Introduction

In the NW corner of Portugal lies a region called the Minho. It is unspoiled, and, in particular, contains an enormous national park - Parque Peneda-GerÍs - with abandoned villages lying in completely uninhabited valleys, nestling between peaks of around 1500m to 2000m.

We happened to be in Tui, on the Spanish side of the river Minho, which forms the border between North Portugal and Spain. We'd come in the sailing catamaran that is our home in Summer, complete with folding bikes..

Aiona3 (26K) faro1 (21K)
View from Monte Aiona View from Monte Faro
After cycling up the 2 local mountains - Monte Aiona in Spain and Monte do Faro in Portugal, both about 600m high - we felt ready for some more ambitious exploring. We could only leave our boat in the marina for 5 days, as the space was then booked by someone else, so we planned to cycle along mainly byways to Soajo, a much-recommended village in the North of the Parque Peneda-GerÍs. If we ran out of time, we thought we could fold up and bus back.

I should add that we are a retired couple in our sixties, whose main sport is sailing, with cycling as a sideline.