Blessed with sun-kissed beaches, colourful and vibrant fishing villages and scenic routes, the Atlantic Coast of Portugal offers some fantastic cycling holiday opportunities. This tour starts in Porto, a UNESCO World Heritage city, and the itinerary follows relatively easy flat or undulating cycling trails through a variety of landscapes and along the stunning coastline, with stops in different villages and towns for a full immersion in the relaxed Portuguese way of life.
Highlights include a scenic ride through the dunes of the Sao Jacinto Natural Reserve and an overnight stay in the picture-perfect fortified village of Obidos. After a week of cycling along some of the best coastline of Portugal, a full day is dedicated to the visit of Lisbon, one of the most charming capital cities in the world.
Start in Porto. Time permitting, your leader will arrange a short orientiation tour in the historic centre. Porto is a UNESCO World Heritage city and a real historic jewel with more than 150 listed monuments. There is plenty to see and for this reason we recommend travelling a day earlier if you are interested in exploring more of its vibrant centre. Before dinner, we will enjoy a guided visit and wine tasting at a traditional Port wine cellar.Overnight at Hotel Vila Gale or Hotel Cristal.
This morning we leave the hustle and bustle of the city behind and immerse ourselves in the more peaceful atmosphere of the Atlantic shore. Starting from Porto, we will ride along the Douro River until its estuary. We then follow the coast, mostly on cycling paths, enjoying some inspiring views of beautiful sandy beaches along the way. During this ride there will be plenty of opportunities to stop for drinks or snacks in traditional Portuguese cafes, right by the Atlantic Ocean! After following a cycling path which crosses a pine tree forest, we reach lively Furadouro, a seaside town renowned for its excellent fish. Free time for a swim (seasonal), relax in the hotel's spa or enjoy a deserved drink in one of the several cafes and restaurants in town. Overnight at Furadouro Boutique Hotel Beach & Spa or similar.
Today's ride follows the Aveiro lagoon and the nature reserve of Sao Jacinto, one of Europe's last remaining untouched coastal marshland and habitat of numerous bird species. We pedal through a scenery of sandy beaches, marshland and rolling dunes peppered with grasses and creepers. This is home to a plethora of birds, insects, small animals and unusual flowers and plants. After a short transfer by ferry, we leave the lagoon and continue cycling to the small town of Costa Nova, a picturesque village characterised by multi-coloured striped houses. Our ride ends in the seaside town of Mira, known for its infinitely long beach rated as one of the best in Portugal. Overnight at Macarico Beach Hotel or similar.
Today's ride takes us through one of the biggest dune systems in the area covered in pine tree forest. The route is mainly flat or undulating and the roads quiet and peaceful making the cycling very pleasant. There is a final short but relatively steep climb up the beautiful Serra da Boa Viagem before reaching thelively town of Figuera da Foz. The rest of the day is free to explore the town of Figuera da Foz and its extensive beach (nicknamed 'Rainha das Praias' - Queen of beaches) - there are lots of lovely cafes and bars to enjoy a pre-dinner drink, and some excellent restaurants.Overnight at Universal Boutique Hotel or similar.
Today we enter the Portuguese Silver Coast and ride a cycleway that follows the Estrada Atlntica (Atlantic Road). Well be riding mainly through the remains of vast pine forest, the Leiria Pine Forest or Pinhal de Leiria, which was originally planted in the 15th Century with to provide timber for the construction o the Portuguese shipbuilding industry during the Portuguese Discoveries. Unfortunately, vast areas of the forest were destroyed in 2017 by one of the fiercest forest fires of the past 100 years.Little more than 1,500 hectares remain, out of a total of 11 thousand. Although maritime pine is considered a fast-growing tree, it will take many more years for the forest to regenerate.Exodus is supporting the regeneration of the forests, working with local schools and communities to replant trees. We reach the picturesque town of So Pedro de Moel in the afternoon and enjoy some time to relax at the beach or at the comfortable hotel with sea-view. Overnight at Mar & Sol Hotel or similar.
This morning you can opt to either transfer or cycle (adding approx. 20km to today's ride) to Nazar, one of the most famous fishing towns in Portugal. Here fisherwomen still wear seven colourful layers of skirts, as well as wooden clogs and a traditional black headscarf. There will be the opportunity to enjoy some spectacular ocean views from the popular panoramic terrace. It was in Nazar's Praia Norte that the world record for the largest wave ever surfed was set, an estimated 30m high! From Nazare' we ride all the way to Obidos, a charming small fortified town which resembles a medieval film set. It has been carefully preserved by its inhabitants who take real pride in maintaining the architectural image of the village characterised by narrow winding streets and white-washed houses.
A morning private transfer (approx. 1hr) takes us to the great capital city of Lisbon; here we enjoy a full free day of independent sightseeing. Please note that your leader will leave the group after breakfast and the remainder of the trip will be self-guided, but you will be provided with plenty of tips, maps and directions to make the most of your time in Lisbon. An optional guided city tour can also be booked for a fee. Begin with the two landmark monuments, the Tower of Belm and the Monastery of Jernimos, both of which have been designated UNESCO World Heritage status. For some great views, head to the old Alfama district and walk from the iconic Praca do Comercio, in the heart of Lisbon, to the elegant neighbourhood of Chiado and trendy Barrio Alto. You may also decide to end the trip with a traditional dinner accompanied by traditional Fado music. Overnight at Turim Europa Hotel or similar.