Stage 2. Vilafranca de Xira – Golega
Vilafranca de Xira – Golega
If we stay overnight at the hotel LEZIRIA PARQUE It will be relatively easy to hit the road to start our stage. The path passes very close to the hotel. We will circulate by road (careful main road with truck traffic), mostly from the exit of our stage, to the town of AZAMBUJA where we will be attentive again when we arrive at the train station. We must access the inside of the station and overcome the obstacle of the tracks by going to an overpass either by stairs or by elevator.
Already on the other side of the station we will first walk along a paved road that runs parallel to a canal and then take dirt tracks that pass through and enter an area of crops and extensive tomato plantations for industrial use. In this place we can maintain a good pedaling rhythm since it is flat and smooth to ride.
The route will arrive at a moment that will meet (we will have it on our right) with a large dam to contain the waters of the river that will accompany us for many kilometers on muddy roads in the rainy season and a lot of dust in dry weather… also asphalt. On our way through VALADA we will have the opportunity to have a drink in a small bar through which we will pass without looking for it, just following the route. There is also a recreational area and river beach in case someone wants to take a dip.
This pedaling through this area of crops, river and levees, plains, we will reach the vicinity of SANTAREM city located on a high promontory that will make us sweat very hard to access its streets, lasts climb and once up it is advisable to access the JARDIM DAS PORTAS DO SOL , which apart from being an excellent place to have a snack (there is a small bar with a terrace) will show us some breathtaking views of the road already covered and of what we have left from now on.
It is important and to take into account that in this population the signs that we have been following until now and that combined the yellow color of the road with the blue color of the PATH OF FATIMA are going to separate. Pay attention to the signs because the point to bifurcate the road is not the most appropriate (in the streets of a bustling city) and more than one may end up making the wrong alternative or getting lost.
In our case, we recommend following the Camino de Santiago (the yellow signs) and ruling out visiting FÁTIMA. Going to this place means taking a little detour and we honestly believe that it is not a visit that provides a special attraction for the cyclist. To prepare this guide we visited the city of Fátima on 2 occasions and we even made the route of its path and honestly comparing the different routes we believe that it is much better to follow the route of the Camino de Santiago and ignore this alternative.
Leaving SANTAREM for a quick descent you have to be very careful, speed and attention to road signs are not very compatible, if we end up on a road with a large bridge that crosses the river (the we have erred !!!), you have to take a left along some alleys of houses in the suburbs RIBEIRA DE SANTAREM and then look for the tracks and roads that lead by passing first by SANTA IRIA DA RIBEIRA to the nearby town of VALE DE FIGUEIRA.
The small town of VALE DE FIGUEIRA will force us to break a little the routine of the plain and will make us go up to a small stop to go through its streets. Here we will find a source of drinking water where we can fill our hydration cans. Be very careful here not to get confused because we will cross this small town on its main street or highway and at one point we will have to take a street (rua do Sobral) on our right to make a 90-degree angle in our path and continue downhill to a small valley, beware that little by little we have several closed crossings on the dirt tracks (be careful with mud in the rainy season) that if we are not attentive they can cause us to get lost, and thus taking extreme precautions to avoid getting lost, we continue alternating agricultural and asphalt tracks.
Thus we approach POMBALINHO where we will not enter (the town is on our left) and nearby we already see the town of AZINHAGA which we access after leaving behind a dirt track. Be careful on the slightly labyrinthine streets of this town, if we go fast we can also have some confusion or loss of the route. By going fast with our bikes and this being a road not as well marked as others, we will not tire of insisting on this because a simple loss in an alley can be a great waste of time and effort.
From AZIHAGA and already by road in slight descent, in 7 kms we will arrive at GOLEGÁ which is our destination point. In this city we recommend a “Quinta” to stay which is something similar to a rural accommodation, LA QUINTA DOS ALAMOS is an old farm that takes advantage of the little houses that formerly offered to live for workers to offer very cozy individual apartments. It has a swimming pool and gives the possibility of breakfast. The only drawback that we find in this place is the impossibility of having dinner and those who have this need will have to go to the nearby town by bicycle (3 kms.) Or look for a taxi.
In GOLEGÁ there are other alternatives to sleep that are within the population and on our visit we were in this restaurant that looked after us wonderfully and with a very good quality / price ratio:
Reflection on the Stage
A long stage and a lot of mileage awaits us, but that should not daunt us or worry us excessively.
We only have to take into account one rule and this is not to linger too long on the route, except for the great tack that will entail going up to Santarem, the rest of the route will be mostly flat and with a good ride. The kilometers can fall fast if we go a bit to the idea and saving the great distance of 84 km should not be a problem then.
Accommodation in Golega
In Lisbon, in case of difficulty, you have these bicycle workshops available:
E.N. 10 Alverca Park loja 1.01AE
Quinta das Verdelhas
2615-000 Alverca do Ribatejo, Portugal
Tel: +351 21 957 4151
EN 114 Junto à Urb. do Girão (saída zona industrial)
2005-066 Santarém, Portugal
Tel: +351 243 377 280
|Beon Bike & Old School Customs|
Bicicletería en Entroncamento,
R. da Junta de Freguesia 23302330-114 Entroncamento, Portugal
Tel: +351 916 670 722
R. da Várzea
2350-433 Torres Novas, Portugal
Tel: +351 912 057 379