On second October 2016, I went down to the Iberian Peninsula to ride some trails I looked forward to since quiet some time.
Some pro & cons after eight months on the peninsula:
- Endless possibilities for off-road riding.
- For those times you are on the road; Spain (together with Sweden) has the best drivers in the world. They wait patiently behind you to overtake and when they do, they give you ample space.
- Incredible variety of landscapes from sierra’s to deserts to coast lines.
- I’m not a “people fan”, but the Spaniards & Portugese really are super amiable people.
- History. Towns like Salamanca, Merida, Elvas, Caceres, Santiago, Figueres, ….
- More or less budget friendly.
- Easy to find well equipped bicycle shops.
- The climate (also see “con’s”).
- Dogs: When camping, you’ll hear them almost everywhere. In Portugal they’re often running loose.
- Food: Disappointing. We have the idea Mediterranean kitchen is super good. It’s almost always coming with (bad) fries, no or minimal vegetables and the portions are way too small for a hungry cyclist.
- Sorry to say, but Portugese drivers are, bizarrely enough, the opposite of their Spanish neighbours and are very often suicide misiles.
- The climate: Dec., Jan. & Feb, only the coast in Alicante & Murcia has more or less guaranteed good weather – although there was snow in January ! Rest of the peninsula can (and often will be) cold and wet. Summers can be too hot & dry for cycling.
- Las Bardenas Reales
- Parque Natural del Alto Tajo
- The Atlantic Coast in Southern Portugal
- The Extremadura (everything: the nature, the towns)
- Galician coast
- Sierra de Montserrat
Below the map of my route from Oct. 2016 till May 2017:
And a map off all my cycling on the peninsula so far: