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Cycling in Portugal
Portugal In A Nutshell
If you're touring in Spain and have just managed to cobble enough words together to get by, why not pop over the border into Portugal and start again with a language that looks like Spanish but sounds nothing like it. It can also be a very beautiful country.
When I Went To Portugal
25th - 30th August 2011
Where I Went
Portugal has got it all: beautiful mountains, sugarcube villages on high hillsides and some right dumps.
Portugal's Road Quality
Variable. Main roads, if beginning with 'IP', sometimes morph into dangerously fast race tracks that you won't want to be on (and, possibly, aren't actually allowed on). As these form the backbone of the road network it can mean some long detours.
In Lisbon you have the combination of potholes, cobbles and roads steeper than a wall. You're better off exploring on foot. Getting in and out can be a challenge too. You are not allowed on the only bridge over the River Tagus if you want to head south. You'll have to catch a ferry.
Portugal's Accommodation & Costs
Although I was unaware of this at the time, Portugal has many campsites, including many municipal ones. I didn't notice any on my route and so I have no prices for camping.
A price for a room in a hotel can be pricier than you might expect - I paid €40, €47 and €65 - but if you hunt around you can find a much cheaper room in the backstreets or above a shop. I found two of these for €10 and €15. All of these prices are away from the coast, by the way, where it will certainly be much more expensive.
Away from the coast, restaurant prices are very reasonable.
Outside of Lisbon I found no one who spoke English although I found a lady who spoke a curious combination of French and Spanish. Everyone else spoke Portuguese and only Portuguese.
I received a comment (March 2015) that said 80% of young Portuguese speak English. That may well be true. In the hotels, bars and restaurants in rural Portugal I don't remember coming across many young people and, when I did, maybe they weren't representative.
Once again, Michel Thomas does a Portuguese course if you're interested. If you don't want to bother, then perhaps seek out the younger generation if you need help.
Reasons To Go To Portugal
Attractive scenery, reasonably priced if you're careful, to eat the truly orgasmic custard tart known as pastéis de nata.
What Others Say About Portugal
Comments may be edited for concision. If the comment was taken from elsewhere, click the author's name for the full comment.
There is some lovely cycling in Portugal, especially in the east and north.
Your Opinions & Questions
Have you cycled in Portugal? Tell me what you think and I'll include your comments here. Also, if you have a blog, web site or Facebook page that includes an account of your trip, send me the URL and I'll include a link below. Include your name if you want your comment to be attributed to you. Or do you have a question about Portugal? Ask me and if I can answer it I'll add the information to the page.
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