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Exploring trails Portugal
Adventure motorcycle on a dirt road in Portugal's Trás-os-Montes regionAdventure motorcycle on a dirt road in far North Esat PortugalAn adventure motorcycle at the foot of an old Roman stone road in PortugalA dirt road streches out along a ridge in PortugalAn adventure motorcycle is parked on a rock slab trail above Portugal's Douro ValleyAn adventure motorcycle on a sandy trail looking towards a distant granite landscape

The Picos & Portugal – Final Recce


At a glance

(see FAQ’s)




2248 mi

1569 mi

679 mi

(see FAQ’s)


2248 mi



1569 mi

679 mi


Recce completed 

2021 dates to be confirmed

 – see ‘Overview’ below



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The Picos & Portugal final recce took place in October 2020

We are currently reviewing all that we learned during those 3-weeks, including the feedback from those riders that joined us.

Three tours will emerge from our recce’s:

Southbound 13-Days | Northbound 10-Days | Grand Tour – 19-Days

Follow us on Facebook or sign-up for our newsletter for updates. We’ll get some dates posted for 2021 as soon as we can.

You can see the photos from the recce in the gallery – The Picos & Portugal: Final recce 2020


The Picos & Portugal Tour is a true ‘Trans Iberian’ Adventure as we leave the Picos de Europa and cross Spain’s Cordillera Cantabria. Entering Portugal’s North East corner – a region once so remote it spawned its own dialect and customs – we join an extraordinary network of trails (many un-mapped). From rolling hills and farmland, through forests and sunken tracks to the countries highest mountain range; along ridge lines and valleys through olive and orange groves we make our way south to the Mediterranean coast. Our return crosses the Algarve’s highest point en-route to the wild and rugged Atlantic coast, before we head inland and return to the mountains. Our departure from Portugal sees us riding dirt roads through Galicia’s most spectacular scenery as we complete our Iberian loop.

It’s not just the riding and scenery that’s spectacular, off-bike highlights include:

Évora – The UNESCO World Heritage listed Roman city

Sintra – UNESCO listed ‘Fairy Tale’ town

Mértola – The riverside town that dates back to Phoenician times

Chaves – Roman town

Almeida – The country’s most impressive fortified border settlement

Then there’s the food, wine and of course port – all of which are extremely good value.


The Recce

Following our 3500 mile recce of Portugal in 2019, we put together a final recce of what we believe is a fabulous combination of dirt roads, tarmac and destinations. The final recce was due to take place in between Morocco tours this spring, with a view to running a pilot tour this autumn.

Lockdown put pay to those plans, but with Europe once again opening its borders and welcoming visitors, we have decided to proceed with our final recce.

As a result, a maximum of 5 places are available to join me for the final recce of our Picos & Portugal Tour.

70% of the dirt roads have been ridden but we need to explore the final 30%

That element of the unknown is what makes it a final recce and not a pilot tour.

Be prepared for surprises! Some days may be shorter than planned; some longer. Planned routes may prove impassable requiring alternatives to be found.

As a restricted numbers recce, there will be no support vehicle.

Your feedback will be used to polish the recce into a full tour in 2021.

The tour is designated Riding Level 3 (see FAQ’s) and is designed to be ridden on a multi-cylinder adventure bike. Large capacity single-cylinder adventure bikes (690’s/701’s etc) will also have a great time on this route, if not quite as comfortable on the tarmac days.






Day 1: Potes (Picos de Europa National Park)

Beautifully situated at the eastern edge of the Picos de Europa National Park at the confluence of the Deva and Quivesa rivers, lies the medieval village of Potes. Time to wander the cobbled alleyways for an apéritif.

Day 2: Potes – Puebla de Sanabria
166mi / 266km

Dominated by it’s 15th century castle, this granite hamlet is a menagerie of cobbled alleyways.

Day 3: Puebla de Sanabria – Miranda do Douro

Tarmac: 22mi / 35km – Dirt: 76mi / 121km – Total: 98mi / 156km – 78% Dirt

Into Portugal and onto the incredible network of dirt roads as we head for the medieval border town of Miranda do Douro, set above the magnificent gorge of the Rio do Douro.

Day 4: Miranda do Douro – Torre de Moncorvo

Tarmac: 70mi / 112km – Dirt: 44mi / 70km – Total: 114mi / 182km – 38% Dirt

Day 5: Torre de Moncorvo – Almeida

Tarmac: 49mi / 78km – Dirt: 36mi / 58km – Total: 85mi / 136km – 43% Dirt

An early finish to allow time to explore the magnificent stronghold of Almeida. Constructed in the shape of a twelve-pointed star, the village is contained within.

Day 6: Almeida – Serra de Estrella

Tarmac: 59mi / 95km – Dirt: 44mi / 70km – Total: 103mi / 165km – 43% Dirt

Through the Parque Natural Serra de Estrella and into the mountain range of the same name. Our route takes a dirt road offering spectacular views to the glacial valley of Zêzere below as we head for our mountain accommodation.

Day 7: Serra de Estrella – Marvão

Tarmac: 67mi / 107km – Dirt: 74mi / 118km – Total: 141mi / 225km – 52% Dirt

From its location atop a crag that that it shares with its 12th century castle, the views are spectacular. Surely there’s no better place to watch the sunset with a post ride beer.

Day 8: Marvão – Évora

Tarmac: 83mi / 132km – Dirt: 81mi / 129km – Total: 163mi / 261km – 49% Dirt

Day 9: Rest Day in Évora

As one of Portugal’s most historic and unspoiled cities, your toughest decision today will be what to visit next.

Day 10: Évora – Mértola

Tarmac: 96mi / 154km – Dirt: 53mi / 85km – Total: 149mi / 239km – 35% Dirt

Guarded by its Moorish castle, the whitewashed houses reach down to the banks of the Rio Guadiana below. The history of Mertola dates back to Phoenician times and it is considered an open-air museum.

Day 11: Mértola – Algarve

Tarmac: 38mi / 61km – Dirt: 60mi / 96km – Total: 98mi / 157km – 61% Dirt

Endless views across the rolling hills of the Algarve abound on this ridgetop approach to our destination.

Day 12: REST DAY | Bike shipping

When this is a tour rather than a recce, today will be then day when those joining and departing the south/northbound legs of the tour will collect/ deliver their bikes from/to the transport company.

On the recce we’ll spend our day in either the Moorish town of Silves or the former fishing village of Ferragudo

Day 13: Algarve – Vila Nova de Milfontes

Tarmac: 49mi / 79km – Dirt: 51 / 81km – Total: 100mi / 160km – 51% Dirt

Leaving the Mediterranean behind, we cross the Serra de Monchique with its hillsides of chestnut and deciduous oak forests as we climb to Fóia, the Algarve’s highest point, before making our way to the Atlantic coast.

Day 14: Vila Nova de Milfontes – Sintra
Tarmac: 143mi / 228km – Dirt: 10mi / 16km – Total: 153mi / 244km – 5% Dirt

Following the Atlantic coast, we head for the ferry to Setúbal, cross the Rio Tejo to the outskirts of Lisbon. Here we’ll follow the coast road to the UNESCO World Heritage town of Sintra; favoured holiday destination of Portugal’s royalty.

Day 15: Sintra – Arganil/Lousã

Tarmac: 224mi / 359km  – Dirt: 12mi / 19km – Total: 236mi / 378km – 5% Dirt

A final look at the Atlantic coast before we turn inland and head for the hills of the Serra da Lousã.

Day 16: Arganil – Chaves

Tarmac: 168mi / 268km – Dirt: 36mi / 58km – Total: 204mi / 326km – 18% Dirt

Through the region of Trás-os-Montes, once Portugal’s most remote area, we head to the Roman town of Chaves for our final night in Portugal

Day 17: Chaves – Vilafranca Del Bierzo

Tarmac: 83mi / 132km – Dirt: 69mi / 110km – Total: 151mi / 242km – 45% Dirt

Back to the dirt proper today as we ride through Galicia’s most spectacular scenery and on to the Sierra del Courel

Day 18: Vilafranca Del Bierzo – Cangas de Onís
189mi / 302km

A full day in the Cordillera Cantabrica as we return to the Picos de Europa.

Day 19: Ride to Santander/Bilbao then ferry to UK

What's Included

18 Nights accommodation in mostly 3* & 4* hotels

18 Breakfasts

Single Supplement – No room sharing due to Covid-19

Recce led by company owner Adam Lewis



Useful Info

Getting to and from the start

The tour will start and finish in the Picos de Europa, Northern Spain. The recce has been scheduled run seamlessly with the following ferry’s:

Portsmouth to Bilbao: Wednesday 7th October 12:00 – 12:45 (+1 day)

Santander to Portsmouth: Monday 26th October 15:45 – 14:45 (+1 day)

I (Adam) am booked on these ferries and am happy for anyone to join me in Portsmouth for the crossing and the rides to/from the start/finish in Spain.

Brittany Ferries offer three ticket types – Economy, Standard & Flexi. At the time of writing, a Standard return ticket with inside cabin costs £504 and a Flexi ticket £544.

  • Fuel – Allow €1.50/litre for your fuel calculations, although it’s currently cheaper than this.
  • Food & Drink – Breakfast is included so we estimate €20-25/day for food and drink.

Altogether allow approx £3000 for the full 21-day round trip from the UK.

What to Pack

Anytime mountains are involved in a motorcycle tour you need to be prepared for inclement weather – Portugal is no exception. Be prepared.

We’ll be staying in mostly 3* & 4* hotels so you’ll want some comfortable clothes for the restaurants.

Walking shoes for exploring.

Hand sanitizer and facemasks for use as appropriate under local requirments.

Bike Prep


Nothing spoils a trip quicker than a troublesome motorcycle. Check your bikes next due service date and consider the tour mileage. It’s better to have your bike serviced sooner rather than later.


You can choose between 50/50 front and rear or a combination of knobby front, 50/50 rear. If the weather remains dry 50/50 tyres will be fine, but if it’s wet, you may appreciate the extra bite of a knobby front.

For info on how we classify adventure tyres, see our FAQ’s

Tools, Spares & Consumables

With no support vehicle on the recce we are all required to be self-sufficient.

See our Packing List in the ‘What to pack’ Tab above

How to book

Bookings can be made through the website, via email or over the phone!

Payment Methods

 – Website
  • Direct Bank Transfer
  • Debit/Credit Card
 – Phone
  • Direct Bank Transfer
  • Debit/Credit Card
 – Email
  • Direct Bank Transfer

To make a booking online…

  1. The Picos & Portugal Final recce has no options, so click ‘Book Now’. With less than 8 weeks to go to departure, the full amount is payable at the time of booking.
Selecting your date

Selecting your date and deposit option

2. Once you press Book Now the tour is now in your basket, which will appear on the right.

Checkout button

3. You’ll now be asked to login.  If you haven’t already registered please do so.  You’ll be automatically logged in and forwarded to the checkout.

Login or Register

Login or Register

4. Checkout is straightforward and once you’ve done so you’ll receive a confirmation email.


5. Once you’ve placed your order you’ll now have access to TWO important forms.

You’ll need to complete these forms and submit them at least 10 weeks prior to your tour start date (which is the same time you’ll need to complete your final payment). 
If you’re booking within the ten week window, please complete the forms ASAP!

If you’re travelling with us for the second time you should submit new forms.

6. To find the forms please go to your account dashboard, by the link in the menu.


Click to go to your account

7. Once your in your account you will see several tabs.  Here you can check your account details, order and payment history as well as find your booking forms.

Your Forms

Your Forms to be completed

8. You don’t have to complete and submit all the form straightaway.

If you partially complete a form, and press submit you can return to it later.  To view, complete or amend a historical document, click in “My Submitted Forms” and choose the form you want to edit.

Please do not edit documents within 10 weeks of your trip as we will have already made advance bookings on your behalf.  If you’ve made a mistake, please contact us.

Your Submitted Forms

Your Submitted Forms

9. At the bottom of the form page, is the link to edit.

Edit Submission

Edit your Submission

As always, if you have any trouble please contact us by email, phone or on facebook messenger.


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