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Valleys and Vineyards Bicycle Tour

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Northern Portugal's green wine region & a little bit of Galician Spain

7 NIGHTS/ 8 DAYS

Explore the verdant countryside of northern Portugal's Minho wine-country and the spectacular coast of Galician Spain. We start the tour in northern Portugal at Bom Jesus with its lovely sanctuary and wend our way north up into Spain's Galicia -- famous for its Gaelic resemblance to Ireland and its fabulous seafood. Fabulous coastal cycling will bring us to the seaside town of Baiona where we'll spend a night at the romantic Parador de Baiona situated in a medieval fortress overlooking the sea.

The next day brings us back to Portugal where oxcarts ply the ancient country lanes and enthusiastic workers hail us from the fields. Beautiful landscapes -- hillsides terraced with vineyards and valleys laced with lazy rivers await us at every bend. Truly grand hotels, paradors and gracious manor houses highlight the tour and make it one of our most popular.

Braga Lanhos Ponte de Lima Cyclists Cyclists Galicia Arcos Picnic in MinhoPorto

Tour Itinerary

 

Day 1
Porto to Bom Jesus

Late morning transfer from pickup hotel in Porto to Bom Jesus, near Braga. Nestled on a wooded hillside, Bom Jesus is an 18th century Baroque pilgrimage church with a magnificent Way of the Cross staircase surrounded by lovely gardens and views. We stay at the elegant Hotel do Parque adjacent the church. The afternoon may be spent resting, going for a short warm up ride or exploring the grounds and nearby village. Champagne reception and welcome dinner this evening.

 

Day 2
Bom Jesus to Caldelas

From Bom Jesus we descend the wooded hills to Citania de Briteiros, site of a restored Celtic hill settlement dating from 500 BC, and continuously occupied but never conquered through Roman times. Our next stop is Povoa de Lanhoso and its famous medieval castle perched on the largest boulder in the Iberian peninsula! From there we wend our way through the rolling countryside to the little spa town of Caldelas and the Grande Hotel de Bela Vista with lovely gardens and pool. An al fresco dinner together at a restaurant famous for its grilled dishes. (45km/28miles)

 

Day 3
Caldelas to Ponte de Lima

A short hilly ride today through the lush countryside to one of Portugal's most enchanting river towns, Ponte de Lima, with its classic sixteen arch Roman bridge spanning the beautiful Río Lima. The town is a warren of cobbled medieval streets and sits right on the river which is lined with sandy beaches. We spend the night at a lovely country manor house dating from the 17th century. Dinner at a wonderful regional restaurant near the waterfront. (47km/29miles)

 

Day 4
Ponte de Lima to Gondarem

A truly gorgeous ride today, first through high and desolate "wolf country" and then through the green and fertile hills to the Río Coura and a welcome picnic and swim. We then head for Caminha, a charming fishing village at the mouth of the Minho River and the border with Galicia, Spain. We follow the river to the tiny hamlet of Gondarem and our 17th century inn complete with pool and tennis court. Dinner at a quaint restaurant, famous for its regional food and lovely views over the Minho River. (50km/31miles)

 

Day 5
Gondarem to Baiona, Spain

Today we ferry across the Minho River to Spain and cycle up the rocky Atlantic coast - a wonderful ride with the ocean on one side and pine clad hills on the other. Our destination is the little harbor town of Baiona where the first of Columbus' ships arrived back with news of the New World. There's a faithful replica of the little Pinta in the marina which is well worth a visit. We'll be staying at the stunning Parador de Baiona set in a walled fort overlooking the sea. Dinner tonight will be a fabulous paella feast -- the specialty at the Moscón Restaurant. (45km/28miles)

 

Day 6
Baiona to Monção, Portugal

We ride back through the wooded Galician countryside today to Portugal and the little fortified town of Monção perched above the Minho River. En route we'll visit Tui on the Spanish side, which dates from Visigothic times and once was one of the seven ancient capitals of Galicia. From Tui we'll cross the Minho River to Portugal and the medieval walled village of Valença with its white washed houses and tiny cobbled streets lined with linen shops. After lunch in Valença, we follow the Río Minho until we reach Monção. Here we'll stay in the little family run Albergaria Atlantico in the center of this charming town. Free evening for dinner - we'll be glad to point you to any one of our favorite restaurants. (50km/31miles)

 

Day 7
Monção to Arcos de Valdevez

Be prepared for one of the prettiest rides of the tour - and shortest. An excellent road descends into a spectacular river valley where we follow the Río Vez to the idyllic little river town of Arcos de Valdevez. We'll spend two nights here at another elegant manor house complete with pool. Plenty of time today to explore the town, swim in the river or enjoy the pool. Dinner together. (37km/23miles)

 

Day 8
Loop ride to Soajo

Today is one of everybody's favorite rides - a long uphill with spectacular views and wild countryside to the edge of the Penedo-Geres National Park and the little town of Soajo where we'll stop for coffee and the sponge cake the town's bakers are famous for. Then it's a long descent through unspoiled terraced hillsides and along the lovely Lima River to Ponte da Barca where we'll reward ourselves with a sumptuous picnic beside the river under graceful weeping willows. Free evening. (49km/30miles)

 

Day 9
Arcos de Valdevez to Viana do Castelo

A pleasant easy ride today as we cycle westward through the lovely Lima valley - church bells, terraced hillsides, long-lashed oxen pulling wooden carts - an area almost untouched by time. Our destination is the graceful old capital of the Minho province, Viana do Castelo, and the Hotel Viana Sol. This handsome historical town is graced with stately old granite buildings and is noted for its ceramics and handicrafts. Dinner this evening at the wonderful Tres Potes Restaurant. (47km/29miles)

 

Day 10
Viana do Castelo to Porto

Today we transfer to the bustling city of Porto, on the Douro River, best-known for the wonderful wine known as Port that comes from here. After checking into the elegant old-world Hotel Infante de Sagres, we'll devote our energies to sampling the ambiance of this timeless captivating city. We'll lunch in the Ribeiro, the colorful old riverside area and then visit Sandeman's Port Wine lodge just across the river for a tasting of this delicious wine and an explanation as to how it's made. Tonight a farewell dinner at one of Porto's finest restaurants.

 

Day 11
Farewell

After breakfast, we'll offer an early am shuttle to the airport for those leaving. For those of you staying on we'll be happy to suggest other places to visit in Portugal.

 

Price: €

 

Duration: 10 NIGHTS/11 DAYS

Included: All breakfasts, 8 dinners w/ wine

Price is per person, based on double occupancy and exchange rates at the time when this page was published. Price subject to adjustment for exchange rate fluctuations. For smaller or larger groups, consult us for a quote.

 

Dates for 2010

  • June 15-25
  • August 26 to September 5

 

Contact us for other dates. Of course you can always contact us for details or to let us arrange a custom tour that matches your interests and schedule.

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Copyright © 2016 Saranjan, Inc. All rights reserved