Arrival in Castro Laboreiro
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.
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.
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. Dating back to Roman times when it was the principal port for the north of Iberia, Viana’s impressive history includes that of its merchants who supplied the naval provisions for the ships that took part in the Portuguese discoveries during the 16th century and later built the ships that sailed to Newfoundland for codfish. With their wealth, they built the numerous stately town houses whose architectural beauty is a hallmark of the city. A must-see is the 19th century byzantine Santa Luzia Church on the hilltop overlooking the city. This will take some climbing, but the reward is a breath-taking view.
From here you will cycle inland again, following the River Lima 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 8.
Around the picturesque city. The next morning, you will be able to sweeten your breakfast with the finest honey from the bees on the estate.
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 River Cavado. 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.
Today you cycle back to the Atlantic, a sight we genuinely look forward to. You can take some extra time to enjoy a great lunch: 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.
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 1500 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.
Departure or extension
From the mountains to the sea mainly downhill, after that there are some daily ascents to overyome. Asphalted paths, agricultural pahts and Ecovias (typical Portuguese cycle paths also on natural soils). These stages are not a problem for regular cyclists
- Accommodation as already mentioned
- Breakfast buffet
- Detailed travel documents 1x per room (German, English) with route maps, route description, local attractions, important telephone numbers
- Luggage transfer between the hotels (one luggage piece per person)
- Transfer from Porto Airport to the hotel and back
- Rental bike
- GPS-data is available
- Service hotline
Arrival / Parking / Departure:
- Porto airport
- Parking on request
Things to note:
- Tourist tax,if due, is not included in the price.
- Further important information according to the package travel law can be found here!