The Ecopista do DÃ£o cycle route, Portugal
Region: Coimbra and Central
Ecopista do Dão - a bicycle path between Viseu and Santa Comba Dão.
A beautiful cycling experience that you shouldn’t miss!!
The Ecopista do Dão is a 49km long bicycle path, that has been built on a former railway track and was opened to cyclists in 2011. It is a wonderful chance to experience the beautiful countryside of Central Portugal.
Among bicycle fans it is known very well and is becoming more and more popular amongst families and curious travellers.
If you start the tour in Viseu, Central Portugal, most of the path is going slightly downhill, so it is suitable for children and also, those who are physically less able.
The track starts in between big houses at the Avenida da Europa in Viseu. Don’t expect any signs to indicate the Ecopista doDão, as the only thing you find is the red coloured bicycle track itself.
After leaving the city of Viseu, you have beautiful views of the changing landscape, while you cycle your path via Tondela to Santa Comba Dão.
While the track is located in more urban surroundings at its origins, it soon changes to small villages and views over fields and the Serra do Caramulo.
Later on, you will pass by vineyards and enter in a bit more rocky area that has a very special beauty.
And last but not least, the final part of the track leads you over kilometres along the river Dão with its small river beaches.
Everywhere along the track, you can find stops for other small physical activities. There are inviting stones and benches along the route where you can stop for a small rest and enjoy the atmosphere.
After 7,5km, you will pass by the café “Cais Bar” in Figueiró. Here you can enjoy a “bica” (traditional Portuguese coffee), or a refreshing drink on the terrace.
Shortly before the 12km sign, you will pass by an old steam locomotive from 1885 in Torredeita Station.
As your cycling trip continues, you will find the café and restaurant “Station Alive” after 16,5km of the track in Farminhão.
A big tip: this is a good place to stop for a refreshment, ice cream or even lunch, as it is the last possibility on the path.
Most parts of the track offer shade from the trees, so it’s not too hot to complete the trail during summer time.
Unfortunately, only the last bit closer to Santa Comba Dão doesn’t offer as much shade due to the fires in 2017.
Another interesting thing to know is that the Ecopista changes its colour depending on the cities you cycle through.
So as you start in Viseu, the track will be in red, changing colour to green in the Tondela area, and blue in Santa Comba Dão.
Don’t forget to bring your bathing costumes as you will cycle along the Dão in the last part of your cycling adventure in Santa Comba Dão.
Just before the 40km sign and the entrance to Nagozela, there is a sign to turn left if you want to dip into the water.
You cannot cycle down the path, but the approximate 40m walk is definitely worth it and you will be rewarded with a nice unofficial river beach and a fantastic, as well as a well deserved, refreshment.
After that, you will continue the track along the Dão river, that offers stunning views. The track crosses the Bridge over the river Dão, before finally finishing in Santa Comba Dão not far from the actual railway station.
Rental bikes and transfer from Santa Comba Dão to Viseu are offered by the Quinta da Abelenda. It is located directly on the Ecopista a bit after the 47km sign. On the website www.ecopista-portugal.com you can also find additional information about the Ecopista.
If you want to stay over night in Santa Comba Dão, you can find a beautiful boutique guesthouse, called Quinta Lusitânia which offers 6 atmospheric suites, a pool and colourful gardens.
There is also a riding school at the guesthouse and dinner is available as a 3-course menu.
The perfect ending to a wonderful cycling experience.
Tina Igler is the owner of Quinta Lusitânia, a beautiful boutique guesthouse with equestrian centre, located in Couto do Mosteiro, Central Portugal.
Enjoy a stay in one of the 6 suites in the 200-year-old manor house, partake in a glass of wine from the vineyard or just relax at the pool after your cycling trip.
For more information and bookings visit the website Quinta Lusitânia