The meeting point is in downtown Lisbon in front of the statue in Commerce Square (Praça do Comercio), which is connected to the metro blue line (Terreiro do Paço).
Our guide will briefly introduce the itinerary and the group. Electric bikes will be explained and tested too. Then, from the naval station close to the Commerce Square, we will board one of the traditional ferries from Lisbon to Cacilheiro and cross the Tagus River to Barreiro. In Barreiro, a train will take us and our bicycles comfortably to Palmela in approximately 40 minutes. In Palmela, we will cycle to the Castle.
The Castle of Palmela is rich in history. In this zone, archaeological findings confirm human occupation from the neolithic period (310 AC). The earliest fortifications were built by the Muslims around the 9th century. Don Afonso Henriques, the first Portuguese King, saw the Muslims abandon Palmela after the conquest of Lisbon in 1147. The second Portuguese King Don Sancho 1st had the fortress repaired and bestowed it to the Order of Santiago. From the hill, we can see the Rivers Sado and Tagus. If the day is clear, Lisbon and the Mountain range of Sintra are visible as well. In Palmela, we will visit some archeological sites and have a coffee break.
When leaving the Castle of Palmela, we will have the opportunity to contemplate the beautiful Valley of the Barris, flanked by the mountainous forests of São Luís, Laurel and Arrábida. It seems like a dream, but the road literally 'snakes' through this Valley.
We will carry on along the less-frequented road of the Barris Valley, first on asphalt, then off beaten path between vineyards and sheep pasture.
Arriving in the town of Nogueira de Azeitão, according to the group's wishes, we can rest and taste the region's famous Muscatel wine, tarts and buttery cheese. We can also drink the water that flows from the Fountain of the Astonished (18th century). According to the legend: "whoever drinks this water will remain bound forever to Azeitão".
Now comes the time to burn some calories by cycling up the Arrábida Nature Park. As we go up, sights over the blue sea are of an indescribable beauty. Well above, we will see the Troia peninsula nestled between the Sado estuary and the unspoilt beaches bathed by the Atlantic Ocean. We will also have a glimpse of the Arrábida Convent built in the 16th century.
Finally, in the town of Setubal, we will recover our strength and share our impressions around a table savoring some fresh fish.
We will return to Lisbon by train from Setubal.