Riding in south of Portugal

Bikers are a bit like migratory birds. When winter arrives they migrate south to warm climes. That’s what I’ve done. Mostly because of work I admit, but I’ve just had three days off and used them for exploring a little of Portugal. I’d like to share with you some of my experiences.

HOW TO GET THERE?

The best way to get here is to fly to Faro, or, you can fly to Seville (Spain) and take a bus (alsa.es or damas.es) or Blabla car. Another option would be to fly to Lisbon and go to south by train.

HOW TO RENT A MOTORCYCLE?

Don’t expect a high quality services from the rental companies here. They are worried that you are going to wreck their bikes, so you should expect couple of questions about your riding skills.

They are not open during the weekend. Why? I really don’t know.

First, I called to almotos.com, they did not have any bikes available. Second call to vesparent.com, they had bikes, but at quite high prices for the model (NX700 or CB500 or similiar), plus I don’t like it when the price on website is not the final price (+VAT + insurance etc).

My third call was to motorent.pt They had available a Yamaha MT09 Tracer which I really am a fan of. Lets do it! The minimum rental was for 3 days and I was renting it for only 2, but fair enough. I negotiated the price down from 180€ to 160€ for these 2 days, shook on it and then found out there was no insurance included (ahhh the little trick). Add 24€. “Do you want Top case?” 10€ more.

I signed contract and waited for the bike, because it was coming from another location. They asked for 500€ deposit made by copying my numbers from credit card, which was a good thing for me because they didn’t block the 500 on my card.

GETTING READY TO RIDE

The guy arrived and showed me the bike. The bike was bit dirty and not in the best conditions, but anyway I jumped it on and let’s go riding! I didn’t have my gear with me so I needed a helmet and gloves at minimum. In the end they could only provide me with an open-face helmet, so I decided to ride super carefully.

I’ve spent time on the Tracer before. It’s an awesome bike and I really do like the wonderful, torquey, 900cc, 3 cylinder engine.

WHERE TO STAY?

I always use app Airbnb or Booking.com. Mostly Booking.com because it’s faster. I regularly travel without plans. I like feeling free and following my nose. When it gets dark, I simply use my phone to search around the location I am.

For the first night I did not ride much, because it was already late when I got bike. I stayed in small village near Portimao called Vila do Bpo. I booked an awesome apartment called Pure Flor de Esteva. It was a superb stay. The girl who is running it was super sweet, the room was great and had the best bed I’ve ever slept in. Great breakfast in the morning and I was ready to roll!

Café in Zambujeira do mar

I had travelled inland for the second night. Near a lake, in a wine region and again it was a superb experience. A modern country house run by a very nice couple. It was based in the village Mina da Juliana and you can check it out here Casa do Roxo.

WHERE TO RIDE?

All along the coast is awesome. It’s not exactly the ultimate pleasure for motorcycle riding (lack of curves), but the scenery and views make up for that. I went to the southern/western end of Portugal. The place is called Farol Cabo de São Vicente. It’s a bit touristy, but super cool anyway.

The highlight of the coast for me was a beach called Praia da Zambujeira do Mar. Absolutely gorgeous place with almost nobody in sight. The village nearby has a few cafés and is just perfect for a relax.

The next day I spent inland and it was great. Very low traffic, good surface, nice views and you can smell eucalyptus all around. I checked out this cool website called Motorcycle-Diaries.com. It has superb quality photos and helps you find the best roads. The roads around Monchique are great. Nice views and lot of fun on motorcycle. There is a very good restaurant with local food called O Luar da Fóia. You have to try the local ‘Secretos Ibérico’. It is a must!

JUST TO LET YOU KNOW

The traffic is very low on the roads but be careful. It’s not uncommon for the drivers here in Portugal to do some very unexpected moves. I did not meet any police control or speed radars.

Mostly people are very kind and welcoming but in the villages they tended to stared at me a lot even though I had Portuguese plate on my bike. 🙂 Coffee is great and cheap, usually around 70 cents. In general people speak english (a lot more than in Spain), but on the other hand it is handy to know some phrases in Portuguese.

Over all Portugal is great! The people, the food, weather, scenery, atlantic ocean and all with a relaxed vibe. I highly recommend to pack your stuff now and go!

Praia da zambujeira do mar

Praia da zambujeira do mar

Praia da zambujeira do mar

Praia da zambujeira do mar

Praia da zambujeira do mar

Praia da zambujeira do mar

Praia da zambujeira do mar

Praia da zambujeira do mar

Praia da zambujeira do mar

Praia da zambujeira do mar

Praia da zambujeira do mar

Praia da zambujeira do mar


Originally published at www.ondrejvymetalik.cz on October 12, 2016.

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