Picos Spain and Portugal Motorcycle Tour

In January 2018 I decided to join Magellan MC tours as they have a good range of guided tours. I chose North Spain and West Portugal due to access, weather and cost.

This blog includes the WWT Slimbridge Wildlife centre visit done on route and RAF Crosford Museum visited on return


I had to ride 280 miles from Crewe to Plymouth, just to reach the ferry start point. So decided to add some stop points and make a day of it.

I started riding 8:30 I finished 19:00.

Main stop points include St Peter’s garden centre Worchester, for its position, large flat parking and great cafe for breakfast. Highly recommended

Next WWT Slimbridge Wildlife centre. As I have a new 100-300mm (actually in micro four thirds thats 200-600mm) I figure let try it out. Walk about in 22 degree heat, but got some colourful shots, no Dragonfly or Kingfisher, probably wrong time of day!

Click on an image to view larger

Then a significant ride to reach The Point Car Park – Teignmouth. I chose this to give me some coast and none motorway sections. They have a pier, but like most in need of repair, otherwise an interesting and busy sea side town

Then the final section across to Plymouth itself, mostly fast A roads and dual carriage way, with a cool breeze, welcomed on a day with highs of 22 degrees

The bike did great, the new larger split screen reduced wind noise and turbulence making the ride a breeze

Next door to the B&B pirates were out in force!


Ended up in the Waterfront for dinner, down on the sea front


Breakfast, early kick out of the B&B, so found a few things to visit. Plymouth harbour for Sunrise, lots of cafes, boats and later tourists. Went to the West side harbour, Devils point, which luckily had a home food fair, with lots of good fòod. Children swimming in the harbour and with the sun beating down, a short wait until I meet the Magellan motorcycle tour group.

As with all travel plenty of waiting around, but finally the 16 riders, along with approximately 140 other bikes load onto the ferry. It was a faff with poor direction from the staff, but bike secured and off to my luxury 2 birth cabin. I found the pull down bed helped isolate the hum and beat of the engine, leading to a good night’s sleep.

Due to an early night i woke at 5am, got up at 6am and breakfast at 7am. Saw a dolphin or two. Meeting for first days ride briefing at 9:30. Land at Santander 11:15 Spainish time and ride!

First ride in Spain, West to Llanes, via an inland route around Parque Natural Saja-Besaya, a good 115 Km, with warm dry weather.


A cool start to the day, but a low level cross country ride to Tineo, via Prava through Camino de Santiago. The route was 210 Km mostly valley and country riding, good roads with minimal traffic

We staying in the town centre, with great views out to the surrounding mountains


From Tineo to Santiago de Compostela, via Lugo. A significant ride of 271 Km cross country with fast sweeping roads. Entering a larger town or city is always a shock to the system, but with the trusty TOMTOM 450 Rider I arrived with minimal fuss

The hotel was South West of the old walled town, but in walking distance.


While an optional ride day, I chose to do the whole 250 Km, because it covered a large coastal area in the North West of Spain, touching Caldebarcos, with it’s pristine white beaches, Fisterra for its port and most Northern point Malpica. The latter not as interesting and a fair amount of 50 Km zones, returning via Santa Comba

I got back and realised the reason it was so quiet, it was a bank holiday. The town had fun fairs, food stalls with thousands of people walking the old town. I took a wonder to the West wall and grabbed a few shots, finally resting in a local street bar


As we ride from Spain into Vizela Portugal, through a twisting mountain road and two national parks, the roads change, and in the town traffic becomes much more aggressive, it seems some portagese drivers were never taught about the 2 second break rule or keeping a safe distance, anyway we all arrived safe to the South side of Vizela. Oiled chain, cleaned the bike and safety check done


At 281 Km over some of the highest mountain in Spain (Serra da Estela), the views were awesome, with sea level temperatures at 16 degrees, this fell to just 2 degrees at the 1800 metre summit. Some snow lying, light on Bike warning about ice and winds over the North East decent made an interesting and winding ride. I may have missed some shots, as my satnav rebooted due to the prolonged cold! So ride down the East side to our next hotel.

The hotel had a ski theme, with hide skin rugs and chairs. With a medieval dinning room, it made for an interesting stay. The morning temperature was 3 rising to 10.

A second optional days riding of 90 Km was available, but with the cool weather and fact I’d already ridden 250 Km more than the others I relax and get a massage to rejuvenate, ready for what is a long following days ride


One of the longest days at 315 Km we ride North West to Zamora in Spain, passing through Parque Natural de Arribes del Duero. Its a lovely old town with some great bars and food

DAY 10

Coming toward the end of the trip, but the road continue to surprise and delight. We travel North back towards the coast. We stay in an ancient monastery, and it was a short but delightful stay, so so quiet! once the bikes had stopped. 360 Km around 6 hours on the road

While the area Cangas de Onis was a small quaint village, I didnt spend any time here, but pushed on the final day

DAY 11

While initially a short days ride of around 222 Km around 4 hours, with a lunch stop near the lake in Cantabria, I decided to extend the trip a little and travel to the northern village of Santinalla Del Mar, its famous for it Torture museum and old world street. Other than the mass coach tours, it was a pleasent place to visit.

I then has a quick ride to the Santendar docks for the return, delayed (2 hours) ferry. Meeting up with new friends and finally boarding for the return journey.

DAY 12

On return to Plymouth, I decided to ride North West to Chepstow, about half way home and stay the night in a local bar/hotel. While the food at the Italian was excellent, the room was noisy and a good example of just how different the levels of quality and service are between the UK in general and Europe.

Regardless I rode on, stopping at the RAF Crosford Museum, which has a massive display of military aircraft, vehicle etc., its FREE entry with just a few pounds parking, and highly recommended on a rainy day!

I get home late afternoon, covering roughly 2300 miles, clean the bike, unpack and repack ready for the next days ride to Peterborough MCN Motorcycle feastival !! a round 300 miles trip, takes my tour holiday to 2500 miles, phew..

Ride safe, its your responsability to avoid the tin boxes!

Goto Top

© 2009-2019 Carl Sumner @ http://www.photographit.co.uk

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