Lamego, 600 Steps & Torre de Moncorvo – Spain & Portugal Tour 2009

After several sub-50 mile days, it was time to get our driving heads on today. We were also nearing the end of our trip and needed to start a meandering route that would lead us to the ferry terminal at (Santurtzi) Bilbao in time for the return ferry.

Leaving Estarreja, where we had spent another leisurely night after Sao Jacinto, we headed inland towards Lamego, an old town best known for its hugely ornamental, 600-step baroque staircase.

The easy way to do this journey is A25/A24 – so that’s what we did! We had left Estarreja quite late so wanted to make up some time on this longer-than-usual leg.

Lamego turned out to be a charming, well-preserved and very authentic town. The staircase was indeed impressive, but we were feeling lazy so we photographed it from the bottom and then adjourned to a nearby café for an ice cream! Who said travelling was hard work?

The Church in the centre of Lamego - a wedding was on as we passed
The Church in the centre of Lamego - a wedding was taking place as we passed
Lamego's famous baroque stone staircase - about 600 steps in all
Lamego's famous baroque stone staircase - about 600 steps in all

Once we had finished wandering around Lamego, it was onto leg two of today’s route – Lamego to Torre de Moncorvo, a small town in the hills approaching the Parque Natural do Douro Internacional, our destination for the following day. The drive took us through the fertile and picturesque Douro valley – an important wine-growing area of Portugal.

Vineyards abound in the Douro valley, which is a wonderful, lush suntrap
Vineyards abound in the Douro valley, which is a wonderful, lush suntrap

While the town of Torre de Moncorvo was not particularly remarkable, the motorhome parking was! Once again, our “All the Aires Spain and Portugal” book had come up trumps. There were plenty of spaces and only one motorhome there when we arrived, a German unit. Once parked up, we had a nose around and the friendly German lady came out to make sure we were aware of the facilities in the toilet block – free hot showers!

Motorhome service area, Torre de Moncorvo - drive in service area, toilet and shower block in background
Motorhome service area, Torre de Moncorvo - drive in service area, toilet and shower block in background

I’m almost reluctant to publicise this facility in case it gets overused, abused or shut down – but it really was fantastic, albeit in the middle of nowhere. There were even recycling bins. Like many of these areas in Spain and Portugal, it was almost new and provided everything required to service your motorhome, plus, unusually, a toilet and shower block with men’s and ladies’ facilities. Everything was in excellent order and clean.

Distance driven: 154 miles

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