Minho & Porto Cycling Holiday

 

 

The Minho and Porto biking holiday will give you an almost surrealistic experience as the scenery will change and adapt as you ride, with each day providing a unique experience. Starting high in the mountains, you will literally cycle down to the Atlantic Ocean, which stretches before you as far as you can see. This land is also blessed by the Minho, Lima and Douro rivers, each of which will accompany you at one stage or another of your ride. This is a proud land, proud of its maritime history and of the remains of the fortifications that helped keep the Spanish well within their borders. It is the land of fine mountain cuisine and, along the coast, a wealth of fish and seafood dishes, best enjoyed with a glass of Vinho Verde wine.
 
Best of all, it is a cycling journey that will put you in touch with some of the nicest and most welcoming Europeans. Do take every opportunity to meet the local inhabitants: fishermen and their wives, farmers, the kind lady at the local shop; listen to the stories of the owners of your accommodations. Cycle across the ancient Roman bridge at Ponte de Lima, famous for its beauty and its importance to medieval pilgrims as they made their way from Porto to Santiago de Compostela. Enjoy biking through the North of Portugal at its most authentic.
 

Dates

This tour runs each Saturday from March to November subject to availability. Please contact the office to check availability and for a package price.

Price

Medium season

(01/03-30/04 & 01/10-30/11) - £895pp

High season

(01/05-30/09) - £925pp

(Based on 2 people sharing a double or twin room. If your group exceeds 6 people please contact the office as the trip price can be reduced by up to £95.00 per person)

Standard departure: Sunday. If you would like to start the tour on a different day of the week please contact the office. 

Supplements

Single room - £215 medium season / £280 high season

Single Traveller supplement - minimum 2 riders

 

Transfers

Porto Airport-Start Town - included 

Finish-Porto Airport - included

 

Optional:

Wine experiences featuring 3 visits and tastings: £20 per person. Including:

▪ Day 2 & Day 4 - 2 Vinho Verde wine visits and tastings, at wine estates in Monção and Ponte de Lima - Vinho Verde wine region

▪ Day 7 - 1 Port Wine visit and tasting, at a historic Port Wine cellar in Porto

 

Special Wine & Dine package with 2 dinners: £95 per

person. Including:

▪ Day 5 – Dinner at the hotel’s restaurant, with a 2-dish menu and wine, desert and a glass of port wine – Barcelos

▪ Day 7 - Gourmet dinner at Porto with four courses & three wines

Picnic package: £75 per person. Including:

▪ 6 light lunch meals to carry on bike in riding days

 

E-Bike supplement: £90 per bicycle, 6 stages (subject to availability due to the limited number of E-Bikes)

 

Trip Code

PORTB5

 

Rob's Highlights

  • Peneda-Gerês National Park filled with unique species such as the Iberian wolf

  • Lodging on traditional estates and in stately farm houses

  • Mountain villages with ancient traditions

  • Fortified towns and beautiful historic city centres

  • Crisp and aromatic Vinho Verde wine, and extensive vineyards

  • Fishing villages frozen in time, plenty of traditions

  • Wine and food experiences shared with welcoming estate owners

  • Unbeatable fish and shellfish, caught daily in the Atlantic

  • Barcelos and its fair, a principal centre of handcrafts and hand-painted pottery

  • Cycling along the coast with its golden sandy beaches

  • Porto, voted Best European City Destination in 2012, 2014 and 2017, renowned for the Port Wine

  • Transfer from the airport to the first accommodation and from the last accommodation to the airport, included

  • Possibility of choosing between two distances in multiple cycling stages

 

 

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Castro Laboreiro

Transfer by car from Porto airport to Castro Laboreiro, inside the Gerês National Park. As you are driven across the hills and mountains of the countryside, past extensive vineyards, you will observe small villages dotted here and there, like pieces of mosaic, on the distant hills. This is the land for recapturing your peace of mind and relaxing your soul; for you will be leaving behind the hustle and bustle and stress of modern life. Without a doubt, cycling here will be sheer bliss. As we reach the Serra de Laboreiro mountains where you will spend the night before beginning your cycling holiday, a hush descends over all as we slowly climb up to the village through forests of long-needled pines. This is a tiny hamlet with beautiful wind and watermills and just one old shop in the centre, the hub of village life, where we buy a few goods and chat with the locals.

Day 2: Casto Laboreiro - Monção (44-57 km / 27-35 miles)

The first stage of your biking holiday is exceptionally beautiful, a pleasant downhill journey past the Spanish border, past a landscape of stark granite outcrops and few trees, across the northern regions of the Gerês National Park and into the land of the Serra de Peneda mountain range. The 72,000 acres of the Gerês National Park provide one of the last natural refuges for wolves and golden eagles. Don’t be too surprised if you come face-to-face with a deer or a wild boar! Continue cycling through totally silent villages where you will always find a kind person to help you find the road when needed. The community ovens where villagers gathered to bake their bread, some of them still in use, are fascinating. Particularly striking are the traditional espigueiros, the granite maize stores on stilts. By the time you arrive in Monção, the fortified town on the River Minho, you will understand why the Portuguese are so proud of the fact that the Spanish were never able to conquer them.

Day 3: Monção - Caminha (48 km / 30 miles)

Today, you will travel eastwards, along the River Minho to the Atlantic Ocean. Your journey will take you through the demarcated Vinho Verde winemaking region and the vineyards that produce the dry white wine for which it is famous. Enjoy the elegant Brejoeira Palace which is still inhabited by the original family, a leading producer of top quality Vinho Verde, and pick up a bottle of this wine for dinner. Along the route, you will cycle past landmarks of the battles between Portugal and Spain, especially the impressive 17th century stronghold at Valença and the Vila Nova de Cerveira fort. That evening, you will stay in Caminha, an elegant town strategically located at the estuary of the River Minho and whose history dates back to pre-Roman times.

Day 4: Camina - Ponte de Lima (52 km / 33 miles)

Cycling along the mighty Atlantic Ocean is an extraordinary experience, especially when the ocean is showing its friendliest face as you ride past fishing villages that appear unchanged for centuries. As you arrive in Viana do Castelo the peace and quiet is replace by the buzz of this lively city at the estuary of the River Lima. Dating back to Roman times when it was the principal port for the north of Iberia, Viana’s impressive history includes that of its merchants who supplied the naval provisions for the ships that took part in the Portuguese discoveries during the 16th century and later built the ships that sailed to Newfoundland for codfish. With their wealth, they built the numerous stately town houses whose architectural beauty is a hallmark of the city. A must-see is the 19th century byzantine Santa Luzia Church on the hilltop overlooking the city. This will take some climbing, but the reward is a breath-taking view.
 
From here you will cycle inland again, following the River Lima until you arrive in Ponte de Lima. The oldest village in Portugal, it is famous for its beautiful 24-arch Roman bridge famous and its importance to medieval pilgrims as they made their way from Porto to Santiago de Compostela. After arriving at your accommodation, a little outside the town, although you might be tempted to stop and enjoy the charming setting, we recommend that you first stretch your legs with a stroll around the picturesque city. The next morning, you will be able to sweeten your breakfast with the finest honey from the bees on the estate.

Day 5: Ponte de Lima - Barcelos (32 km / 20 miles)

Whether you are religious or not, following the medieval Portuguese route to Santiago de Compostela is a special experience. Possibly because one is so aware that this has been a pilgrims’ way for centuries and that so many have trod these paths with such fervour and dedication. It is a route that those who walk it still today, do so knowing they will meet challenges, experience great joy and forever learn the lesson of life. This is a pleasant, not complex, bike ride through cornfields and vineyards to the city of Barcelos on the River Cavado. The centre of the pottery industry, it is also of religious importance. You must visit the 13th century Mother Church. Every hour on the hour, you will hear the pealing of the church bells of the many parishes for which the city is famous.

Day 6: Barcelos - Vila de Conde (35-44 km / 22-27 miles)

Today you cycle back to the Atlantic, you will have two options for routes, 35km's & 44km's, a sight we genuinely look forward to. You can take some extra time to enjoy a great lunch: a leisurely, several-course meal that again reminds you why the Portuguese people are so proud of their cuisine. Of the finest nature, it can only be made by those who genuinely worship the wealth of what the earth has to offer. Vila do Conde is famous for its shipbuilding past, as we can see by the replica of a ship used during the Discoveries and built here. The city centre is dominated by gracious manors and small palaces. The importance of its fishing harbour is not just evident in the port. That evening, you will enjoy a wonderful seafood dinner in the town and a leisurely stroll along the beach before you go to bed, refreshed by the sea air.

Day 7: Vila de Conde to Porto (34-47 km / 21/29 miles)

The last stage of your holiday will take you on quiet cycle paths along the coast, through a sea bird reserve, along dunes and across fishing villages. It is remarkable how hard these fishermen (and their wives!) work and even more their good spirits. You are approaching Porto and you will soon enter the city via the estuary of the River Douro. This city, famous for Port Wine past and present, is considered one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. A Unesco World Heritage City, its historic centre boasts more than 1500 listed monuments. Still, as you meander on your bike alongside the River Douro, you cannot help but become aware of the gifts this city and this region have to offer. As we have said, a breath of calm, peace of the soul and a love of life.
 

Day 8: Departure

Departure after breakfast, a transfer will take you to the airport for your homeward journey.

 

 

What's Included 

 

What's Not Included 

12 hour emergency back up support on tour

7 nights accommodation

Bed & Breakfast

Luggage transfers between hotels

Airport Transfers

Per person: Hybrid bicycle, cargo rack, pannier bike bag, handlebar bag (one per two bicycles), lock (one per two bicycles), and helmet.

Bike group/reservation: GPS loaded with the tracks and a roadbook with detailed information, toolkit, first aid kit, puncture repair kit, pump, spare inner tube and pre-paid mobile phone

 

Flights

Insurance

Lunch & evening meals

Drinks 

Admissions to attractions

 

 

 

What's Included

12 hour emergency back up support on tour

7 nights accommodation

Bed & Breakfast

Luggage transfers between hotels

Airport Transfers

Per person: Hybrid bicycle, cargo rack, pannier bike bag, handlebar bag (one per two bicycles), lock (one per two bicycles), and helmet.

Bike group/reservation: GPS loaded with the tracks and a roadbook with detailed information, toolkit, first aid kit, puncture repair kit, pump, spare inner tube and pre-paid mobile phone

What's Not Included

Flights

Insurance

Lunch & evening meals

Drinks 

Admissions to attractions

 

Testimonial 

A perfect holiday. We couldn't have dreamed of a way to explore this area better than by bike! Jonathan

 

 

ACCEPT COOKIESTo give you the best possible experience, this site uses cookies. Using this site means you agree to our use of cookies. We have published a cookies policy, which you should read to find out more about the cookies we use. View cookies policy.