Ponferrada to Chaves
Typical views RP 3
This route will take you across the invisible border from Spain to Portugal on delightful and sometimes thrilling roads. The scenery is always beautiful as you wind your way through the hilly countryside. There are some really good corners and hairpins for the motorcyclists. The road surface is good and coupled with the quietness of these roads, this is a reason why Northern Spain and Portugal have become a Mecca for motorcycles, but those in four wheels will still enjoy it.

I have suggested a lunch stop at El Puente, there are several cafés and restaurants here on the main road, alternatively, the medieval town of Puebla de Sanabria with it's two castles is just 3 miles further on, this can become busy with tourists though.
Leaving the two castles behind you and after passing through the small town of Pedralba de la Pradería, the road becomes twisty again with some very good flowing corners and the occasional straight. The many windmills that you will see in a line mark the border but a road sign is all that tells you that you are now in Portugal, the scenery and roads are equally as good.

Tall tower blocks indicate that you have reached the city of Bragança and this route uses a short section of duel carriageway road to escape quickly and join the N103 to take you all the way to Chaves, still some 60 miles (95 kms) away. For part of the way, the N103 forms the southern boundary of the Montesinho Natural Park, and although it is a little larger with some other users, it is still has plenty of twists and turns and lovely scenery to keep the smile on your face.

I have added a coffee stop at Vinhais RP 9, the town is in an elevated position looking down to the Rio Tuela valley.
10 miles (16 kms) before you reach the hotel at Chaves, there is a giant boulder at RP 11, it is only 100m off of the route and is worth a visit. Pedra Bolideira is about 30 tonnes and with some effort in the correct place, you are able to move it. Pedra Bolideirais surrounded with myths and legends and is visited by thousands each year.

I have awarded 4**** for this route - The scenery is fantastic - The roads are excellant - The attractions are good
RP 5 The two castles of Puebla de Sanabria
RP 9 Vinhais, coffee stop.
Useful links:
Hotel Ponferrada Plaza
Hotel 4 Estações

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Waypoint, used to construct the route
Sight, here you can see something
Viewpoint, a short stop for taking a picture
Stopping point, for hotel, lunch, etc
Attention, see the text in the waypoint for more information

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Nick Carthew - RouteXpert
Vila Real
The images and text displayed here originate from the Wikipedia article "Vila Real", which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.
About this region
Vila Real (Portuguese pronunciation: [ˈvilɐ ʁiˈal] (listen)) is the capital and largest city of the Vila Real District, northern Portugal. The population in 2011 was 51,850, in an area of 378.80 square kilometres (146.26 sq mi).Vila Real was ranked seventh in the list of Portugal's most livable cities in the survey of living conditions published by the Portuguese newspaper Expresso in 2007.
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