Motorcycle Spain & Portugal – sunshine & warm roads. Part 5.

Motorcycle Spain & Portugal – sunshine & warm roads. Part 5.

Of course all good things come to an end and it was time for me to move on from Mantiegas.

The couple of nights I spent in Mantiegas and the riding in the Serra da Estrela that I wrote about in the Part 4 had been just superb. It had been everything I had hoped it would be. In many ways I’d have been happy to stay in that area a day or two longer but as ever was torn between more of the same or finding more and different places.

Although I was leaving Mantiegas I wasn’t quite ready to leave Portugal as I had decided to head down to the small Portuguese town of Pias.

An overnight stay there would be my last night in Portugal on this trip and would leave me close to Spain for the weekend and my next location where I planned to stay a couple of days.

I was packed, loaded up and away and for about 09:15 or so. The weather felt a little cooler but the day’s temperatures were to fluctuate between about 17c and 28c, so although a little overcast at time of leaving the hotel it was pretty ideal for being on a bike

Before I left the Casa do Comendador

After breakfast and before I left I took a walk around the museum, on the top floor of Casa do Comendador

There’s a selection of those pictures in picture set below.

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

Heading south for Pias

My trip south to Pias saw me cover around 230miles. I headed out via Capina and on towards Castelo Bramco and the national park –  Parque Natural da Serra de São Mamede, a protected area in Portugal and one where apparently the Iberian lynx and Iberian wolf also live, albeit in small numbers.

It was then in the general direction of the Spanish city of Badajoz but not going quite that far by turning to head for the Portuguese city of Elvas.

Now although some of my destinations can seem quite random (because sometimes they are). There was nothing random about me heading for Elvas.



The Amoreira Aquesduct

Some years ago, a motorcycle magazine called Ride published The Ride Guide to Europe. This was first published in 2014 and then updated in 2020. In one of those editions was a picture taken in Elvas at a remarkable structure the Amoreira Aqueduct

Its construction was started the best part of 500 years ago in 1537 (it was finished in 1622). The aqueduct was built to bring water into the fortified city of Elvas. But the thing is, it’s not just any old aqueduct – it’s 3.7 miles long, is 130 ft high but best of all, for part of its structure it’s on four levels/four arches on top of each other.

Heading for Elvas wasn’t a random choice

From the day I first saw that magazine picture (shown on the left)  it was a location that was on my list of places I wanted to get to.

Such is the significance of the aqueduct it is a designated a National Monument as well as being recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

On the way down through Portugal I passed through the inevitable miles and miles of olive groves but also through a couple of areas where the bark was stripped back on rows and rows of trees and the trunks looking as though they had been painted red.

Every day’s a school day

I had no idea whatsoever why they were like that but some internet research later explained it all. It turns out that Portugal is the world’s largest cork producer.

The cork is stripped (harvested) of the trees.  I found out as well that cork trees are unique in so much as that stripping them of this bark doesn’t kill the tree.

Harvested is done only every nine years, as that is how long it takes for the bark to reach the thickness needed to make corks

Picture gallery from the ride to Elvas and Pias

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

Picture gallery special – the aqueduct at Elvas

I suppose most of us have had places we wanted to go, things we wanted to see or do and then they haven’t actually quite lived up to expectations. One of those for Pat and I was the bronze statue by Edvard Eriksen of  The Little Mermaid and that is displayed at the Langelinie promenade in Copenhagen in Denmark.

Some tourist guides describe it as an iconic tourist attraction – well maybe it is, but our reaction when we saw it some years ago was ‘is that it’ or words to that effect! It’s not something I’d ever bother with looking at again.

My visit to the aqueduct at Elvas didn’t disappoint in the slightest. It was every bit as spectacular as I had hoped and expected – check out the picture gallery below.


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


As I have already written, my overnight stop was in the village of Pias. Whilst my visit to Elvas had been anything but random, my stay in Pias was pretty random, selected primarily because it suited my route down to Andalusia. It turned out to be a really good stop and one I would recommend.

And continuing the thought that ‘every day’s a school day’, have a read of this.

In the past granite products were produced locally and were extracted from rocky ledges and were used to feed and drink animals. The name ‘Sinks’ was also given to holes that remained in the rocks after the millstones were extracted for the mills, to the sinks and thresholds that filled with water in winter, as well as to the existence of pious women (that is, pious or devotees) in this region. The development of this industry and its diversification led to many hackers settling in this area and, given the industry practiced, the name of the place became Pias or Aspias.

Accomodation in Pias

My accommodation was at The Pias Guesthouse.

On arrival I received the warmest of welcomes from Tito the owner. The house is quite incredible with huge rooms many filled with impressive antiques. I understand the house records go as far back as 1937, when one part of the accommodation used to be a Customs Guard Post.

The house is impressive with its high ceilings and intricate plasterwork – the whole house has a light, airy and charming feel to it.

It’s been in Tito’s family since the 1950s – and it’s not just the house that’s old and well preserved. In fact he has a land rover in the large garage that dates back to 1952 and is still in daily use. Tito allowed me to leave my bike in the garage alongside his impressive Land Rover..

My room was comfortable with a very decent bathroom and an excellent shower which I made full use of before going for a short wander around the small village.

It’s quite a rural location and so is essentially a pretty quiet place. There are a couple of bars, supermarket and restaurant etc – but pretty much all you would need when stopping over.

I enjoyed my stay there, it was great value, comfortable and incredibly welcoming. It’s a good place to stop if traveling that way

Picture gallery of Pias and Pias Guesthouse

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



Click here for Part 6 – down to Andalusia and the remarkable caved town of Sentinel, and a pretty decent road from Ronda to Marbella