Headwater - Porto Coastal Cycling

8 days
from
£1,429
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Leisurely
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Trip code: 
C07OP
Way to Travel:
Self-Guided
Activity:
Cycling
Min age:
12

It's a mystery how such a lovely region can be kept quite so secret, yet the coastline south of Porto and the Aveiro Lagoon make for some of the most relaxing cycling we've ever experienced. It's almost perfectly flat too, making it ideal for first timers.

Your holiday starts in Porto, where shuttered townhouses tumble downhill to colourful rabelo sailing boats cruising the Douro River and passing world-famous wine cellars. From here, you'll beach and bay hop south to your luxury beachfront hotel in Furadouro, before heading via the Aveiro Lagoon, home to pink flamingo and colourful birdlife, to Aveiro for two nights in a waterside mansion. Known as 'Portugal's Venice', this is where colourful moliceiro boats cruise along canals beneath tall palm trees, while alleyways are filled with tempting restaurants. Your final cycling stretch takes you back to the ocean to high sand dunes, meandering through pine and acacia forest, to Praia de Mira.

Highlights

  • Coastal cycling routes: beaches, sand dunes, lighthouses, colourful marinas and charming cities
  • Porto's famous wine cellars with wine tasting included; Aveiro's Venetian canals
  • Coastal and lagoon wildlife: pink flamingo, purple heron, kingfisher and sandpiper
  • 4-star hotels throughout in beachfront and city locations

Key information

  • 7 nights hotel-to-hotel accommodation
  • All continental breakfasts and 4 evening meals
  • Management by your local Headwater-appointed agent
  • Route directions and maps
  • High quality bikes
  • Luggage transfers between hotels
  • Port wine-tasting
  • GPS device

What's included

  • All accomodation
  • All continental breakfasts and 4 evening meals
  • Management by your local Headwater-appointed agent
  • Route directions and maps
  • High quality bikes
  • Luggage transfers between hotels
  • Port wine-tasting
  • GPS device

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (compulsory supplement)
  • Visas or vaccinations
  • Supplement for single traveller (includes single accommodation supplement)
Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
020 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.

5

Days of Cycling
Terrain:

The suggested routes mainly follow a mixture of dedicated cycle paths, either beside the road or separate from the road, and along some tracks.

Day by day breakdown
Day 220.0km/13.0miles
Day 330.0km/19.0miles
Day 434.0km/22.0miles
Day 633.0km/21.0miles
Day 724.0km/15.0miles

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

Porto
to
Porto
  • Day 1

    Arrive in Porto

    Arrive at your hotel where our agent will kit you out with your bike and run through the routes with you before a traditional dinner on the Douro riverfront. (Staying at the Hotel Vincci Porto, Half Board)

    Meals included: Dinner
  • Day 2

    At Porto

    An optional, return cycle route takes you north of Porto following cycle paths, first along the river and then the ocean. You'll pass beaches, restaurants, the C16 castle of Sao Joao da Foz, the fishing village of Matosinhos and the Boa Nova Tea House of the famous Portuguese architect Siza Vieira, which belongs to Chef Rui Paula (from the Portuguese Masterchef). Alternatively, relax in Porto for the day, strolling along the narrow alleys and along the riverfront. A port wine tasting and cellar visit across the Douro River is included in the afternoon, while your evening meal has been left free so you can choose from one of the many restaurants on offer. (Staying at the Hotel Vincci Porto, Breakfast Only)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 3

    Porto to Furadouro

    Take your time this morning, cycling along the south bank of the Douro River, where the rabelo boats line up along the quay. Perhaps stop for a tasting in one of the famous cellars before a glorious waterfront cycle path leads you from the Natural Reserve of the Douro Estuary, with its birdwatching hides, to the Atlantic coast. You exchange bays for beaches for the rest of the day, with many seafront restaurants to stop at for lunch. Relax on the sands at Espinho before hopping on the train (13 mins) to Ovar. For the longer route, continue cycling from Espinho to Ovar, making sure to visit the Parque de Bucaquinho. It's then flat cycling to your beachfront hotel at nearby Furadouro where you'll dine in the hotel restaurant. (Staying at the Furadouro Boutique Hotel, Half Board)

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 4

    Furodouro to Aveiro (Estarreja)

    Leaving Furadouro, pedal south along the protected Aveiro Lagoon past rickety pontoons, where plover and sandpiper tiptoe amid golden wattle and parrot feather in search of lunch. Hop on the train from Estarreja (14 mins, pay locally) or Salreu (another nearly 10km further on for those looking for a longer cycle) to the heart of Aveiro and your luxury mansion hotel. For dinner tonight you're free to choose from one of the many famous fish restaurants nearby. (Staying at the Hotel Moliceiro, Breakfast Only)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 5

    At Aveiro

    Aveiro is known as 'Portugal's Venice'. Alleyways are lined with churrasquerias for lunch, and gondola-style boats cruise below swaying palms on the latticework canals. The noisy fish market is a daily event, and the excellent museum is set in a beautifully preserved Augustinian convent. A short bus trip (30 mins) leads to neighbouring Costa Nova; streets of wooden houses are squeezed between the beach and the lagoon, painted in candy floss pink, summer yellow and sailor-blue stripes. (Staying at the Hotel Moliceiro, Breakfast Only)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 6

    Aveiro ro Praia de Mira

    The Aveiro Lagoon narrows as you cycle south today. Vista Alegre is Portugal's oldest fine porcelain producer and has a fascinating museum and factory in Ilhavo. Head for lunch in Costa Nova (extends the day's route by a round-trip cycle of 12km) if you wish. Next, cross the lagoon to meet the ocean again in Vagueira where oxen were once used to pull fishing nets up the beach. You then turn inland, pedalling past pears, lemon orchards and strawberry fields to your beachfront hotel at Praia de Mira with its inviting rooftop pool. (Staying at the Macarico Beach Hotel, Half Board in a local restaurant)

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 7

    At Praia de Mira

    A leafy trail leads east into lagoons and acacia forest this morning, and sun-dappled routes cross timber, New England-style, covered bridges spanning clear-water canals. Kingfisher and blue heron are common here, and bright cistus and iris splash colour along the route leading past several perfect picnic spots. Have lunch by the sea and enjoy a final paddle before dinner back at your hotel. (Staying at the Macarico Beach Hotel, Half Board in a local restaurant)

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 8

    Leave Praia de Mira

    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

Portugal

No visa required for British passport holders.

Vaccinations

Portugal

There are no specific health risks.

Eating and Drinking

Portuguese cuisine is wholesome, hearty, and rarely fancy and relies heavily on the use of different herbs and spices due to its Moorish influence. Fish dishes are more predominant in the south, although northern regions often offer delicious freshwater fish dishes.
The region is also famous for sticky desserts that use egg yolk. During the Golden Age (15C and 16C), the area was very rich because of all the treasures that were brought back from the discoveries of the New World. These riches paid for many convents. The nuns needed egg whites to starch their habits so they used the egg yolks in many gooey desserts that have curious names like monk’s breast and nun’s stomach.
The Alentejo is also a highly respected wine region. The Romans were the first to start cultivating vines here. You’ll find a whole range of different vintages to try en route, the best known ones include Roupeiro, Rabo do Ovelha and Antão Vaz (white) and Periquita, Trincadeira and Aragonez (reds), although many small family run vineyards produce their own versions as well. The majority of the wines served in Portugal come from this region. If you enjoy a very young wine, try Vinho Verde from the North. Calcos do Tanha from the Douro region is a good red wine as are Cozinha Velha, Esporão and Ma Partilha from Terra do Sado. Try one of the many excellent ports as a digestif.

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 between mid June and September.

 

Is this trip for you?

Cycling Conditions
Classification
: Self-Guided
Activity Level: 1 (Leisurely)
Average daily distance: 28.2km (17.8miles) Please note that these are the averages for the shorter walks , however on three of the days there  is the opurtunity to extend them.
No. of days cycling: 5
Terrain and route: The suggested routes mainly follow a mixture of dedicated cycle paths, either beside the road or separate from the road, and along some tracks.
Vehicle Support: This is a self-guided trip for those who prefer to cycle independently, but with our assistance to take out the stress of the logistics and planning. We arrange your accommodation, 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.

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.

As this is a self-guided holiday there is no group and no leader. There maybe others on the same departure date as you, but you will not be organised together. The routes notes contain a 24-hour emergency assistance telephone number should you need it and in emergencies, the hotels are normally able to dispatch a taxi or pick you up themselves. They may wish to charge for this service.

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
020 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

Your hotels range from 4-star hotels in art-deco and historic buildings in Porto and Aveiro respectively, to a chic designer property at Praia de Mira and a boutique spa hotel in Furadouro. We've included four evening meals and left you free to select from one of the many restaurants in Porto (night two), and also in Aveiro.

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
020 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.

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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]

Call us on 020 8772 3936