Self-Guided Cycling in Portugal: Mountains to the Sea

8 days
from
£1,125
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Cycling
Suitable for:
Age 14+
Activity level:
Leisurely / Moderate
Activity Rating - Leisurely/Moderate
Trip code: 
C07MI
Way to Travel:
Self-Guided Holidays
Activity:
Cycling
Min age:
14

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. You cycle 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.

Highlights

  • 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
  • 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.

6

Days of Cycling
Terrain:

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

Day by day breakdown
Day 248.0km/30.0miles
Day 353.0km/33.0miles
Day 445.0km/28.0miles
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… 

Itinerary

Moncao
to
Porto
  • Day 1

    Transfer from Porto to Moncao

    An airport transfer is included to pick you up from Porto airport (please ensure you arrive before 2.10pm). By the time you reach Moncao, 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 there is time to sample some of the local wine.

  • Day 2

    Moncao to Caminha

    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 Valenca 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.

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 3

    Caminha to 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.

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 4

    Day 4: Ponte de Lima-Ponte da barca - Arcos de Valdevez loop

    Cycle along the Lima river to Ponte da Barca. The town's historical centre has a number of manor houses (some of which have been adapted to provide accommodation for tourists), as well as some beautiful monuments dating from the sixteenth to the eighteenth century. The route continues to Arcos de Valdevez, a town is situated in the valley of the River Vez and still retains much of the typical charm of the Alto Minho province - luxuriant green landscapes and the traditional architecture of its buildings, amongst which the most impressive are the manor houses. The municipality of Arcos de Valdevez is located inside the boundaries of the Peneda Geres National Park, where nature still conserves all of its original charm.

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 5

    Ponte de Lima 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.

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 6

    Barcelos to Vila do Conde

    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.

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 7

    Vila do Conde to 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 visiting many of the Port cellars which are open to the public and can be appreciated during the included Port tasting.

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 8

    End Porto

    Leave Porto

    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

Visas

Vaccinations

Portugal

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!

Weather

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).
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 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.

Families
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.

Accommodation

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

Be the first to post your review! If you have recently returned from an Exodus adventure and want to help other travellers with your feedback then simply use the link below to post your holiday review.

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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