Portugal : Mainland Portugal

Cycling in Portugal: From the Mountains to the Sea

Trip code: C07MI 4.5 (13 reviews)

Self-guided cycling

7 nights,
hotel-to-hotel

Level: 2
Moderate

16.0Kg CO2e

Headwater
Navigation App

Optional
e-bike hire

SUMMARY

  • 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

WHAT'S INCLUDED?

  • 7 nights accommodation
  • All breakfasts
  • Bike fitting and briefing at the start of your holiday
  • Headwater navigation app
  • Bike hire included
  • Luggage transfers between hotels
  • 2 wine tastings in Ponte de Lima and Porto
  • Airport transfers

TRIP DESCRIPTION

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, self-guided, 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.

Terrain

86% paved, 14% unpaved (including some cobbled sections) mainly flat or downhill roads with some gentle hills.

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DAY-BY-DAY ITINERARY

 

Day 1: Arrive 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.

You stay at Converto dos Capuchos.

hotel details

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Convento dos Capuchos, Moncao

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This former monastery and mansion now offers accommodation with rooms set into refurbished monk cells, fitted with modern amenities. Hotel Convento dos Capuchos includes a spa, pool and a tennis court and is located above the Minho river.

Day 2: Moncao to Caminha (48km/29.8mi)

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.

elevation

You stay at Porta do Sol Center.

hotel details

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Porta Do Sol Center, Caminha

HOTEL WEBSITE      TRIP ADVISOR

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Hairdryer
WiFi
TV
Minibar
Aircon
Safe


This hotel offers views over the Minho River, the sea and Santa Tecla Mountain. Hotel Porta do Sol has 2 outdoor pools and gardens. The hotel presents designer rooms and suites with free Wi-Fi and balconies overlooking the river or mountain. Porta Do Sol’s panoramic restaurant provides a varied fresh breakfast and an à la carte menu of traditional dishes for dinner. Lunch is served at the bar and pool area. The spa offers a hot-water circuit, hot tub, sauna and Turkish bath. Massages and beauty treatments are also available.

Day 3: Caminha to Ponte de Lima (53km/32.9mi)

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.

elevation

You stay at Hotel Imperio do Norte.

hotel details

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Hotel Imperio do Norte, Ponte de Lima

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The Império do Norte Hotel is located in the historic and cultural center of Ponte de Lima, the oldest town in Portugal, in the heart of Minho. Its privileged location allows you to enjoy all the richness of this region, typical in its folklore, handicrafts and gastronomy, being one of the richest regions in Portugal.

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 which is situated in the valley of the River Vez which 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. Return to Ponte de Lima for a wine tasting and visit at the Interpretation Centre of Vinhos Verdes.

elevation

You stay at Hotel Imperio do Norte.

hotel details

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Hotel Imperio do Norte, Ponte de Lima

HOTEL WEBSITE      TRIP ADVISOR

Mastercard
Visa
AmEx
Hairdryer
WiFi
TV
Aircon


The Império do Norte Hotel is located in the historic and cultural center of Ponte de Lima, the oldest town in Portugal, in the heart of Minho. Its privileged location allows you to enjoy all the richness of this region, typical in its folklore, handicrafts and gastronomy, being one of the richest regions in Portugal.

Day 5: Ponte de Lima to Barcelos (33km/20.5mi)

The ride today follows the ancient Portuguese route used by pilgrim's on their way to Santiago de Compostela. Whether you are religious or not, it 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.

elevation

You stay at Hotel Art'Otel.

hotel details

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Hotel Art'Otel, Barcelos

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Located in the center of Barcelos, Art'Otel is a Boutique Guest House that works in a beautiful building built around 1937, at the beginning of the 20th century. Recently rebuilt, it offers unique rooms with different decorations, all with a private bathroom, a seating area and an outdoor patio.

Day 6: Barcelos to Vila do Conde (36km/22.4mi)

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.

elevation

You stay at Villa C Boutique Hotel.

hotel details

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Vila C Boutique Hotel, Vila do Conde

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Villa C Boutique Hotel is located on River Ave’s south bank, in Azurara. This 4-star property features a luxury spa and rooms with a balcony. In the contemporary guest rooms, Villa C Boutique Hotel provides flat-screen TVs and a minibar. Some rooms also have a spacious seating area. This boutique hotel features a restaurant, a bar, a spa and a gym.

Extra nights: Please contact us for details.

Day 7: Vila do Conde to Porto (34km/21.1mi)

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.

elevation

You stay at Hotel Porto Trindade.

hotel details

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Hotel Porto Trindade, Porto

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TV
Aircon
Safe
Tea/coffee


The very new Porto Trindade Hotel is located right in the traditional Porto City centre. The great location allows easy access to the main tourist attractions of the city.

Extra nights: Please contact us for details.

Day 8: Leave Porto

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

CHOOSE A DEPARTURE DATE

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These tour only prices are based on two people sharing. Single supplement from £308.

These flight inclusive prices are based on two people sharing. Single supplement from £308.

OPTIONAL UPGRADES
  • Flights from Gatwick to Porto with TAP Air Portugal
  • Other flights, including regional departures
  • Alternative flights, including regional departures
  • Electric bikes
TRAVEL DETAILS

Our aim is to provide holidays that are unbeatable for choice and flexibility. We've listed our most popular travel options below, however you aren't limited to these - we can tailor-make virtually any holiday to suit.

Air prices include our standard flights/transfers
Out: TAP Air Portugal Gatwick to Porto then transfer to hotel 1 hour 45 mins Return: Transfer to airport 20 mins then TAP Air Portugal Porto to Gatwick

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. We can also book UK shuttles to connect with your onward flight, please call for details and prices.

Standard transfers
Standard transfer is at 14:20 on arrival. Standard transfer on the return departs at 15:30

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).

To find out more about the travel options available call our sales team on 01606 720199, use our live webchat (we're open until 10pm today) or email sales@headwater.com

Should you require overnight airport accommodation, airport parking or even a uniformed chauffeur to take your car from your departure terminal and park it for you, we can arrange this for you through Holiday Extras. You can book airport parking, airport hotels and executive lounges through their website or contact us for further details. Early booking is recommended to obtain the best availability and prices.

REVIEWS

Very enjoyable, low fuss way to travel.

Amanda Shoobridge, 25 May 2024

 

Extremely well organised holiday, thoroughly planned and ideal level of detail. Great support structure and well timed updates for the trip with a superb app that contains all the details required.

Kate and her colleagues were always available to answer any questions we had and the local guides couldn't have been more helpful.

Really well maintained bikes and equipment and well planned routes through stunning locations with really good hotels at the end of each day.

Would absolutely recommend Headwater to others planning an activity holiday!

John Hawley, 20 Apr 2024

 

Overall we enjoyed our holiday but my wife especially suffered on the uncomfortable bike.

Pre-travel booking etc was very efficient. Navigation app is excellent though a power bank for your phone is essential to last the day. Hotels were adequate to good but breakfasts were overall a bit disappointing in both choice and quality.

Francis Mcgonigal, 16 Sep 2023

 

This is a self guided cycling trip in Northern Portugal. Bikes are provided and are good quality, although mountain bike tyres would have been a better offer as some of the off road routes are quite rocky. The hotels were of a good standard, The six days offered varied cycling largely off road. The first three days offered some lovely riverside routes; the coastal sections were less attractive and on the final day involved close up acquaintance with an oil refinery. Headwater offer a dedicated App for navigation which I chose not to use, as it would have drained my phone battery. Those with a Garmin will find that a better option.

REVELL, 3 Jun 2023

 

Great overall experience. The bike rides were a good length but left plenty of time for other things and the countryside was beautiful. The terrain was a bit unpredictable with occasional steep and dangerous sections due to loose stones mud and sand. It was the first time we had use of a GPS for cycling and it was a bit unclear at first. Clearer written instructions would have been helpful on the first day out of Moncão. On the final day it was disconcerting to have to push our bikes through sand dunes that have overwhelmed the boardwalk.

AUSTIN, 20 May 2023

 

An excellent way to visit the less touristy areas of Northern Portugal, cycling through countryside and coastal regions. our party of 4 had a mixture of E-bikes and normal bikes, and this worked out well. The GPS system was excellent, once we had all learned how to use it, but would ask Headwater to ensure that the agent provides a mobile phone mount for every cyclist, rather than one per couple. The circular route on the 3rd day, where we stayed in the same hotel for 2 nights, was a totally different terrain, and much too difficult for our aging party! However, the day spent in Ponte de Lima was very enjoyable. We added extra nights in Porto and Lisbon, extending the holiday to a wonderful 10 day break.

MCMANUS, 6 May 2023

 

Fantastic route with forest, rivers and sea, with historic villages.

Could have done with a complete support pack, tubes, brake pads as heavy rain caused punctures and brakes to wear quickly. The support team were great but would be useful to have back up kit at hotel. Great trip.

Ms Southgate, 10 Sep 2022

 

Excellent adventure and great way to get to know Portugal.

Ms Fefer, 9 Apr 2022

 

Generally the terrain was very rough and in places difficult without a mountain bike . Had it been raining we would have had to give up. We were initially given mountain bikes but we are too old to manage these and there were no panniers, which are promised in your literature. We chose to change our bikes to step through hybrid bikes without being informed that we needed mountain bikes to manage the ride.. A bit more guidance on local places to eat and interesting points on the way and how to get to them would have been good. The sat nav directions were excellent for route finding. The hotels were adequate , especially in the time of Covid and we felt safe. But they were not outstanding and rather lacked character overall.







Mrs HAMILTON, 5 Sep 2020

 

Good varied cycling both inland and by the coast. Lovely countryside, good wine and food

Mrs Hoare, 5 Sep 2020

 

This area of Portugal is beautiful. We had Ebikes (mountain) which was great as they were needed due to the terrain in some places. The cycle routes varied from cycle paths, brilliant, cobbles roads, okay, and forest/ river tracks, not the easiest but manageable as long as you didn’t want to see the scenery. The hotel in Monção is slightly out of the town and no food was available in the hotel. Plus no air conditioning and the beds were very hard. The bikes were fine but the panniers provided were very small so unless you wanted to carry a backpack there was little room for water and valuables. Mostly the directions were great, only minor detours! One bridge we had to cross was closed which the agent had not informed us of. Warning about crossing the bridge at Viana do Castelo would be good. The pedestrian foot path is too narrow for bikes. On whole the holiday was good as the food in the region is excellent. We enjoyed the wine and beer but the first 2 wine tastings were not great.

Mrs Campbell, 5 Sep 2020

 

Very enjoyable mix of holiday with cycling over varied terrain and geography and good amount and quality of relaxation in most interesting cities towns and villages.

Mrs Adamson, 10 Sep 2019

 

The general route of this holiday is very beautiful but, as has been said before, there are extensive cobbled roads and unmade sections which are uncomfortable for cycling and dodgy when wet. A significant part of the route follows the Camino de Santiago so we met lots of walkers going in the opposite direction on often narrow tracks.



Mrs Wallis, 15 Jun 2019

 


Self-guided cycling

7 nights,
hotel-to-hotel

Level: 2
Moderate

16.0Kg CO2e

Headwater
Navigation App

Optional
e-bike hire

7 nights from £1589

CHOOSE A DEPARTURE

Call: 01606 720199

 

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