Whilst a collection of traditional schist villages can be found further south, in Central Portugal, there is a unique traditional village close to Porto – 32km and 35 minutes if you take the direct route. Many of the buildings in Quintandona are built with a combination of schist, granite and slate – a technique specific to this village. So I decided to make Quintandona the focus of my ride today.
Rather than ride directly there, I asked my TomTom to ‘Plan a Thrill’ – a feature that selects a winding and hilly indirect route to a destination, that is intended to appeal to motorcyclists. It’s a feature that needs some tweaking, as it took me on some totally unnecessary and pointless detours. However, parts of the route were beautiful and worthy of a few photos.
One of the first scenic segments was the EN222 that took me alongside the Douro River to the Crestuma Dam. I’ve visited that area before but it is a lovely place to stop and admire the view.
The route took me onto the dam and across the river, where we picked up the ER108 and followed the northern bank of the Douro. The next pleasant surprise was a right turn and a climb, up into a section of the Parque das Serras do Porto. The wild flowers were in bloom and there was a nice overlook over some of the surrounding countryside. Definitely worth a photo-stop.
Continuing to follow (most of) the prompts from the lady in the TomTom, I spotted a small river with a weir off to my right. It wasn’t on my route, but it was another photo op that merited a quick detour.
As we were approaching the village of Lagares, a right turn soon placed me in the centre of Quintandona. There were no sign-posts on the main road so, without the TomTom, I would have had no idea where to turn. Only after turning onto the narrow side road did I see the village sign-post. I parked my bike in the centre of the village and had a wander round. There was hardly anyone else there! I saw two other visitors and a handful of residents during my time there.
I had read good reviews about Casa Viuva, a wine bar that serves tapas, so I had intended to enjoy lunch in Quintandona before heading back home. Unfortunately, I was there and hungry at 1.00pm, but the place doesn’t open until 3.00pm! So, with no lunch available, I continued to look around the village for a while longer.
It was a beautiful sunny day, with temperatures around 24C (75F). And I had been wandering around wearing protective motorcycle clothing and boots. There was probably more to see but I was steaming inside my gear. It was time to get the bike moving to flow some air over me.
The return route was shorter than the outbound leg – and I ignored some of the obviously needless detours suggested by the TomTom lady. The entire ride took about 4 hours and covered a total of 95km (59 miles).
That’s another scenic village down – lots more still to be seen.