Bike Portugal's Northern Coast

Bike Portugal's Northern Coast

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 by bike. 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 crisscrosses 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 Bike Portugal's Northern Coast Plus the Camino.

There are no upcoming tours scheduled at this time.

Tour Style: Classic Hold-A-Space/Questions Request Custom Date Download Itinerary Tour Map
  • Trip At-A-Glance
  • Tour Summary
  • Daily Itinerary
  • Travel Information
  • Map
  • Reviews
  • Similar Tours
Trip At-A-Glance

Trip At-A-Glance

  • Length / 9 Days
  • Total Distance / 245 km (153 miles)
  • Avg. Distance / 41 km (25 miles) per riding day
  • Tour Level & Tour Style / 1.5 Classic
  • Countries / Portugal, Spain
  • Begin/End / Coimbra / Baiona - with shuttle to Vigo
  • Price / From TBA
Tour Summary

Tour Summary

  • 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; 6 dinners with wine, 8 breakfasts; visit to Salt Factory, Porto wine tasting, city guided tours as described in the itinerary; and the usual (see below).

    Learn more about what is included and what to expect on your Classic tour at the Classic Tour Style page.
  • Arrive / Depart
    Lisbon / Santiago de Compostela or Vigo
  • Overall Tour Level
    1.5 difficulty level 1.5

    Varied terrain with some short climbs on some days.

  • Daily Ride Summary

    Day

    Distance/Gain
    mi/ftkm/m

    Terrain

    Day Level

    Notes

    1
    Test ride
    2
    66km / 630m
    Rolling hills
    difficulty level 2.5
    3
    38km / 158m
    Mostly flat
    difficulty level 1.0
    4
    43km / 254m
    Mostly flat
    difficulty level 1.0
    5
    Rest day
    6
    62km / 555m
    Mostly flat
    difficulty level 2.0
    7
    37km / 472m
    Rolling hills
    difficulty level 1.5
    8
    79km / 809m
    Hilly
    difficulty level 3.5
    9
    Last day

Terrain Legend

Gentle Gentle

Rolling hills Rolling hills

Hilly Hilly

Very hilly Very hilly

Mountainous Mountainous

Daily Itinerary
Download 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: 66km (41mi)
  • Gain: 630m (2066ft)
  • Terrain: Rolling hills
  • Day Level: difficulty level 2.5
  • 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 taking 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. This evening, we'll walk to a local hang-out for an aperitif together. There will be plenty of time for a dip in the ocean which is only a short distance from our hotel.

  • Distance: 38km (24mi)
  • Gain: 158m (518ft)
  • Terrain: Mostly flat
  • Day Level: difficulty level 1.0
  • Meals: Breakfast
  • Lodging:

DAY 4: Bicycle to Porto through small towns

Highlights: Explore the interior, Porto

Today’s ride is a part of the Camino de Santiago so look for fellow pilgrims along the way. Our ride take us from a fisherman’s village along the Atlantic coast, to green pine woods, and a quiet bike path that will lead you directly to the heart of downtown Porto, or Ribeira do Porto as it is known locally. Before crossing the iconic metal bridge into Porto you’ll pedal through its sister city on the south bank, Vila Nova de Gaia, featuring docks lined with famous Porto wineries. Locals will tell you it is the best place to admire Porto from a far! As you make your way across the famous Douro River the colorful city of Porto will come alive before your eyes. Welcome to the home of proud happy people with a quick smile.

DAY 5: Porto

Highlights: Explore Porto, Pilgrim's passport, wine tasting

Today you decide - 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."

  • Distance: 62km (39mi)
  • Gain: 555m (1820ft)
  • Terrain: Mostly flat
  • Day Level: difficulty level 2.0
  • Meals: Breakfast
  • Lodging:

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 beautiful 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.

  • Distance: 37km (23mi)
  • Gain: 472m (1548ft)
  • Terrain: Rolling hills
  • Day Level: difficulty level 1.5
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Lodging:

DAY 8: Bicycle to Baiona, Spain

Highlights: Pedal to Spain, 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.

  • Distance: 79km (49mi)
  • Gain: 809m (2654ft)
  • Terrain: Hilly
  • Day Level: difficulty level 3.5
  • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
  • Lodging:

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
Travel Information

Travel Information

Day 1: Arrival Information

Meet in Coimbra

Meeting time 2 p.m. - on Day 1, meet your fellow cyclists and Tour Leaders at the Day 1 Hotel specified on the itinerary.

Note:

As you are planning, remember that the hotels listed in our itineraries are our primary hotels and are - in rare cases - subject to change. Before you make travel arrangements, check with us if your tour departure is guaranteed. If your tour departure is out further than 6 months, please also check with us as there might be slight changes to the itinerary.

The below information will help you plan your arrival. For more tips or other routes, you might like Rome2Rio. The fare and timing information listed below is approximate.

We recommend flying into the Lisbon Airport (LIS):

  1. Taxi to the Lisboa Oriente Train Station (30 min/EUR 20)
  2. Train from Lisboa Oriente Train station to *Coimbra B station (2 hours/fares vary)
  3. Taxi from *Coimbra A to Day 1 Hotel (15 min/EUR 10)

*Note: Long distance trains only serve Coimbra B station (away from city center) but all tickets include a 5-min train ride to Coimbra A (center of Coimbra/Baixa de Coimbra). Purchase your train ticket at the train station, no pre-booking necessary.

Look up Portuguese train schedules at CP.pt. Most Portuguese train tickets do not need to be booked in advance. Questions? See our information on taking trains in Europe here or ask us.

Day 9: Departure Information

Onward travels

We spend our lat night in Baiona. The closest airport and main transportation hub is Vigo (VGO), which will provide connections through Madrid. You can take a train from Vigo to other destinations including Santiago or Porto Portugal where you can also fly out of.

The tour ends on the final day with an ExperiencePlus! shuttle drop-off at either

  • Vigo Airport; arrival at 10 a.m.
  • Vigo Train Station; arrival at 10:30 a.m.

Shuttle reservations 30 days prior to the tour start are required. Reserve by emailing us. If you can't make the shuttle, you will be responsible for your own transportation.

A taxi from Baiona to Vigo/the Vigo Airport takes about 30 minutes and costs around EUR 35-45. A taxi from the Vigo train station to the airport is around EUR 25 and takes around 30 minutes.

Pre-Trip Planning Checklist

To Do Today!

3–6 Months Prior to Departure

  • Reserve your flights after you know you have a confirmed tour departure. Please check with our office if you do not know if your trip is confirmed. As you make your plans refer to the Getting To and Away sent to you in your booking confirmation email it provides meeting times and the starting and ending hotels and shuttle information when applicable.
  • Book your pre and post-tour hotel nights. Please refer to the Getting To and Away sheet you received in your Reservation Confirmation Email.
  • 12 weeks before your tour begin your training program www.experienceplus.com/training.
  • Final payment is due 90 days prior to the tour start. Please refer to your Deposit Payment Invoice and the Final Payment Reminder e-mail you have received for detailed instructions.

6 Weeks–2 Weeks Prior to Departure

Day of Your Flight

Get as much sleep on the plane as you can. Pack your Getting To and Away information and one day of cycling gear in your carry-on. See you soon!

What to Expect on Tour

Classic Tour Style

Learn more about what is included and what to expect on your Classic tour at the Classic page.

Map

Map

Reviews

Reviews

Similar Tours

Awards, Memberships and Reviews