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Old 01-21-2010, 02:58 PM   #1
LoweJinx OP
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Yes, that (Spain & Portugal) trip again.

We 3 kings (James, Arthur & Richard) are planning a 3-week tour (rented GS’s) of Spain & Portugal this May and need your expertise.

Our tentative route has us starting out in Barcelona and heading south (early May weather) towards Malaga, winding our way through Andalucía, up through Portugal across to Salamanca, Leon, San Sebastian & Bilbao, through the Pyrenees and back to Barcelona on or about the 2nd of June. Ambitious? You bet!

Naturally we prefer the more scenic routes, but will have to use the major highways to make up for lost time hear and there. As of now, nothing is carved in stone. We plan don’t plan on camping so that’s not an issue.

Even more important than the advice you give us on what TO see, is your advice on, “what to avoid”.

We need tips on the following:

• Hotels, Inns and Pensions
• Your favorite scenic roads
• Favorite Beaches
• Favorite off road locales
• Your favorite stops for food & wine

Here's a link to a Google map I've started building.

Thanks in advance.

LoweJinx screwed with this post 01-21-2010 at 04:36 PM
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Old 01-22-2010, 07:05 AM   #3
Riteris
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Unless you are a total masochist, you are going to hate yourself for spending too much time riding along the Mediterranean coast.

There is way too much traffic... way too many tourists. I was one of them in a cage this past December. There is NO WAY IN HELL I would ever want to ride the coast in the warmer months.

We drove some great roads from Malaga to Ronda in the rental cage. I would like to go back and do it on a bike. I will try and make time to get you the route if you are interested.
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Old 01-22-2010, 08:10 AM   #4
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Avispao: Thanks for the map link. Looks pretty cool.

Riteris: That's what I've heard about the east coast, but I glad to hear confirmation at the same time. We planned our trip in May to try to avoid some of the crush. We may start by heading down the coast, with a bail out plan if it becomes unbearable.

That's exactly the kind of info I need, so keep it coming.

Cheers
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Old 01-22-2010, 12:40 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Riteris
We drove some great roads from Malaga to Ronda in the rental cage. I would like to go back and do it on a bike. I will try and make time to get you the route if you are interested.
That might be highway A-397 between Ronda and Marbella. As someone else said recently, if you don't like that road, sell your bike. I did it in my Z4 and it was kick-ass. I kept shouting 'This would be f**king great on the bike!!!!'

Around Ronda is a tourist route of the White Towns (Pueblos Blancos) which is super riding.



From Malaga, you can take the A7000 north toward Colmenar along the edge of the Montes de Malaga park. Not very far but entertaining.

Yeah, the coast will drive you nuts. Much of the interior is dry and uninteresting but at least you can cover some ground. Michelin maps are the key because they highlight in green the scenic routes. Never known them to fail on that count.

Picos de Europa between Santander and Gijon are a must go. Made for two wheels.

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Old 01-22-2010, 12:58 PM   #6
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Incredible!

Beautiful Photos R, I'll put those roads on the map.
I assume you all use maps as well as GPS. Right?
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Old 01-23-2010, 04:25 PM   #7
fulviapaulo
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Hi!!

If in need of something in northern Portugal just say it!

From what I briefly saw in your map you're planning on visiting some cities (Coimbra, Porto, etc) but doing some pretty boring highways that are most of the time filled with cars and trucks. Depending on your schedule, I suppose I'd have to convince you to skip them and try other main and secondary roads.

What do you want to see? (i.e. cities? historic places? sightseeing?) Going after scenic and twisty roads? Or just plain eating miles (remember it's km in here) on highways?

Cheers
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Old 01-23-2010, 05:25 PM   #8
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Hey Fulviapaulo,

Thanks for taking the time to look at my map and for your reply. The roads I have drawn are just an outline at this point. What I need is for you to tell me what to see, where to ride, and what to avoid in Portugal or any other areas you're familiar with.

The 3 of us are monster foodies. 1 chef, 1 ex-chef, and the 3rd well, let's just say he's un homme du bon vivant, so it's all about the food & wine. Naturally we would like to take in a bit of history & culture between meals... as long as we can get there by "taking the scenic and twisty".

We most definitely want to stay off primary roads unless we need to get from point A to point B on the fly. For the most part we want to avoid major cities, but mid-sized cities w/ a bit of night life could be fun though. Would Salamanca be considered mid sized? I hear it's pretty fun. I spent some time down in the Algarve back in the dark ages. Is it as nice as I remember it being? I remember Porto being pretty cool too.

Again Thanks, and cheers back at ya.

ARLO
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Old 01-24-2010, 10:11 AM   #9
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It seems to me that if you want good food, you should head into the Spanish cities.

My wife and I are into good food. Generally speaking, we felt like we ate better and less expensively in the cities throughout southern Spain than in any of our trips to France. We had some especially good meals in Ronda and Segovia. Both cities are easily accessible by bike, unlike some of the larger cities in the area.
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Old 01-24-2010, 11:46 AM   #10
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Hello again

So, all 'bout wine and food? Seems fair enough for me

Regarding main cities subject, it all depends on what mid-size stands for you:
Porto
Quote:
With an estimated population of about 220,000 (est.2008), it lies at the centre of the political Greater Metropolitan Area of Porto, with a population of slightly more than 1.7 million (est. 2008),[1] and is the main agglomeration of northern Portugal.
The main event in May is the Queima das Fitas. Night life is vibrant and food also
The wikipedia article seems pretty accurate.

Braga My town!
Quote:
capital of the Braga District, the oldest archdiocese and one of the major cities of the country. Braga is the oldest portuguese city and, one of the oldest christian cities in the World. With an urban population of 175,063, Braga is the seventh largest municipality in Portugal by population
The above mentioned night life and food also applies, as some hundreds of km (or miles ) of off-road tracks.

Guimarães
Quote:
The city is often referred to as the "birthplace of the Portuguese nationality" and also was the birthplace of Afonso I of Portugal, the first Portuguese king.
The seat of the municipality is Guimarães city, that is made of 16 parishes and, as of 2001, has a population of 52,181[1] inhabitants. The totality of the municipality has a population of 161,876 inhabitants in 241.3 km².
Guimarães is ranked number 2 in the Portuguese most livable cities survey of living conditions published yearly by the Portuguese newspaper Expresso.
Well worth a visit despite being Braga's biggest rival - we call them Spaniards (although no-one has ever explained why) and they in turn call us Moroccans. Weird as the distance between both cities is just 10 miles or so

There are other beautiful smaller towns in the north but all depends on your time availability.

You can see two previous posts of mine (sorry, but too lazy to insert the links again! too many):
http://www.advrider.com/forums/showp...3&postcount=19

http://www.advrider.com/forums/showp...3&postcount=21

If you allow me to propose a route, I guess I'd choose to enter from Salamanca (really worth the visit) past the border heading to Guarda - also worth a visit - or instead heading to Almeida and the other historical villages I talk about on the 1st link. Then, all the way northwards till Vila Nova de Foz Côa and then turn west heading to Porto following the Douro river and all its vineyards. Next, Braga and Guimarães and heading east to Spain via Bragança.

Consider this as a broad general idea of route. On time schedule, I'd consider at least some 5 or 6 days or else you'll be with little time to spare on touristic affairs (the more the merrier )
1st day: border to Foz Coa
2nd day: Foz Coa to Porto
3rd day: Porto
4th day: Porto to Braga/Guimarães (probably getting some off-road )
5th day: Braga to Peneda-Gerês National Park to somewhere
6th day: somewhere to Bragança and then Spain

In Spain I strongly recommend the areas highlighted by a fellow rider - TodayAdventure who has travelled to Asturias, Scotland and Morocco on a 50cc Honda scooter http://todayadventure.blogspot.com/


After having settled the route we can start working on food and wine !!

Hope this helps for now...

Cheers

PS: links on city names and pic - just in case...
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fulviapaulo screwed with this post 01-24-2010 at 11:52 AM
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Old 01-24-2010, 08:17 PM   #11
LoweJinx OP
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Hey Rit,

We'll surely end up in a couple of fairly size-able (+-250,000) cities from time to time, and will certainly find our share restaurants of the hi-brow type there. But we also really like the little mom & pop's, and rustic gems ones more apt to find in the more more rural areas.

Ronda's already on the map and I'll look into Segovia.

As for you Fulviapaulo,

That's incredibly generous of you to take the time to layout some highlights for us.

Sounds like Salamanca is a must as does Braga and Guimarães. Probably skip Lisbon in favor of Porto for our Portugal "big city" stop. Right or wrong?

As for Queima das Fitas, I google it and the festival appears to be the 1st week of May and we're nit in country 'ti the 2nd week. So maybe next time.

I think your route sounds pretty good. Wee may arrive in Portugal from the south and then maybe exit VIA Porto & Braga, out through Guarda and on into Spain and Salamanca.

I mos def want to know about the off road, roads you know of.

I'll get to the links tomorrow and get back to you after that.

Cheers,

Arlo
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Old 01-25-2010, 11:39 AM   #12
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Arlo,

At the top you asked for hotels/lodgings and then later that you guys are foodies. We have been in Spain a few times and unless we have specific other places to sleep, we stay in the Paradores, (Paradores.es). The one in Ronda has a gob-smacking location and the restaurant seems to be the best table in town.



If you see this sign, can great riding be far ahead?

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Old 01-25-2010, 02:15 PM   #13
fulviapaulo
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Hi guys!

I couldn't agree more with Paul! Spanish Paradores are great and absolutely recommended Portuguese counterpart are the Pousadas http://www.pousadas.pt/historicalhotels/EN/ and are also a great choice either in terms of accommodation and also food-wise. Double rooms stand around 100€ to 200€ per night so, not the cheapest choice but it's your wallet When route is somewhat more planned I can try and get you a list of hotels and pousadas around it.

As long as big cities are concerned, I can't honestly say to choose Lisbon from Porto or other way around! They are two different cities. Lisbon is a true european city, for what it means in favour and against it. Porto appears to be much smaller than it is, mentalities are completely the opposite but each one has its own beauties and beasts. I'd choose clearly Porto nonetheless but I work there and also spend at least two days a week in Lisbon so... confused??

Don't worry with thanks! Glad to be of some assistance and hopefully get some time to show you some routes or restaurants

Cheers
Paulo
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Old 01-25-2010, 04:20 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fulviapaulo
Hello again



In Spain I strongly recommend the areas highlighted by a fellow rider - TodayAdventure who has travelled to Asturias, Scotland and Morocco on a 50cc Honda scooter http://todayadventure.blogspot.com/


After having settled the route we can start working on food and wine !!

Hope this helps for now...

Cheers

PS: links on city names and pic - just in case...
Did somebody say Los Ancares?? (Center left circle)

Os Ancares is my favorite playground, just a few km from my place, some pics of it to help you decide:








You should bear in mind though that Os Ancares is a Natural Park so you are not allowed to ride off-road, (but in practice only a few hiker trails are really closed to traffic).

Being so close to my place I have ridden all of the places pointed out by Paulo on his map, Montesinho Park
(just north of Bragança) is simply awesome for off road riding .

@fulviapaulo
Oi Paulo! tem que me dizer quando gostaria andar de moto ao norte do Minho, convido a umas cervejas! (desculpe pelo meu português)
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Old 01-25-2010, 07:12 PM   #15
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Beautiful photos Navel. Can't begin to describe how much fun I'm having just planning the trip.

I most definitely heard someone say "Los Ancares", loud and clear. It's now on the maP.

Paradores, & Pousades are in our sights too.

So I guess no thanks are in order, right?
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