Portugal, Land of Contrasts
Portugal Bike Tours
Central heart of Portugal Cycling Tour
This week of diverse Portugal cycling takes you through the heart of Portugal's best kept secrets, from breathtaking coastlines and rural landscapes to enchanting hilltop palaces. On this Portugal bike tour you will observe Manueline architecture, verdant National Parks, and visit century old vineyards and farmsteads.
Portugal, much like its neighbor Spain, is a land of wonderful contrasts. It is considered a Mediterranean country, mostly for its way of life and passion for the marine environment. Once at the forefront of navigation and world discovery, Portugal remains an intriguing place where history, landscape, gastronomy and a humble, soft-spoken culture welcomes visitors to its sun swept corners.
Of course, opportunities to sample Portugal's tasty local dishes, its superb wines, and delicious pastries are also part of this unique experience!
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This is a moderate guided and/or supported tour depending on group size. The tour begins and ends in Lisbon with some transfers in the form of mini bus (and/or, pending on your group size), public bus and train to bypass areas of high traffic volume. Total distances is approximately 230 km over 5 days of riding. Overall grade is moderate, riding over coastal terrain, and at times, some challenging climbs and descents. Of course the support vehicle is always available for assistance. All routes are on good tarmac roads with the exception of Day 4 where there is approximately 6 km of good gravel road. Again, entering and exiting Lisbon, there will be traffic to contend with. It is important that you have a good level of fitness.
Where You’ll Stay
Accommodations in 3 and 4 star hotels that are small and authentic to the region. All rooms are ensuite, some with pools and gardens and nearly all are family run establishments.
- Hotel accommodations for 7 nights
- 7 x breakfast
- 3 x dinner
- 21-speed hybrid bicycle equipped with helmet, gel seat pads, toe clip options, and bike bag
- Transfers where necessary (as per itinerary)
- Guide that drives the support vehicle (please see remarks for details)
- Route information packet including maps and daily route description
What’s Not Included
- Airport transfers
- Remaining meals
- Entrance fees to museums and other excursions
- Bicycle protection
- Trip insurance
Day 1: Arrival in Lisbon
Day 2: Lisbon Interpretive tour and Cascais coastal town, 15 mi. (25 km)
Day 3: Cascais, Cabo da Roca and the Parque Natural of Sintra, 30 mi. (50 km)
Day 4: Enceira - Sintra, 27 mi. (45 km)
Day 5: Rest day in Sintra
Day 6: Palmela, Parque Natural of Arrabida and the Vineyards of Setubal, 30 mi. (50 km)
Day 7: Troia Penninsula, the cork forests and Santiago do Cacem, 27 mi. (45 km)
Day 8: Santiago do Cacem - Lisbon
*All distances are approximate.
DAY 1: Arrival in Lisbon
Upon your arrival in Lisbon, you will meet the group at 7 pm at the hotel in Lisbon's central quarter for orientation with the trip leader followed by dinner. If you arrive to Lisbon earlier, you may wish to visit the Sao Jorge Castle, the Gulbenkian Museum, and wander the streets of the Bairro Alto where tiny bars spill onto the streets and sounds of Fado fill the air. The evening's accommodation is in a comfortable, tourist class hotel.
DAY 2: Lisbon Interpretive tour and Cascais coastal town, 15 mi. (25 km)
The day begins with a morning guided tour of Lisbon on bike that inlcudes a cycle to Belem (where Vasgo de Gama set sail from), followed by a short van transfer (30 minutes) onto Cascais – a beautiful coastal town west of Lisbon. This afternoon you can also stroll the seafront promenade with great pubs and shopping close to the hotel.
DAY 3 : Cascais, Cabo da Roca and the Parque Natural of Sintra, 34 mi. (55 km)
Today you will bike Portugal along the stunning coastal route between Cascais and Enceira, taking in a number of sun swept coastal villages, enjoying the vast flora and bird life of this historic part of Estremadura. One of today's highlights is a visit to Cabo da Roca, Continental Europe's most western point.
DAY 4 : Enceira - Sintra, 27 mi. (45 km)
From Enceira, you will cycle through Estremadura's rural settlements and beautiful coastline. You will also experience medieval townships and cycle through the region's pasturelands and agricultural landscapes before arriving in Sintra. Also along the way is a virtual fairytale kingdom and once home to generations of Portuguese Royalty seeking solitude in this verdant mountain hideaway. The Mafra National Palace is a worthy visit on today's ride. A two night's stay in Sintra offers plenty of time to explore the sights which include the Moorish fort, boutique shops, and the many cafes of this lovely area.
DAY 5: Rest day in Sintra
Today you have the option of exploring Sintra's many wonders including the forested walking paths which lead to a Moorish Fortress and of course, La Pena Palace, which was the summer residence of the Royal Family of Portugal. This fairytale village is adorned with medieval treasures, tidy boutique shops, and cozy eateries. You may also self explore on bike today as there are many riding options available such as the Montserrat Monastery or the stunning coastline itself.
DAY 6 : Palmela, Parque Natural of Arrabida and the Vineyards of Setubal, 30 mi. (50 km)
Today you will transfer to the wonderful highlands of the Arrabida Park and ride through the woodlands of Setubal. Along the way, you will pass traditional windmills and visit a wonderful, family run vineyard for a taste of wine and homemade cheese before descending to the coastal road which leads to Setubal, a thriving city set on the Rio Sado. This is home to the country's most important wildlife sanctuary.
DAY 7: Troia Penninsula, the cork forests and Santiago do Cacem, 37 mi. (59 km)
Starting with a short river crossing by ferry, today will take you on a wonderful ride over a forested peninsula that offers a view of some of Portugal's finest and most remote coastline. This is a great location for dolphin and whale watching! Continuing south, you will follow cork forests to the historic Moorish town of Santiago do Cacem, a colorful sleepy Alentejo village in woodlands where little has changed in centuries.
DAY 8: Santiago do Cacem - Lisbon
Following breakfast, a transfer will bring you back to Lison airport or you can extend your stay in Portugal!