My friend Miguel from Tavira, is from Porto. He and many others have said “you must visit Porto.” So I found a “super hostel” just steps from the train station, THE BEST GUEST HOSTEL.
Everyone there was super helpful and friendly, the rooms were spotlessly clean & included breakfast!, 16 euro. I found a friendly & informative bicycle rental company, BICLAS & TRICLAS
and off I go.
The Douro River cuts Porto, so I decided to ride the river then head north along the ocean. I rode to the power plant, the one that recharges my phone! Made a loop out of it and cut back through a local park.
Coming from “Beer Town” (Portland, Or.), I find the beer culture is always a great tourist route too. I mapped the local beer places and started walking & drinking (never drunk). The beer culture is just getting started in Portugal. CERVEJA NORTADA was celebrating their first anniversary, the beers were supercheap with great Pale Ale’s & IPA’s. the place was packed-good times the 2 times I visited.
I get another bike the next day for more exploring of Porto. I cross the river and head to the beach then south along the ocean. Porto has really invested in some beautiful bike lanes that follow right along the ocean. There’s lots of open space that is scattered with a few restaurants & bars. You also pass along the Douro Estuary Natural Reserve. Afurada is a wonderful fishermen village just outside Porto, that includes fish restaurants BBQing seafood. I thought I should ride first and eat on the way back. The houses with the exterior tiles are amazing. There’s some weird thing about people who do laundry along the river, I didn’t get it?
Biking is alway my first choice, but walking has it’s pluses too. Porto was hilly, so I got my workout, though not enough for all the beer calories I was getting.
5 days is just enough time to explore a lot of Porto. I came in at night and didn’t really notice the train station. So I went back to take a look and make the video. If you buy your train ticket 4 days before your departure date, your ticket is 1/2 price, you have to ask, they don’t offer it. I went from the far north of Porto. south to Tavira, that’s on the mediterranean, for 25 euro. The train reached speeds of 220km (136mph), we were flying!
This is my third time to Tavira, 2013 & 2015. It’s a special place that shouldn’t be missed. Miguel owns the LAGOAS ALOJAMENTO LOCAL-HOSTEL/HOTEL
I begged him 3 times,. “I’m closed”, it’s “me” I think I wore him down? When I got there I could see why, it was under a major renovation. I stayed in the only room not being, painted etc.
The bike rental people in Porto said I needed to visit Santa Luzia. So I rented a bike and headed towards Faro, about 40km. I like doing either loop rides or long one way. I chose the long one way and grabbed the local train back.
Santa Luzia has maybe 8 restaurants all specializing in octopus, they serve other stuff, but it’s octopus is why you come here.
The bike shop gave me a road bike, but between the cobblestone roads and the dirt bike paths, bigger tires would have been a lot nicer. I hiked out to the beach along some train tracks. I thought maybe they were closed because it was the off season, nope.
Next day I rent another bike and head towards Santo Antonio, which lies on the river border with Spain. The bike shop said I have to lift the bike over the barrier on the “wave” bridge. The temperature averaged about 18-20c (65-68f), summertime? HOT. Travel now, few tourist, no waiting at restaurants, you can bike some of the walking paths.
The main reason I returned to Tavira was to hang out with Miguel and his family. We talk politics, the environment and life, it’s always a good time. They were working hard to open in a week, I only had a few days. But, it was such a good time, I changed my plane ticket. Miguel’s a regular swiss army knife of skills: painting, plumbing, electric, father of 6, host and best of all he’s a great cook too!, I asked Miguel’s daughter “what’s your favorite subject in school?”
She blurted out “ENGLISH!”, and she spoke it very well for 13.
The train & public transportation are awesome, I left a few days to hang out in Lisbon. I did another beer tour, good time’s everywhere.
Here’s the last days in Lisbon. The cobblestone sidewalks are different on nearly every street.
I walked everywhere, had a super time, but also knew it was my last beers for awhile. I looked at some ot the photos, “jesus no more beer for you”. I’ve been back 3 weeks & not one beer + working out everyday (I want a beer)
The rooster is the official “emblem” of Portugal. Yep, I found a ceramic one riding a bicycle, had to have it.
That was my last “tourist” travel for awhile. I’m doing my homework now for a Bike Tour, Budapest, Hungary to Belgrade Serbia on the Velo 6 route. Soon as the winter breaks here, wait, what winter? It rained only one day during my 7 week of travels. I’m off planes for awhile, a long while. Climate Change is real, bike touring and using the train are great options for
environmentally conscious travelling.
Enjoy the blog read, laugh and share.