Bike trip from Santa Comba Dão to Viseu – Day 1

DAY 1 (18th June 2013) – Santa Comba Dão to Tondela (“Ecopista do Dão”)
Accomodation: Severino José Hotel (Tondela) – 49.5€/double room (breakfast included)
Dinner: São Barnabé Restaurant (Tondela) – 7€/pax
DAY 2 (19th June 2013) – Tondela to Viseu (“Ecopista do Dão”)
Accomodation: Viseu Youth Hostel – 27€/double room (breakfast included)
Dinner: CR Restaurant (Viseu) – 11€/pax
Extras: Ice cream at Tré Santi – 3.5€/pax
DAY 3 (20th June 2013) – Viseu
Accomodation: Viseu Youth Hostel – 27€/double room (breakfast included)
Lunch: take-away (Pingo Doce supermarket): 3.8€/pax
Dinner: Cantinho da Sé Restaurant (Viseu) – 10€/pax
Extras: Strudel and waffle at Tré Santi: 8€
DAY 4 (21th June 2013) – Viseu to Santa Comba Dao (CPIS and Ecopista do Dão)
Accomodation: Quinta da Abelenda – 30€/caravan
DAY 5 (21th June 2013) – Santa Comba Dão to Mortágua (train)
Train: Santa Comba Dão to Mortágua (9 min) – 1.60€

I had been wishing it for a long time and last year (2013) it finally happened, I did a bike trip! It was a short one but I enjoyed it anyway.

Begin of "Ecopista do Dão"

Begin of “Ecopista do Dão”

Let’s go back to Tuesday, 18th June 2013. According to the forecast for that week, there was a high chance of light rain. Therefore we had packed rain coats, an extra pair of shoes, an umbrella and we had waterproofed our stuff as much as we could.
We packed everything in the pannier bike bags and on our two backpacks (one for each).

At 11h33 we caught the regional train that would take us to Pampilhosa, where we had to catch another train that would leave us at Santa Comba Dão, the starting point of our bike trip.
Since the train’s entrance is quite higher than the railway platform, Pampilhosa station is not very friendly for people carrying big and heavy objects, such as a bike with loaded pannier bags.

03_ecopista_dao_ponteJust a note. In Portugal, the transport of unpacked bikes is only allowed in the regional and suburban trains and it is free of charge.

We arrived at Santa Comba Station at around 13 o’clock and we felt a little bit lost because we could not see any indication to the „Ecopista do Dão“. Luckily, an old man who was nearby indicated us the right direction. We had to go along the platform until we find a signboard with directions to the “Ecopista”, then we had to descend by a small ramp that was at our left, turn right and some meters ahead we reached the beginning of the „Ecopista do Dão“. The path between the platform and the cycling path is not paved and it’s not the best path to carry a bike with some extra kilos.

Treixedo former station

Treixedo former station

„Ecopista do Dão“ is a cycling path located in the former railway that connected Santa Comba Dão to Viseu. With about 50 km, it is the longest paved cycling path of Portugal.

Before we set our vehicles on the cycling path, we looked for the first geocache of this trip. It was easy to find and it had a bonus, a travelbug!

Full of expectation, we began our cycling towards Tondela. A few minutes later we were crossing Dão River by a metal bridge that may be not very good for people who suffer from vertigo, since the floor of the bridge is a metal net that allows us to see the river below our feet.

Along the cycling path there’s several former train stations that were restored, having some of them a small leisure park. We stopped on the first one we saw (Treixedo Station) to have lunch.

10_ecopista_daoOne hour and 30 minutes after we had initiated our journey on the ecopista, we left the blue cycling path and met the green one, which meant that we had left Santa Comba Dão municipality and had arrived at Tondela municipality.

Just before we arrive to Tondela, we crossed another bridge, similar to the previous one.

Tonda former station

Tonda former station

It took us 3 hours to go from Santa Camba do Dão to Tondela. We needed so much time because we stopped a few times, one to have lunch and another ones to look for geocaches.
Although the landscape surrounding us was very rough, the cycling path is more or less flat, so cycling on the cycling path does not require a great effort.

For a few times during our journey, there were some clouds threatening rain, but fortunately it was just that, a promise.

In Tondela we left the Ecopista and cycled to José Severino Hotel, where we spent the night.
Although the hotel has a parking lot, it’s just for cars. But I suppose that it’s uncommon guests arriving to the hotel by bike. Therefore we had to improvise a place to park our vehicles.

Tondela's Mother Church

Tondela’s Mother Church

After the check in we went to our room, which had a balcony. We made use of the chairs and table that were in the balcony to have a snack while we were enjoying the view over the hotel’s pool and Caramulo Mountain.

With our energy levels again on top, we went for a walk to get to know Tondela, to look for some geocaches, to go shopping and to look for a restaurant to have dinner.

Tondela is a small city whose most notorious and beautiful part is its center. It’s in the center that the town hall and the main Church are located. Built between 1826 and 1889, the Church shows signs of neo-Gothic and neo-Romanesque architecture.

Curiously, in the outskirts of Tondela we found ourselves in Marrocos!

We returned to the hotel to make ourselves fresh and clean and then we went to S. Barnabé Restaurant, which is located near the hotel. Perhaps for that reason we found in there other tourist who, like us, were staying in José Severino hotel.
We ordered beef steaks covered by coffee sauce. The coffee with meat makes a great combination of flavors. We liked it very much and we immediately thought we had to prepare something like that at home. But both of us forgot it, I’m just remembering it right now.

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4 Responses to “Bike trip from Santa Comba Dão to Viseu – Day 1

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