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Motorcycling Portugal and Spain

Motorcycling Portugal and Spain

September 8–23, 2023

  • LGBTQ-friendly, small-group motorcycle ride
  • Portugal and Spain, the Douro Valley and the Pyrenees
  • 16 days, 15 nights, 14 riding days
  • Small, medium, and large motorcycles available
  • 3-wheel Can-Am Spyders available
  • Support van for luggage
  • Base price of $6,960 includes motorcycle rental, hotel, most meals

Highlights

Join us September 8—23, 2023 for an incredible LGBTQ-friendly motorcycle group ride in Portugal and Spain!

We’ll visit the Douro Valley, where port comes from. We’ll cross into Spain to see historic towns dating back to the Roman Empire. Then we’ll explore the breathtaking Pyrenees mountain range with its unique Basque culture and heritage. And finally we’ll arrive on the southern coast to sink our toes into the sandy beaches of the Mediterranean Sea.

Motorcycling in Portugal

Best places in Portugal
photo: Edelweiss Bike Travel
Porto

Porto is one of the oldest population centers in Europe, dating back to the Roman Empire. The core of the old city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a National Monument of Portugal. Porto is the home of port, the usually somewhat sweet fortified wine made from more than 100 varieties of grapes grown in the Douro Valley. The official Douro appellation dates back to 1756, making it the third oldest legally defined wine in the world. Other places make similar wines, but under the European Union Protected Designation of Origin, only wine from the Douro region can be sold as port.

Porto has a warm-summer Mediterranean climate. In September, when we will be there, the average daytime high temperatures are about 75°F with overnight lows around 59°F. The rainy season typically begins later, in October, and begins to taper off in February.

If you like walking old-world cities with spectacular views, you’ll probably love Porto. It’s smaller, quieter, and less busy than Lisbon, the capital, about three hours away.

Porto is definitely worth exploring and you might want to consider arriving a couple of days prior to the start of our motorcycle tour. If you have the extra time, consider arriving in Lisbon, enjoying the scenery and nightlife for two or three days, then head to Porto for another two days or so, all before joining your group. We’re happy to help you make your trip the most it can be.

photo: Edelweiss Bike Travel
Pinhão

About 100 miles or so up the Douro river from Porto lies Pinhão, the heart of the port wine-growing region. Ferdinand Magellan (Fernão de Magalhães in Portuguese) was born nearby, in 1480.

The Douro Valley has been called one of the most beautiful places not just in Portugal, but in the world. And Pinhão is its gem. For most of the year it’s a fairly quiet and relaxing place. In autumn, during the harvest, it gets much more lively.

Many visitors to Pinhão arrive via the river cruise boats that ply the Rio Douro. Others choose the scenic train ride. And many opt for travel by water one way, and by rail the other. Pinhão is close enough to Porto that, should you decide to arrive a few days early, you could easily add in a river cruise, and a train ride if you like. We’re happy to make your trip extra special, just ask.

Of course nothing could be better than the freedom of seeing the Douro Valley by motorcycle. It’s an amazing experience and we look forward to sharing it with you.

photo: Edelweiss Bike Travel

Motorcycling in Spain

Best places in Spain
Verin

Verin is best known for the magnificent Castillo de Monterrei, built when Spain was at war with Portugal, in the 12th Century. At night the castle is lit up and can be seen from miles away.

When we cross the border from Portugal, en route to Verin, we will have entered Spain’s famous and spectacular Galicia Region.

Santiago de Compostela

Santiago de Compostela is one of the highlights not just of Galicia but of all of Spain. During the Middle Ages the city was nearly as important for religious pilgrimages as Rome and Jerusalem and today it is a UNESCO World Heritage City. The medieval city center is quite well preserved and exquisitely beautiful.

Lugo

The city of Lugo is another highlight of Galicia. The town is best known for its massive Roman walls built in the latter half of the 3rd Century. The walls are a UNESCO World Heritage Site and this is the only place in world where you can see intact Roman walls that completely surround an entire city.

Oviedo

Just a few kilometers inland from Spain’s northern coast lies Oviedo, the capital of Asturias province and one of the most attractive cities in the region. Narrow streets in the old quarter and buildings made of warm yellow stone make the city perfect for exploring on foot.

Cervera de Pisuerga

Cervera de Pisuerga is a small, quiet, historic town in the heart of the dramatic Palencia Mountains, 1,000 meters above sea level.

Bilbao

Bilbao is the largest city in northern Spain and the de facto capital of Basque Country. One of its most famous attractions is the titanium-clad Guggenheim Museum, designed by Frank Gehry and opened in 1997.

The city also embraces its 700-year history and Basque culture. The justifiably famous pintxos are everywhere: small, bite-sized snacks, typically skewered with a toothpick to a small slice of bread and most often enjoyed with friends, in lively bars and taverns.

You will probably hear people speaking Basque, a language that has no connection to any other living language. People in this part of the world spoke Basque long before the arrival of Romance and Celtic languages. If you have traveled in rural farming and ranching communities in the western US, particularly in California, Nevada, and Idaho, you may have heard Basque spoken there, met folks of Basque heritage, and maybe even enjoyed some American-style Basque food.

Riding a three-wheeled Can-Am Spyder alongside a waterway
photo: Can-Am
Biarritz

You’re right; Biarritz isn’t in Spain. It’s in France, far southwestern France, right on the Bay of Biscay, in the French Basque Country. It’s just 11 miles, 18 kilometers, from the Spanish border.

Once a sleepy whaling and fishing village, Biarritz became fashionable in the 1850s when Empress Eugenie, wife of Napoleon III, built a palace on the beach for her summer holidays. Today, that palace is the Hôtel du Palais.

In 1957, American director Peter Viertel was in Biarritz making the film adaptation of Ernest Hemingway’s first novel, The Sun Also Rises, based on his time in the Pyrenees. A friend visiting Viertel from California thought it would be fun to try surfing in the waves of the Bay of Biscay. Today, Biarritz is a center for surfing, and surf culture, in Europe.

Parque Natural Valles Occidentales

This nature park offers 67,000 acres of dramatic, rugged, remote Pyrenees beauty. Here, in the northern part of the Aragon region, the mountains are well over 8,000 feet high. The area is home to a small population of brown bears which were once nearly extinct in this part of Europe.

Parque Natural Aigüestortes

Known for its rivers, streams, and more than 200 mountain lakes, this has been called the most beautiful of Spain’s national parks. The scenery in this part of the Pyrenees is wild and untamed. Two prominent 9,000-foot peaks, Big Enchanted and Little Enchanted, rise spectacularly above Lake Saint Maurice.

a lake in the Pyrenees
photo: Edelweiss Bike Travel
Parque Natural del Cadí-Moixeró

This is another spectacular nature park in northern Catalonia, just south of the tiny landlocked country of Andorra. The terrain here ranges from the Pyrenean foothills, valley floors at about 3,000 feet of elevation, up to peaks in the Pyrenees that reach up to more than 8,000 feet. The area is dotted with small medieval towns and villages known for their traditional rural architecture.

Barcelona

Barcelona is a busy cosmopolitan city on Spain’s southern coast, on the Mediterranean Sea. It is the capital of, and largest city in, Catalonia, the second largest in Spain, and a major cultural and economic center of western Europe.

The city is known for its museums, historic buildings, and monuments and it contains several UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Barcelona is easily worth three or four days of exploring. If you would like to extend your visit after our motorcycle tour we would be happy to help you plan your time in this fantastic city.

Castelldefels

Just a few kilometers, and about a half-hour, outside bustling Barcelona is the much quieter seaside town of Castelldefels. The town is known for its more than five kilometers of sandy beaches. The coastline is dominated by the 10th Century Castle of Fels, or Castell de Fels in Catalan, that gives the town its name.

photo: Edelweiss Bike Travel

Details

The base price for this guided small-group motorcycle ride starts at $US6,960. That includes 15 nights of hotel accommodations, most meals, and rental of a late-model motorcycle. The base motorcycle is a Suzuki V-Strom 650, Honda NC750, or similar. A large selection of other bikes such as BMW F750GS, Ducati Multistrada 950, Triumph Tiger Explorer, and BMW R 1250 GS and RT, and similar are available at higher rates. Three-wheeled Can-Am Spyders are also available. And the trip does include a support vehicle to carry your luggage.

Our small group trips always have limited availability and we expect this one to sell out quickly. Likewise, motorcycle selection will see limited availability as the trip begins to book up.

If you are interested in joining us on this tour we strongly suggest that you contact us as early as possible, using the simple form below. Just let us know that you think you want to go. We’ll start working with you right away to make this trip perfect for you.

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