Cycling the Portuguese Camino

Cycling the Portuguese Camino

Pedal along the rivers, coasts and valleys of Northern Portugal while learning about the characters and cities that in the 12th century founded the country we now know as Portugal. Explore the UNESCO World Heritage sites of Coimbra, Porto and Ponte de Lima and cruise along the Douro, Minho and Lima rivers - both on our bikes and by boat. Take the time to taste and savor the gastronomic specialties of the area. With 3 wine regions along our route and a blend of fresh seafood, hearty stews and modern day gourmet there is something for all tastes.

Our route criss-crosses the Portuguese Camino and crosses into Spain on the last few days to land in the historic port town of Baiona. Along the way we follow in the footsteps of royalty such as Queen Isabel of Portugal who in the 13th Century was on this same pilgrimage, we’ll touch on both the coastal way and the traditional interior route to reach the enthralling towns of Barcelos, Ponte de Lima and Baiona, Spain. A generous dose of Southern Europe's hospitality and lifestyle makes this a unique bicycle tour in an undiscovered part of Europe.

If you want to extend this tour all the way to Santiago de Compostela, check out our 12 day bike tour on the Portuguese Camino Plus! Santiago.

Tour Dates & Prices

Date
Price
Private Room Fee
Note
Jul 10-18, 2018
USD$4150
USD$550
Sold Out! Wait List Available.
Jul 24-Aug 1, 2018
USD$4150
USD$550
Join Travel Expert Norie Quintos
Aug 28-Sep 5, 2018
USD$4150
USD$550
Space Now Available.
Jun 11-19, 2019
TBA
TBA
 
Jun 18-26, 2019
TBA
TBA
 
Jul 9-17, 2019
TBA
TBA
 
Aug 27-Sep 4, 2019
TBA
TBA
 

* 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 private room charge. This charge will be collected at the time of the final payment. If a roommate assignment is available it will be refunded at the conclusion of the tour.

Trip At-A-Glance

  • Length / 9 Days
  • Avg. Distance / 51 km (32 miles) per riding day
  • Difficulty / 201
  • Countries / Portugal, Spain
  • Price / From USD$4150
  • Tour Summary
  • Daily Itinerary
  • Map
  • Reviews
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Tour Summary

Daily Ride Summary

Distance

1 No cycling today.
2 40 mi / 64 km
3 24 mi / 39 km
4 34 mi / 55 km
5 15 mi / 24 km
6 40 mi / 64 km
7 21 mi / 34 km
8 48 mi / 77 km
9 No cycling today.
  • Highlights
    UNESCO Towns: Coimbra, Porto, Ponte da Lima and Santiago, Douro, Minho and Lima River Valleys, Salt Flats of Aveiro, Cycling Portugal's Northern Coast, Spanish Oysters, Historic Port of Baiona, Spain
  • Includes
    9 days, 8 nights’ accommodation; 5 dinners with wine, 8 breakfasts; visit to Salt Factory, Porto wine tasting, city guided tours as described in the itinerary

    The Usual (Included with every ExperiencePlus! tour)

    • Superb tour leaders who are fun, bilingual and avid cyclists.
    • Help with flights, trains and pre/post tour hotels.
    • Comfortable lodging in 3-4 star hotels. 
    • All breakfasts and at least half of your dinners.
    • Use of a high quality 27-30 speed bike.
    • Full van support to carry luggage – and tired cyclists, too! 
    • Special events like wine tastings, cultural visits and chocolatiers.
    • All tips and gratuities at tour hotels and group meals.
    • Unique routes, marked with our famous chalk dust arrows.
    • Daily mileage options.
    • Detailed route map and free use of our traveling resource library.

    What's not included:

    • Transportation to and from the bicycling tour including airfare, or train travel
    • Helmets - we ask that you bring your own to ensure the best fit
    • Meals not listed in the itinerary
    • Tour Leader gratuity

    See the complete list of what's included with every ExperiencePlus! Tour.

  • Countries
    Portugal, Spain
  • Begin/End
    Coimbra / Baiona - with shuttle to Vigo
  • Arrive / Depart
    Lisbon / Santiago de Compostela or Vigo
  • Total Distance
    356 km (221 miles)
  • Avg. Distance
    51 km (32 miles) per riding day
  • Difficulty
    201
    Varied terrain with some short climbs on some days.
  • Terms
Daily Itinerary

DAY 1: Meet in Coimbra

Highlights: Stay in a renovated 18th century palace, UNESCO World Heritage Town

Meet the group in Coimbra, Portugal - an easy train ride from Lisbon, and explore the streets that Afonso I, king of Portugal once walked. It is rumored that he was born in Coimbra and it is certain he was buried here in 1185. Arrive early to explore the historic center of this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Our hotel in Coimbra is located slightly out of town but its a perfect setting to begin a tour steeped in history and mythology. This historic country estate features beautiful grounds and was the site of a tragic 14th century love story between lady-in-waiting Inês de Castro and Prince Pedro. This is where we meet for our bike fitting and first dinner.

DAY 2: Bicycle Coimbra to Aveiro

Highlights: Ride along the Mondego River, Explore the Aveiro canals

Exiting Coimbra you'll follow the bike path along the Mondego River this morning. Our route takes you through the small towns of the interior as you head north to Aveiro on the shore of Aveiro Lagoon, which empties into the Atlantic Ocean. Enjoy a stroll along the riverfront or explore the city's famous network of waterways with a canal cruise. Don't miss out on trying the famed Fios de Ovos de Ovar pastries.

  • Distance: 40 mi / 64 km
  • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
  • Lodging:

DAY 3: Pedal the salt flats and the coast.

Highlights: The history of salt, beachfront hotel

Visit a local salt factory to learn about salt's integral history in the economy of this region as well as to learn about products that are made today. You'll have a close-up view of the source as we pedal the salt flats before jumping on a short ferry ride along the Ria de Aveiro, an estuary teeming with wildlife. (Keep your eye's peeled for flamingos.) It's easy to see how water conquered land and shaped the towns in this area. The numerous oxygenated lagoons provide the seaweed that is sold to pharmaceutical companies, and is another important income source for the local economy. The small resort beach town of Furadouro provides good seafront cafés and restaurants. There will be plenty of time for a dip in the ocean which is only a short distance from our hotel.

DAY 4: Bicycle to Porto through small towns

Highlights: Explore the interior, a scenic boat ride on the Douro River into Porto

Transition from oceanfront cycling to small roads and towns in the interior of Portugal on your bicycle ride to Porto. Seventy percent of the Portuguese population lives near the ocean so as you turn just a few kilometers from the coast small villages dot the landscape like isolated islands. We'll navigate these rural roads connecting these towns to end the day on the banks of the Douro River. From here, you'll enjoy a relaxed boat ride on the beautiful Douro River as we cruise into the lovely city of Porto. Make sure to spend a little time this evening at the Ribiera, Porto's lively waterfront, steps from our hotel.

DAY 5: Loop ride or explore or rest day

Highlights: Explore Porto, Pilgrim's passport

Today you decide: a nice loop ride on bike paths and through Ponte Luiz, explore the Douro by boat, take a scenic tram ride, or explore the intricate historic city streets of Porto. If you stay in town, don't miss a visit to the spectacular Lello Library. For lunch, seek out a unique Francesinha sandwich with chips and sauce or - if you're feeling especially brave - a bowl of Tripas á moda do Porto. This evening we'll meet for a group tour and taste of the famous Porto wine in Gaia.

You can pick up your pilgrim's passport today so you can track your progress along the Portuguese Camino de Santiago which ends at Santiago de Compostela.

DAY 6: Bicycle Porto to Barcelos, Portugal

Highlights: Ride in Portugal's Wine Country

Have you spotted the colorful rooster that is Portugal's unofficial mascot? If not, keep your eye out; the rooster is said to embody the Portuguese love of life and it originates in Barcelos. But, before we get there, we must say goodbye to bustling Porto. We ride out on a bike path that eases us into the peaceful wine country. Expect fun hills and green lush vistas along the way along with plenty of other cyclists with whom to share an "OLÁ."

DAY 7: Bicycle to Ponte de Lima

Highlights: Explore historic Ponte de Lima

Today's ride is short so you can take full advantage of the beautiful small country roads that lead to the oldest village in Portugal, Ponte de Lima. Often considered the postcard village of Portugal, Ponte de Lima is situated on the banks of Rio Lima and is the heart of the green wine region. It is also home to a very old tradition dating back to Roman or even Phoenician times: Vaca Das Cordas, or "playing with wild cows". Vaca Das Cordas is a type of bull-running through town, followed the next day - generally in July, by the Festa do Corpo de Deus (Corpus Christi), when flowers carpet the streets. Stroll through the picturesque historic center and along an old bridge where you'll likely spot pilgrims walking along the Portuguese Camino de Santiago. We'll have a lovely picnic dinner together this evening.

  • Distance: 21 mi / 34 km
  • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
  • Lodging:

DAY 8: Bicycle to Baiona, Spain

Highlights: Pedal to Spain and explore the beaches of Baiona, Columbus’s first port

On March 1, 1493 the first of Columbus's ships touched shore in Baiona. The news of his "discovery" of America soon spread to the rest of Europe. Today's ride follows the coast and Minho river as we pedal north towards this historic port and cross into one of the most beautiful regions of Spain, Galicia. Toast your arrival into Spain with a glass of Albarino or by relaxing on the beach in Baiona.

DAY 9: Onward travels

Highlights: Travel home or to other parts of Spain

Shuttle from Baiona today to the nearby city of Vigo, where a landmark naval battle (Battle of Rande) took place outside Vigo in 1702. The battle between Anglo-Dutch and French-Spanish fleet was over the arrival of Spanish galleons laden with an immense treasure of gold, silver and jewels. Here the story differs, depending on which side you are on: either the Spanish galleons were attacked with treasure on board, or the treasure had already been unloaded... but no one knows where. Of course, this stoked the fire of many a treasure hunter including Jules Verne's Captain Nemo in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

From here, trains and buses head north to Santiago or south to Porto or Lisbon for you to continue your journey, happy travels! Or, take a hopper flight from the international airport.

  • Meals: Breakfast
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