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Three KTM adventure motorcyclists on a gravel road in the Picos de Europa National Park, Spain
Infinity pool at a hotel in the AlgarveTerraced hills of the Algarve's Serra de MonchiqueA Suzuki DRZ400 Adventure motorcycle is parked at a shallow river crossing in the Algarve's Serra de MonchiqueThree men sit around a restaurant table with plates of steak and a jug ofred wineA donkey pulling a wooden cart emerge from a shallow river crossing in the Portuguese countrysideThree adventure motorcyclists pose for the camera against a backdrop of Portugal's Atlantic OceanA Suzuki DRZ400 adventure motorcycle on a crushed granite gravel road in Portugal's Serra da EstrellaThree adventure motorcyclists traverse a dirt road in an overgrown valleyThe Portuguese schist village of PiódãoA KTM 790 Adventure R motorcycle on a gravel ridge leading to wind turbines. Clear blue sky with one jet trail. PortugalAn adventure motorcyclist is but a dot amongst this tree lined hydro valley in Galicia.Stonebuilt hillside hamlet in Portugal's north east.Moody clouds, rolling hills and autumn yellow trees and evergreens and the Rio Sil provide the backdrop to two adventure motorcycles and one riderAutumn colours in the mountains surround a modern suspension bridge, juxtaposed against the flooded remains of a village exposed by a reservoir's low water levelA single adventure motorcyclist against a backdrop of autumn trees in GaliciaThree adventure motorcyclists navigate a windy valley roadThree Adventure Motorcyclists on tour in PortugalKTM 790 Adventure R on the only legal gravel road in the Picos de Europa National Park.

The Picos & Portugal – Northbound


At a Glance

(see FAQ’s)

10 Days



1072 mi

892 mi

180 mi

(see FAQ’s)


1072 mi



892 mi

180 mi

Spring 2022: April 13th – 22nd

Autumn 2022: September 28th – October 7th


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Fly to Portugal’s Algarve and ride home…


Starting in Portugal’s Algarve, this northbound leg of our Grand Tour offers a shorter trip for those unable to travel for 3-weeks. You can either make your own way to the start, or have us transport your bike while you fly in (see the Logistics tab below).

Leaving the coast behind, we’re soon onto some gentle forest trails before the going gets tight ‘n’ twisty as we drop to the valley floor and a couple of water splashes. The climb out crosses the Serra de Monchique at the the Algarve’s highest point at Fóia, where we’re afforded a stunning last look across the Mediterranean before we descend through eucalyptus forests en-route to the wild Atlantic coast. Turning inland we cross the garden of Portugal as we head for the rugged hills of the Serra da Lousã and Serra Açor; home to the Schist villages – so named after the stone with which they are built. Our ridgeline route feels like the backbone of Portugal with extraordinary views both east and west; just remember to look where you’re going!

The descent to Vide is one you’re unlikely to forget 😉. But our time in the valley is short lived as we’re soon climbing into the mountains of the Serra da Estrella National Park. A more gentle day follows as we wind our way through the heart of the Douro Valley wine region, where the terraced hillsides are home to some of the world’s best port-wines.

Leaving Portugal we cross some of Galicia’s most spectacular scenery, starting with a 20-mile trail across the Massif Galacio-Leonés; topping out at 1767m and conjuring up a few surprises along the way. Another descent to remember drops us into the valley of the Rio Sil at the foot of the Cordillera Cantabrica. The ride across the mountain range may be on tarmac, but it’s the stuff motorcycle dreams are made of 😃

Our last day is a rather special one, taking in the only legally rideable trail through the Picos de Europa National Park. Plenty to reminisce about during our last nights dinner in Bilbao.

Dirt roads: Distance vs Time

It’s easy to look at the percentage of dirt roads on a particular tour and to think it’s either too little or too much.

One thing that comes up regularly in our customer feedback is that neither distance nor percentage (of dirt roads) accurately portray the actual riding on the day. On a day of 50% dirt for example, your time on the dirt will account for 70-80% of your riding time (pending the nature of the terrain) and therefore feel much more than the 50% by distance. This generally leads to a feeling of having ridden much more dirt than you have.

To get an idea of the terrain, head over to the Big Sky Riders YouTube Channel for some helmetcam footage.


Day 1: Arrive Portimão

Arrive at our hotel in Portimão in time for a group dinner.

Day 2: Portimão – motorcycle collection

We’ll take you to collect your motorcycle from our freight agent just 15 minutes drive away. You’ll have the rest of the day to mount your luggage, enjoy a swim and a cold beer.

Day 3: Algarve – Vila Nova de Milfontes

Tarmac: 49mi / 79km – Dirt: 51 / 81km – Total: 100mi / 160km – 50% 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 4: Vila Nova de Milfontes – Abrantes

Tarmac: 153mi / 244km – Dirt: 19mi / 31km – Total: 172mi / 275km – 11% Dirt

A final look at the Atlantic coast before we turn inland and cross the garden of Portugal as we head for the hills.

Day 5: Abrantes – Linhares

Tarmac: 105mi / 168km  – Dirt: 54mi / 86km – Total: 159mi / 254km – 34% Dirt

A big day in the hills and mountains. We’ll cross the Serra da Lousã and kiss the western flanks of the Serra da Estrella; with such vast views both east and west you’ll feel like you’re traversing the backbone of Portugal.

Day 6: Linhares – Chaves

131mi /  209km

Everyone will be tired after yesterday and so we’ve made today’s gentle ride of 4hrs + stops through the port-wine town of Pinão, a self-navigated one. Have a lie-in, wander the cobbled streets of the old stone village of Linhares – dominated by its 12th century castle, or watch sunrise across the Mondego Valley (800m below) – the choice is yours. Either way, the Roman town of Chaves awaits and you’ll appreciate some time to explore there to.

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 7: Chaves – Vilafranca Del Bierzo

Tarmac: 116mi / 185km – Dirt: 28mi / 45km – Total: 144mi / 230km – 20% Dirt

Soon after entering Spain we start our climb to the first of two fabulous dirt stages. The first takes us 30km across the Sierra de Queixa at an altitude of 1767m, before the second carries us to the next valley and the Rio Sil.

Day 8: Vilafranca Del Bierzo – Cangas de Onís

189mi / 317km

A full day in the Cordillera Cantabrica as we return to the Picos de Europa on some of the best tarmac you’ll ever ride.

Day 9: Cangas de Onís to Bilbao

Tarmac: 160mi / 256km – Dirt: 9mi / 14km – Total: 169mi / 270km – 5% Dirt

Today takes us out with a bang as we enjoy the only legal dirt road through the Picos de Europa National Park. It may only be 14km long but the spectacular scenery unfolds long before we get there; and continues well after. Our exit takes us through Potes (full circle for those on the Grand Tour) and onto the N-621 – not too shabby itself.

Day 10: Depart hotel for onward travel

Pending your onward travel arrangements you’ll either be up early for the ferry to Portsmouth or enjoying a well earned lie-in befor indulging in a sumptuous, lazy breakfast. More coffee?

Route Map

Route map for the Big Sky Riders Picos & Portugal Northbound Tour route

What's Included

Tour price INCLUDES

  • 10-Nights hotel accommodation in mainly 3 & 4* hotels on a twin sharing basis
  • All breakfasts
  • Use of hotel leisure facilities – there may be charges for some services/treatments
  • Motorcycle transport from UK to Portugal (if selected during booking
  • Transfer from Faro Airport to Portimão hotel
  • Transfer from Portimão hotel to bike transport depot
  • Tour booklet with daily overview maps and dirt stage info
  • Detailed daily GPS tracks with waypoints
  • Tour leader

Tour price EXCLUDES

  • Travel to/from the start/finish
  • Fuel
  • Lunches, snacks & evening meals
  • Drinks
  • Personal Travel Insurance
  • Occasional parking charges


If you are making your own way to the start, we’ll see you at the hotel late afternoon on Day 1. Have a great ride!


Motorcycle Transport

Our shipping agent runs a weekly service between Andover, Hampshire, UK and Porches, the Algarve, Portugal.

Your luggage and riding gear can be sent with your bike should you wish to fly with just hand luggage


Delivery your bike to our transport agent near Andover, Hampshire a week before departure.

Fly to the Algarve.

  • Faro Airport is 55km/34mi from our hotel in Portimão

A driver will meet you from your flight take you to our hotel in Portimão

The following morning we will collect your bike from our transport agent and you will have the rest of the day to prepare it and yourself for riding the following day.


Northern Spain is a fabulous region to explore by motorcycle and you may decide to stay on at the end of the tour, or perhaps ride home through France. For those heading straight home, we have scheduled the tour to work with the following Brittany Ferries service:

  • Bilbao to Portsmouth | Friday 29th October 2021 |  10:30 – 09:15 (23h45)

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…

The method has changed recently and should be more straightforward.  Read below for more details.

  1. Go to the relevant page of your desired tour, first select the tour date then simply add your chosen tour to the cart.  At this point you can also choose if you’d like to pay the single room supplement (on certain tours) as well as choosing if you’d like to pay a deposit only, or the full amount.
    NB – If you are booking within 10 weeks of the start date you must pay the full amount.
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.

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.

Packing list for the Big Sky Riders Portugal tours

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.

For a more in-depth look at preparing a motorcycle for adventure touring, take a look at our two guides:

How to prepare your adventure bike – Part 1

How to prepare your adventure bike – Part 2

How to choose soft luggage for adventure motorcycling


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


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