Porto to Coimbra Self-Guided Cycling Trip Notes

Ways to Travel:
Self-Guided Holidays
Destinations:
Portugal
Programmes:
Cycling
Trip Code:
C09OP
Activity Rating - Leisurely/Moderate
Leisurely / Moderate

You are reasonably fit, enjoy the outdoors and are looking for some exercise. Some previous experience is preferable for activity based trips.

10 Days Flight Inclusive
10 Days Land only
Min age: 12

Trip Overview

You begin in UNESCO-recognised Porto, a beautiful mix of winding, mediaeval streets, impressive architecture and the serene Douro River, packed with brightly coloured rabelo sailing boats - it's also home to some world-famous wine cellars and we've included a port tasting for you in the afternoon. From here you'll head south, past sandy bays and beaches, to your luxury hotel in Furadouro right on the beachfront, before heading via the Aveiro Lagoon, to 'Portugal's Venice', Aveiro.

At a Glance

  • 9 nights hotel-to-hotel accommodation
  • All continental breakfasts and 5 evening meals
  • Management by your local Headwater-appointed agent
  • Route directions and maps
  • High quality bikes
  • Luggage transfers between hotels

Trip Highlights

  • Superb varied cycling: riverside and forest routes; beaches and sand dunes; charming cities
  • Taste wine in Porto's famous wine cellars and in the superb Bairrada wine region
  • Aveiro's Venetian canals; UNESCO-recognised Coimbra
  • Coastal and lagoon wildlife: pink flamingo, purple heron, kingfisher and sandpiper
  • 4-star hotels throughout in beachfront, town and country locations

Is This Trip for You?

Cycling Conditions
Classification
: Self-Guided
Activity Level: 2 (Leisurely/moderate)
Average daily distance: 31.4km (21miles)
No. of days cycling: 7
Terrain and route: The suggested cycle routes follow a mixture of dedicated cycle paths, which are either beside the road or separate from the road and 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.

Adult min age:
18
Child min age:
12
Child max age:
17

Itinerary

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 in Porto. After a briefing with our agent you can enjoy dinner on the Douro riverfront. (Staying at the Hotel Vincci Porto Vila Galé Porto Ribeira, Half Board Evening meal in local restaurant included)

    Meals included:
    Dinner
  • Day 2

    At Porto

    Today you could opt for a return cycle ride, taking you north of Porto and along both the Douro River and the ocean front, passing glorious beaches, the C16 castle of Sao Joao da Foz, Matosinhos - with some great seafood restaurants - and the Boa Nova Tea House which belongs to the Portuguese Masterchef's Rui Paula. If you'd rather spend the day exploring Porto, why not enjoy a stroll along the riverfront, wander the narrow, winding streets or explore the historic Ribeira district, a UNESCO World Heritage Site? We've included a port wine tasting and cellar visit for you in the afternoon, across the Douro, and for dinner this evening you can choose from a number of fine local restaurants. (Staying at the Hotel Vinicci Porto, Breakfast only)

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 20 km / 13 miles
  • Day 3

    Porto to Furadouro

    This morning, enjoy a relaxed ride along the Douro River's south bank, full of brightly coloured rabelo boats. You could stop for a tasting in one of the famous port wine caves before following an idyllic waterfront path from the Natural Reserve of the Douro Estuary - a great spot for birdwatching - to the Atlantic coast. Heading onwards, you'll pass some beautiful sandy beaches - perhaps stop for lunch in one of the seafront restaurants and relax on Espinho's gorgeous golden sands - before following a cycle path through pine forest to your beachfront hotel in Furadouro, where you'll enjoy dinner in the restaurant. (Staying at the Furadouro Boutique Hotel, Half Board)

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 30 km / 19 miles
  • Day 4

    Furadouro to Aveiro (Estarreja)

    Head south from Furadouro along the protected Aveiro Lagoon, one of Europe's last pristine coastal marshes and a haven for many bird species including plover and sandpiper - you can discover more about the area by joining the canal and paying a visit to the BioRia Interpretation Centre. It's then on to Salreu where you'll take a short train journey (10 mins - pay locally) to Aveiro, your home for the next two nights. There are plenty of good fish restaurants to choose from for dinner, within easy reach of your luxury hotel. (Staying at the Hotel Moliceiro, Breakfast only)

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 34 km / 22 miles
  • Day 5

    At Aveiro

    Aveiro is known as 'Portugal's Venice', with a picturesque network of canals weaving their way through the city, lined with grand buildings and former fishermen's houses and filled with gondola-style boats making their way leisurely along the water. Charming alleyways are lined with churrasquerias for lunch, while a bustling fish market takes place every day. Visit the impressive Jesus Monastery and Aveiro Museum, along with the beautiful cathedral which dominates the town square. (Staying at the Hotel Moliceiro, Breakfast only)

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 6

    Aveiro to Praia De Mira

    Cycle southwards today and visit the factory and museum of Vista Alegre, Portugal's oldest fine porcelain producer, based in Ilhavo, before crossing the Aveiro Lagoon to meet the ocean again in Vagueira. From here you head north to Costa Nova, home to a lovely sandy beach lined by colourful candy-striped houses, before cycling back to Vagueira and along the coast. Turning inland, you'll make your way to your 4 star beachfront hotel at Praia de Mira, passing fields of pears, lemons and strawberries en route. (Staying at Macarico Beach Hotel, Half Board, evening meal taken at a local restaurant)

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 33 km / 21 miles
  • Day 7

    At Praia de Mira

    Perhaps take it easy today and enjoy a day at a beach, relaxing on Praia de Mira's silky sands dotted with brightly coloured fishing boats and several beach cafes. Alternatively, follow a trail eastwards into lagoons and acacia forest, crossing the canals over New England-style bridges. This is a lovely route lined by iris and bright cistus and you're likely to spot kingfisher and blue heron, along with several good picnic spots! (Staying at the Macarico Beach Hotel, Half Board, evening meal taken at a local restaurant)

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 24 km / 15 miles
  • Day 8

    Praia de Mira to Curia

    Leave the coast behind and follow a cycle path inland through acacia forest, before passing farms and small villages on your way to the vineyards of the Bairrada region. Stop for a spot of wine tasting at the Quinta do Encontro before a short ride brings you to Curia and your 'Palace Hotel' set in 14 acres of gardens and parkland. (Staying at the Curia Palace, Half Board)

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 42 km / 27 miles
  • Day 9

    Curia to Coimbra

    Your final day takes you through vineyards to the Mondego River Valley. You'll cycle alongside farms and rice fields, following the river, with a final stretch through the Choupal Forest to arrive in Coimbra. There's so much to discover in this beautiful riverfront city, including the historic university with its spectacular Baroque library, the Museo de Castro, whose art collection in the Bishop's Palace is one of the finest in Portugal, not to mention the interest-packed streets and leafy plazas just perfect for exploring. We recommend spending extra nights here so you can enjoy the city to the full, including the markets, restaurants and lively fado bars! (Staying at the Hotel Vila Gale, Breakfast only)

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 37 km / 24 miles
  • Day 10

    Leave Coimbra

Accommodation

Hotels

We've picked some rather special accommodation for you including luxury 4-star hotels in art-deco and historic buildings in Porto and Aveiro respectively; a design hotel in Praia de Mira with a rooftop pool boasting fabulous ocean views, stylish spa hotels in Furadouro and Coimbra and a restored Belle Epoque hotel in Curia, set in 14 acres of private gardens and parkland. We've included five evening meals for you on this holiday and you're free to choose from some great local restaurants in Porto (night two), and also in Aveiro and Coimbra.

Where a single supplement is available, paying for a single will only guarantee a room for single use. It does not necessarily mean a twin or double room will be provided for sole occupancy.

Please note that a member of the group may be allocated a single room by default if the make-up of the group means there isn’t anyone for them to share with. Paying the supplement in advance is the only way to guarantee a single room.

Single supplements cannot be refunded retrospectively.

Single supplement from £405.00

Food & Transport

Eating & 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 & Seasonality

Weather Information

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

Joining Instructions

Alternative Air Travel
Alternative flights, onward rail to your holiday area, and connecting private transfers can be arranged from most UK airports.

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.

Transfers Details

Air-rail prices include our standard flights, onward rail and station transfers
TAP Air Portugal Gatwick to Porto 12:00/14:20 then transfer to hotel 20 mins Return: Taxi to station approx. 6 Euro payable locally then rail Coimbra-B to Porto Campanha 13:32/14:36 and TAP Air Portugal to Gatwick 17:50/20:05.

Standard transfers
Transfers included from Porto airport at 14:10, back to Coimbra station payable locally.

Location start:
Porto
Location end:
Porto

What to Take

Bringing Your Own Bike

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 off the price of the holiday, as specified above. You will be responsible for any extra baggage charges, please speak to our Sales team for individual airline fees. You will also be responsible for assembling and disassembling your bike as well as bringing along spare parts and any tools specific to it. 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 that 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 Bits

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.

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 we travel to wearing a helmet is already 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.

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 or small close-fitting daysack.

GPS Route Navigation

Ride with GPS logo

We've teamed up with RideWithGPS to provide our carefully researched and checked itineraries in a convenient format, similar to a car satnav, with turn-by-turn instructions all along your route.

Before you travel we'll send you everything you need to download your route notes and the free RideWithGPS app. It's available for iPhone and Android and the routes can also be used on any regular GPS device such as the Garmin Edge bike computers or Forerunner fitness devices. 

 For more details and to watch the demonstration video, please visit our GPS Route Navigation page.

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 25mph) assists your pedalling, allowing you to make molehills out of mountains. Cycle further, see more, have more fun. They are just perfect if you want to try 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

Passport

Portugal

All nationalities require a full passport that must be valid beyond the intended length of stay. It is your responsibility to have the correct personal documents and to obtain your own visa, if one is necessary, in accordance with the regulations of the country you are to visit. The information offered below is to help you with that process. We are not responsible for the actions of local immigration and customs officials, whether at points of entry or otherwise, and any subsequent effects.

Visa

Portugal

Visa regulations can change without notice: please check the current regulations in good time to obtain a visa if one is required.

Vaccination

Portugal

There are no specific health risks.

Travel health can often be something people forget about before going away, but a little preparation and knowledge can go a long way to help you stay fit and healthy while abroad.

The above information can change at short notice; as we are not qualified to answer all your questions about travel health we strongly recommend you contact your Medical Professional or a Travel Health Clinic at least 8 weeks prior to departure for up-to-date information. Please note: vaccinations that are routinely recommended to residents of the UK, North America or Australasia are not considered to form part of the travel health advice, and you should ensure these are kept up to date where necessary.

For additional information please visit: https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries

Insurance - are you adequately covered?

It is a condition of joining any of our holidays that you must be fully insured against medical and personal accident risks (to include repatriation costs and air ambulance or helicopter rescue services where appropriate). On arrival in destination for your trip, you will be asked to present details to your leader or local representative of your policy.

If you are resident in the UK we strongly recommend the Exodus travel insurance policy, this is specifically designed to cover all activities on your trip. If arranging your own policy please ensure that you are covered for all activities that are part of the trip, optional activities that you intend to take part in and/or on high altitude itineraries, that you are covered up to the maximum altitude of the trip.

Local Time

Portugal's Timezone:
Europe/Lisbon WEST (GMT +01:00)

Electricity

Portugal's Electricity:

European 2-pin plug. 

Money

Portugal's Currency

The national currency of Portugal is the Euro (EUR), with an exchange rate at the time of publication of approximately 1.2 to the UK£ and 0.9 to the US$.

Exchange rates are correct at the time of publication.

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 Tourism

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

Exodus Community

Join the Exodus online community

Don't forget to visit the Community area on our website. You can view the range of Exodus videos and podcasts, read trip write-ups which have featured in the national media and take advantage of some special deals on travel gear and equipment.

In the Community Travel Forum you'll find the Departure Lounge where you can discuss your trip with fellow travellers before you depart. When you get back from your holiday remember to upload your images to the relevant trip page on our website. This helps other people see what our holidays are really like and you'll be entered automatically into our monthly photo competition.

To make full use of the Community you'll need to join My Exodus. It's free, registration is simple and easy, so what are you waiting for?

Important Information

On all guided trips

Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely partake 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.

Although rarely enforced, by booking this trip you agree to section 14 of our Booking Conditions which clearly states that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these circumstances 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.

On all trips

In 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 you should call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary.

In an emergency, please contact our 24 hour out of hours service on +44 (0) 844 326 7041.

Every time that you travel abroad you should take the time to read the warnings in the essential information in the brochure.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers, and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately 2 to 3 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.

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; in order to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, as stated in our brochure, 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.

As fuel prices, airport taxes and exchange rates fluctuate, and airlines manage their rates to match demand, it is proving harder than ever to guarantee our Flight Inclusive prices. Although we endeavour to keep our website as accurate as possible, daily fluctuations mean that our Flight Inclusive price may be out of date. For accurate prices we recommend that you contact one of our Travel Experts, or your Travel Agent.

TRAVEL AWARE – STAY SAFE & HEALTHY ABROAD

 

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office and the NHS have up-to-date advice on staying safe and healthy abroad. For more on security, local laws, plus passport and visa information, see https://travelaware.campaign.gov.uk/

Keep informed of current travel health news by visiting https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/

Advice can change so check regularly for updates.

For all latest travel information about your holiday, please visit our Travel Safety Advice page.

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. Book with confidence: 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 monies paid to us for your trip are fully protected.

TRIP NOTE VALIDITY

These Trip Notes are valid from the "Current as" date on page one. They will occasionally be updated post booking and pre-departure; if there are any updates that significantly impact the inclusions or itinerary bookers will be written to separately. All customers will also receive a link to the most up-to-date version of the Trip Notes with their Final Joining Instructions pre-travel.