Portugal: Porto & Aveiro Bike Tour
Six nights; six days. Explore northern-central Portugal and experience historic cities, vibrant local flavors, long pristine beaches and charming small towns all along a manageable coastal route.
WHY THIS TRIP?
- UNESCO heritage city of Porto
- Easy coastal riding along bike paths and quiet roads
- Ride along the Aveiro lagoon, and learn about its historic importance in the production of salt and salt-cod or bacalhau
- 4-star accommodations and delicious local meals.
- Beautiful beaches and maritime forests
- Roman architecture in the UNESCO city of Coimbra
A relaxed ride on primarily level terrain, with some hilly sections and one long day. Expect long stretches of bike paths through coastal forest and the constant presence of westerly wind coming off the vast expanse of the Atlantic. The route is largely on separated bike paths, quiet secondary roads, and boardwalks with sections of dirt and gravel.
- DAY 1: Introductions
- DAY 2: ~40km
- DAY 3: ~65km
- DAY 4: ~30km
- DAY 5: Short: ~40km, Long: ~75km
- DAY 6: ~45km
- DAY 7: Farewells
(Click image to enlarge)
Start: Porto, 15:00, day one.
Finish: Coimbra train station, 10:00, day seven.
Please contact us to arrange alternate plans, if necessary.
Introductions to Porto
After checking in to your accommodation, enjoy a walk through Porto. Explore the city center by foot and cross over Ponte Don Luis I to see how the fortified wine from which Porto gets its name is made. D (Meal inclusions provided for guided trips; self-guided trips include breakfast only)
Condes de Azevedo; or Pestana Porto; or Porto River; or Exmo, Porto.
Porto to Furadouro ~40km
Today’s ride takes you back across the Don Luis I bridge into Vila Nova de Gaia where you will link up with the bidirectional coastal bikeway along the south side of the Douro estuary. Learn about the natural history of this great river mouth at the Douro Estuary Nature Reserve site. Further along, you will come to the Chapel of Senhor da Pedra, a scenic chapel situated on a large rock outcropping jutting into the ocean at Miramar Beach. A beach-side picnic lunch will be served by your guides in front of the Municipal Museum, located in the former Brandao & Co. Cannery where you will have a chance to learn about the sardine fishery and canning process which once supported upwards of 400 local people, many of them the daughters of fishermen and farmers. An additional 10km (return) ride brings you to the small town of Ovar, where you can enjoy the fluffy, decadent desert that made this town famous – Pao-de-lo de Ovar. BLD
Furadouro Boutique Beach Hotel; or Tijosa Eco-House, Ovar.
Furadouro to Aveiro ~65km
Ride south along the Aveiro Lagoon passing several small fishing villages before crossing the Ponte da Varela to the east side of the estuary. Far removed from the beach traffic on the Atlantic side, this region is primarily agricultural and has sustained families for generations who have taken advantage of the nutrient-rich soil of the marshlands and harvested molicero, a type of seaweed, with double-ended wooden boats called, appropriately, barcos moliceros. Wend your way along canals and hedgerow-lined fields on your approach to Aveiro – known as the “Venice of Portugal” for the network of interconnected canals that run through the center of town. You will see more colorful barcos moliceros which traditionally were used for transporting seaweed and salt and today are often hired for cruises of the canals. BLD
Hotel Moliceiro; or Hotel Historias Por Metro Quadrado, Aveiro.
Loop ride or independent walks from Aveiro ~30km
A relaxing loop ride will leave from your hotel and pass through the farmland, charming small villages and woods along the Boco river. Take time to visit the Vista Alegre Museum to learn about the 200-year history of porcelain production in this area. On your return, visit the Maritime Museum where you can learn about the maritime culture and identity of this region which saw a diaspora of its residents in search of codfish in far-flung grounds off Greenland and Newfoundland. B
Aveiro to Figueira da Foz Short: ~40km – Long: ~75km
Glide along the southern stretches of the Aveiro estuary to the small beach town of Praia de Mira, nestled between the Atlantic and Barrinha lagoon where you can linger for lunch. Leaving the coast, enjoy peaceful riding through the maritime pine forests that cling to the sandy soil. This back dune ecosystem supports a wide variety of birdlife and offers a shady respite for many animals. Rejoin the coast in the village of Murtinheira before a final climb on a spectacular road clinging to the edge of an ocean-side cliff. You will end your day descending into “the queen of beaches”, Figueira da Foz. BL
Universal Boutique Hotel; or Marina Charming House; or Exe Wellington, Figueira da Foz.
Figueira da Foz to Coimbra ~45km
On your final day you will turn inland and ride along the banks of the Mondego River to Coimbra. This exceptionally clear and beautiful river has its headwaters high in the Serra da Estrella and is the only river entirely within Portugal. With a commanding view of the Mondego, Coimbra has long been one of Portugal’s most important crossroads. Beginning as the Roman settlement of Aeminium and changing hands a number of times through the middle-ages, Coimbra exhibits many fine examples of Roman, gothic and later baroque architecture. The recapture of the region by King Ferdinand I established the city as a center at the very heart of Portuguese identity. BLD
Hotel Mondego; or Hotel Oslo Coimbra, Coimbra.
Your tour concludes after breakfast. Transfer to the train station in Coimbra where direct service to Porto or Lisbon is available. The train ride to Lisbon is ~2.3h and ~1.5 to Porto. B
All details and pricing are subject to change without notice.
- Apr 30-May 06
- May 21-27
- Oct 01-07
- Apr 28-May 03
- May 26-Jun 01
- Oct 06-12
Self-Guided available any dates, except for those listed above. New dates are also welcomed for guided or private departures.
Guided: C 4195 (per person, double occupancy)
Includes 7 days, 6 nights, 6 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 4 dinners, guide and vehicle support, route instructions, maps, luggage handling, taxes.
Small groups or private tours, fully supported with drivers/guides and vehicles, all lodging and most meals included. Choose from existing dates or request new departures. Read more on our “What to Expect” page.
Self-Guided: C 3695 (per person, double occupancy)
Includes 7 days, 6 nights, 6 breakfasts, inn to inn luggage transfers, route instructions, maps, on-call emergency support, taxes.
Semi-supported, independent tours including welcome briefing, lodging, luggage transfers and necessary vehicle transfers. Choose from existing dates or request new departures. Read more on our “What to Expect” page.
Single Occupancy: 795
All details and pricing are subject to change without notice.
Please see above for accurate pricing and inclusions, unless we have proposed a customized trip for you and those details are provided in your custom proposal.
1. Choose an advertised date to join a small group, or see our Join a Group page to see where groups are already forming.
2. Pick your own dates. We will confirm quickly, and are happy to talk with you as you make your choice. If you would like a private guided date, this usually comes at a surcharge depending on the details, please get in touch for more information. If you prefer self-guided, we usually only require two participants to initiate a new date at the advertised price, and can sometimes reduce prices for you if you have four or more.
The best time to enjoy this tour is mid-September to mid-June.
Spring daytimes warm up to 15 to 25 °C (60 to 75 °F) by mid June.
Summer, mid June to mid September, is normally 18 to 28 °C (65 to 83 °F).
Autumn, mid September to mid October, 15 to 20 °C range (60 to 70 °F).
BEFORE & AFTER THE TOUR
Fly to Porto Francisco Sá Carneiro airport (OPO) a day before your tour starts. The Purple (E) line of the Porto metro leaves the airport every 20-30 minutes with service to the downtown core.
Another option is to fly to Lisbon Humberto Delgado Airport (LIS) one day before the trip begins. An easy three-hour train ride north from Lisbon’s Santa Apolónia Station will bring you to downtown Porto.
Riding finishes in the evening of the sixth day at the inn in Coimbra.
If you have one day:
Spend time exploring the historic core of Lisbon, one of the oldest capital cities in Europe and the only one on the Atlantic coast. Lisbon was voted Best Metropolitan Destination by the Sea for the World Travel Awards 2022. The historic centre – the Baixa Pombalina, with its traditional shops and museums, and the lively streets of Chiado, with their eclectic mix of contemporary and traditional stores – are some of the city’s main places of interest. For more information about Portugal’s capital city, visit www.visitlisboa.com
If you are looking to cover more ground in a fun, carbon-neutral way, Lisbon is easily traversed using the city’s bike-share network, Gira (https://www.gira-bicicletasdelisboa.pt/).
If you have several days:
Consider spending extra time in Porto before your tour to explore the city in-depth or catch a train into the Douro Valley – a wine-producing region of exceptional beauty that has been registered as a UNESCO heritage landscape. Tour wineries or simply enjoy the scenery from a historic steam train or traditional wooden flatboat.
Have even more time on the Iberian Peninsula? Join us on one of our other walks or rides in Spain.
We recommend the following accommodations in Lisbon for before or after your tour; please let us know if we can assist with reservations: