Initially I’d wanted to continue up the Silver Coast to the surfing mecca of Costa da Prata, via the striped surf houses of Costa Nova do Prado and through the medieval capital of Portugal – Coimbra but after spending most of the trip from Lisbon being hammered by the onshore wind we opted for a route through the center of the country instead. Here are the highlights from day seven.
The spiritual home of the order of the Knights Templar and UNESCO World Heritage site. The town of Tomar was founded inside the walls of the Convento de Cristo, constructed under the orders of the Gualdim de Pais, the fourth grand master of the Knights Templar in 1160.
The order helped the Portuguese successfully fight the Moors in the 12th and 13th century and were rewarded with extensive land and political power. King Dinis renamed it the Order of Christ and castles and churches were built to protect the Templars. One of those was the castle and convent of Tomar, one of Portugal’s most brilliant architectural accomplishments that was built in 1162.
Castelo de Bode
The lake is the largest body of water in Portugal. The region is characterised by lush green valleys and loads of windy roads, which Neil obviously loved!
Home for two nights, Covilha was our riding buddy Rodrigo’s home town so we were looking forward to meeting his family and getting a guided tour of the sights of the region. It’s also one of the prettiest towns we saw in Portugal – hanging out at the foot of the Serra da Estrela, the highest mountain range in Portugal, which we were planning on exploring tomorrow.
Estimated Mileage: 343 kms
Actual Mileage: 262 kms
Accommodation: Covilha Parque Hotel, Avenida Frei Heitor Pinto Bloco A, 6200-113 Covilhã, Portugal