…the windy city!
We arrived in Lagos in good time, to explore the marina and the busy streets. We were greeted by drunken 20 somethings making their way back from booze cruises and holiday makers enjoying the sun, sea and sangria.
Known as a party destination jam packed with British holiday makers, we had little expectations of Lagos. And whilst it does hold it’s reputations well for drunk & disorderly brits, it also boasts a multitude of history, charm and sophistication.
Lagos, the party hub of Portugal
Lined with the familiar cobbled streets, narrow sidewalks and hand painted tiled casa’s, it’s easy to get lost for a few hours while soaking up the Portuguese charm.
With recommendations from the friendly Portuguese along the way we made the executive decision to catch the train from Lagos to Taveria skipping the algarve altogether.
In a scurried bid to pack up our pic nic, grab our bikes and make a quick dash to the train for a good seat, Janice managed to get her phone stolen. This certainly put a damper on the end of the day.
We rode in somber silence to the next destination reminding ourselves to be more vigilant with our belongings in future.
A sad end to what was a great day!
After having arrived in Taveria at such a late hour and spending almost one hour at the police station, we now had the trouble of finding somewhere to sleep.
We contemplated booking into a hostel after all our troubles but decided to try out wild camping instead.
The town was extremely busy with some sort of festival but we circled the town and the surrounding streets until we found a park. This would have to do! As soon as our heads hit our make-shift pillows close to 1am, we were both out cold.
Day 7 ~ Taveira – Cartaya (Spain) 60km
Taveira is a small Portuguese town on the south eastern tip of Portugal. Just 30km away from the Spanish boarder. It boasts a lot of character and personality with winding cobbled streets, narrow alleyways, lush rivers and a bustling centre.
Many Europeans, including the Irish and the British holiday here but it still maintains its charm with a holiday feel.
Taveria, full of character and personality.
Once we awoke, a few calls were needed to cancel the stolen cards and charge up our electronics. The worst thing about travelling by bike is the lack of wifi and electricity and the constant need to recharge your portables.
For our next trip we will defiantly be investing in some sort of solar panel charging system for our electronics!
We got on the saddles around 3pm and made it to the boarder around 5pm. As luck would have it, the boat for Spain just pulled into the harbour as we purchased our tickets. A mere 10 minutes later and we pushed our bikes up onto Spanish concrete.
Arriving on Spanish soil!!
In our heads we had imagined an actual border with Border Police carefully checking passports, questions of where we had been and where we were going next.
This was clearly all in our imagination – there was no immigration, no passport check and not even a stamp. In less than 15 minutes we had waved goodbye to Portugal and had entered Spain hassle free.
Travelling by bike through Portugal we soaked up the rugged landscapes, hidden alcoves, crystal blue waters and stunning scenery. This is definitely a country we would recommend biking through.
The small coastline..
It’s small coast line, in comparison to Spain, offers the chance to learn the history, experience the culture, see stunning architecture, pass through expansive national parks, climb to great heights with 360 degree views over the valleys and soak up some rays on the most beautiful beaches we have yet to see elsewhere.
Learn the History & Soak up some Culture on the Portuguese Coast Line
The best about it is, most holiday makers flock to the algarve for the same old sandy beaches, Irish bars and food they can cook better themselves at home for twice the price, which means the coast line is still relatively untouched, untainted by larger louts and makes for a perfect family holiday.
We had accomplished a lot by this stage and we were very proud of ourselves for making it through one country and into another, all by bike (ok and one teeney weeney train!).
When we first started biking in Korea a 30km bike ride seemed like a big achievement and now we had just cycled over 400kms, loaded with all our worldly possessions.
The ride thus far had been tough on our little legs, but we felt stronger with everyday, determined to cycle on. As we entered our second country we seemed to get a new boost of motivation and excitement for the trip ahead.
Is It The Ride Yer After?
Eurovelo 1 Portugal to Spain
See what Spain had in store for us in our next blog post.
September 23, 2017
September 21, 2017
September 14, 2017