In mid-May 2022 a group of 5 intrepid riders from the Algarve Senior Bikers (ASB) hit the road to explore the Alentejo region between Setúbal and Juromenha, at the Spanish border.
Hot sunny weather, empty winding roads through beautiful landscapes, the famous Alentejo cuisine and several cultural highlights made the tour a unique event.
The group of riders in front of the Cork Oak Observatory in Coruche: Leo, Walter, Alfred, Huw, and Duncan from the Algarve Senior Bikers (from left to right).
Photo: Walter Kollert
The ASB-group met in Porto Covo at the Costa Vicentina and spent the first night in Setúbal after crossing on a river ferry the beautiful Sado estuary that is home to many storks and waterbirds. In the early morning we relished the curvy and picturesque roads of the Serra da Arrábida west of Setúbal and afterwards passed through the irrigated rice fields of the Coruche Plain. The very knowledgeable Dr. Carlos from the Cork Oak Observatory gave us a guided tour through the museum explaining the particular characteristics of the traditional cork industry that is so important for the Portuguese economy.
Deep into Alentejo small winding roads led the group through the colorful landscape made up of open montado forests, vineyards and cattle pastures. We spend our second night in the picturesque village of Brotas at the Casas de Romaria, some small cottages that are managed by the enthusiastic Sra Maria and furnished in traditional decorative Portuguese style.
The Fluviario de Mora gave us an interesting introduction to the aquatic environment of Alentejo rivers and lakes. Temperatures of up to 33 degrees Celsius in the afternoon made the ride challenging, but would not deter us from exploiting the marble extraction region around the beautiful villages of Borba, Villa Viçosa and Estremoz, where we visited the farmers´ and antiques´ market on Saturday morning. In Estremoz we found that the laid-back charme of this remote region comes at a price. After tasting the famous Alentejo dishes and wines in the town center we did not manage to hail a taxi as all taxi drivers had gone home by 10:00 pm. Well, we did not have a choice and walked to our 4 km away hotel.
After 4 days of riding and nearly 1000 km the group made its last stop in Moura, a charming traditional Alentejo town, built around the ruins of a 13th century castle - the perfect end to an excellent trip.
Written by Walter Kollert