Riders keen for a taste of Europe still have time to sign-up for a superb trip to Portugal in September, but you’ll need to get moving!
Family-run motorcycle business Bob Minion has been providing help and expertise to riders since 1925, and was one of the first Honda dealers in the country. It’s based in the centre of Derby, meaning it’s ideally placed to serve the East Midlands including Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire and further afield.
The company has expanded its range of new and used motorcycles, as well as parts, clothing and accessories, while trips are also a growing part of the business, and a highlight this year is the Portuguese tour, running from September 22 to 29.
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The Portuguese National Road N222 has been recently recognised by a number of travel and motorcycle rental companies as the best riding road of the world.
Connecting Régua to Pinhao, its 27km will take you through the heart of the Douro valley, arguably the most impressive wine region in the world. It follows the Douro River’s contour upstream, where you will find yourself surrounded by the lush green of the terraced vineyards. Studies say the road has the perfect value 10-1, which means every 10 seconds spent in a straight line are followed by one second in a turn.
East of Régua the scenery improves even more. The stretch from Régua to Pinhão, always close to the river, is extremely scenic. The N108 from Porto to Régua gets close to the river in some parts, but runs mostly higher up. From Régua the highlights include climbing the hills to Galafura (and the fantastic viewpoint at St Leonardo), taking the N222 to Pinhão, and calling it at nearby Lamego, a historic town with a cathedral, a castle and a renowned sanctuary. If you start early and don’t mind riding a lot, the landscape east of Pinhão becomes ever more austere but the rewards are great, especially on the southern side of the Douro: places like Penedono, Numão, Marialva and Longroiva.
The road from Barca d’Alva to Freixo de Espada à Cinta (N221) is a special one, because for 22 kilometres you have the Douro river and its valley beside you entering Portugal from Spain.
One of the best things about this route is the frequent belvederes where you can enjoy a bird’s eye view of the magnificent valley – the ride is very relaxing and the views make you feel at peace and part of the picturesque landscape, from sun-bleached forests to perfectly preened vineyards.
After the N221 you turn onto the N332 and N222, at Figueira de Castelo Rodrigo. Here, the route becomes more technical, pitching into numerous hairpins that traverse across Portugal’s winemaking region. The twists and turns make this a test of skill that you will relish.
At Peso da Régua, you cross onto the N108 and continue your snaking journey all the way to Porto, where you can finally sample some of the local produce.
Sunday, September 22: Crossing from Portsmouth to Bilbao on Brittany Ferries, Finistere club class cabins (shared).
September 24: The ferry arrives at 7.45am and we will be riding to Salamanca (approx 246 miles). We can then ride through the Picos de Europa and can take in the walled city of Burgos, arriving at the Parador in Salamanca hotel, where we’ll be staying one night including breakfast.
September 25: We will be riding on the N222 approx 217 miles to Vila Gale Riviera in Porto. There will be a two night stay at the Vila Gale Riviera in Porto on a B&B basis.
Vila Gale Riviera in Porto, Cais das Pedras 17 a 22, 4050-465 Portugal, visit: www.villagale.com
September 27: We set off to return to the Parador in Salamanca, staying one night including breakfast.
September 28: We will be crossing from Santander to Portsmouth at 8.50pm, sailing on Brittany ferries in a four berth cabin with window (two sharing). We will then arrive back in the UK at 7.45pm on Sunday, September 29.
For any further information or to book your place, contact Mark on 01332 342064 or visit https://www.bobminion.co.uk/pages/upcoming-european-trip
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