If you have traveled between southern Portugal and Spain, you may be familiar with the Guadiana River, which forms the natural border between the two countries. However, you may not be aware of the important role this majestic river has played in their history, and the important role it continues to play for the working towns and villages surrounded by its embankments today.
Many of them still respect centuries-old traditions, and visitors to the area are local, family-owned businesses that have relied on the river for generations for their livelihoods and safety. You can try products and dishes.
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Of course, there are many ways to explore this beautiful landscape, but in my humble opinion, the freedom of biking is second to none.
It allows you to explore some of the more remote areas at a leisurely pace while incorporating the beauty of nature as you go. Cycling on quiet, empty roads far from the tourist destinations that characterize many of the Algarve coastlines, you can follow the winding corners of the river and offer new experiences every day. And if, like me, you want to get the value of your money, you can take advantage of the opportunity to visit both countries in the same week!
Self-guided week – This is undoubtedly a trip through many parts of the river, cycling upstream of Portugal, passing through dramatically changing landscapes and returning to the banks on the other side of Spain.
There is a clear difference between the two countries, and the castle seen along the way is a clear proof of past conflicts. But lately, it’s also interesting to see how ferries travel between major border towns every day to see how they thrive nearby. He can also take a group of adrenaline-seekers to Spain, cross the river (only 720m high) and zipline back to Portugal, arriving before takeoff (thanks to the time difference).
Guided weekend – If you can’t afford a week, you can always opt for a fully guided weekend. This is a more concise version, you can only experience the Portuguese side of the Guadiana River, but you can still enjoy an adventurous four days. It’s also ideal if you want to support a professional guide or a company of like-minded people.
In the words of those who took part in a recent guided tour:
“I had the most amazing adventure-a magnificent view, full of beautiful villages and people an eternally cherished experience”
Carla Alves, Guadiana River Guided Tour, January 2020
“I’m very honored to see a bit of real invisible Portugal”
Patrick McFerrand, Guadiana River Guided Tour, January 2022.
Of course, your trusted Steed shouldn’t be a stranger. In other words, these aren’t really trips for occasional riders. If your daily distance is 50-60 km, you need to build a certain level of cycle fitness in preparation.
But if you’re new to cycling vacations, this isn’t a bad thing from the beginning. Another great thing about cycling along the Guadiana River is that there is a fair amount of flat riding as you follow the natural flow of the river.
Not surprisingly, you will leave the valley and go to the hills. But this becomes an even more interesting ride, and the climb quickly gives way to the magnificent views of the winding rivers and the distant countryside beyond.
Therefore, everyday vehicles have some weird challenges built in, but have all day to cover the distance. You can take your time to embrace your surroundings while building a good appetite for dinner during your overnight stay.
Personally, I can’t think of any better way to see this beautiful part of the country we live in. It is a holiday that will rejuvenate your mind and body while exploring parts that cannot be seen by car (in this case, a ship). The whole world is at your doorstep to explore … with two wheels!
For more information on this MTB and other MTBs, tour bikes, road bikes, e-bike holidays, and mini breaks at Algarve, please visit: www.algarvebikeholidays.com Or send an email to Paul Beesley.
Samantha Diamond arrived in Algarve in 2006 and became her home. Her passions are travel, cycling, language, and dogs.