Boats in Porto

Headwater - Self-Guided Cycling in Portugal: Mountains to the Sea

8 days
Suitable for:
Age 14+
Activity level:
Leisurely / Moderate
Activity Rating - Leisurely/Moderate
Trip code: 
Way to Travel:
Self-Guided Holidays
Min age:

Explore Portugal on two wheels

In the far north of Portugal, on the border with Spain, lies the Minho region: a wild, rugged area of historical and cultural significance. Starting from the Geres National Park, you cycle downhill through small villages and extensive vineyards, following the River Minho towards the Atlantic Ocean. The scenery is a stunning combination of high mountains, rolling river scenes, historic towns and dramatic coastal landscape. You will stay in authentic accommodation offering friendly Portuguese hospitality and delicious regional cuisine. There is plenty of opportunity to relax and enjoy the golden stretches of beach you cycle past, maybe accompanied by a glass of the local Vinho Verde (white wine) for which the region is well known. The ride finishes in Porto, named best European City Destination in 2013, 2014, and again for 2017.


  • Cycle through rugged scenery and mountain villages
  • Enjoy mouthwateringly fresh fish and seafood
  • Taste the local Vinho Verde directly from the vineyards
  • Relax on miles of golden sand along the Atlantic Ocean
  • Stay in delightful, handpicked accommodation

Key information

  • 7 nights 3 and 4-star hotels and guesthouses
  • 6 days cycling with luggage transfers
  • 86% paved, 14% unpaved (including some cobbled sections)
  • Mainly flat or downhill roads with some gentle hills
  • Self-guided holiday. Min age 14 yrs


  • Countries visited: Portugal

What's included

  • 7 nights 3 and 4-star hotels and guesthouses (see accommodation section)
  • Luggage transfers
  • Local bike hire
  • All breakfasts and 3 wine tastings

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (compulsory supplement)
  • Visas or vaccinations
  • Flights from London (available on request)
  • Lunches and dinners (available to prebook, please see additional expenses for more details)
Call for general departures:
+91 80 4213 6106
Call for tailor made trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.


Days of Cycling

Mostly on paved cycle paths or roads. The route is mainly flat or downhill with the occasional small climb.

Day by day breakdown
Day 246.0km/28.0miles
Day 348.0km/30.0miles
Day 453.0km/33.0miles
Day 533.0km/20.0miles
Day 636.0km/22.0miles
Day 734.0km/21.0miles

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 


Castro Laboreiro
  • Day 1

    Transfer from Porto to Castro Laboreiro; spend the night in a small hotel in a mountain village

    An airport transfer is included to pick you up from Porto airport (please ensure you arrive before 3pm). Driving from the coast into the Serra de Laboreiro mountains you will enter a tiny hamlet and your home for the night.

    Hotel Castrum Villae or similar

  • Day 2

    Cycle downhill towards Moncao, looking out for deer and wild horses

    A pleasant journey today as you cycle across the northern regions of the Gerês National Park; one of the last natural refuges in Portugal for wolves and golden eagles. Passing through silent villages you notice the traditional espigueiros, the granite maize stores on stilts. By the time you reach Monção, the fortified town on the River Minho, you will come to understand why the Portuguese are so proud of the fact that the Spanish were never able to conquer them. Upon arrival it is time to sample some of the local wine, a perfect end to your first day of cycling.

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 3

    Follow the River Minho towards the mediaeval town of Caminha; sample some of the local Vinho Verde that the region is famous for

    On this stage you pedal westwards, along the River Minho to the Atlantic Ocean. Your journey takes you through extensive vineyards dedicated to the production of Vinho Verde (translates as young wine) which is a slightly carbonated, lower-alcohol wine; the perfect drink for a warm afternoon! You can pick up a bottle at the elegant Brejoeira Palace, which is a leading producer of top quality Vinho Verde. Along today's route you will cycle past landmarks of the battles between Portugal and Spain, such as the 17th Century stronghold at Valença and the Vila Nova de Cerveira fort. That evening arrive in the elegant town of Caminha, located on the estuary of the River Minho, with a history dating back to pre-Roman times.

    Design & Wine Hotel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 4

    Cycle along the coast, with an option to stop to admire the Santa Luzia Church overlooking Viana; pedal inland towards Ponte de Lima

    Today you spend the morning cycling along the dramatic Atlantic Ocean coastline, through fishing villages that appear unchanged for centuries. Arriving in Viana do Castelo the peace and quiet is replaced by the buzz of this lively city, situated on the estuary of the River Lima. Viana has an impressive maritime history and the wealth created by this is demonstrated in the narrow lanes, crowded with Manueline manors and Rococo palaces. A must-see is the 19th Century Byzantine Santa Lucia Church on the hilltop overlooking the city, worth the steep climb for the breathtaking view. From here you cycle inland until you arrive in Ponte de Lima, the oldest village in Portugal. Your accommodation tonight is in a delightfully rural setting, and there is time to taste some of the wine and honey made on the estate itself.

    Quinta da Agra or similar (please note this accommodation is approx. 5km from the centre of Ponte de Lima)

    N.B. This hotel does not provide an evening meal service but a meal can be prebooked at a local restaurant (and a taxi can be arranged).

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 5

    Follow in the tracks of the ancient Santiago de Compostela route, cycle through cornfields and vineyards to Barcelos

    The ride today follows the ancient Portuguese route towards Santiago de Compostela, and whether you are religious or not, is a really special experience. It is a route that those who have walked it for centuries, do so knowing they will meet challenges, experience great joy, and learn the lesson of life. The pleasant route today is through cornfields and vineyards to the pretty town of Barcelos on the River Cavado. Barcelos is the centre of the pottery industry in Portugal. There are markets held in the town on most days and a visit to one of these is highly recommended.

    Hotel Bagoeira or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 6

    Enjoy an easy ride today back towards the Atlantic Ocean; finish in the seaside town of Vila do Conde, famous for its shipbuilding past

    The ride back to the Atlantic today is a short stage, so why not take some extra time to enjoy a great lunch the Portuguese way: a leisurely, several course meal that reminds you again why the Portuguese people are so proud of their cuisine. You arrive in Vila do Conde where you can enjoy a walk around the manors and palaces within the town centre, and take a leisurely stroll along the beach before dinner.

    Hotel Brazao or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 7

    Pedal along the coast on quiet cycle paths, approaching the UNESCO World Heritage City of Porto

    The last stage of your holiday takes you on quiet cycle paths along the coast; along sand dunes, and passing through fishing villages and a seabird reserve. You approach Porto, and enter via the estuary of the River Douro. A UNESCO World Heritage City and best European City destination for 2013, 2014, and again for 2017, Porto is considered one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. The old centre boasts more than 1500 listed monuments, and the history of the traditional Port Wine can be explored by visited many of the Port cellars which are open to the public and can be appreciated during the included Port tasting.

    Dom Henrique Hotel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 8

    End Porto

    Finish your trip in Porto and take a transfer back to the airport.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info




There are no specific health risks.

Eating and Drinking

A typical hotel breakfast consists of: toast/bread with jam,or honey, cheese and ham, served with coffee, tea, milk, orange juice, fruit, cake and yoghurt.

Portuguese people are very proud of their cuisine, and the deliciously fresh seafood is a real highlight. You will find fresh fish on most menus, usually sardines, sea bream, hake, sea bass and sole, cooked in a variety of ways. Bacalhau (cured codfish) is a national dish although it can vary depending on the region - there are up to 365 recipes to cook it! Caldo Verde (green soup) is made with potatoes, olive oil and salt, sometimes with garlic and onion, and is typical in the northern region of Portugal. For meat lovers the barrosã meat (steak) is often served grilled and roasted just to it's naturally delicious flavour. There are also several stew dishes to sample, delicacies being Tripas à Moda do Porto (tripe & white bean stew) and Rojões à Minhota (chunks of pork usually cooked with potatoes). 'Francesinha' is an iconic dish originating from Porto and involves layers of different meats (usually beef, ham, grilled pork, linguiça (smoke cured pork sausage) and sausage), between two slices of bread, covered by melted cheese and immersed in a spicy beer & tomato sauce, often topped with a fried egg and surrounded by chips. It is not for the faint hearted!

To drink you will find plenty of the local Sagres and Superbock beer. Vinho Verde is available from the supermarket and directly from the producers. It is a young, medium alcohol white wine with an almost carbonated quality. Port needs no introduction and a glass (or two) of the fortified wine will generally follow a hearty Portuguese meal!


Porto has a temperate maritime climate with a strong Mediterranean influence. The climate here is long, warm summers and mild winters, with most rain falling in the winter months, but possible in all other months. Seasons are marked, with pleasant temperatures in the spring, in the summer and in the autumn. Heat waves can push up temperatures occasionally. Summers are warmer and drier in the interior and moderated by the sea, as winters are cooler inland and mild by the sea. At Porto, the average maximum temperatures in August –the hottest month - is 25 degrees Celsius, and the average maximum temperatures in January –the coolest month - is 14 degrees Celsius. May and October have an average midday temperatures of 20 Celsius, and even April and November have an average midday temperatures around 17 and 18 Celsius.

Is this trip for you?

Cycling conditions
This is a self-guided cycling trip for those who like to cycle independently, but with back up to take out the hard work and planning. We arrange your accommodations, provide you with a map and route notes so that you can cycle at your own pace, while your bags are transported from one hotel to the next.
Activity Level: 2 (Leisurely/Moderate)
Please see the introductory pages of the cycling holidays brochure or our website for more important information on classification and grading.
Average daily ride: 42km (26 miles). There is also the opportunity to increase the daily distance by taking the slightly harder option - you can decide this on the day.
No. of days cycling: 6
Terrain & route: Mostly on cycle paths or roads. Whilst the majority of the cycling is on paved roads there will also be times you are cycling on cycle paths - these can be of mixed terrain and are sometimes affected by adverse weather conditions (i.e. they can get muddy). You will be warned at the introductory briefing if there are any sections of the route where you need to take extra care because of this. We would also like to point out that cobbled roads are included in our description of 'paved roads'; something you should take into consideration when booking.The route is mainly flat or downhill with the occasional small climb.
Vehicle Support: A representative will be there to meet you, make sure the bikes are all set up and will be on call throughout the trip should you need. You are also provided with a GPS device loaded with the tracks and a prepaid mobile phone for emergencies.

It is very common to keep pet dogs in Northern Portugal for guarding rural properties. Whilst on the cycle route, you may encounter dogs barking or running alongside your bike. In most cases, dogs are confined to properties for this trip.

It is important that you are happy reading maps and following route notes, we make these as accurate as possible and they are regularly checked. Where possible we stick to cycle tracks and quiet roads to make the journeys as pleasant as possible, however, on occasion we have to use busier routes.

As this is a self-guided holiday there is no group and no leader. There may be others on the same departure date as you, but you will not be organised together. The route notes contain an emergency assistance telephone number should you need it and in emergencies, the local representative is normally able to dispatch a taxi or pick you up themselves. They may wish to charge for this service.

Self-guided cycling holidays are a perfect option for families as they offer the freedom for you to take your holiday at your own pace. You can stop as and when you want and need, at the cafes and restaurants that suit your family and the sites that interest you. As a guide we have suggested that 14 years is the minimum age for this trip, but as it is self-guided and you will be leading your own family we will ultimately leave this decision up to you. The daily distances are all published in the trip notes along with a description of each days cycling so you have a good idea of what to expect. On this trip, children should be expected to ride on roads with traffic. If you have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact one of our experts. The principle idea is that these holidays can be as flexible as you like, with logistical support but no group or leader to dictate the daily activities.

Call for general departures:
+91 80 4213 6106
Call for tailor made trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.


Hotels and guesthouses

7 nights spent in an array of diverse and comfortable accommodations, chosen for their character and/or location. Highlights includean eco-friendly design hotel, a traditional seafront hotel in Porto with great views from the roof-top pool terrace and an ultra-modern design boutique hotel with a rustic-style restaurant featuring local produce.

Call for general departures:
+91 80 4213 6106
Call for tailor made trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

  • Reviewed July 2019
    Elaine Yip

    Great trip - each day was different

    The trip was very well put together going from the mountains to the sea. Each day was different in terms of terrain, scenery and for our trip, the weather too - we had all sorts but luckily, not real rain, only drizzle, but that added to the atmosphere. The trip notes could be improved as in places they were vague e.g. stop for lunch at the quaint cafe (what's the name of it?); you must visit the Our Mother's Church (where is it? which town?). Also on one of the days, on reading the trip notes, it recommended a transfer to a certain location but with no reason or details of how to arrange it. What actually would be great for all self-guided trips is for an online blog of some kind where other travellers can put in their experiences, their recommendations and tips. On this trip, one of the bridges we have to cross is closed and looks like it's closed for a long time, so it would be good to warn future travellers of this...we were helped by a kind Portuguese cycler who also needed to cross the bridge, and we followed him to find another route.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Finding a detour from the trip to an amazing, deserted castle in the forest...Castelo Faria near Barcelos. The smell of the Atlantic Ocean - it was amazing the first time we hit the Atlantic and then cycling along the coast on boardwalks and being able to stop off at the beaches.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    It was self-guided. But Francisco who briefed us on the bikes and trip was great. Half way through the trip my friend wanted to change her saddle from the hard one to a padded one and he was very accommodating.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Check out Castelo Faria near Barcelos, if you don't mind a detour that goes uphill.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    It was the first time using an electric bike. Literally changed my a leisure bike rider rather than serious one, it means I can choose more challenging cycling holidays with more hills and longer days. As it is, I'm pretty sure I would not have been able to do this holiday without an electric bike, despite the holiday being categorised as "Leisurely".
  • Reviewed October 2018
    Cath Marsh

    An epic adventure!

    An adventure around every corner, beautiful scenery, amazing food and a real feeling of getting away from it all. Met so many people walking their pilgrimage to Santiago which was amazing and made us feel part of something bigger than just a cycle trip. Some long days in the saddle and a good variation of surfaces to mix things up. The variation in landscape was also great. One day would be zipping down mountain roads listening to cow bells, the next mile would be in vineyards, another day you could cover plenty of miles along smooth cycle paths alongside the mighty Minho river looking across at Spain, the next bumping along cobbles and tracks in fragrant eucalyptus woodland or dodging joggers along the boardwalks next to the Atlantic. Awesome trip!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    * Cycling along the boardwalks trying to concentrate where you're going an not just stare at the Atlantic. * Saying Bom Dia to every pilgrim we passed. * The lovely welcome we got at our accommodation in Ponte de Lima * Adjusting to the hustle and bustle of Porto after the quiet countryside * Totally gorgeous food everywhere we went even if it was bread and cheese at lunchtime normally sitting in the shade of a stunning church. And most inspirational moment was the whole experience of staying at Solar de Serrade. Such a beautiful place - I didn't want to leave.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Self guided trip.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Yes! The bikes were top notch but I forgot to bring my own comfy saddle so was pretty sore for a few days. Make sure you do some training. There's some relentless hills to climb and if you go when it's hot you can run out of energy mid afternoon. Buy bread, cheese and drinks in the morning incase you don't find anywhere for lunch. Oh and make sure you eat plenty of Portuguese egg tarts, they're delicious!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Book the wine and dine package. We had a fabulous, intimate meal at Solar de Serrade washed down with their own Vinho Verde wine. Relaxing in the garden sipping wine after a long day in the saddle was just perfect. The meal in Porto at LSD restaurant was awesome also and thoroughly recommended. Both meals we were treated as extra special guests which made the whole experience even more special. We stayed an extra day at the end of the holiday in Porto to explore the city. The route notes were accurate and helped identify places of interest and the GPS was a bonus. We used both.
  • Reviewed July 2018
    Colin Rugg

    Beautiful Bike Rides and Fantastic Food

    This is a leisurely trip with some lovely rides in mountains, along rivers and by the coast. There are some nice little villages and quaint towns. The food and local wines were all superb everywhere I went.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Staying at the Solar do Serrade in Moncao was amazing. The people were so nice. I sat outside drinking one of their wines with the pleasure of knowing that the grapes were grown in the next field and picked by hand. The bottling was done in the building just behind me. Finding lovely little places for a drink and a snack, both on the route and at each destination. The riverside views were amazing.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    N/A, but the GPS was much easier to follow than I anticipated!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take it easy to enjoy the views and soak up the atmosphere. For my level of fitness the routes were short enough to give me plenty of time to stop and look around some of the towns and villages but I could still arrive at the next hotel early enough to explore that town too. You could get to the next place before lunch if you wanted to, but what's the rush? I found that most of the hotels didn't do an evening meal unless it had a specific attached restaurant. These hotels were Design and Wine in Caminha and Hotel Bagoeira in Barcelos both of which I found enjoyable. But in all the towns (even tiny Castro Laboreiro) there were plenty of places to eat and from my experience all good.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    You only get a short time with the local tour rep at Porto airport, so make sure everything is ok before you transfer to Castro Laboreiro, especially knowing how to use the GPS! But even if you get slightly lost its easy to find your way back to the route. Most days were easy cycling, there's just one day that has a couple of climbs of any note. Also, most of the route is away from traffic, on quiet roads and some of it on a shared path with pedestrians, but there are a couple of busy sections. I found the Portuguese drivers very considerate. Even when I was walking in town they stopped at crossings every time. If you've got time before or after the trip, take a train to Lisbon. I booked a 1st class seat in advance and got a ticket for 22 euros.
  • Reviewed September 2017
    Si Whitehead


    When from good roads tracks to very busy roads and poor tracks. The not so good roads /tracks out numbered the good ones ..not sure this was a exodus holiday .

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Cycling along sea
  • Reviewed April 2017
    Thidara Udomritkul

    A great way to see Portugal

    A truly fantastic trip passing through the Vinho Verde wine producing region. We started off in the mountains at 950m and ended in the colourful, historic and beautiful city of Porto at the end of our cycling holiday. The trip was a great way to see the rural life of Portugal and I would highly recommend this trip.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The most inspirational moment of the trip was staying at Solar de Serrade. It was incredible to see 18 acres of family owned vineyards with a friendly proprietor who takes pride in the wine she produces. We were able to witness a family run winery right on site, under 5 minutes away from our room. From seeing the growing grapes, to storage, to labelling the bottles and packaging them by hand - it made the experience feel very real and authentic.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    This was a self-guided trip and we found the GPS to be clear with directions. The route notes help to supplement the GPS with full written directions.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    My advice is below for any future travellers: - Rural Portugal properties all seem to have pet dogs! They barked as we cycled pass, but continue on cycling and it isn't an issue. - Quinta De Agra (lovely property) and Solar de Serrade don't provide evening meals - enjoy a night out in the historic nearby towns or opt for the Wine & Dine Package. - There are cobbled streets as you enter and exit towns and on some cycleways. This is something to bear in mind for the trip. - Bring cycling gloves due to the terrain

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I'm sure this is temporary but the city of Viana Do Castelo had major roadworks running through which affects the GPS. Cycle by the waterside, cross some roads and get to the bridge to exit the town of Viana Do Castelo (Day 4).
  • Reviewed October 2016
    Ceri Ashman

    Mountains to the sea, Potugal.

    From Castro Laboreiro to Porto. 6 days of cycling with stop overs at some wonderful Portuguese villages and towns, sampling the local cuisine and wines along the way. The scenery varied from picturesque mountains to coastal plains with cycle paths and rustic roads (cobbled surfaces so take padded shorts or saddle gel for maximum comfort). The hire bikes were excellent, Specialised Rockhopper 29s and all were fairly new. The transfers and baggage taxiing from hotel to hotel were faultless. One of the best cycling holidays we have had.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Cycling into Porto along the mouth of the Douro river. The cycle paths through the mountain woods opening out onto beautiful farmlands. Cycling along kilometers of wooden broadwalks along the Atlantic coast, watching surfers and seagulls. Vino Verde.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We self guided so my husband was the leader as he had the GPS. He was fairly average.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Just do it. This has to be one of the best ways to visit the northern region of Portugal on a more intimate level. The place was so friendly and hospitable.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The only downside was the lack of maps and minimal information in the route notes, I understand that this was a new holiday and route and I would expect that these items will be considered for 2017. Apart from this, the holiday was superb and thoroughly enjoyable.
  • Reviewed October 2016
    Norma Peace

    A Bumpy Ride

    This trip was obviously intended to give a range of scenery and experience. In practice, the descent from mountains to sea was rapid and we spent most of our time on cobbled roads and tracks through villages and vineyards. The hotels were varied, comfortable and interesting. It would have been of considerable help to have known which did not provide evening meals. A simple added note in the destination hotels section of the booklet would have warned us to eat, or collect food on the way and saved us some late night cycling in search of an evening meal. The kit provided was comprehensive and good quality except for the GPS of which more later. However, although mentioned in the trip notes, there were no maps provided and no first aid kit. We had considerable problems with navigation. This caused our days to be considerably longer than we expected and left little, if any time, for sight-seeing. We had bought maps before we went but found them little use because we did not know the route. It was a mystery tour. The GPS was not of sufficiently good quality to give a clear display. We are older people and perhaps our vision is not as acute as that of a younger person, but we are used to GPS and use it frequently. At every junction, and there were many, we had to stop and select our route by trial and error. All too often, we were in error and had considerable distances to retrace. Only one GPS was provided! and this is a point I made before we set off; that we should both have had one. I enjoy the navigation as much as my husband and felt considerably frustrated with my role as 'follower' Two heads would definitely have been better than one. At the very least, the provision of a map would have eased our problems. We had no directions on our GPS, to our last hotel in Porto. Fortunately I had taken co-ordinates for the hotels from Google Earth before setting off and this, together with a street map acquired in another hotel in the town, got us to our destination.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    We both enjoyed the run down the coast on the last day. On a bright , sunny, clear, warm day,the views were glorious and more importantly, there were no navigation issues.

    What did you think of your group leader?


    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The hotels at Monaçao and Porto de Lima do not provide evening meals although we were allowed to use the kitchen to prepare an evening meal at Casa do Barreiro, after a visit to the nearest supermarket. Bring a good pair of reading glasses.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Perhaps a simple guide to using the GPs might be useful for people not familiar with its operation. Exodus office have responded promptly to my enquiries and the travel arrangements with Authentic Trails in Portugal, went very smoothly. In the absence of any knowledge of Portuguese, I found that French was very useful for communicating with the older generation in the rural areas.
  • Reviewed June 2016
    James Boland

    Portugal: Mountains to the Sea

    Overall this is an amazing trip with many fantastic attributes, only spoiled by a lot of unseasonal rain prior to the trip (a bit during the trip) and a number of small points that could be improved in the organisation. However, these did not really detract from the overall trip experience,Th and my partner and I would not hesitate in recommending this cycling trip to others.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    My partner was in awe of the vineyards that we went through as we dropped out of the mountains, but I was inspired by the last leg from Vila do Conde to Porto, completely along the coast at the back of the beaches, sometimes along specially constructed boardwalks. Also the sections along the Caminho de Santiago de Compostela (in the opposite directions) had a 'spiritual' feel.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    N/A as self-guided

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    One word of caution, this trip was rated as 'Easy' and whilst most of it is, there are a number of off-road sections where the track is very steep and badly worn, and from our previous experience we would rate this as moderate. Bring good quality padded gloves as many roads are granite setts and a number of the tracks are constructed from stones. Also tag a couple of days on to your trip and enjoy Porto and the Douro Valley.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This is an amazing trip that could be improved further with a few minor improvements: 1) Directions to accommodation where it doesn't coincide with the day's finish 2) Mud-guards on bike 3) Panniers should be waterproof or dry bag provided.
  • Varied and fascinating cycling from remote Portugal

    This trip combines a great variety of terrains, villages, towns and cities with fantastic accommodation, equipment and food in one of the unexplored gems of southern Europe.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were a few climbs and each one felt very rewarding to get over, but the best feeling was probably after the second day of cycling when we made it to the sea (for the first time on the trip) and it was beautiful.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Bring sandals and shorts as you may need to cross a river while the cycles can get pretty hot. The map was slightly out of date when we were there so be prepared to keep checking it to know where to go! It was very easy to go off track but also very easy to get back on track. Look up the general route before each cycle and then if you go off route you'll be able to carry on and meet back with it soon. Get the Wine Tasting package in Porto, it was superb!
  • Reviewed May 2016
    Alice Bzowska

    Self-guided Cycling in Portugal - do it!

    This trip was just incredible, beyond words! The scenery that we cycled through was so varied, from vineyards to mountainous regions to the wonderful sea, and even though some cycles were tougher than I thought, I thoroughly enjoyed it. The accommodations that we stayed in were lovely, especially the 17th century farmhouse - it was probably the most beautiful and characterful place I have ever stayed in before. You really get a sense of the 'real' Portugal on this trip, miles and miles (literally and figuratively) from the beach resorts of the Algarve.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The most inspirational moment of our trip was when we rescued a kid (baby goat!) that had been stranded! The first couple of days were really deserted but it was wonderful to be alone and surrounded by such beautiful scenery, feeling like you had just stumbled upon hidden gems yourself. The oldest village in Portugal, Pont de Lima, was a highlight as it is very pretty.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Do the dine and wine package in Porto! A 4/5 course meal with a different glass of vino with each course, set in a stunning restaurant on the river - peaceful, great food and a lovely end to the trip.

Dates & Prices

An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.


What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.


2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.


3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.


 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 


Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

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