Off-road motorbike holidays from TrailbikeTours
- Andorra to Portugal
Trans-Spain Tour - 1,800 km from Andorra to Portugal
Day 1: Arrival at Hotel Delfos, 4 star hotel in Andorra. Welcome and short briefing on the forthcoming tour.
Day 2: Andorra to Oliana
Meet at 08.30 sharp, everybody clothed, packed and breakfasted. Taken to the TrailbikeTours base, issued with clothing and equipment and introduced to your KTM 450 EXC, 525 EXC or 530EXC-R. 20kms on asphalt, across the Andorran border into Spain. Our off-road adventure begins here! Heading south through the Pyrenees mountains along twisting and sometimes rocky tracks. The scenery is stunning but we have about 220kms to do today so not too many stops. River crossings and steep climbs, through forested areas and out onto high pastures above the tree line. Winding tracks which eventually bring us out in the village of Oliana, near the small family run hotel which we aim to get to in time to sit on the terrace in the sun, drinking a beer whilst admiring the views. The hotel is owned by the family of Isidre Esteve Pujol, 8 times Spanish National Enduro champion, as well as a regular participant in the Paris - Dakar.
Day 3: Oliana to Zaragoza
Prompt 09.00 departure today. 15kms on-road gets us to the other side of the market town of Ponts. Here, we leave the mountains behind and the landscape flattens and opens up in front of us. It's more cultivated now but the only people to be seen are either farmers or the inhabitants from the small villages we pass through. The tracks are winding with lots of grip and are a pure pleasure to ride. A further 40kms on road to get round Lleida and then up the escarpment to the Monegros (so little rain falls here that it is officially a desert). The track starts off fast but rocky - not the rolling kind but the small ones stuck to the track . Care needed and hopefully only the suspension will take the pounding! It's not long before the track smoothes out and the riding becomes a pleasure again as we blast across the plain towards the hills in the distance. These are covered in pine trees, with the track winding in and out of the valleys. Views from the crests of the hills are again stunning. Care has to be taken on some of the tracks as they are rarely used and have become deeply rutted by the run-off. Our destination for this day is Zaragoza - a city established nearly 2000 years ago, and set on the River Ebro. We have chosen a small hotel for it's breathtaking view across the main square of St Pilar to the Basilica St Pilar, a fantastic baroque construction built in the 17th century with 11 domes, dedicated to Spain's patron saint. Spotlights illuminate this very beautiful piece of architecture at night. Dinner in a great tapas restaurant nearby.
Day 4: Zaragoza to Soria
Leave at 09.00. 20 kms west along the NII brings us to the start of today's offroading. Fast tracks across the plain get us to a range of low lying hills topped with countless large majestic wind generators - a source of "green" energy and a great sight to see. Onward we go across the plain - the tracks are winding, open and fast, just great to ride. Keep your wits about you though as there are plenty of "surprises" waiting for the unwary. After passing through a small town the track is dead straight for 11kms before starting to wind its way deeper and deeper into the hills. The villages are inhabited, but impoverished - this is Spain 30 years ago! We turn onto a disused railway track and rattle our way along the sleepers for 2kms. An unusually memorable experience. It takes the eyes a few seconds to refocus after the jarring. We climb a high range of hills and pass close by the "Ermita of the Virgin of the Sierra" perched at the highest point. Once beautiful, it now has a large repeater station built beside it. Progress! Coming down, we enter a small valley and follow a barely visible track through the trees and undergrowth for about 3kms before we rejoin the well-beaten track. More fast and winding trails, some sandy, as we wind our way through the pine trees prior to our arrival in Soria, an old Spanish town built on a hillside. Here we have chosen a small, very friendly family run old inn, set above the valley of the river Duero.
Day 5: Soria to Tordesillas
Departure at 09.00 as usual. A truly great start to the day's riding as we make our way along a track mostly overgrown with trees. All too soon it opens out and the pace can be picked-up again. We encounter our first cami rurals (rural tracks) as we make our way NW towards Tordesillas. To the north of Madrid the farming is extensive and obviously profitable as the cami rurals are very well kept, fast, straight gravel tracks. Fortunately we do not have to spend too long on them, though they do have the advantage of allowing us to make up some time on what is a particularly long day of off-roading. With the 'cami rurals' left far behind we head west around the city of Valladolid, along fast twisting tracks that criss-cross the farmers fields. Our destination for tonight is the Parador Hotel at Tordesillas, west of Valladolid. The parador was originally an old ancestral home, and sits amongst pine groves. Valuable antiques can be found in some of the rooms. A spectacular blue swimming pool dominates the garden. On the 7th June 1494, the Spanish and Portuguese signed the Treaty of Tordesillas here, created to define their future areas of colonisation.
Day 6: Tordesillas to Ciudad Rodrigo
Leave at 09.00. Almost immediately after leaving the Parador we come to a 4km sandy section among the pine trees. A bit more tricky, through the trees on the the deeply rutted sand. Soon back on the tracks. A good mix of fast and technical sections before we meet up with the "cami rurals" again. Half an hour later it's back to the winding stuff - great! All too soon we arrive at the outskirts of Salamanca. This city is probably best known for having one of the oldest universities in Europe. With its 2 universities, 2 cathedrals, countless palaces, old edifices and Main Square, it is well worth seeing, so we ride through the centre and if we have time, stop for a quick drink in the square to get the feel of this ancient city. Having left the city we are soon negotiating the wide old drovers trails, some of them badly cut up but all of them great biking. The trails wind us through the well spaced trees and we cross a few streams. A bit more exercise for the first and last biker as we have to open and close 4 gates - presumably there to keep the bulls in!! Another fantastic and varied days biking nearly completed as we arrive in Ciudad Rodrigo. This old walled city is known to have existed since 6th century BC, though has been destroyed and rebuilt many times since then. Most of the main historic buildings date from XV and XVI centuries. In the beginning of the 19th century there was a French invasion which destroyed quite a lot of the city, but in 1812, the British, lead by Wellington, broke their siege and freed it. It was declared a national monument in 1944. We pass through narrow old streets with interesting old buildings and the town's square where bull running is often held, before arriving at our Parador, a 14th century bastion built by Enrique de Trastamara. Again valuable antiques can be found in certain rooms.
Day 7: Ciudad Rodrigo to Manteigas
Leisurely departure today after our buffet breakfast, with Portugal our destination. Winding pleasant tracks through farmland until we cross the unmarked border into Portugal. Countryside changes to narrow tracks with steep climbs up through dense pine forests, over mountain ranges with outstanding views from the tops across further mountains and valleys. Descending into rocky valleys to pass through small, remote villages. Suddenly we come across huge boulders, some 20ft high, planted totally on their own. We are now in the Star Mountains and we reach our hotel for the next night, a Pousada, (Portugal's equivalent of the Paradors). Set on the top of a mountain with breathtaking views across the Alva river valley, this was once a hunting lodge and still retains all its character and charm, with large open fireplaces in the cosy, beamed lounge and bar area for when the nights are cool. A game of billiards or darts can be enjoyed after dinner.
Day 8: Manteigas to Figueira da Foz
Destination the Atlantic Ocean! On leaving the Pousada we continue along similar tracks as yesterday until the mountains become rolling pine clad hills as we get nearer to the coast. The going gets faster and easier as we continue to wind our way up and down over the hills. Still quite a few small remote villages to pass through. The nearer we get to the coast the more populated the countryside becomes and we have about 50kms on road to reach our final destination in Figuiera da Foz. Limited choice of hotels in this seaside town, and all average looking. We have opted for a family owned one with nice views out over the beach.
Day 9: Departure for the airport after breakfast.
return tour from Portugal to Andorra is the same itinerary, only the
other way around! We will at all times try to maintain this itinerary
as described, but due to weather conditions or hotel availability
it might be necessary to change something. This will be done at the
company's discretion and if changes are made we will always try to
replace with something of a similar quality.
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