On the 31st May, I will start my cycle across Portugal. Leaving Porto airport , the trip will see me cycling through Portugal towards Lisbon airport. But I won't be taking the straight Atlantic route, i will head towards the Spanish border region climbing Portugal's highest mountains.
The idea is to cycle through most of Portugal's fantastic Nature reserves and discover the "real Portugal" away from the tourist trails.
The trip will take me along the Douro towards Parque Natural de Serra da Estrella from where I will head in a southern direction as far as Mertola. The trip will see me cycling 1092 km climbing approx. 17521 meters.
Compared to last years Spain cycle, this is 30% more climbing per kilometer cycled
Day# 2: Porto to Merujal (80.47km - 2847m elevation gain)
On day# 2, I will leave the hustle and bustle of Porto behind me and follow the Douro river as far as Freixo where I will cross the river.
Where the first 50km will be a nice a steady cycle following the river , the last 30 km will be tough climbing to a height of 1000m.
Making my way through the Arouca geopark, a Unseco recognized geopark, i will enjoy the scenery and beautiful towns such as Arouca. The evening will include a hike towards frecha da Mizarela waterfall where hopefully i can enjoy a refreshing swim.
Day# 4: Linhares to Covilha (49km - 1951m elevation gain)
Day 4 is "only" 49km , but with a total elevation gain of 1951m it will be a tough day in the saddle.
Cycling through the beautiful Parque Natural de Serra Da Estrella will be one of the highlights of the trip.
Portugal's oldest and largest protected area is home to Portugal's highest mountain, Torre, which stands at 1993 meters.
The Parque is in wintertime a popular location for skiing, but I am expecting warm temperatures in june.
Day# 5: Covilha to Marvao (153 km - 2719m elevation gain)
Day# 5 is one of the longer days in the saddle, and it will see me climbing towards Castelo branco, a town founded at the base of a Templar castle.
Jardin do Paco is on the sightseeing list. This magnificent garden with it's box hedges is a fabulous sight.
From here, it is onwards towards Nisa where I will pas barragem de Nisa which might be the perfect spot for a refreshing swim before heading towards Castelo de vida where i swill stay for the night.
Day# 6: Marvao to Monsaraz (156 km - 1917m elevation gain)
Day# 6 will start with a climb towards Marvao, one of the pretty medieval villages in Portugal which is set on a granite outcrop.
After having admired the views , I will head further south getting very clsoe to the Spanish border.
At lunchtime, i will find myself in Elvas. This highly fortified town was once a strategic connection between Portugal and Spain.
I will also visit the magnificent Amoreira aqueduct ...
CArrying on the trip, I will follow the Guadiana river which forms a natural border between Spain and Portugal.
The temperatures will get much higher and 35 to 40 degrees is possible in the Alentjo region.
I will finish the day in Monsaraz, a beautiful medieval town built on an outcrop.
Day# 7: Monsaraz to Mertola (129 km - 1113m elevation gain)
Day# 9: Porto Covo to Charreca decaparica (129km - 1375m elevation gain)
Day 9 is a coastal cycle which will see me visiting Santiago Do Cacem, a town overlooked by the impressive Castelo de Santiago do Cacem.
From here , it is onwards towards Comporta from where I will cycle along the Troia Peninsula. Then I have to catch the ferry towards Setubal from where I will cycle through Parque Natural Da Arrabida.