Community and events
560,000 registered motorcycles
Faro Motorbike Rally – Faro is one of Portugal’s most beautiful cities, and in the third week of July it becomes a biker’s paradise! Concerts, food, drink and great company in the blazing Algarve sun make for an unmissable rally.
Góis Motorcycle Rally – Right in the centre of Portugal, this laid-back, fun-loving rally includes entertainment aplenty, competitions and more as 40,000 bikers turn up and set up tents.
A coastal route with mountains, forest and beaches – what more could you want? The road follows the Silver Coast north from Lisbon to the Venice-like Aveiro, where you can switch your bike for a punt and spend some time exploring the canals.
Wine country always makes for great touring, and the Douro Valley – the source of every drop of port in the world – has a beauty to rival any of the vineyards of France. The river route along the twisty N222 from Porto is as good a way as any to see this amazing landscape.
Safety and the law
9.7 annual road fatalities per 100,000 people (2012)
PTWs account for 21% of fatalities (2011)
Portugal doesn’t have a great history of road safety, and despite considerable efforts from the government in recent years the accident toll remains high. The crackdown also means that fines for speeding and other traffic violations are very steep. As in France, radar detectors are illegal.
Locals have a reputation for aggressive driving, particularly on motorways. It’s illegal to use the outside lane of roundabouts unless you leave at the next exit, and lanes don’t merge into exits as they do in the UK so be prepared to switch quickly. Motorcycles must have dipped headlights on at all times.
27% of population speak English
English is spoken in the tourist areas and taught in schools, but is still far from widespread. Spanish is generally understood, but it may be considered impolite unless you’re from a Spanish-speaking country yourself! It’s best to learn at least a few phrases in Portuguese before travelling: the effort is always appreciated.