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  #1  
Old 8 Dec 2002
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Trip to Spain, Portugal and France

A friend and I are planning to ride through Portugal, Spain and France this summer with the entire trip taking two weeks or a little more. Some advice, please -
1. Portsmouth to Santander or Bilbao by ferry seemed a good idea until I read in the P&O brochure that the trip takes 35hrs. Perhaps Dover - Calais by ferry, then ride down through France on N-roads would be better.
2. I've been to S.E.Spain but know little about the rest of the country - Granada was excellent - so where else must we NOT MISS, and where should WE AVOID. 'Never been to Portugal.
3. Is there an Iberian (Spain & Portugal) equivalent to the inexpensive Formule 1 chain of motels - we're too old for camping!

Many thanks for any advice - oh, Pan European, I read with interest your comments on Spain and Portugal
(and,sir, England! ;-)

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  #2  
Old 9 Dec 2002
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We have done France & Spain several times. Whilst the Portsmouth Bilbao ferry is quite expensive and takes 30 - 36 hours it is well worth doing, especially if you use that route to come home it's a good unwind after several thousand kilometres. P & O will do you different routes out and back so you could sail to France, ride down through France, tour Spain & Portugal and travel back on the Bilbao route. Check out Motorcycle News for a 30% discount on ferry prices.

Ally
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  #3  
Old 9 Dec 2002
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There is another ferry from Plymouth to Santander ( I think ) which 'only' takes 24 hours. The ride through France isn't too expensive on the motorways,( I think we paid about 12£ Bilbao to Cherbourg ) and they are very well kept with frequent service stations .France has a lot to offer, too, not least the very positive attitudes to motorcyclists.
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  #4  
Old 10 Dec 2002
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Paul,

My wife and I have recently come back from the south of france & Spain.We spent six months over there.There is plenty to see and do, far too much to list here.Just relax and follow your heart.
F1 have got hotels in Spain, check it out here.
www.hotelformule1.com/formule1/gb/cartographie/espagne.shtml

Also, check out Accor (the sister company ) a little more expensive, but still good value for money,and they have a resteraunt & bar on the premises too which is useful after a long day explorin the locale.

Happy travels,
Griff.

[This message has been edited by GRIFF (edited 09 December 2002).]
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  #5  
Old 11 Dec 2002
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I'm think that all the ferries to Spain take 35 hours going and 24 coming back - the difference is due to tides etc. They do have a swimming pool, nightclubs etc.

I've ridden down a couple of times - recently, going across to Cherbourg overnight, sleeping on the ferry (book a cabin, its worth it), and then riding on A and B roads through Normandy, The Loire (spend some time riding along the river), Limousin, and then staying overnight in the Midi-Pyrenees. I found a good campsite at Cahors (with pool). Also good places to camp at Najac and (superb) Belcastel. This part of France should not be missed. And then the ride over the Pyrenees, which is itself superb - I prefer the ride through the gorges and the smaller roads rather than Andorra.

As for Spain itself, if you get down to Seville, spend a day lazing around in the gardens of the Real Alcazar. The ride up to Montserrat monestary near Barcelona is also good.

I have a trip report here: http://www.warwick.ac.uk/~cusef/BarcelonaReport.htm and photos here: http://www.warwick.ac.uk/~cusef/BarcelonaTrip.htm and more of France: http://www.warwick.ac.uk/~cusef/
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  #6  
Old 13 Dec 2002
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I'm heading down to Valencia (Spain) from London in early February. Looks like your route might be worth a second look.

Thanks!
Rob

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  #7  
Old 13 Dec 2002
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Portugal is a great place to visit. I don't know about motels and prices, but it should be similar to Spain. Must see places in Portugal:
- Lisbon and area, unless you're not into
cities
- Algarve, but try to stay away from tourist
traps. Sagres, the interior and close to
the spanish border is less touristy
- Evora. This is an enclosed city with a lot
of charm. There are many such examples spread over the country
- the atlantic coast. Pretty much anywhere, the coastal villages and resorts are great
- the interior country and the many small villages

To see everything, you need a few months. Why, it's such a small country? Yes, but a long history says it all.
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  #8  
Old 21 Dec 2002
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In September my wife and I traveled from London, took the Dover/Calais ferry, rode through France to Spain, toured central Spain, toured the Picos de Europa in Northern Spain, and took the Santander/Portsmouth ferry back to UK. The Santander/Portsmouth ferry is a faster ship than the Bilbao/Portsmouth ferry and takes 24 hrs. I recommend getting a cabin. I am glad we did the ride down through France to begin the tour. You might check out my website for a better explanation and lots of pictures of the whole trip (including some helmet camera videos). http://webpages.charter.net/rodpowell/

Quote:
Originally posted by Paul Narramore:
A friend and I are planning to ride through Portugal, Spain and France this summer with the entire trip taking two weeks or a little more. Some advice, please -
1. Portsmouth to Santander or Bilbao by ferry seemed a good idea until I read in the P&O brochure that the trip takes 35hrs. Perhaps Dover - Calais by ferry, then ride down through France on N-roads would be better.
2. I've been to S.E.Spain but know little about the rest of the country - Granada was excellent - so where else must we NOT MISS, and where should WE AVOID. 'Never been to Portugal.
3. Is there an Iberian (Spain & Portugal) equivalent to the inexpensive Formule 1 chain of motels - we're too old for camping!

Many thanks for any advice - oh, Pan European, I read with interest your comments on Spain and Portugal
(and,sir, England! ;-)

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  #9  
Old 27 Dec 2002
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Quote:
Originally posted by Mr Yuk:
In September my wife and I traveled from London, took the Dover/Calais ferry, rode through France to Spain, toured central Spain, toured the Picos de Europa in Northern Spain, and took the Santander/Portsmouth ferry back to UK. The Santander/Portsmouth ferry is a faster ship than the Bilbao/Portsmouth ferry and takes 24 hrs. I recommend getting a cabin. I am glad we did the ride down through France to begin the tour. You might check out my website for a better explanation and lots of pictures of the whole trip (including some helmet camera videos). http://webpages.charter.net/rodpowell/

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="">quote:</font><HR><font face="" size="2">Originally posted by Paul Narramore:
A friend and I are planning to ride through Portugal, Spain and France this summer with the entire trip taking two weeks or a little more. Some advice, please -
1. Portsmouth to Santander or Bilbao by ferry seemed a good idea until I read in the P&O brochure that the trip takes 35hrs. Perhaps Dover - Calais by ferry, then ride down through France on N-roads would be better.
2. I've been to S.E.Spain but know little about the rest of the country - Granada was excellent - so where else must we NOT MISS, and where should WE AVOID. 'Never been to Portugal.
3. Is there an Iberian (Spain & Portugal) equivalent to the inexpensive Formule 1 chain of motels - we're too old for camping!

Many thanks for any advice - oh, Pan European, I read with interest your comments on Spain and Portugal
(and,sir, England! ;-)



</font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Rod
I enjoyed your website a great deal, and your overuse of the word 'wonderful'. When I was in the US this May and June, I felt exactly the same as you did in Europe, ie there was so much which was wonderful. Your website is food for thought and I'll bear it mind when planning our trip. Thanks again,
Paul
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  #10  
Old 7 Jan 2003
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Hi Paul,

I´ll go to Northern Spain and Portugal in May/June 2003 with my XF 650. If your are there in this time send a mail and let´s have a coffee overthere.
Greetings Norma (Germany)
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  #11  
Old 30 Jan 2003
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If you´re visiting the North of Portugal you should visit one of the more beatifull rivers there are, the Douro. You start in Porto, or Oporto, and follow the Douro upstream towards Spain, it is really worth the ride.
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  #12  
Old 17 Jun 2003
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Well, dunno about you, but I was driving around N Spain/Basque Country last summer and busting to get back to that beautiful area with it's amazing roads on 2 wheels this time- and yup, come July, that's where I'll be on my Af Twin. (But, shhhh, don't tell anyone OK? let's keep it quiet)...
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  #13  
Old 18 Jul 2003
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Well, after a great deal of thought, I'm a mere seven days away from embarking on the trip through France to Spain. Here are my plans -

From Calais, ride on autoroutes to Rouen (old GP circuit),then E-roads to Le Mans (enough said), Saumur (excellent sparkling wine), Perigueux, Cahors, Toulouse, Andorra then Barcelona.
Wife flies out from UK to Barcelona.
After a couple of days, ride back to Andorra, then following the excellent story in Rider magazine ( February 2003) on to Arties, Lourdes, Jaca and Pamplona. Then to Madrid, Galizia and back to the Cantabrian Mountains to our ferry at Bilbao (to Portsmouth) A big rush is 12 days but we can always return another time.
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  #14  
Old 22 Jul 2003
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Brittany Ferries go from Plymouth to Santander - I took this route in Aug. 2000. It took 24 hours, sailings are limited, twice per week each way. I was by myself and did not use a cabin. I had a reclining seat and paid a refundable deposit for a blanket and a fresh towel (£5.00 each) s there's a small shower / fitness room in the depths of the ship. Generally, I found Brittany to be preferable to P&O.

The one problem you'll find at this time of year is making a booking. A friend had great difficulties recently, their phone number is: 08705 - 360360.

Last September we could not get a booking, so sailed to Cherbourg & travelled through France to Spain, Andorra & Portugal - glad we did it! Would recommend the Pyrenees, Basque region, Picos de Europa and anywhere in north and n/west Spain - you cannot go wrong. Frech campsites are crap, use Formula 1 or Etap hotels. Spanish campsites are far superior, with good facilities (washing machines etc).

Enjoy the trip.

Steve
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  #15  
Old 25 Jul 2003
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Sorry Steve - can't agree on "French campsites are crap".I've used them on and off for a long time. They are often cheaper than UK (I've just returned from Chamonix - me and 3 kids in 3 tents for £14 total per night. Showers etc, baker's van on site in morning) They do get crowded in Summer, but the French are a lot better at being quiet at nights than people in UK.
I've rarely been disapointed.Seems like you might have had some bad luck.
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