9 days •
Lisbon, Atlantic Coast, Evora, Vila Vicosa and Monsaraz
Bike Ride Across Portugal - from the Atlantic Ocean to the Spanish Border
Fully Guided & Supported • Luxury Pousadas & 4 Star Hotels
Easy Going to Moderate
The country of explorers, Portugal is a virtual treasure trove of finds. Here discover the many quiet routes that this country offers inland in the Alentejo region as well as the cosmopolitan vibe of Lisbon.
Experience the great seafaring heritage of the Portuguese capital, its history well documented in its fine museums and monuments.
Amble through the Alfama shopping district, hear Fado music and enjoy its funicular tram, which scales its many hills.
Lisbon’s cathedral with its extravaganza of pipes, the museum of the queen's carriages and the most delicious cheesecake tarts and strong coffee make lovely memories before you head into the tranquillity of the countryside.
Watch this short video about the Romantic Alentejo tour. Fine eats, fine sleeps and of course fine cycling country!
Separated by the Tagus River, Alentejo is a south-central region of Portugal. Still mainly rural, it is known as the "bread basket" and here you will also find marble quarries, cork forests and a type of polyphonic singing, so if you care to warble a few notes while pushing the pedals, you’ll fit right in. Explore the UNESCO city of culture, Évora and its preserved atmosphere of medieval European and Roman ruins. The lovely towns of Estremoz and Monsaraz and their hilltop fortresses and the artisan villages that lie in between, are relaxing cycle rides for all. Here the rolling fields and dappled shadows of the rock outcrops that Alentejo's towers and fortresses guard are delightful to navigate around. Being agriculturally based with towns that still cultivate a variety of skilled crafts, it is a pleasure to explore and find a few souvenirs to take home in your handle-bar bag.
Taste the succulent red wines of the area and see how the fine stitching of the famous Arraiolos carpets is done. And when not on the bike, try the local specialities of the region, the fresh produce and seafood and the array of sweets to tempt any palate.
Staying in fine historical monuments, now luxury Pousada hotels, this is surely a trip for those who enjoy relaxing travel on two wheels, taking in the sights of the pastoral but varied landscape and its most rich fabric of past civilizations so wonderfully preserved for the visitor.
Lisbon's cosmopolitan charm and exciting Alfama area
Stay in historic luxury Pousada hotels, converted monasteries and castles where kings and queens once lived.
Fascinating Evora UNESCO heritage city with its Roman temple, aqueduct and mysterious Chapel of Bones
Medieval towns of Estremoz and eagles nest Monsarez
Cork wood forests and wine vineyard experiences
Megalithic stone burial mounds and marble quarries
Achieve cycling right across the country from Sea to Spain!
"My spouse and I are experienced cyclists and have been on a number of very good bike tours (self guided and group) over the years. The Cycling Country - Alentejo Tour was the best we've ever done. Highly recommended." J&L Calgary, Canada
DAY BY DAY
Start off from Lisbon, an ancient place, which as stories hint was founded by Ulysses and harboured many famous explorers. Baking red tile roofs, fish sold from doorways, windows hung with washing and bird cages and small narrow streets is what the old city, Alfama, is made up of. Lisbon’s oldest district, which escaped destruction in 1755, has been inhabited since the 5th century, and today is a maze of streets, overlooked by the battlements of the medieval castle. It is a wonderful place to begin our trip and we take a private guided tour of the city with Rita & Jose, residents of this illustrious place.
We transfer out of the bustle of Portugal's capital city to start our cycling journey at the coast. After a quick dip of the toe in the Atlantic, we start cycling through a natural reserve of herons and egrets before heading inland to our impressive ancient castle pousada accommodation for the evening, high on a buff overlooking a pretty town surrounded by rice paddies. Dine in the elegant surroundings a delicious repaste for our welcome dinner.
34 (extra 40km possible!)
We start the day rolling through green lush scenery, passing farmers and town´s folk attending the local paddy fields. Heading north, we make our way through pasture land to the town of Arraiolos. Enjoy this place where for centuries they have perfected the skill of weaving, their woollen cross stitched tapestries and carpets vibrant and intricate pieces of art. Then relax in the restored 16th century pousada convent with its marvellous chapel tile work and take in the scenery with a glass of wine on the large terrace with valley views of grazing cattle and Arraiolos´ walled fortress high above.
A lovely morning start to some cycling as our winding country roads lead us into the Unesco Heritage city of Évora by way of small hidden villages and a rail to trails path. Arrive in Evora, with its twisting cobblestone streets giving hint of its Moorish heritage. Take an afternoon private guided walking tour of the city. Venture into the chapel of Bones (if you dare!) and see the last remains of the city´s former residents. Staying in one of Portugal´s most famous pousadas, the enchanting Loios Convent, you are in Évora´s heart. Let your imagination run wild as you spy the huge 17th century aqueduct and Roman temple of Diana outside the hotel's front door, you'll only wish you brought your toga!
Continuing on, we cycle across the taste-bud tingling Redondo wine region, stopping enroute to tour and taste at a local vineyard. Remember not to over indulge as you still have some cycling to do! A late afternoon cycle over a beautiful forested pass brings us to the interesting market town of Estremoz. A most dramatic cityscape, its medieval castle looms over the town’s cobbled streets and we make our way up to stay the night at this pousada. As the light in the countryside dims, we take our dinner in the great dining room in this most impressive building.
We continue our exploration by journeying onto Vila Viçosa, famous for its elaborate Ducal Palace, home to the last royal family of Portugal. The route takes us into this town’s orchard area, its glowing marble quarries and ending in the town´s tranquil tree-lined avenues and quiet plazas. So pretty is it that it was even given by King Afonso IV as a wedding gift to his bride, Doña Brites. Stay in the elegant monastery pousada beside the palace with its verdant garden and hidden niche chapels. Enjoy a group dinner where old and new portuguese recipes are fused perfectly.
Rest Day or Loop Ride
Take a well earned rest day to explore this town with it pink marble sidewalks and cobblestones, or just relax poolside in the gardens of this fascinating and historic hotel. For those with the energy, we embark on a morning loop ride around the countryside, stopping for a custard cream pastry or 2. This area is full of interesting villages and small hamlets, and some grandiose castles. Enjoy a free night to try a local speciality such as Alentejo Gaspacho.
A relaxing day through the peaceful area and its tiny villages with their traditional tileworks and Moorish forts. It is an area known for its brilliant coloured ceramics and it will be hard to not want to take some home when you pass the outside stalls with their brilliant shades of pottery glazes. Visit a pottery workshop before an arrival at Monsaraz, boasting an awesome hilltop castle and a panoramic vista of the Guadiana River and dam which separates Spain from Portugal. Relax here, admiring the sunset over the two countries.
After a late breakfast, spend time picking up a few last minute souvernirs in this most medieval of fortified villages. Back to the hotel for a final coffee and a wave goodbye to this lovely area and each other before transferring back to Lisbon for onward afternoon connections. Boa Viagem!
Lisbon, Atlantic coast, Évora, Redondo wine region, Villa Vicosa, Monsaraz - See Map for route
Carefully chosen luxury hotels and retreats for 8 nights
-6 nights in luxury 5 star Pousadas
-2 nights in 4 star hotels, including Lisbon
All bedrooms are private en-suite
All hotels (except Lisbon) have swimming pools
-4 dinners of 3 courses including wine/beer and water
-4 picnic lunches
- Guided private walking city tours of Lisbon and Evora
Entrance to Evora's Chapel of bones
- Guided tour of a vineyard including wine tasting
- Visit to the pottery area of the Alentejo
- Hire of 24 speed Trek hybrid bike with front handlebar bag / map carrier
(Or hire a road bike at an extra cost:
Orbea Road Bike with alu frame / carbon fork at an extra 95 Euros
Option 2, TREK Road Bike with full carbon frame at an extra 185 Euros)
- Complimentary custom designed Cycling Country Portugal cycling jersey (choose your size when booking!)
- Complimentary Cycling Country water bottle
- Tour guide book of your route and all sightseeing stops
- Route notes and maps
- Experienced guides
- Daily snacks and refreshments (energy bars, fruit etc and drinks)
From arrival point at Lisbon airport or city centre hotel on tour start date, departure point at Lisbon airport or city centre point on tour end date.
Easy Going to Moderate - there will be a support van all the way enabling cyclists to cycle as little or as much as they want (Average of 50km per day)
Quiet country roads and gentle rolling countryside. Expect some climbs.
2 leaders with full van support to pick up souvenirs, provide refreshments, act as guides, offer tips and insights throughout the day, provide directional signs where required, transfer luggage and provide on-road assistance. 1 leader cycles with the group
8 to 18
- 21 to 29 May
- 07 to 15 Oct
(continue on into Spain with the Moorish Andalusia tour starting on 21 April or 07 Oct to make a Trans Iberian adventure - transfers to Seville included, and complimentary night in 4 star hotel in Seville - 10% combined trip discount!)