Day 1 – Castro Laboreiro
Standard starting day: Sunday*
Transfer by car from Porto airport to Castro Laboreiro, inside the Gerês National Park. As you are driven across the hills and mountains of the countryside, past extensive vineyards, you will observe small villages dotted here and there, like pieces of mosaic, on the distant hills. This is the land for recapturing your peace of soul; for leaving behind the hustle and bustle and stress of modern life. Without a doubt, cycling here will be sheer bliss. As we reach the Serra de Laboreiro mountains where you will spend the night before beginning your biking holiday, a hush descends over all as we slowly climb up to the village through forests of long-needled pines. This is a tiny hamlet with beautiful wind and watermills and just one old shop in the centre, the hub of village life, where we buy a few goods. That night, your accommodation is a large, old farmhouse with excellent facilities.
Day 2 - stage 1 – Castro Laboreiro to Monção
The first stage of your biking holiday is exceptionally beautiful, a pleasant downhill journey past the Spanish border, past a landscape of stark granite outcrops and few trees, across the northern regions of the Gerês National Park and into the land of the Serra de Peneda mountain range. The 72,000 acres of the Gerês National Park provide one of the last natural refuges for wolves and golden eagles. Don’t be too surprised if you come face-to-face with a deer or a wild boar! Continue cycling through totally silent villages where you will always find a kind person to help you find the road when needed. The community ovens where villagers gathered to bake their bread, some of them still in use, are fascinating. Particularly striking are the traditional espigueiros, the granite maize stores on stilts. By the time you arrive in Monção, the fortified town on the River Minho, you will understand why the Portuguese are so proud of the fact that the Spanish were never able to conquer them.
Day 3 - stage 2 – Monção to Vila Praia de Âncora
Today, you will travel eastwards, along the River Minho to the Atlantic Ocean. Your journey will take you through the demarcated Vinho Verde winemaking region and the vineyards that produce the dry white wine for which it is famous. Enjoy the elegant Brejoeira Palace which is still inhabited by the family, a leading producer of top quality Vinho Verde, and pick up a bottle of this wine for dinner. Along the route, you will cycle past landmarks of the battles between Portugal and Spain, especially the impressive 17th century stronghold at Valença and the Vila Nova de Cerveira fort. That evening, you will stay in Caminha, an elegant town strategically located at the estuary of the River Minho and whose history dates back to pre-Roman times.
Day 4 - stage 3 – Vila Praia de Âncora to Ponte de Lima
Cycling along the mighty Atlantic Ocean is an extraordinary experience, especially when the ocean is showing its friendliest face as you ride past fishing villages that appear unchanged for centuries. As you arrive in Viana do Castelo the peace and quiet is replace by the buzz of this lively city at the estuary of the River Lima. A must-see is the 19th century byzantine Santa Luzia Church on the hilltop overlooking the city.
From here you will cycle inland again, following the Lima river until you arrive in Ponte de Lima. The oldest village in Portugal, it is famous for its beautiful 24-arch Roman bridge famous and its importance to medieval pilgrims as they made their way from Porto to Santiago de Compostela. After arriving at your accommodation, a little outside the town, although you might be tempted to stop and enjoy the charming setting, we recommend that you first stretch your legs with a stroll around the picturesque city.
Day 5 - stage 4 – Ponte de Lima to Barcelos
Whether you are religious or not, following the medieval Portuguese route to Santiago de Compostela is a special experience. Possibly because one is so aware that this has been a pilgrims’ way for centuries and that so many have trod these paths with such fervour and dedication. It is a route that those who walk it still today, do so knowing they will meet challenges, experience great joy and forever learn the lesson of life. This is a pleasant, not complex, bike ride through cornfields and vineyards to the city of Barcelos on the Cavado river. The centre of the pottery industry, it is also of religious importance. You must visit the 13th century Mother Church. Every hour on the hour, you will hear the pealing of the church bells of the many parishes for which the city is famous.
Day 6 - stage 5 – Barcelos to Vila do Conde
Today you cycle back to the Atlantic, a sight we genuinely look forward to. This is a 35 kilometre-long stage, so you can take some extra time to enjoy a great lunch, the Portuguese way: a leisurely, several-course meal that again reminds you why the Portuguese people are so proud of their cuisine. Of the finest nature, it can only be made by those who genuinely worship the wealth of what the earth has to offer. Vila do Conde is famous for its shipbuilding past, as we can see by the replica of a ship used during the Discoveries and built here. The city centre is dominated by gracious manors and small palaces. The importance of its fishing harbour is not just evident in the port. That evening, you will enjoy a wonderful seafood dinner in the town and a leisurely stroll along the beach before you go to bed, refreshed by the sea air.
Day 7 – stage 6 – Vila do Conde to Porto
The last stage of your holiday will take you on quiet cycle paths along the coast, through a sea bird reserve, along dunes and across fishing villages. It is remarkable how hard these fishermen (and their wives!) work and even more their good spirits. You are approaching Porto and you will soon enter the city via the estuary of the River Douro. This city, famous for Port Wine past and present, is considered one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. A Unesco World Heritage City, its historic centre boasts more than 150 listed monuments. Still, as you meander on your bike alongside the River Douro, you cannot help but become aware of the gifts this city and this region have to offer. As we have said, a breath of calm, peace of the soul and a love of life.
Day 8 – Porto to Porto airport
Transfer to Porto airport.
End of the programme.
*For 2-3 people, to start in a different day of the week, a supplement fee applies. This fee isn't applicable to 4 or more persons
Wine experiences featuring 3 visits and tastings:
Day 2 & Day 4 - 2 Vinho Verde wine visits and tastings, at wine estates in Monção and Ponte de Lima - Vinho Verde wine region
Day 7 - 1 Port Wine visit and tasting, at a historic Port Wine cellar in Porto
Special Wine & Dine package with 2 dinners. Featuring:
Day 5 – Dinner at the hotel’s restaurant, with a 2-dish menu and wine, desert and a glass of Port wine – Barcelos
Day 7 - Gourmet dinner at Porto with four courses & wine
Picnic package. Featuring:
6 light lunch meals to carry on bike in riding days
E-Bike for 6 stages (subject to availability due to the limited number of E-Bikes)
Note: All additional activities, including wine tastings, shall be scheduled to take place at the end of the day, after cyclists arrive at their destination.
Included shared transfer from Porto Airport to the hotel in Castro Laboreiro
Departure time: 15h00 CET-1
*There is a surcharge of 60 Euros/person for a private transfer at the beginning of the tour. This surcharge is only applicable for groups of 2-3 people. This fee does not apply to groups of four or more.
Private transfer from the hotel in Porto to Porto Airport.
In case the customers want to stay longer at the same hotel or in other hotel in Porto, the transfer can be booked
for the last day of their stay. In that case, there is no extra transfer within hotels. The transfer can be to other location within Porto, instead of the airport.