Current as of: May 25, 2024 - 13:52

Porto Coastal Cycling

Porto Coastal Cycling Trip Notes

  • Ways to Travel: Self-Guided Holidays
  • Destination: Portugal
  • Programmes: Cycling
  • Activity Level:

    1 out of 7 - Leisurely

  • 8 Days: Flight Inclusive
  • 8 Days: Land Only
  • Ages: 18+
  • Trip Code: C07OP

Trip Overview

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.

Please note: Cycling helmets are a legal requirement in Portugal for anyone using an e-bike.

At a Glance

  • 7 nights hotel-to-hotel in 4 star accommodation
  • Management by your local Headwater-appointed agent
  • E-bike hire available on request (supplement applies)
  • GPS Route directions
  • Headwater navigation app

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

Is This Trip for You?

Cycling Conditions
Classification
: SelfGuided
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.

Group

As this is a self-guided holiday there is no group and no leader. Your luggage is transferred and route notes and maps are provided. The route notes contain a 24-hour emergency assistance telephone number. In emergency, the hotels are normally able to dispatch a taxi or pick you up themselves. They may wish to charge for this service.

Adult min age: 18

Itinerary

C07OP map

Land Only

  • Start City: Porto
  • End City: Porto

Flight Inclusive

  • Start City: London
  • End City: London

Land Only Itinerary

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 (included in a local restaurant).
You stay at the Hotel Vila Gale (breakfast included and evening meal in a local restaurant)

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 16th century 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. Your evening meal has been left free so you can choose from one of the many restaurants on offer this evening.
You stay at the Hotel Vila Gale (breakfast included)

Distance covered: 12mi (20km)

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.
You stay at the Furadouro Boutique Hotel (breakfast included)

Distance covered: 19mi (30km)

Meals included: Breakfast

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.
You stay at the Hotel Moliceiro (breakfast included)

Distance covered: 21mi (34km)

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 to 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.
You stay at the Macarico Beach Hotel (breakfast at the hotel, evening meal at a local restaurant)

Distance covered: 21mi (33km)

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.
You stay at the Macarico Beach Hotel (breakfast at the hotel, evening meal at a local restaurant)

Distance covered: 15mi (24km)

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 8
Leave Praia de Mira

The tour ends after breakfast in Praia de Mira.

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation

Hotels

Porto Coastal Cycling

We’ve picked some rather special accommodation for you including luxury 4-star hotels in historic buildings in Porto and Aveiro; a design hotel in Praia de Mira with a rooftop pool boasting fabulous ocean views, and a stylish spa hotel in Furadouro. We’ve included three evening meals for you on this holiday and you’re free to choose from some great local restaurants in Porto (night two), Furadouro and also in Aveiro.

Single supplement from £ 328

Food & Drink

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 & Seasonality

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.

 

Weather Charts

Porto Coastal Cycling

Joining Instructions

Alternative Air Travel
Alternative flights, onward rail to your holiday area, and connecting private transfers can be arranged from most UK airports. If you would like to use one of the many ‘low cost’ airlines, we can book these on your behalf (£30 admin fee per person). We can also book UK shuttles to connect with your onward flight, please call for details and prices.

Alternative transfers
If you require alternative transfers (because you will be arriving at a different time to our standard flights), then we can usually arrange these for you (there may be an additional charge).

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers will be sent to you as part of our Final Joining Instructions. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

Location start: Porto
Location end: Porto

Transfer Details

Air-rail prices include our standard flights, onward rail and station transfers
TAP Air Portugal Gatwick to Porto 11:50/14:10 then transfer to hotel 20 mins Return: Transfer to station 50 mins then rail Aveiro to Porto Campanha 14:02/14:36 and TAP Air Portugal to Gatwick 17:55/20:05.

Standard transfers
Transfers included from Porto airport at 14:10, and back to Aveiro station at 13:00.

What To Take

If you prefer the familiarity of your own bike, you may, of course, bring it along. Please advise us at the time of booking and you will receive a discount on the price of the holiday, as specified above. You will be responsible for any extra baggage charges, please speak to your sales representative for individual airline fees. Please note, this does not apply to trips within the UK, for which local bike hire is not included.

You will also be responsible for assembling and disassembling your bike as well as bringing along spare parts and any tools specific to it. It is also your responsibility to ensure your bike is roadworthy and suitable for the type of cycling undertaken. If in doubt, the model of local bike hire available should act as a guide and details of terrain, ascent and descent are available both in the itinerary and in the ‘Is this trip for you?’ sections. Our cycling team only carry the relevant spares for the hire fleet. Any clients bringing their own bike should ensure they have adequate cover for loss, damage or theft under their travel, home contents or a specialist insurance policy. If Exodus is confident we have taken all reasonable care to ensure the safety of your bike, in the rare event of loss, damage or theft, you will need to claim under your own insurance policy.

Extra bike accessories

You may like to bring your own pedals and saddle (excluding the seat post) or gel saddle cover to fit to the hire bikes. We encourage this, if it is your preference. However, please note that you are responsible for your own equipment, and removing your saddle/pedals at the end of the trip. We cannot guarantee the return of any bike parts left behind.

Recommended Cycling Clothing

Padded cycling shorts (with loose ‘over-shorts’ where recommended), breathable clothing, and a lightweight waterproof/windproof top. Shoes with relatively stiff soles are better for biking, but are not essential unless you are cycling long distances. Most people want to carry certain items with them during the day while cycling, for this we recommend a large bum bag (fanny pack) or small close-fitting daysack.

Exodus Policy on Cycling Helmets

Wearing a helmet is mandatory for anyone taking part in any guided Exodus cycling holiday. Group members must bring their own helmets, as they are not available for hire, even if they are hiring a bike from Exodus.

For self-guided cycling holidays wearing a helmet is highly recommended. Customers who choose to ignore our advice do so entirely at their own risk and on the understanding that it may affect the validity of their travel insurance. It should also be noted that in some countries, wearing a helmet is a legal requirement.

Cycling of all kinds has its dangers and accidents can happen from time to time. Please ensure that you are properly prepared for the riding you are going to undertake.

Local Bike Details

A quality local hire bike is included in the overall price of our cycling holidays. At the time of booking we will take your height in order to reserve equipment. There may on occasions be insufficient bikes available in the correct size; we will endeavour to find suitable alternative equipment but this cannot be guaranteed. We will tell you before you book whether suitably sized bikes are available.

Conditions 

1. The equipment remains the property of the supplier and you may not sell, hire out or part possession with the equipment.
2. You must not misuse the equipment and must return it in the same condition as when received (ordinary wear and tear excepted). The supplier is entitled to charge for any damage caused to the equipment during the period of hire.
3. You must ensure that the equipment is adequately secured when not in use. In the event of the equipment being lost or stolen, you may be liable for the replacement value of the equipment
4. You must not use the equipment whilst under the influence of drink or drugs and should immediately notify the Supplier in the event of breakdown or loss.

E-Bikes Available

Electric bikes offer all the thrills and healthy exercise of a regular bike, but with one crucial difference – power! A tiny electric motor (capped at 20-25mph/32-40kph) assists your pedalling, allowing you to make molehills out of mountains. Cycle further, see more, have more fun. They are perfect if you want a trip with companions of differing fitness level – or a trip at a slightly harder grade – and want to know there’s a bit of motor power available if you need it.

Reading List

Lonely Planet – Portugal

The Rough Guide to Portugal

Practical Information

Visa

Portugal

Travellers from the UK, US and EU normally do not need a visa to enter Portugal. Please note, visa requirements often change and it is your responsibility to obtain any required visas for this trip. Therefore, we recommend that you check with the nearest embassy or consulate of your chosen destination(s), including any countries you may be transiting or transferring through.

Some local governments provide guidance on what visas their citizens need. To help, we’ve gathered a selection of useful links below.

• Australia: www.smartraveller.gov.au/destinations/europe/portugal
• Canada: www.travel.gc.ca/destinations/portugal
• United Kingdom: www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/portugal/entry-requirements
• USA:  www.travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/Portugal.html

Vaccinations and Health

Portugal

There are no required vaccinations. However, you may want to consider vaccinations for tetanus and rabies. Please confirm with your doctor or travel clinic.

Local Time

Portugal's time zone: Europe/Lisbon (UTC +01:00)

Electricity

Portugal's electricity: Plug types C (two round pins, European standard) and F (two round pins) – 230V, 50Hz

Porto Coastal Cycling

Money

Portugal's currency: Euros (EUR)

ATM Availability

ATMs are widely available, but we recommend taking some Euros cash with you in case you can’t get to a bank at the start of the trip.

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

Important Information

Your safe participation 

When booking this trip, you should be confident in your ability to participate in all activities described in these Trip Notes. If you have any doubt about your suitability, please call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary. 

Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely take part in an activity, or their impact on other people’s enjoyment, we authorise them to take necessary action which, in some circumstances, may involve asking someone to miss that activity. 

By booking this trip you agree to our Booking Conditions which clearly state that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these rare instances we will ensure anyone sitting out is safely provided for and offered alternative options where possible. Refunds will not be provided for activities missed and customers may be liable for additional costs incurred. 

How to Book

  1. Check availability: Go online to check availability, or contact us by phone or email.
  2. Secure your place: You can provisionally hold a place on this trip, usually for between three and seven days.
  3. Complete your booking and payment

When you’re ready to book, go to our website for online bookings, book over the phone or you can complete a booking form (available online or on request by calling us). We accept all major credit and debit cards, or you can pay be cheque.

After booking

You will receive your booking confirmation letter and invoice, which includes extra information and guidance about your travel arrangements.

Full joining instructions, including local emergency numbers and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately two to three weeks prior to departure. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier, please contact our office or your travel agent.

Trip Note validity

These Trip Notes are valid from the “Current as” date on page one. They will occasionally be updated after booking and before departure; if there are any updates that significantly impact the inclusions or itinerary, customers will be written to separately. They will also receive a link to the most up-to-date Trip Notes with their Final Joining Instructions before travelling.

The information in these Trip Notes is given in good faith. Where differences exist between the Trip Notes and our current brochure or website, the Trip Notes supersede the brochure and website. All holidays can be subject to unexpected changes; to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, it may not be possible to follow the itinerary as planned. This may be for a variety of reasons – climatic, political, physical or other. In these circumstances we will make the best-possible alternative arrangements that maintain the integrity of the original itinerary.

Licensing

Exodus is fully licensed and bonded as a tour operator. We hold Air Traffic Organisers Licence (ATOL) number 2582, issued and bonded with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are also bonded to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and we are members of the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) and ABTA – The Travel Association. This means you can book your Exodus holiday with confidence, as all money paid to us for your trip is fully protected.