Portugal Cycling Holiday Atlantic Coast
8 days / 7 nights | Self guided bike tours | Along golden sandy beaches and fishing villages
The Atlantic Coast biking holiday route represents 24/7 in the freshest, lightly salty air imaginable. A boost to both body and mind. As you cycle southwards from the Galician coastal region in the north, the beauty of continuously changing views over the vast Atlantic will impress itself on your mind and soul. Taste both Galician and Portuguese seafood. Encounter latter-day pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago, with whom you share a few kilometres. Meet the nicest fishermen and their wives who will welcome you and enjoy sharing lifetime experiences and customs. Stroll through the fish markets and watch them as they work.
Visit Porto, one of Europe's most beautiful cities, classified as a Unesco World Heritage Property. Learn about Port Wine, the beverage and the associated culinary dimension of its own. Dance on saltpans and bring back some excellent salt crystals from there. Taste, smell, meet and bask in the sun as you cycle gently along this beautiful coast. Maybe, even dream. After a great day cycling, the night will cherish you with nothing less than the freshest air conceivable.
Day 1: Porto – Baiona
From Porto airport (Portugal) you will be taken with a shared transfer at 3 p.m. to Baiona (in Galicia, Spain), a charming and lively harbour town, where a dish of fresh fish from the sea is an absolute must. Don't forget to stroll around the harbour or the Monterreal Fort, famous for the Príncipe Tower.
Day 2: Caminha (Cycling 40–60 km / 25–38 miles)
The first half of the day on your bike you cycle in Spain, gently following the flat coastline, along the foothills of the Sierra de la Grova mountains and a bit further south, of the Sierra de Argalo. You may enter Portugal by ferry, across the River Minho into the town of Caminha, or a bit further upriver, by crossing the Vila Nova de Cerveira bridge. In Caminha delight in the stately houses that set the scene as you enter the town, whose history dates as far back as pre-Roman times. Your 40 kilometres stage ends here. A lovely wine tasting and dinner (option) awaits you.
Easy Tour: 40 km, 100% paved, 160 m elevation gain.
Medium: 60 km, 100% paved, 180 m elevation gain.
Day 3: Viana do Castelo (Cycling 30–49 km / 19–30 miles)
Cycle southwards on excellent asphalted cycle paths along the coast and fields close to the coastline, until you reach Viana do Castelo, where you will spend the night. Seagulls will also enjoy your attention too, especially if you let them taste a few crumbs from your food. Viana do Castelo, located on the River Lima estuary, is a bustling city with an active student population and a good night life. Dating back to Roman times, Viana's impressive history includes that of the merchants who provisioned the ships that took part in the Portuguese discoveries during the 16th century and later built the ships that sailed to Newfoundland for codfish. It is they who built the numerous stately town houses whose architectural beauty is a hallmark of the city.
Easy Tour: 30 km, 100% paved, 160 m elevation gain
Medium: 49 km, 100% paved, 195 m elevation gain.
Day 4: Vila do Conde (Cycling 50 km / 31 miles)
The third stage again offers a gentle 50 kilometres ride southwards, cycling through vineyards and across the Protected Landscape Area of the Esposende coast, a wild life and flora reserve. Speak with the fishermen and their wives. They are such beautiful people - always warm-hearted and with a friendly word for every passer-by. The city centre is dominated by elegant manors and small stately homes. The importance of its harbour is not only evident at sea, as you will discover when you enjoy a wonderful sardine or other fresh fish dinner in town. Afterwards, relax with a leisurely stroll along the beach before you go to bed, refreshed by the sea air.
Easy Tour: 50 km, 90% paved, 128 m elevation gain
Medium: 51 km, 75% paved, 209 m elevation gain.
Day 5: Porto (Cycling 35–48 km / 22–30 miles)
On Stage 4 of your holiday, you will cycle to Porto, a short ride of some 34 kilometres. Starting, naturally, at the Atlantic, you will follow cycle paths until you reach the River Douro. Alongside this famous river, you will cycle into one of Europe's most beautiful cities. Porto is a World Heritage city, a historic jewel with more than 150 listed monuments. Ride gently past the famous Eiffel bridge; see how the proud Port Wine lodges rise uphill from the south bank of the River Douro. An essential stop, of course, will be to admire the Casa da Música auditorium, designed by Rem Koolhaas, the Dutch architect. It will be hard to choose where to dine tonight: Porto is famous for Port Wine and the diversity and quality for its cuisine.
Easy Tour: 35 km, 90% paved, 115 m elevation gain
Medium: 48 km, 75% paved, 144 m elevation gain.
Day 6: Furadouro (Cycling 42–52 km / 26–33 miles)
This morning you exchange the hustle and bustle of the city for the peace and quiet of the Atlantic shore. Once again, you will have a lovely ride along the coast, partly through a pine woods. The day ends in Furadouro, a hospitable town renowned for its excellent fish. Enjoy your meal!
Easy Tour: 42 km, 80% paved, 50 m elevation gain
Medium: 52 km, 70% paved, 60 m elevation gain.
Day 7: Mira (Cycling 55–65 km / 35–40 miles)
For this last stage, you must not miss visiting the small city of Aveiro, with its picturesque town centre; if you're lucky, you will catch sight of a Moliceiro, the colourful wooden boats used for gathering seaweed. Visit the saltpans too, if you can, and enjoy a delightful footbath in one of the pans. Once again, this is a beautiful ride of some 55 kms in all today, including through the Protected Natural Reserve of the São Jacinto dunes. Mira, where you will sleep tonight, perhaps to dream, is a small fishing village. You will certainly be inspired by the beautiful multi-coloured striped houses. Visit some of the little shops too; a nice carpet can be bought at affordable prices.
Easy Tour: 55 km, 100% paved, 23 m elevation gain
Medium: 65 km, 80% paved, 48 m elevation gain.
Day 8: Mira – Porto
After breakfast (at 9 a.m.) transfer back to the airport of Porto.
Please note: All cycling distances stated above are approximate only.