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.
Your hotels range from 3- and 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.
Please note: Cycling helmets are a legal requirement in Portugal for anyone using an e-bike.
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 Neya (breakfast included and evening meal in a local restaurant)
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 Neya (breakfast included)
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.
You stay at the Furadouro Boutique Hotel (breakfast and evening meal)
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)
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.
You stay at the Hotel Moliceiro (breakfast included)
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)
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)
During your holiday you stay at the following hotels. If you'd like to extend your time at any of these or, if you'd like to enhance your stay with an upgraded room, just let us know at the time of booking.
NEARBY:Located in the privileged location of Porto’s ribeirinha area and 15 minutes away from the airport, NEYA Porto Hotel embraces the Douro river edge. Along with the stunning view, guests will find the perfect retreat to escape routine. The hotel, which faces the Douro river, was a previously historical convent called the Madre Deus de Monchique convent. The building was refurbished while respecting the abbey’s original architecture and preserving historical artifacts.
NEARBY:Facing the beach just a 5km ride from the inland town of Ovar, the Furadouro Hotel is a chic and classy waterfront property with cutting edge design throughout. The spa facility is a nice way to reward yourself after a day on the bike, as is a good walk along the endless beach.
NEARBY:In the heart of Aveiro amid the canals and colourful boats (from which the hotel takes its name), the Hotel Moliceiro is a 4 star hotel in one of Aveiro's period buildings. Artwork on the walls, patterned fabrics and atmospheric lighting all add to the luxurious atmosphere. It is easy to walk out and explore the narrow streets and alleys that are filled with restaurants, and it makes an ideal base for exploring the town.
The Macarico Beach Hotel mixes nautical themes with contemporary design and is located on the beachfront of Praia de Mira.
If you'd like to extend your trip with extra nights at the start or end, or if you'd like to arrange a stop off point en-route, then we recommend the following hotels.
Owned by the same family since 1953, the 4 star Hotel Lisboa Plaza is an imaginatively designed hotel, just off the famous Avenida da Liberdade. All rooms have en-suite marble floored bathrooms, air conditioning, satellite television, direct dial telephones, hairdryers and mini-bar. The public rooms are elegantly furnished and there is a pleasant bar and dining room.
Everyone who goes on a Headwater holiday will be emailed a link to our post-holiday questionnaire where they can give us an honest assessment of all aspects of their holiday - everything from how quickly we answer the phone to how clean the hotels were - plus an overall rating and comments about their holiday.
Any feedback collected is posted to our website, so that people can make an informed decision based on past experiences before heading off on holiday. We don’t edit the reviews, the only thing we do is proofread them and alter any typos, where necessary, to ensure they are easy to read for everyone. All reviews will be published (except in certain extreme circumstances), and a member of the Headwater team will respond to any constructive criticisms/comments under the reviews, at their discretion. So, for the real tales, twists and turns of our holidays, look no further than the reviews from our previous travellers.
We had a fun week with our friends
despite the rather dull cycling!
Expected to be cycling around small fishing villages and cycle trails, was not expecting to be around built up and overcrowded seaside resorts.
Great trip. Loved Porto and glad we added two extra days to explore the city. Excellent choice of small friendly hotels in good locations. Enjoyed visiting a part of Portugal that is less travelled by British tourists. All felt very Portuguese. Interesting cycle along the coast, mostly on good cycle paths, passing through sand-dunes, pine forests and lakes. Some stretches arid and scrubby but it didn't take away from our overall enjoyment of the trip. Fantastic seafood and fish - not to mention Portuguese wines - throughout the trip. The cycle ride was mostly flat although the wind was (apparently unusually) blowing South to North for the whole trip so we were cycling against it. Great for the whole family. Perfect cycling weather as the sea mist didn't burn off until early afternoon so it was warm but cloudy. The sun came through just in time to hit the beach. Fabulous long beaches, partic at Praia de Miro, with great waves.
Travel arrangements with KLM were good - breakfasts in hotels very good - route Porto to Praia de Mira made for easy riding and wonderful and varied scenery and some fun coffee and lunch stops. Fewer places of interest to stop and visit than in France, although birdlife worth seeing.
Lovely holiday, we will travel with you again. It seemed expensive, but it probably wasn't for what it was, given the high quality of the bikes and especially of the hotels . which we loved but don't normally treat ourselves to!
Excellent first cycling holiday. Mixed experience with meal vouchers. Great group. Itinerary beautiful in some places.
This is our second cycling holiday with Headwater (Austria 2019) and accommodation and helpfulness of local agents was first rate. An issue with bike set up was swiftly resolved with an alternative style being delivered within two hours. Rating of cycling difficulty was accurate.
Impressed by ability of office and ground agents to put programme together within the very short timescale
We enjoyed our holiday. The logistics worked very well, the hotels exceeded our expectations, and the meals, especially those in the outside restaurants you chose, were outstanding. One possible,very minor, improvement, would be to reduce the volume, or simplify the content of information sent to us before departure. Many thanks to all involved.
Thank you for posting such a lovely review. Your comment regarding the pre departure information is currently being reviewed. Whilst we want to ensure that our customers have all the information required for their holiday we are actively looking at alternative solutions to reduce our carbon footprint. For example; Holidays with Ride with GPS may not require printed route notes and a geographical map.
We do hope that we will be able to welcome you on another Headwater Holiday in the not too distant future.
The cycle rating is very accurate, the bikes and equipment provided were excellent. We particularity enjoyed Porto, although unfortunately there was a lot of sea mist in the mornings at the time we were there affecting the views. In comparison to the three other Headwater cycling holidays we have enjoyed, this route was not as scenic or picturesque. The evening meals at local restaurants included in the holiday were all excellent. We arrived at Praia de Mira 'out of season' and struggled to find somewhere open for a lunchtime meal. The Portuguese people we met were all very helpful and friendly.
A very good trip. and we will return for more.
We really enjoyed our holiday in Portugal. Porto is a lovely city. The cycle routes were good, lots of variety and no hills ! The cycle through the lagoons was wonderful. Some of route dictions were not clear and we got a bit lost most days but we could use our iPhones to find ourselves. We thought the written directions were sometimes out of date and did not take into account new road layouts. We sometimes found we could not exactyidentify where we were on the map as there were not enough landmarks mentioned. The hotel locations were all superb and well chosen. All the breakfasts were first class. All the people we met were very friendly and helpful. We would recommend this holiday to anyone who enjoys cycling along flat land near the sea.
We had a fabulous time. This was the first time we have done a multi centred activity holiday and we will definitely do another.
An excellent combination of easy cycling and excellent sight seeing.Good accommodation and excellent food. Headwater customised a standard trip to meeting our timings and wish to amend the final destination.The local agent added a number of helpful suggestions which enhanced our enjoyment. At all times we felt support was on hand ---but we never had to call on it.
The organisation of all elements of this holiday was excellent and especially from headquarters who realised I had omitted to arrange the air travel; the guide at the start of the hoiday was clear about what to expect and very clear in giving information re- the GPS, but I am glad I also had paper back up since it is impossible to realise that the batteries are fully charged.
Stunning beaches, great hotels, generous, helpful people, the unseen Portugal
A well-organised holiday with generally good 4-star accommodation (one specific difficulty was dealt with promptly and efficiently) . The grading system was very accurate for first-time cyclists. Equipment provided, the local support and the initial briefing were also excellent.
Very enjoyable , good accommodation except for the hotel Porto Christal. This was a last minute change to the original tour. The location was not ideal and the food was terrible. There were a few hiccups starting with the meet and greet at the airport, which did not happen until we made several phone calls to the emergency contact but all problems were dealt with very courteously and all members of staff were extremely caring and helpful.
The Porto cycling trip was a brilliant holiday for the 4 of us - easy cycling through interesting countryside alongside the coast, great food and good accommodation. We were really lucky with the weather - blue skies all the way although the evenings were a little chilly and it was pretty windy at Costa Nova. As a bonus we saw flamingos and storks along the way! The only disappointment was building work going on next door to our last hotel which made sitting on the balcony a less than relaxing experience. But Headwater responded promptly to our concerns and we were treated to a couple of free bottles of wine to help make up for it, which was appreciated.
Excellent holiday. Easy cycling. Lovely scenery.Garmin makes a huge difference and avoids regular stops to review maps. Very good standard of hotels. Food in general excellent especially Restaurant in furadura. Furadoura and Praia de Miras bit busy and touristy but can easily escape on bikes. Aveiro is atmospheric with lots of good restaurants and cafes. All in all, great holiday
perfect cycling holiday for newcomers/occasional cyclists
All agency staff were terrific giving good tips for eating out and places to visit. The trips were well organised and the bikes were fine. Everything promised was delivered. It was nice to meet other people on the same trip and a good balance between your privacy and some interaction.
A good description of a one wheel cycle holiday for those not normally cycling. Lovely hotels. There could have been more 'human' contact from a rep. We received one phone call asking if we were ok but saw no-one from the Introduction until pick up time at the end. Had a good time though.
Very easy enjoyable cycling with no pressures. Lovely ocean views.
This was our third self guided cycling holiday with Headwater and the easiest to navigate using GPS. The bikes have 24 gears and are very well maintained with good support if required from local agents. The hotels are all fabulous with amazing food, we lost count of the number of Portuguese custard tarts we ate! The itinerary was well designed with a great start in Porto (Port tasting arranged) and a break mid week if desired in very scenic Aveiro. The cycle paths are amazing, very well maintained and mostly far away from roads and the route around the numerous lagoons and pine forests were uplifting. We would definitely recommend this trip, the cycling is easy giving time to admire the surrounding scenery with the Atlantic Ocean waves in the background.
Thoroughly enjoyed our trip.Especially the wildlife and scenery along the way.We also appreciated the food-the lovely fresh fish.We always felt welcomed by the hoteliers and local people.
We were very pleased to meet up with fellow Headwater travellers too.
This was an excellent holiday, easy cycling and great hotels. Local rep were very good.
This was our first cycling holiday and we will certainly travel with Headwater again. The GPS and route notes worked well together.
An excellent way for parents to holiday with teenagers: the right balance of activity, being together and opportunities for a feeling of solitude.
We thoroughly enjoyed our Porto Coastal cycling holiday and thought the organisation and planning was excellent throughout. The hotel accommodation was very good and the varied itinerary enabled us to explore both the interesting towns and delightful countryside of the region.
Terrific fun, with easy cycling in variety of scenery on generally good surfaces, although some were challenging. Nice people everywhere and two great towns in Porto and Aveiro. Mainly excellent food. Incidentally, you missed out our hotel in Aveiro from your survey above, which was by far the best all-round quality on the tour.
very enjoyable. standard of hotels excellent. scenery beautiful. We learned a lot about undiscovered parts of Portugal.
weather--service--hotels--people--could not ask for any better..this last ride we had gps on the bikes.but sometimes lost signal
A lovely part of Portugal to visit and a great holiday.
Cycling was mainly along flat cycle ways and quiet roads although some of the cycle track surfaces were a little bumpy. The hotels were a very good standard, meals, whether taken within or outside the hotels, were very good, especially the fresh fish dishes. Porto was well worth seeing and an interesting city. A bus trip to Costa Nova from Aveiro is worth doing to see the pretty painted houses. The cycle along the estuary and nature reserve was very enjoyable watching out for flamingoes and other seabirds and we were lucky to be doing this at low to half tide when the wading birds and lots of local fisherman, digging for cockles and clams, can be seen. On the beach at Praia de Mira we were lucky enough to see the local fishermen hauling in their nets full of sardines. The final cycle from Praia de Mira along the water canals was a lovely cycle too.
We enjoyed our holiday, hotels and food were good, people very friendly and helpful, not a particularly scenic route but pretty good for non-cyclist as very flat.
Wonderful way to see a country on a bike, real sense of achievement when you arrive at a new destination by bike. A fair amount of exercise - not too strenuous, but much better than sitting on a sunbed all week.
We cycled 5 out of 7 days. Joanna met us on arrival and got us on track. The trails were very easy to manage - the GPS was a superb tool. The scenery was magnificent, and we really saw the hidden Portugal. The cycle lanes were completely segregated from the roads and this made for a relaxed and peaceful experience. Each evening we arrived at our hotel to a warm welcome and our luggage in our room. The standard of all the hotels was extremely high and they were all in beautiful locations. The printed maps and route descriptions were also helpful, and the level of difficulty ultimate ascribed to the cycle was accurate.
An unforgettable experience travelling in rural Portugal, getting to see sights other holidays don't offer, off the beaten track, just the right amount of effort for cycling. Excellent choice of hotels, although not the best views! Very good help from rep and good support offered. Nice to know the baggage was taken care of although we arrived before it at one location and it was 5.30pm before they arrived! We could cycle the route at our own pace and felt secure in the knowledge that we were being taken care of and knew where we were going with very good instructions and maps.
Very well organised holiday - excellent helpful Portuguese reps looked after us well throughout. GPS was a very successful means of not getting lost en route. Hotels all good, although 2 out of 4 gave us rooms looking at blank walls. Some time is spent riding on roads, though we used footpaths where available, and there are dedicated cycle paths for the majority of the route. Some interesting coastal scenery. Riding through the lagoon wasn't as spectacular as we'd hoped as much of the the cycle path was rocky and potholed and you had to concentrate on the path surface immediately ahead to avoid falling, rather than enjoying the scenery and wildlife. All in all though, a very enjoyable holiday.
Good .Poor room in the hotel Carrie Porto small room small window looking across a narrow ally straight into a derelict building.This room should not be let in this state.
Dear Mr Mathias,
Thank you for taking the time to complete your post-holiday questionnaire. We were pleased to see you had a good holiday, although, we were sorry to read of your disappointment with the standard of room you were allocated at Carris Porto Ribeira. Since receiving your feedback, we have asked the hotelier to ensure they do not allocate this room to future Headwater customers. Whilst we realise this does not affect your holiday, we do hope it goes some way to show we take our customers feedback seriously. We would like to thank you for your continued loyalty and look forward to welcoming you on another of our holidays in the future.
Headwater Customer Service team
Thoroughly enjoyed my holiday on my first visit to Portugal. Excellent service from local reps. Great hotels. Ebikes fun. Delicious food, wine and port. Loved the routes.
The cycle tracks in Portugal were good and holiday would suit people new to cycling holidays
Excellent cycling along the Atlantic coast, lovely hotels, interesting area to explore. The Furadouro Hotel was outstanding - welcome, food, swimming pool, rooms all superb.
A very well organised holiday giving us the chance to visit places we would not have otherwise seen.
We enjoyed our cycling holiday but the weather was terrible which marred our experience. We also thought some of the cycling was a bit monotonous, going through residential areas, particularly at the beginning and would have preferred not to have had to get the train, although it proved invaluable in the end due to weather. The lagoon part was generally nice however towards the end, the path had completely disintegrated and the little bridge had been washed away. It certainly needed two people to carry the bikes down and across. We informed the guide at the end of the holiday. I dont think this holiday would be suitable for families in summertime as the roads get very busy and there were more roads than we had expectred. We thought the route tracking on the garmin was an excellent idea and the best part of following the route. Totally reliable. The hotels were all good though not all were properly equipped to accept bikes, namely the one in Porto and the Hotel Moliciero.
This was an excellent holiday. The cycling was along very flat routes down the beautiful Atlantic Coast and around the pretty lagoons. Porto and Aveiro were great places to have days off. The hotels were good or very good. We ate some delicious fish and everyone was very friendly and welcoming.
The pleasure of Headwater is that they do everything to make ensure your experience is exceptional - so it is!
You can be confident that our pricing includes all the standard requirements of your holiday and many additional extras. Always ensure that you are comparing like for like when booking your holiday.
This 7 night self-guided cycling holiday includes:
Hotel-to-hotel accommodation in a mix of hotels
All continental breakfasts and 4 evening meals
Management by your local Headwater-appointed agent
GPS route directions and maps
Headwater navigation app
High quality bikes
Standard transfers at the start/end of the trip (if booking inclusive flights)
Luggage transfers between hotels
Port wine-tasting day 2
Airport transfer to the hotel in Porto
Transfer the last day from Praia de Mira to Aveiro train station
How to book:
For further details, or to check availability, speak to our sales team on 1-800-267-3347 or click on the 'check availability' links below to complete our holiday enquiry form (we'll contact you at a time that's most convenient for you).
To enquire about this holiday, or for further information, call our sales team on 1-800-267-3347 or click on the 'Check availability' links below to complete our holiday enquiry form.
|4th Oct 2022||US$3149||Tour only: US$3149||Check availability|
|10th Oct 2022||US$3299||Tour only: US$3299||Check availability|
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Minimum group sizes
No minimum group size, however transfers are subject to at least 2 people (in total) booked on each departure.
This holiday is unsuitable for children.
Self-guided cycling Managed locally by Headwater appointed agent.
Every Tuesday from 4th Oct 2022 to 24th Oct 2023, for 7 nights. All dates are subject to availability, please contact us to check.
All continental breakfasts and 4 evening meals
It is possible to hire electric bikes for this holiday at a supplement of £134 per person. As these are available on a first come first served basis, we recommend early booking to avoid disappointment.
It is possible to hire tandem bikes for this holiday at a supplement of £100 per bike. As these are available on a first come first served basis, we recommend early booking to avoid disappointment.
Airport/station and luggage transfers are subject to at least 2 people (in total) booked on each departure.
Transfers can be arranged at a supplement from Porto airport at 14:10, and back to Aveiro station at 13:00.