Motorcycle Spain & Portugal – sunshine & warm roads. Part 3.

Motorcycle Spain & Portugal – sunshine & warm roads. Part 3.

My overnight stay at the Hotel Infantado had been good.

As I said in Part 2 I would have no hesitation at all in staying at this accomodation  again.  It’s ideally located for the the start or the end of a trip if leaving or arriving via Santander or Bilbao. It’s a fine place to stay.

My plan now was to spend the next few days travelling through Portugal, aiming to be down in Andalusia for the weekend.  The bed at the Infantado had been comfortable, the breakfast plentiful and the weather was set fair.  But before I had gone for breakfast I had a wander around the car park to look at the other bikes that were there.

A variety of bikes

I’ve written in the past about my thoughts on what is the best bike to travel on or tour on.

In my opinion it’s always the bike you have and not the one still in the showroom.

Not travelling whilst you wait to own the ‘perfect bike’ is just lost time and a lost opportunity in my opinion.

In any case, whilst some bikes may be better suited than others to long distance travel, I’m not convinced the perfect bike exists – I think they all come with a degree of compromise.

I have crossed Europe on a variety of bikes. Some of those bikes would probably be described as being ideally suited to touring and some would be scoffed at for high mileage touring.

For example, I did a couple of brilliant tours on a Kawasaki Z1000 SX – down through Germany, Poland, Slovenia, Slovakia, Bosnia, Croatia, Austria, Switzerland etc.

I also pretty much did the length of Italy on that bike as well, having crossed to Spain, then in and out of the Pyrenees before heading down past Genoa and along the coast of the Tyrrhenian Sea to Pompeii, Sorrento and Amalfi before heading up the Adriatic coast – Bari, Pescara, Ancona etc.  After that it was in and out of the Apennine Mountains before heading for Slovenia and the Dolomites that bike really was a fantastic all-rounder and a good sports/tourer.


I’ve travelled in Spain and Portugal on a BMW RnineT and my wife and I did a big Spain/Portugal trip on a Kawasaki Vulcan 650S – I wrote a post that answered the question of whether you could really tour on a Vulcan 650. And as a spoiler – yes you absolutely can.

If you want to read the full post about the suitability of that bike for touring on you can  check that out here

Few people would say either of those two bikes would make good touring bikes, but I loved my trips on those and I wouldn’t have changed those trips for the world or done them on other bikes.

I’ve also toured on a few GSX-Rs, Fireblade, CB1000R and so on and although I can remember all of my trips, it’s the places I’ve been and the things that I have seen that stand out rather than the bikes.

If you want to check them out and the places I’ve been, the Lockdown Lookback – motorbike years series of posts are probably a good place to start … and yes I certainly did look a bit fresher and a younger in some of those!

No surprise then

So it was no surprise then to see a range of bikes in the car park at the Infantado. Off road bikes, adventure bikes, street bikes all of them drawing my eye in different ways.

A couple of the bikes in particular caught my eye: an Aprilia Tuareg 660 and a KTM 890 Adventure – both quite striking and one of them had a sheepskin strapped onto the seat for extra comfort.

Clicking on any of the images below will open a picture gallery that can be scrolled or clicked through

On four wheels

There were also a few cars with British number plates in the hotel car park and they looked superb. Later during the trip I was to see another very very impressive group of cars down in Portugal.

Although I can’t say I know very much about cars,  the cars I was to see a couple of days later looked stunning, looked fast at a standstill and were all driven by guys from the Netherlands and all looked to be heading for a great time.

I’ll come back to those cars in a later post.

‘We’re heading to Malaga …’

After breakfast and whilst getting something from my bike I saw the two guys who were riding the Aprilia and KTM, the bikes that had caught my eye earlier.

We said hello and exchanged pleasantries like bikers do.

They seemed to be loading a fair bit of luggage on their bikes and whilst chatting told me they were heading to Malaga – which immediately brought back memories of a fabulous road that I traveled on during my last trip.

A good road

I told the guys – Simon and Neil, that if they were down that way and they had the time they should consider trying the road that runs from Malaga to Colmenar, colloquially known as ‘The Road to Heaven’.

I couldn’t recall the road number but found a moment to Google it, write it down and then go back to Simon and Neil before they left to offer them a scrap of paper with the words Malaga – Colmenar and A-7000 written on it.

I suggested, that as I was so confident in the quality of the road, that if they biked the road and didn’t enjoy it I’d refund the cost of their trip!

Later I found out Simon and Neil are brothers and were Chiropractors heading down to a conference in Malaga – hard to think of a better way to travel to a work based event!

And if my internet research skills are at all accurate it seems there’s a similar Chiropractor conference in May 2024 in Valencia.  It did make me wonder if they’ll be heading down to that on their bikes and I couldn’t help but have a think which way I’d go there.

And if you’re reading this …

So Simon and Neil, if you’re reading this and heading that way next year – have a look at the Bilbao route and think about heading for Pamplona, Huesca a few days in the Pyrenees then Cuenca and down to Valencia … and if you have the time you could do worse than looping back to Bilbao or Santander via Perpignon on the Mediterranean coast, Tarbes in the Pyrenees and San Sebastian in the Bay of Biscay.

Come back later

You can check out my time on that road when I was down there in 2018 on the BMW RnineT.  I wrote about it and also the random way I found out about that road – it’s worth checking out, you can do that with this link.

You’ll have to come back for the final part of this series of blog posts to see if Simon and Neil found the A-7000 and if they did to find out what they thought of it.

As chance would have it they pulled into the Port of Santander about 10 minutes or so after me when I was checking in the following week for the ferry home.

I just had to approach them to find out if they had done the road. Although my offer to refund the cost of the trip had been made in a light hearted manner, as I walked over to say hello again it did cross my mind.

Off to Portugal

My plan for the day was to head down to Braganca in Portugal.

Heading first for Llanaves de la Reina, then on Barrniedo de la Reina  on the wonderful N621 and to Riano for what I knew would make some decent pictures and would take in (early on in the day) – the very decent twists and curves of the San Glorio Pass.

After Riano it was down to Sorriba then across the plains towards Mansilla and Puebla de Sanabria before dropping down into the National Park (Parque Natural de Montesinho) and onto my overnight in Braganca.

The route also took me past the hotel where Pat and I had spent a couple of nights on our trip together on the Kawasaki Vulcan. After leaving there on that trip we had headed for Santiago in Galicia and then later down through Portugal and we really did enjoy a fabulous trip. I stopped at the hotel to take a couple of pictures and send them back to Pat.

Picture set from the ride to Braganca

There’s quite a few pictures here so sit back and enjoy them – there wasn’t really any reason not to include so many.

It was one of those days that just ticked all the boxes. Although the weather was fabulous the early part of the day, as I dropped through the mountains and out of the sun was as low as 4c on the San Glorio Pass.  And for what it’s worth the stat’s for the day (from the BMW ‘Connected’ app) show a low of 4c and a high of 30c with a minimum altitude if 1,049ft and a maximum of 5,489ft)

Clicking on any of the images below will open a picture gallery that can be scrolled or clicked through


Braganca (sometimes referred to in English as Braganza) is a city with a population of around 35,000 or so and is located in the far north east of Portugal, just about 14 miles or so from the Spanish border.

The origins of the city go way back to the 10th or 11th century and you could probably make a decent day or two staying there, and Im sure I’ve read somewhere that Braganca has Portugals oldest two hall within it’s city boundaries.

My hotel was the Hotel Santa Apolonia. and about a mile so from the old town/historic centre

It was another overnight location that I had picked based on the route I wanted to make and decent parking for my bike.  It was a decent stop over, with great parking and close to a few shops and bars. My room was decent enough: good shower, comfortable, quiet and good air conditioning. The added bonus of a small cafe/restaurant bar within a 30 second walk of the accommodation was welcome.

Additionally it was only about a 25 minute walk or so into the ‘old town’ area which is exactly where I headed after having a couple of cold beers at the Cafe Restaurante O Prato.

Staying in Braganca left me well set for what I knew would be good riding over the next few days as I headed down to Mantiegas for a couple of days.

Picture set from Braganca

Clicking on any of the images below will open a picture gallery that can be scrolled or clicked through

Click here to go to Part 4 – Heading south for Mantiegass , the Serra da Estrella and some quirky accomodation