Bicycling the Alentejo
Explore Portugal's south-central lands and west coast with undulating wheat fields, cork and eucalyptus trees, olive orchards and vineyards. As the western outpost of continental Europe, this region harmonizes centuries of ancient, Roman, Arabic, Medieval and Renaissance influences. Highlights include:
- Beautiful, serene historic hotels.
- Roman ruins, rural paradise and one of the most ancient towns in Europe
- Alqueva reservoir, one of the world's best places for stargazing
- Artisan centers of pottery, winemaking and marble work
***Extend this trip by 4 days and with our Cycling the Alentejo Plus! Costa Vicentina tour.***View Day-by-Day ItineraryHide Day-by-Day Itinerary
Day 1: Meet in Lisbon, Shuttle to Elvas
Highlights: Elvas and its medieval walls
After arriving in Lisbon, you'll take our mid-morning shuttle east to Elvas, a fortified city just a stone's through from the Spanish border. After a light lunch along the way, the tour leaders will fit bicycles, and lead a safety briefing, then it's off on a short loop ride around Elvas' impressive Roman Aqueduct, its well preserved 16th century walls, and its other fortifications. Tonight's hotel is built into the city's walls, and has a beautiful pool-a great spot to relax before or after your sumptuous welcome dinner.
Distance: 20km (12 miles). Meals: D
Lodging: Hotel São João de Deus
Day 2: Bicycle to Vila Vicosa
Highlights: Marble museum, historic hotel
Consider today's short ride down to the river a warm-up for the excitement of the days ahead! You'll pedal with views into Spain before turning west, riding toward Vila Vicosa through wheat fields and olive orchard dotted with cork-oak trees. This semi-arid region is one of the country's least populated, and is known for its agricultural production, though today's short climb ends at a town famed for its marble. The beautiful rose-colored Vila Vicosa marble can be seen everywhere in town-including the street pavers! You'll learn about its properties, history and the process of extraction on your guided tour of the marble museum and inactive quarry. This afternoon, you can log extra mileage, or give yourself in to poolside relaxation at your historic Pousada hotel, once a 16th-century convent.
Distance: 32km (20 miles). Meals: B, D
Lodging: Pousada de Vila Vicosa
Day 3: Bicycle to Monsaraz
Highlights: Alqueva reservoir, castles and fortified town of Monsaraz, marble museum tour
today you'll learn about the marble this area is famous for including its properties, history and the process of extraction on your guided tour of the marble museum and inactive quarry. Departing the rose-colored city, today's ride takes you south to the castle town of Monsaraz, which overlooks the Alqueva reservoir. The largest reservoir in Europe, this body of water straddles the Spanish-Portuguese border, and was designated in 2012 as one of the first Starlight Tourism Destinations for its ideal star-gazing conditions and exceptionally low light pollution. Enjoy dinner together tonight, then bask in the inky night sky.
Distance: 56km (35 miles). Meals: B, D
Lodging: Hotel Estalagem de Monsaraz
Day 4: Bicycle to Evora
Highlights: Ceramic town, medieval Evora
Today's ride to Evora includes a pleasant stop in São Pedro do Corval, a well-known pottery town where you'll have the opportunity to browse several workshops and visit with the artists who run them. Upon your arrival in beautiful Evora, notice how its Roman aqueducts and ruins blend with the Medieval walls and Renaissance churches. Inhabited for more than 2000 years, Evora is on the roster of most ancient towns in Europe and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You'll spend two-nights here which will allow you to take in some of its most notable sights.
Distance: 65km (40 miles). Meals: B
Lodging: Hotel Albergaria do Calvario
Day 5: Evora - rest day or optional ride
Highlights: Visit Evora, or take a loop ride to Azaruja
Today's optional ride leaves Evora along a towering aqueduct and serene bike path that leads to the heart of the Portuguese cork industry. We'll visit the factory where cork is transformed beyond bottle stoppers; you'll see purses, dresses, and business cards created from this amazing bark. This evening you'll enjoy a guided walk through the old part of Evora and a wine-tasting with the group.
Distance: 80km (50 miles). Meals: B
Lodging: Hotel Albergaria do Calvario
Day 6: Bicycle Evora to Central Alentejo
Highlights: Rolling hills of the Alentejo, olive oil and wine tasting
As you leave the city you'll pass through several small towns and the ancient castles that safeguarded them during the 13th century. Your rural destination for tonight is an expansive farm, raising goats and cork. As we get closer to the coast, the wide-open spaces become dotted with sea pines revealing the varied character of the Alentejo. Get ready for a hearty Altenjo dinner, with wine and olive oil tastings .
Distance: 89km (55 miles). Meals: B, D
Lodging: Hotel Monte das Faias
Day 7: Optional Ride to the Coast
Highlights: Rice field visit, loop to the Atlantic Coast and if the weather allows a picnic on the beach
Of all Portugal's regions, the Alentejo is the largest geographically and yet the least populated, as you'll discover as you pedal scenic stretches of peaceful roads between towns. Rolling wheat fields, scrubby cork trees, and the occasional flocks of sheep accompany you as a breeze cools your skin and your cadence settles into a comfortable rhythm. Your loop ride to the sea includes a delightful visit to learn about Portugal's turbulent rice growing history. Back on your bikes, the next stop is the beach! Enjoy a picnic and a swim though silky water. Today's ride is optional, so you might choose to relax in the Jacuzzi or next to the pool today. We're back together for a special dinner in Grandola tonight.
Distance: 99km (61 miles). Meals: B, L, D
Lodging: Hotel Monte das Faias
Day 8: Tour Ends
Highlights: Transfer to Lisbon or stick around and enjoy Beja
Your bicycling adventure ends today. Whether you have connecting plans out of Beja, or plan to take the 2-hour ExperiencePlus! shuttle back to Lisbon (schedule flights after 2:00P.M.). Boa viagem!
HighlightsRoman cities, Undiscovered roads, Olive oil and wine tastings, Portugal's historic Pousada luxury hotels, Marble museum, Star-gazing, The ceramics of São Pedro do Corval, Medieval town of Evora, Tapestries of ArraiolosKeep in Mind: We work hard to maintain consistency across all of our tours, but some trips have unique differences. Here are some things to keep in mind about this tour.
IncludesUse of a quality 27-30 speed bicycle; 7 nights' accommodation; 7 breakfasts, 1 picnic,5 dinners with wine; shuttle from and back to Lisbon; 2 wine and 1 olive oil tasting; two to three bilingual tour leaders; van support plus "The Usual""The Usual" (Included with every ExperiencePlus! tour)
Begin/EndElvas / Beja
Arrive/DepartLisbon, Portugal - Lisbon Portela Airport (LIS).
Total Distance441 km (272 miles)
Daily DistanceAverage 63 km (38 miles) per riding day
Rating201 Flat and gently rolling hills with 30 - 40 mile days. Two short steep climbs on two days.
TermsTerms & Conditions
Dates Price Single Supplement Notes Apr 18-25, 2015 $3595 $550 Space Running Out Book it Sep 22-29, 2015 $3595 $550 One Space Available. Join this welcoming group of cycling friends. Book it Oct 6-13, 2015 $3595 $550 One Space Now Available Book it
* We are happy to match solo travelers who would like to share a room with someone of the same gender. If no match exists, due to hotel pricing, we will charge 50% of the single supplement rate. This fee will be collected at the time of the final payment. If a roommate assignment is available this fee will be refunded at the conclusion of the tour.
Meals on Your Bicycle Tour
Information on how meals work on ExperiencePlus! Bicycle tours
- Meals on Your Bicycle Tour