On this nine-night, self-guided cycling holiday you'll enjoy wonderful, relaxed cycling along the idyllic coastline south of Porto and the beautiful Aveiro Lagoon, discovering two of Portugal's most important cities - Porto and Coimbra - and sampling some of the country's signature wines.
You begin in UNESCO-recognised Porto, a beautiful mix of winding, medieval 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. 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. Here, the latticework canals are overlooked by grand buildings and inviting restaurants, while pretty moliceiro boats sail leisurely along the water. Returning to the ocean you'll pass high sand dunes and fragrant pine and acacia forest, on your way to Praia de Mira, before heading inland to the Spa town of Curia in the Bairrada wine region, the home of Portugal's best Champagne-style wine - be sure to stop for a tasting! From Curia your final stretch takes you to Coimbra, Portugal's former capital and now a cosmopolitan university city. Explore its charming cobbled alleyways, bustling markets and wonderful architecture such as the 16th century aqueduct and the university's sublime Baroque library, perhaps rounding off with a traditional fado evening in one of the local bars.
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.
Please note: Cycling helmets are a legal requirement in Portugal for anyone using an e-bike.
Arrive at your hotel in Porto. After a briefing with our agent you can enjoy dinner on the Douro riverfront.
You stay at the Hotel Neya (breakfast at the hotel, evening meal included in a local restaurant)
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 16th century 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. For dinner this evening you can choose from a number of fine local restaurants.
You stay at the Hotel Neya (breakfast included)
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.
You stay at the Furadouro Boutique Hotel (breakfast and evening meal)
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.
You stay at the Hotel Moliceiro (breakfast included)
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.
You stay at the Hotel Moliceiro (breakfast included)
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.
You stay at the Macarico Beach Hotel (breakfast at the hotel, evening meal in a local restaurant)
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!
You stay at the Macarico Beach Hotel (breakfast at the hotel, evening meal in a local restaurant)
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.
You stay at the Curia Palace (breakfast and evening meal)
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!
You stay at the Hotel Vila Gale Coimbra (breakfast included)
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.
NEARBY:The Curia Palace is a lovingly restored 'Belle Epoque' building in the centre of the spa town of Curia. Set amongst 14 acres of formal gardens and parkland and with pool and spa facilities this is a wonderful place to relax.
NEARBY:One of the newest and most luxurious hotels in the city of Coimbra, the Vila Gale Hotel is a large riverfront property around a 10 minute walk from the centre of the city. The rooms are modern and spacious with every possible convenience. The hotel also has a spa with an indoor pool, hammam and gym, and by the riverside the large outdoor pool is also ideal for relaxing at the end of the trip. The grand public rooms on the ground floor are very high and light, with lots of glass making the building very light and attractive.
Room upgrades: Room with a View.
Extra nights: Please contact us for details.
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.
Great place to cycle if first time as most of the routes are very flat and easy to follow. Lots of local life and architecture to see en-route.
Enjoyable, well organised holiday with good local partner company. The equipment and navigation app were all good. We made it to every destination without mishap. Good hotels overall - only onecwas a wee bit belowvthe standards we were expecting. We would recommend Headwater and would be happy to use them again.
Cycling from Porto to Coimbra was an absolute delight. We started with an extra day in Porto which we would highly recommend. I wish we had added an extra day at Coimbra.
The cycles provided were excellent as were the gps maps. All but one of the evening meals were excellent, particularly the seafood at the restaurant at Praia de Mira. We have cycled with Headwater and Exodus on many occasions and always had a great experience. Porto to Coimbra is a relatively gentle cycle and could be enjoyed by anybody with average fitness.
We would highly recommend this holiday.
One final tip, always take your own cycle seat.
We have traveled with Headwater 7 times now. Once again we were very happy with the organisation and support we received. One day I had a flat tyre on my bike and we talked through the changing of it with the agent. He said someone would come to rescue us, but we fixed it ourselves so didn’t need help. The cycling varied between flat terrain down the coast and undulating through the countryside.
The cycling was generally on flat terrain, the last couple of days involved use of the gears, which made a welome change. Some of the cycle days could be a bit boring with long straight roads or tracks without a change of scenery. We hit Portugal at the height of the heatwave, but it was possible to complete the rides in the morning avoiding the heat of the day. The beach stay In Praia de Mira was most welcome, a dip in the cool sea was refreshing.
Most if the Headwater holidays we have done before had the Headwater rep situated locally, we missed this service. Our initial briefing took place in a hot underground car park, delivered at a rate of knots with only verbal information for the whole trip. We saw nothing of the local reps after the initial meeting. However, the luggage transfer was excellent with our bags always there before us.
The hotels were of a good quality. The Palace Hotel in Curia was disappointing as the air con didn't work and the food wasn't great.
A lovely holiday with the right balance of activity and relaxing moments with an interesting and varied style of accomodation. The luggage transport between hotels was excellant. This holiday offers seaside and city, countryside and beach and the food oppportunities are memorable.
It was a good experience mostly flat cycling except for a few inclines at end with some good sights to see. We enjoyed the Port tour and tasting.
The routes were well chosen, cycling along quiet roads and paths, passing through small villages, nature reserves, other unspoilt landscapes and agricultural areas. The bird life on and around the rivers and lagoons was fascinating, the wild flowers and trees lovely. From time to time there were views over the Atlantic ocean. There was plenty of time to stop for coffees and generally enjoy the ambience. The detour to Costa Nova was most enjoyable. The holiday timetable was perfect for us. The hotels were excellent. All in all a fab holiday.
Overall we were very pleased with Headwater and the holiday in Portugal.
Our holiday was however spoil by the cancellation of our outward flight at short notice by easyJet. This was overcome by the very quick and effficient service of Headwater in finding alternative flights outbound with TAP from Gatwick. We were very pleasantly surprised at the support Headwater provided late at night the day before we were due to travel and efficient reaction to the situation.
Return flights to Bristol necessitated a hire car from Bristol to Gatwick but we do not hold Headwater in any way at fault for this
In terms of the tour ouronly areas for comment would be:
We found three parts of the route where road/ rail works meant the app was not accurate. Do the local reps check accuracy of the app?
The hotel at Curia disappointed as the Spa facilities were unavailable , the outdoor pool area being dialapidated & the pool water very unwelcomimg!
Overall the holiday was excellent.
Very well thought out and planned holiday with materials (detailed maps + descriptions + garmin, once I had read the clear instructions on how to turn it on to the relevant route,) provided excellent. We would have appreciated the detailed written routes accompanying the maps to have included place names
Lovely area to visit with excellent hotels and support. Only weakness is very poor standard of app based guidance which is fine if you just want a car-like sat nav experience but it fails completely to provide any useful background information on the places being visited or passed en route. Much lower quality than the excellent written notes which Headwater used to provide. To be fair, if all you want is to get from A to B on your bike on the prescribed route, they are absolutely fine.
This was our first Headwater holiday. We really enjoyed it. The scenery was diverse. The routes were interesting. The bikes, though heavy, served us well. The routes were easy to follow and the gps worked well. The weather in early October was fantastic - warm and sunny. Curia and Coinbra suffered from early morning mist which made the mornings cool. Evenings also made a Jumper advisable. Only issue we had was with the Mecarico Hotel where our upgraded room was directly opposite the building work which was no more than 20 feet away. We also had some difficulty in finding our way from the train station at Porto to the Metro. There are no signs. The escalators were not working. The Metro Route is route E. It was not operating a direct service. We had to change at Musica although we stayed on the same platform. Portuguese people were really helpful and friendly. Food was good and relatively inexpensive
Another great holiday with Headwater, our first time outside France. Easy cycling often on cycle paths.
First time in Portugal , loved the people and the country would definitely like to return . The cycling was fairly easy ,even for over 70's .
Good itinerary with high standard of accommodation. Requests were noted. Appreciated upgrades with bath in 4 of the hotels. Restaurants for evening meals excellent. Enjoyed having time for sightseeing.
A great (mainly flat) ride with wonderful cycling past the Atlantic Ocean and, as always, interesting hotels and meals.
Following the maps provided for the days trips was hard as there was insufficient information on them. The places signposted on the route did not appear marked on the maps. That is the only grumble we have otherwise it was very well studied and planned. Good.
A very good holiday ,well organised and covering an interesting area of Portugal. Bikes were very good and we appreciated the port wine tour and the wine tasting sessions that had been arranged.
We had a very good time and were very happy with the planning, accommodation, itinerary etc.
Great hotels. Very good food,easy cycling and we had magnificent weather. Met very friendly locals.
Headwater offer a quality experience, using excellent hotels, good bikes and gauge the difficulty of the cycling very well...well done Headwater!
Wonderfully tranquil cycling by the lagoons, and through forests. A great holiday from start to finish - very relaxing!
A great introduction to Portugal away from the Southern tourist areas.The cycling was just far enough to deserve the evening meal but not exhausting .Hotels varied and swimming pools excellant.
lovely trip cycling mainly on flat coastal cycle paths visiting interesting places on the way Porto, Aveiro and Coimbra, a real relatively undiscovered part of Portugal overall a great holiday would highly recomend
Slightly tarnished by the poor weather (which obviously you have absolutely no control over!) but felt we couldn't fully appreciate the scenery/picnic opportunities etc
Very enjoyable holiday
This is an interesting journey with some urban routes in Porto and fairly flat and varied tracks along the coast. The pace is relaxed with well spaced optional rest days. The local reps. were very efficient and helpful if you have any problems. We would strongly recommend adding an extra night at Coimbra, which is a most interesting city, and a visit to the old University there. The Sat Nav was very useful.
Great holiday - excellent cycling on cycle tracks along the coast and inland around lagoons teeming with birdlife. The hotels were all of a very high standard and a great choice of local restaurants when we weren't eating in the hotel. A full briefing by the agency rep before we set off and maps, directions and Garmin all provided, including suggestions for coffee stops and lunches. the best cycling holiday we've ever been on.
Fabulous locations, cycling mainly flat through breathtaking scenery, varied and unspoilt landscapes.
Fantastic holiday, great service from Headwater at home and at destination.
Hotels were all superb
Cycling was good although couple of the routes were bumpy and hard going (saddle wise!)
The wine tasting was a highlight!
The bikes were very robust and trustworthy.
A small group of us have been taking a cycling holiday together for 15 years, This was by far and away the best, the food, the hotels, the people, the cycling and the scenery combined it to make it a wonderful experience. We will be recommending to our friends.
Portugal is an amazing country for cycling, lots of dedicated cycle paths, incredibly friendly people, quiet roads, beautiful scenery. The Porto to Coimbra trip had varied cycling, most of it very easy on flat surfaces. It was a nice mix of coastal cycling and countryside cycling, and every day was different. A couple of days the cycling was on roads, but these roads were never too busy, and in general the motorists were polite and aware of cyclists.
We found Nuno, the local operator from A to Z bike tours especially helpful, but we've also had a good experience with Headwater in Italy. The riding was mostly very flat and easy, but we hit a heatwave at the end, so maybe that was just as well. Porto is fantastic and Aveiro is nice, but the rest day in Praia de Mira isn't needed and it's not a very beautiful or interesting place. Neither is Furadouro. In fact we enjoyed riding through villages and nature reserves much more than along the coast, which is quite developed. We loved the hotel in Curia most of all, because the building is so unbelievably beautiful, it's like stepping back in time. Coimbra is also interesting and worth spending an extra night. We dealt with the heat by starting early and arriving at our destination for lunch.
We really enjoyed the trip and were completely satisfied.
Lovely holiday - the northern Portuguese seemed very friendly and welcoming of tourists.
We have always found Headwater to be a most professional company in their approach and this holiday proved to be the same. However, due to both of us coming down with a nasty cold virus virtually from day one, we also found a caring and flexible company in the Local Agent who offered helpful suggestion's and bike transfers on bad days. Now in our September, years this was important and will bring us back to Headwater in the future.
Everything was well thought though, GPS, local mobile and bike equipment. Very relaxing and enjoyable holiday
Very positive experience.
Interesting series of landscapes/urbanscapes travelled.
Excellent birdwatching along the way.
Very good hotels selected.
Our 9 days on the Porto to Coimbra cycling holiday was overall a very enjoyable experience. For those who are not regular cyclists, the first 4 or 5 days, the cycling is along very quiet cycle tracks and mainly flat. The weather was not especially favourable for the first half of our stay, but good cycling temperature. On the other hand, it only rained on the day off and not for long, or at night. We were near the Atlantic coast most of the time, so we didnt get to see the beaches bathed in warmth and sunshine. We cycled along a lot of lagoons and saw flamingos which was exciting and one of the other couples doing the same holiday, was an avid birder and apparently crossed off most of the birds on his list.
Porto is a charming town and the first restaurant that Headwater booked us in for our first evening meal was terrific. Furodouro, the 2nd night's accommodation, hasnt that much to offer, apart from a nice beach and a most welcoming Manager and a lovely indoor pool. The accommodation itself is very
light and spacious.
Aveiro is also a pleasant town, a miniature Venice. The reception recommended a fantastic fish restaurant on the opposite side of the canal, called Mare Cheia, very regional. Excellent hotel, and next door to the Art Nouveau Museum, which is a bit quirky.
The Macarico Hotel in Praia de Mira has a lovely pool on the rooftop. The restaurant, for which you are given Vouchers is good, once you know how and what to order. Not many of the waiters speak English.
The Curia Palace Hotel is extremely grand though not quite as luxurious in its features as we have become accustomed. However there is a huge pool and on the other side of the pool wall, a field with fairly tame fallow deer. The hotel dates back to 1926 and is very much a heritage hotel, with swing music playing in the background at breakfast which is held in a vast ballroom or banqueting hall.
The last hotel in Coimbra is very modern, and you virtually have your own personalised lift. We encountered the only mosquito of the whole trip there! Lovely pool, and it is about a 20 minute walk to the train station, and probably less up to the main part of Coimbra.
The weather and the scenery improved vastly once we headed away from Mira. There are some quite steep hills on the last leg to Coimbra, but we saw electricity pylons layered with nesting White Storks.
The website does not make it clear that a lot of the cycling is in built up areas ,which was disappointing and unlike our many previous Headwater holidays.Although all the hotels ,apart from the one in Curia ,were outstanding, I would not recommend this area for cycling.
We've done several similar cycling holidays in Europe and this was up there with the best.
Excellent holiday. The bikes were quite heavy but the cycling was flat and the electric bike was modern and excellent.
We enjoyed this holiday, it was well-organised with a good variety of hotels and easy cycling on great bikes. The Ride with GPS App, which we had never used before, worked very well and kept us 'on track'. We liked the contrast between the urban environments of Porto, Aveiro and Coimbra and the coastal stops at Furaduoro and Prairie de Mira. Curia was an experience in itself, a real step back in time. The food was good throughput and we especially enjoyed the local restaurant at Praia de Mira and a tapas bistro called Dux Taberna Urbana (recommended by the hotel reception) in Coimbra. We found the people very friendly and helpful everywhere we went.. Some of the cycling is a bit dull, but this is to be expected in a flat coastal area and we found it more interesting when we turned inland. There may well be more birds and w ildlife in the spring and early summer. However we were lucky with beautiful September sunshine all the way and It was interesting seeing the different ways in which life works in the different areas, especially the fascinating the way of netting fish in Praia de Mira. I would recommend ladies to consider taking a gel saddle cover as despite some long cycles on unmade tracks I did not experience any lasting discomfort. The upgrade to a sea view room at the front of the hotel in Praia de Mira was definitely a good idea, we loved sitting on the balcony in the sun overlooking the sea. One night would not be enough in Coimbra, there is so much to see.
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 9 night self-guided cycling holiday includes:
Hotel-to-hotel accommodation in a mix of hotels
All continental breakfasts and 5 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
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.
|2nd Oct 2022||US$3199||Tour only: US$3199||Check availability|
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|2nd Apr 2023||US$3349||Tour only: US$3349||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 Sunday from 2nd Oct 2022 to 22nd Oct 2023, for 9 nights. All dates are subject to availability, please contact us to check.
All continental breakfasts and 5 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 £134 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, back to Coimbra station payable locally.