Motorcycle Spain & Portugal – sunshine & warm roads. Part 1.
I wrote in a recent post that I was off to find the sunshine and warm roads in Spain and Portugal.
It had been a while since I had been there. In fact it was 2018 and pre Covid when I was last there on my wonderful BMW RnineT. It’s fair to say a return certainly felt long over due.
Of course I’ve done other bike trips in the intervening years, including three great bike trips to Ireland and a good number of trips to various parts of Scotland and plenty of other bits and pieces.
I’ve still got the RnineT in the garage and I don’t see myself selling that anytime soon – but that wasn’t the bike I took on this trip.
Format of the ‘motorcycle Spain & Portugal’ series of posts
Pretty much same as the usual posts on here – a mixture of words supported by plenty of pictures which are generally set out in a series of ‘picture galleries’.
Where there are picture galleries, clicking on any image will open a set of pictures that can be clicked or scrolled through.
I saw some great sights on my trip, including the 16th century aqueduct at Elvas (Portugal) and the terrific old town of Cuenca in Spain. I also stayed in some wonderful accommodation, which I’ll mention and recommend as appropriate.
And if you’re wondering whether or not I found the sunshine and warm roads …. I can tell you that I absolutely did and there will be a pretty comprehensive photo record of that in this series of blog posts.
It’s a long haul to Plymouth
Living in Manchester leaves me well set for some great motorcycling roads. The Peak District, the Lake District, Shropshire and North Wales are all pretty much on my doorstep, but getting across to mainland Europe has nearly always involved a bit of a slog down to the south coast.
I’ve done a few trips over the years where I have taken the ferry to and from Hull when travelling to Zeebrugge and Rotterdam.
Although I’m not sure the Zeebrugge route still operates, but other than that, my options these days (for the trips I want to do) are Dover, Portsmouth and Plymouth.
For this trip I was sailing on the Brittany Ferries Portsmouth/Santander route.
I’ve done the Santander route a few times as well as taking the sailing down to Bilbao.
I know there are plenty of opinions from bikers about whether it’s best to take the long trip by sea or to bike down to Spain via one of the French ports.
I’ve done both and I don’t think there’s any right, wrong, best or worst way – it’s just a preference thing.
What is undeniable though, is that it doesn’t take long once off the boat in Santander (or Bilbao) to be on some very decent and very enjoyable roads.
It’s also true that it really is a long haul for me get down to Plymouth from my home in the North West.
If I make the journey avoiding motorways it’s over 300 miles and about eight hours, alternatively if I use the motorways it’s a little under 300 miles and around five hours of tedium.
Breaking the journey up
Faced with the dullness of the journey south and the possibility of some dodgy October weather it seemed sensible to break my journey up with an overnight stop en route. I decided to find somewhere that left me within easy striking distance of the ferry port in Plymouth.
The trip south proved to be pretty much as dull as expected, but the weather was much better than expected.
I arrived at my overnight accommodation in glorious sunshine, enjoyed a couple of pints and an evening walk along the country lanes and slept pretty well.
It was a decent enough stop over in a very quiet village and left me with an easy journey of around 90 miles down to Plymouth the following morning.
Click on any of the images to open a picture gallery that can be clicked or scrolled through
Click here for Part 2
Sailing south to Santander, heading for an overnight in the Picos, then off to Portugal and onwards to Andalusia. I had a quite brilliant time, rode wonderful roads, enjoyed great weather and met a couple of guys who were motorcycling to a business conference in Malaga (like you do)!
Click here for Part 2