In the midst of breathtaking landscapes and unyielding ascents, extraordinary journeys often begin. Imagine Montejunto, a formidable mountain challenge, with its final two kilometres presenting a steep, merciless climb at a daunting 14% gradient. It’s as if the mountain itself challenges you to conquer it, dismissing the previous forty minutes of effort as a mere preamble. Amid the struggle and perspiration, the idea for our 1000km Coast to Coast adventure was born.

As I neared the summit, the edge of the road appeared to drop sharply into the valley below, revealing a stunning vista of vineyards, orchards, and cornfields that stretched to the distant horizon, merging seamlessly with the Atlantic Ocean. The magnificence of the view, blurred by a mix of exhaustion and wonder, was overwhelming.

Checking my heart rate monitor, I realised I had pushed myself to the limit. My companions cheered me on from above, their encouragement fuelling my final efforts around the hairpin bend. Despite it being October, the Portuguese sun spared no mercy. At the top, an eerie calm surrounded us, amidst the remnants of a 12th-century convent, now standing in contrast to modern installations, a rare tranquillity compared to the bustling valley below.

While my friends debated our descent and the road ahead, my mind overflowed with ideas. “I have a proposal,” I announced in my broken Portuguese, sparking curiosity among my companions. “Let’s cycle to Santander in Spain. It’s just 1000 kilometres away, and I know of some exceptional restaurants en route.”

The mention of ‘restaurant’ transcended language barriers, igniting interest. Our shared passion for dining on exquisite cuisine and enjoying fine wines was second only to our love of cycling.

“When?” they asked.

“How about next May?” I suggested. After some deliberation, to my surprise, they agreed.



Every journey begins long before the first pedal stroke, and our 1000km Coast to Coast adventure was no exception. It commenced with a lavish feast at Gentil’s home, renowned for their convivial gatherings and gastronomic delights. Oversized pots brimming with culinary treasures adorned their kitchen, a testament to their culinary zeal. Carlos arrived bearing bounty from his countryside abode, joined by other members of our cycling fraternity, each contributing to the culinary extravaganza.

Over lunch, anticipation crackled in the air. This tour was unlike any other—a gruelling test of endurance, spanning 1000 kilometres in just six days. It would not be a leisurely jaunt; each kilometre gained would be hard-won. Unlike scaling a mountain, where every ascent is followed by a descent, this journey would demand resilience and determination at every turn.

But there was no time to linger. We had to collect our English comrades from the airport, due to arrive in an hour.

Lisbon greeted us with sweltering heat, and Carlos, our self-appointed navigator, opted for what he called the ‘scenic route.’ We suspected his sense of direction was lacking, but the ensuing chaos—shouting, gesticulating, even a few heated exchanges with fellow motorists—whetted our appetites. With new faces aboard, we set course for our next destination—dinner.

DAY 1: Embarking on the Journey

180kms, 25kmh, 1361m

As dawn broke over Lisbon, promising another day under the relentless gaze of the sun, our journey began. The allure of the Alentejo beckoned, its rolling hills painted in hues of green and gold, a picturesque backdrop to our epic adventure. With 180 kilometres ahead, we pedalled forth, the rhythmic cadence of our wheels slicing through the morning air.

Lunch beneath the shade of ancient olive trees provided respite, a feast of local delicacies fuelling our bodies for the miles ahead. As the sun dipped below the horizon, we found solace in the warm embrace of a farmhouse, its terrace laden with culinary delights and the promise of camaraderie under the stars

DAY 2: a dance with rain and history

116kms, 27kph, 2096m

Awakening to the gentle patter of rain on our windows, we knew the road ahead would test our resolve. Yet, undeterred by the elements, we pressed on, crossing into Spain and into the historic streets of Caceres. Amidst cobblestone alleyways and towering stone walls, we discovered the rich tapestry of Spain’s past, each step a journey through time.

And as evening fell, we found ourselves ensconced in the Plaza Mayor, savouring the flavours of Spanish cuisine and the warmth of newfound friendships.

DAY 3: conquering Mountains and Dreams

177kms, 26kph, 2361m

With the sun casting its golden glow upon the Spanish countryside, we embarked on our ascent into the Sierra de Francia, a symphony of snow-capped peaks and winding mountain roads. It was amidst these rugged landscapes that inspiration struck once more, the seeds of future adventures planted with each pedal stroke.

And as the day drew to a close, we found solace in the tranquillity of Lake Santa Teresa, our bodies weary but our spirits soaring.


170kms, 28 km/h, 1043 meters

The dawn of a new day brought with it renewed vigour; our bodies invigorated by the promise of the road ahead. Through fields adorned with nature’s bounty, we cycled onward, the wind at our backs and the sun on our faces.

Salamanca welcomed us with open arms, its Plaza Mayor a testament to the city’s grandeur and our triumph over the miles. And as we departed once more, our hearts full and our legs strong, we knew that every challenge conquered was a victory in itself.

DAY 5: A Day of reflection and celebration

165kms, 25.6 km/h, 1300 meters

As the skies darkened and the rain began to fall, I found myself riding alongside my comrades, our journey nearing its end. And though the road had been long and arduous, it was the bonds forged along the way that sustained us.

And so, with hearts full of gratitude and bellies full of food, we ventured forth into the final stretch, our spirits buoyed by the promise of Santander’s shores.

DAY 6: the journey’s end

165kms, 27 km/h, 1161 meters

With the sun casting its warm embrace upon us, we descended into Santander, our final destination within reach. The thrill of the ride echoed in our hearts, each mile a testament to our strength and determination. And as we crossed the finish line, exhausted but elated, we knew that our journey had only just begun.

“My gratitude to Gentil and Carlos for their invaluable assistance in organising this tour and for discreetly stocking the support van with an endless supply of superb wine.”

Adriano Placidi

Team Director and Founder Volta Pro Tours