Monday, May 17, 2010

Mountainbiking Around Sintra

Just west of me, a mountain range splits the peninsula on its way to the sea. The village, national park, and UN Heritage site of Sintra, is located along that range. The high points of the range are graced by old monasteries, a moorish fortress, and incredible views of the coast, while the valleys are filled with dense eucalyptus forest, through which wind miles and miles of excellent mountainbike trails.

Of course, there are plenty of climbs.

At this time of year, the forests are incredibly green.

This ceramic tile marks the route to a mirador (scenic overlook).

Nice spot for a picnic.

Instead of a picnic, we climbed another mountain. The climbs in these pictures never look as steep as in real life.

Once you finish the climbs, though, it's always worth it. This is the monastery atop one of the highest peaks. It's visible from miles away when the weather is clear.

Of course, after a climb there's always a great descent. This one took us back into lush forest, and past the ruins of this elaborate trials course, which featured elevated trails and jumps.

Near the top of the final climb, you can see another monastery atop a neighboring mountain.


Ran / Si Vis Pacem said...

Beautiful country, Steven!

Anonymous said...

Steven- beautiful post! I am planning on being there to mt. bike on Dec 27-28 and am looking for a riding partner or a place where I might be able to get a trail map.

Steven Givler said...

Great choice, Ed, although it might be wet and muddy at that time. I'll be glad to furnish you with a trail map and might even get to accompany you. Just comment on my blog with your contact info when you get to Portugal. (I'll read your contact info, but not publish it.)

Janus said...

I'm going to be in the area mid-March and am interested in mountain biking around Sintra. Do you have any advice on where to rent a good mountain bike in Sintra (I'll be taking public transit from Estoril)? Also are there any local group rides or maps available?

Steven Givler said...

Hi Zach,

Mid March should be a great time. It should have pretty much stopped raining by then, and it won't be too hot yet. For bike rental, group rides, and etc, I'd contact BikeZone Cascais via their page on Facebook.!/profile.php?id=100001410114341

They are friendly and helpful and they speak English. Let me know when you're in town. I live in Estoril, so maybe I can ride with you.