Ecopista do Dão – Part 1

After hiking in the mountains we decided to change to riding the bikes for a while. We chose the Ecopista – or Via Verde how it would be called in Spain – along the Dão river, starting in Santa Comba Dão.

The disused branch line once connected Viseu with Santa Comba Dão. Almost 50 kilometers have been converted into a bike path, which is considered one of the most beautiful routes in northern Portugal. Good information can found on a german page:

Starting point at the train station of Santa Comba

We started at Santa Comba because it is the lower point of the route
it is always nicer to cycle first up and then down hill. Even as this
railway tracks never have steep climbs for what we love them! We had
found the perfect parking next to the lake and a restaurant: 40.402989, -8.116565
there we had to find a way to the other side of the lake. On the online
map we had discovered a little bridge which we took and soon we reached
the train station.
A Portuguese family indicated us how to find the Ecopista: you have to follow the platform from the trainstation north, follow a nearly invisible path until it drops to the left, then keep right and you are there! 

Crossing the river Dão

Abandoned train station

Burned forests in this part of the Ecopista

The area of burned forests in Portugal is alarmingly huge. When driving from Tomar in direction to Serra da Estrela we were driving for hours only through burned hills of eucalyptus trees. Then we found that also in the Nature Reserve of the Serra many areas were burned down. And on the way to Santa Comba it was the same: burned down forests everywhere, mayby during the big fires in 2017. Mostly the burned trees are still standing, in some parts we saw that they were cut down, but this was only a minor part.

After about 20km we reached the former trainstation of Tondela, where we had a little break and decided to turn around.

Lunch break

Before we reached the bridge over the lake again, which would have taken us to the wrong side, we tried to find a different route directly to our parking.  So we took a shortcut via a hiking path, doing some mountain biking for a while.

Bridge over the Dão river
Mountain biking

Islands formed by round rocks you see everywhere in this area
Restaurant at the lake and next to our parking
In the end, we stayed for 3 nights at this beautiful spot near Santa Comba Dão, as one day was too rainy to go on a long tour. We instead took a walk along the lake, drove to the Intermarché in Tábua to empty our tanks and fill up with water, worked on the Computer and went to the restaurant “Cota Maxima” next to our parking. 
Board of typical Portuguese starters

Arroz de Miscaros (mushrooms)
Our parking for 3 nights
Emptying the grey water tank and filling up with fresh water
Special technic to push the button
Spring cleaning also underneath the mattress
Flower of the day

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