Cycling the Portuguese Camino: Porto to Santiago de Compostela

Cycling the Portuguese Camino: Porto to Santiago de Compostela

Pedal along Northern Portugal's rivers, coasts and valleys while learning about the historical figures and cities that played roles founding Portugal in the 12th century. Explore the UNESCO World Heritage sites of 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 across the region including its three 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 famous Portuguese Camino and finishes in Spain’s Santiago de Compostela. 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 travel 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, check out our 12 day bike tour on the Cycling the Portuguese Camino: Coimbra to Santiago de Compostela.

Tour Dates & Prices

Date
Price
Private Room Fee
Note
Jun 20-27, 2020
USD$4150
USD$550
Book Now and Save $200 per person.
Jul 11-18, 2020
USD$4150
USD$550
Book Now and Save $200 per person.
Aug 1-8, 2020
USD$4150
USD$550
Book Now and Save $200 per person.
Aug 29-Sep 5, 2020
USD$4150
USD$550
Book Now and Save $200 per person.

* 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.

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Trip At-A-Glance

  • Length / 8 Days
  • Total Distance / 327 km (153 miles)
  • Avg. Distance / 55 km (34 miles) per riding day
  • Tour Level / 3.0
  • Countries / Portugal, Spain
  • Begin/End / Porto / Santiago de Compostela
  • Price / From USD$4150
  • Tour Summary
  • Daily Itinerary
  • Travel Information
  • Map
  • Reviews
  • Similar Tours
Tour Summary

Tour Summary

  • Highlights
    UNESCO Towns: Porto, Ponte da Lima and Santiago, Douro, Minho and Lima River valleys, Spanish oysters, historic port of Baiona, Spain, Pimientos del Padrón - in Padrón Spain, Galician countryside cycling, and cycling Portugal's Northern Coast
  • Includes
    8 days, 7 nights’ accommodation; Porto wine tasting, city guided tours as described in the itinerary; and the usual (see below).

    The Usual (Included with every ExperiencePlus! tour)

    • Superb tour leaders who are fun, bilingual and avid cyclists.
    • Help with flights, trains and starting/and or ending hotel reservations.
    • Comfortable lodging in 3-4 star hotels. 
    • All breakfasts and at least half of your dinners.
    • Use of a high quality Titanium road bike, hybrid, or tandem (aluminum road bikes or hybrid bikes in South America) geared specifically to cruise the flats and help ease you over the mountain. Our bikes come with an odometer so you can track your miles, an expandable rear rack pack to carry your stuff, and one water bottle that is yours to keep.
    • Full van support to carry luggage – and tired cyclists, too! 
    • Special events such as wine tastings or cultural visits as described in the trip itinerary.
    • All tips and gratuities at tour hotels and group meals.
    • Unique routes, marked with our famous chalk dust arrows.
    • Daily mileage options on tour.
    • Detailed route map for each day's ride.

    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.

  • Arrive / Depart
    Porto / Santiago de Compostela
  • Overall Tour Level
  • Daily Ride Summary

    Day

    **Distance/Gain
    mi/ftkm/m

    Terrain

    Day Level

    Notes

    1
    Test ride
    2
    62km / 555m
    Mostly flat
    difficulty level 2.0
    3
    37km / 472m
    Rolling hills
    difficulty level 1.5
    4
    79km / 809m
    Hilly
    difficulty level 3.5
    5
    52km / 763m
    Hilly
    difficulty level 3.5
    6
    69km / 1108m
    Very hilly
    difficulty level 4.5
    7
    31km / 545m
    Rolling hills
    difficulty level 2.0
    8
    Last day

    Tour Level Note:

    **We use Ride With GPS (ridewithgps.com) to calculate elevation and mileage information. Due to variance between mapping technologies, totals may differ slightly across devices and applications

Terrain Legend

Mostly flat Mostly flat

Rolling hills Rolling

Hilly Hilly

Very hilly Very hilly

Mountainous Mountainous

Daily Itinerary

DAY 1: Welcome to Porto

Highlights: Porto

Our tour starts in the magical city of Porto, or Ribeira do Porto as it is known locally. Porto is known for its impressive views of the Douro River and of course port wine production. Take a stroll across the city's iconic metal bridge to 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 afar!  Enjoy the famous Douro River and the colorful city of Porto, home of proud happy people with a quick smile. Will take our bikes for a test ride today and enjoy dinner together before embarking on our adventure!

DAY 2: 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 3: 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.

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

DAY 4: 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.

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

DAY 5: Bicycle the Galician Coast

Highlights: Explore Ria de Vigo, inspiration for Julius Verne's 20,000 leagues Under the Sea

Today's ride starts out flanking one of the geographical features that characterizes the Galician coast - a Ria (Ría in Spanish and Portuguese), or a drowned river valley that is open to the sea. Though a Ría is the opposite of a lagoon, they look the same. The ride skirts the city of Vigo and you'll jump on a ferry to cross the Ría de Vigo. In 1702 a landmark naval battle (Battle of Rande) took place outside Vigo, the largest Galician city. 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. Though the story of what happened next varies a treasure hunt for the gold ensued and included Jules Verne's Captain Nemo in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. We'll continue to pedal north to reach Pontevedra, our home for the night. It's worth your time to explore the medieval heart with its old granite houses and spacious squares.

  • Distance: 52km (33mi)
  • Gain: 763m (2503ft)
  • Terrain: Hilly
  • Day Level: difficulty level 3.5
  • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
  • Lodging:

DAY 6: Bicycle to Padrón, Spain

Highlights: Scenic views of the Galician Mountains, Padrón Peppers

Leave the water behind today with a short climb to a mountain spine providing glorious views as a reward. It's a perfect day for a picnic. Make sure to seek out some of Padrón's infamous peppers. First brought from South America 400 years ago by monks and then grown in the gardens of a convent in the tiny village of Hébron, Padrón peppers became a quick favorite on local dinner tables - and are now famous throughout Spain. The monks traded the peppers for necessary items and 400 years later, they are still in demand. The peppers are no longer grown by monks but by generations of locals who have adopted both traditional methods and modern technology to offer their product to Spanish and UK markets. Watch out, these peppers are as addictive as popcorn but can catch you by surprise if you find a spicy one!

  • Distance: 69km (43mi)
  • Gain: 1108m (3634ft)
  • Terrain: Very hilly
  • Day Level: difficulty level 4.5
  • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
  • Lodging:

DAY 7: Bicycle to Santiago de Compostela

Highlights: Santiago, St James Cathedral and the end of the camino.

A short ride through the country side brings us to the larger metropolis of Santiago de Compostela, one of the world's most important religious and spiritual sites thanks to St. James and his shrine. Popular since the Middle Ages as a religious pilgrimage to visit the remains of the martyr St. James, the town and its associated pilgrimage routes continue to attract travelers of all types. Once we arrive, you'll have ample time to discover the famous Cathedral of St. James, the heart of Santiago. Tonight, we'll celebrate our journey's end with a special farewell dinner.

  • Distance: 31km (19mi)
  • Gain: 545m (1788ft)
  • Terrain: Rolling hills
  • Day Level: difficulty level 2.0
  • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
  • Lodging:

DAY 8: Tour ends in Santiago de Compostela, Spain

Highlights: Pilgrim's Mass at Noon

We'll offer a tour in Santiago this morning. You might also want to stick around for the Pilgrim's Mass at noon at the Cathedral. If you would like to participate in these activities, schedule flights after 3:30 p.m. Buen viaje!

  • Meals: Breakfast
Travel Information

Travel Information

Day 1: Arrival Information

Welcome to Porto

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 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.

Arriving at Porto Airport (OPO):

  • Taxi to the Day 1 hotel (30 min/EUR 20)

Arriving at the Lisbon Airport (LIS):

  1. Taxi to the Lisboa Oriente Train Station (30 min/EUR 20)
  2. Train from Lisboa Oriente Train station to Porto Campanha (2-3 hours/fares vary)
  3. Taxi from Porto Campanha station to Day 1 hotel (15 min/EUR 15-20)

Look up Portuguese train schedules at CP.pt. Questions? See our information on taking trains in Europe here or ask us.

For more travel planning tips, including our packing lists, visit our Travel Planning Pages.

Day 8: Departure Information

Tour ends in Santiago de Compostela, Spain

The tour ends on the final day after a tour of Santiago this morning. You may also want to stick around for the Pilgrim's Mass at noon. If you would like to participate in these activities, schedule flights after 3:30 p.m.

The below information will help you plan your departure. For more tips or other routes, you might like Rome2Rio.

We recommend flying out of the Santiago de Compostela Airport (SCQ).

  • A train or bus to Madrid or Barcelona is at least a 9-hour trip.
  • Iberia airlines provides one-way flights to numerous destinations from Santiago.

Flying out of SQL

  • Taxi from the Ending Hotel to the airport (20 min/EUR 21)

Look up Spanish train schedules at Renfe.com or Trainline.eu. Questions? See our information on taking trains in Europe here or ask us.

What's Included

For a full list of what's included before, during and after your bike tour, visit our What's Included page.

Pre-Trip Planning Checklist

To do right after you booked!

6 to 3 Months Prior to Tour Start Date

  • Check the online itinerary of your trip and review the arrival and departure information under the "Travel Information" tab to see meeting place and time, if a reservation on a complimentary ExperiencePlus! Shuttle (if applicable) is required, and other important information to help you plan your arrival and 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.
  • Book your pre and post-tour hotel nights.
  • Begin your chosen training program: https://www.experienceplus.com/blog/travel-planning/bicycle-tour-training/
  • Final payment is due 90 days (120 days for Bike & Barge/Boat tours) 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 to 2 Weeks Prior to Tour Start Date

Day of Your Flight

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

What to Expect on Tour

Bicycles

Your bike will be equipped with: a men's or women's saddle, a quick release style seat post adjustment, rear rack and expandable pack, pump, patch kit, spare tube, cable lock, cyclometer, rear lights, a water bottle cage (or two), one water bottle , and a bell. If you would like to bring your own pedals and shoes we recommend doing so—your tour leaders will install them during the bike fitting. We have flat pedals with or without cages available. For safety and hygiene reasons you are responsible for bringing a helmet.

Daysheets

Each day you'll receive a daysheet with information on the day's activities, meals and ride. These also include Tour Leader phone numbers, hotel information and interesting historical and cultural information about sites that you may want to stop and see along the route. Your Tour Leaders will also post daily announcements in the hotel lobby with information about sightseeing in town or restaurant recommendations for dinners on your own as well as important information about breakfast, luggage down and "arrows down" time.

Navigating on Tour

Each day we will provide you with a route map with the day's ride highlighted route. Of course, we also mark the route every day with our signature chalk dust arrows. Our arrows make navigating very easy—you may never need to look at the map! The arrows also allow you to ride at your own pace. There is no need to "keep up" with the group—this is your ride!

But what if it rains? What happens to the arrows? In a light rain, the arrows actually "set up" and become more permanent. In a heavy rain, they do wash away. If that happens, we'll re-group to cycle together for those who want to continue cycling while those who prefer to stay dry can shuttle.

For the tech-loving riders out there we offer the opportunity to download GPS tracks of most tour routes to your personal GPS device using RideWithGPS.com.

Van Support

The van carries luggage and supports cyclists. It also has water, fruit and snacks. Though the van has snacks, we encourage you to stop and enjoy markets and find your own favorite local specialty.

Hotels

We have carefully chosen all of our accommodations for their charm and location. They are typically small, family run hotels that offer you a glimpse into the local culture.

We prefer hotels near interesting sites in the center of town located along the best cycling route in the area. Because many of the hotels are small not all of the rooms will be exactly the same. We keep this in mind and do our best to distribute rooms fairly by the end of the tour. Our itinerary lists our primary hotels. On rare occasions, listed hotels are subject to change.

Meals and Restaurants

Breakfasts: we work hard to arrange complete breakfasts but some hotels still serve continental style breakfasts; cycling is energy intensive so we do recommend you plan for a morning or mid-morning snack on the road at a local café or market.

Water is OK in almost all hotels and in country fountains; if there is a problem, we will advise you.

We'll recommend lunch locations en route and most itineraries include a few group picnics. We limit the number of picnics so you don't feel pressured to be at a certain place in the middle of your ride.

Dinners together are often pre-planned and pre-ordered. We'll ask you prior to your trip if you have special dietary requirements. Preplanned meals allow us to provide a variety of regional specialties and facilitate efficient service. Water, wine and beer are included.

Tipping Your Tour Leader Team

If you feel your tour leader team has demonstrated great expertise and service, common practice within the travel industry is to tip. Tipping is voluntary and greatly appreciated, and gratuity amounts vary widely. Should you decide to leave a tip, as a guideline, we suggest 5% of the tour cost per traveler – this for the entire tour leader team, not each Tour Leader. If you’d like to show your gratitude for your Tour Leaders’ excellent service you can give the tip to any member of the tour leader team, as they share it evenly. In order to avoid social tensions, we encourage you to tip as individuals and not as a group. If you feel your Tour Leaders did not quite meet your expectations, then we would like to know about it. You will also have the opportunity to leave your comments in our evaluation survey which we email to you after your trip.

Photos

By reserving space on tour, you agree that ExperiencePlus! Bicycle Tours may use, re-use and reproduce any images, photos or videos that you send to us, or that are taken by our guides and/or other travelers of you individually or in a group, in any medium, including but not limited to print, electronic media, or Internet, free of charge and without your right to inspection, for promoting and publicizing our travel products and services worldwide. If you do not want us to use any images of you that are taken by us or other participants during the tour, you must inform us or your tour leader in writing at the start of the tour.

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