It’s called Railbike Marvão and it’s an adventure that invites you to pedal along Alentejo rails, through a unique landscape. To not lose.
Have you ever imagined pedaling like there was no tomorrow amidst a dreamlike landscape? Obviously already. But if we tell you that the proposal we bring you today involves pedaling over an old railway line, maybe the situation changes. It’s called Railbike Marvão and promises an unforgettable journey.
The setting for this adventure is the magnificent Serra de São Mamede Natural Parkthe region where the Alentejo abandons its delicate and continuous plain and becomes more vigorous, rough and… loud.
Incidentally, the Serra de São Mamede, 1025 meters high, is the highest point south of the Tagus, constituting an exceptional viewpoint. It is also here that historical villages are sheltered, such as Marvão and Castelo de Vide, where every street breathes history and tradition. Therefore, there is nothing better than the Railbike Marvão to get to know the area a bit.
Railbike Marvão: two routes available
Railbike Marvão is, basically, the use of a reality that in recent decades has been taking over the interior of the country, with no return in sight. The progressive abandonment of rail transport in these regions has left a considerable number of infrastructures, once essential for people’s mobility, to vegetate.
A substantial part of this heritage has been degraded, often irreversibly, and the Alentejo was no exception. Quite the contrary, it was one of the areas of the country most affected by the continuous suppression of trains and the consequent deactivation of lines.
Therefore, it is not surprising that some projects have begun to emerge aimed at tourism and leisure to take advantage of this wealth of equipment to God will give. THE Railbike Marvão is one of those projects, ideal for a family outing or with a group of friends.
Bridge 30 meters above ground
The first route proposed by Railbike Marvão is 15 kilometers long and lasts approximately two hours. The starting point is the remarkable Marvão-Beirã train station, starting right there to pedal along the rails that gently zigzag through a breathtaking natural landscape.
Cork oaks, oaks, lots of wildlife and a privileged view of the historic Castelo do Marvão are some of the beauties that participants can find along the way.
The turning point is made on a spectacular bridge 30 meters above the ground, built in 1930, from where you can get beautiful panoramic views of the surroundings, before returning to the station. The price per person for this route is 20 euros.
For those who don’t have problems with pedaling a little more, the second route that Railbike Marvão offers has something like 32 kilometers and an estimated duration of 4 hours.
It is a round trip between two historic stations, also crossing the aforementioned bridge and, once again, with the rails meandering through an overwhelming landscape.
Once again, it is possible to have a different view of the fabulous Castelo de Marvão, as well as the historic town of Castelo de Vide. Obviously, cycling more than thirty kilometers requires food and makes you hungry. That’s why this route has a picnic included. The price per person for this second route option is 45 euros.
For those who are thinking of getting to Railbike Marvão and skipping a trail, know right now that this is a physical activity and that bicycles do not have an engine. As there are areas with some inclination everyone has to pedal.
They must also wear clothing suitable for the weather conditions and children must be accompanied by a responsible adult. The organization also mentions that it is absolutely mandatory to bring a camera and a good mood.
In the end, you can always get together at Cais Coberto, a rustic wooden warehouse (an integral part of the old Marvão-Beirã train station), converted into a lively café-bar. Here you can taste wines, refreshments, snacks and meals, or watch concerts and listen to melodies full of groove. Word of Alentejo!