Wonderful Portugal has its name from its second largest metropolis Porto on the delta of the river Rio Douro. Porto simply means port and it had during the times of the Roman Empire the name Cale - PortoCale finally became Portugal.
We came the second in our lives to Portugal via the international bridge between Tui, Spain and Valença, Portugal on November 16th 2023. The bridge crosses the river Rio Minho and there is a nice cycling trail along its Portuguese shore. We started in Alto de Cerejas and pedaled upriver 26 kilometers to the nice village Monção. This trip is very convenient because it uses an former abandoned railway track, but there were some obstacles on the way...
On our drive southwards to Viana Do Castelo we explored the towns Vila Nova de Cerveira and Caminha, and the beautiful beaches Praia de Afife and Praia de Caminha which is on the estuary of Rio Minho into the Atlantic Ocean.
We spent three days on the wonderful overnight staying place of Viana Do Castelo on the southern shore of river Rio Lima. Firstly to explore the city including its interesting port and its wonderful beaches. We cycled to the ostentatious pilgrimage church Santuário de Santa Luzia - Tempe of the Sacred Heart of Jesus close to the top of 230 meters high hill Monte Santa Luzia which we also had done in autumn 1987 with our little daughter. Secondly Marion's brother Tommy and our friend Rudi, and one day later our friend Hanna with her little dog Lili joined us.
We five continued with three cars to Porto which we had skipped in the year 1987 because it had a dubious reputation. But now Porto is a sparkling metropolis with a marvelous old town which is an UNESCO world heritage site. We found a nice and safe overnight place in its suburban Rio Tinto. Reasonable bicycle lanes along the little stream Rio Tinto and some smaller streets lead into the center of Porto (approximately 12 kilometers).
On our way to famous Nazaré we stopped in the nice town Aveiro, and on the beautiful beaches Praia da Vagueira and Praia da Costa de Lavos, both suitable for swimming in the Atlantic Ocean.
By coincidence we detected the stunning Bacalhôa Buddha Eden Park. We pedaled few kilometers from the nice overnight staying place in Bombarral to this park and enjoyed an awesome day with a lot of African and Asian - Far East culture.
We found an outstanding free camping place on the southern shore of the Peniche peninsula near a growling, bubbling and whistling hole which is connected vertically to the sea. The waves of the Atlantic Ocean pressed the water into this gap and thus created periodically this noise and some wind, too besides the fact that we stayed at 17 meters sea-level. The rocky peninsula is adorned with caves, gaps and gullies. We completely drove around it with our bicycles.
Sadly we had to say bye-bye to Hanna and her little dog Lili on December 5th 2023. Thank you so much joining us, Hanna - we had a lot of fun together
Before we came to Lisbon we stayed on a rainy day in the beach village Consolação and in the urban village Pero where we found a camping place with electricity and showers for € 10.-.
Like in Porto we found in the exciting capital of Portugal Lisbon a reasonable overnight staying place in the suburbans free of charge: In Corroios which is located approximately 6 kilometers south of the southern shore of the mighty river Rio Tejo and the lighthouse Farol de Cacilhas. From the latter we took the ferry including our bikes to the center of Lisbon which is on the northern shore.
We had a lot of memories of Lisbon because we had explored with our 4 years old daughter Lisbon in October 1987. Even we had done the same bicycle trip to the quarter Belém few kilometers west of Lisbon's downtown.
From Lisbon we continued to the southern beaches of Portugal - That's the next article. Most of our overnight staying places and some cycling trips are in included in our GPS coordinates file of Portugal.