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Portugal

Vineyards of the Douro Valley

Guided Road Cycling Holiday

Grade

1
2
3
4
5

Duration

8 days

Prices from

£2,015 P.P.
Portugal

Vineyards of the Douro Valley

Guided Road Cycling Holiday

Grade

1
2
3
4
5

Duration

8 days

Prices from

£2,015 P.P.
BOOK NOW
The Douro region is intrinsically linked to its wines. All these wines come from the terraces that surround the River Douro and its tributaries, where walls made of schist support the vineyards full of white and red grapes. As such, the landscape is not only moulded and sculpted to the production of wine but also the pace of life of the Douro. If the winter is marked by the calm and quietness, which seems to be reflected in the bare vines, the transition from the summer to the autumn brings the bustle of the harvest with a fall and rise of baskets and pruning shears, on the slopes populated by workers. The slopes, the vast rows of vines and the Douro River, are all part of this unique landscape. These slopes are accompanied by a network of secondary roads linking tiny villages on both sides of the river and these are the roads our tour takes on during our journey upstream with lots of ups and downs along the way. You will enjoy finding your rhythm on some long, but generally forgiving climbs.
The middle part of our tour is run on a plateau between the Douro Valley and the mountains where we have the opportunity to visit some of the most charismatic historic villages in Europe.
Finally we reach the Serra da Estrela Natural Park with its highest point in Torre. Serra da Estrela is an area of rare landscape beauty, with striking mountain drops where an 18km long climb will take us to the top at 2,000m..
There is no doubt that this is a challenging tour but it is one which is filled with fantastic rewards; such as our outstanding hotels, where you can relax and reflect at the end of the ride and sample the very best of the Portuguese genuine gastronomy.
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Holiday Highlights

  • Travelling along the Douro through the immense vineyards on the terraced slopes
  • Staying in the charismatic lodgings of the wine farms, where we visit the Port wine cellars with their port and wine tasting on offer
  • Riding on the N222, once considered the most beautiful road in the world
  • The historic fortified village of Almeida
  • Tackling the challenging climb to Torre, the highest point of Portugal
  • The final hotel at Unhais da Serra, the unexpected oasis at the end of the ride

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Every day of the trip was fantastic, with the long day to Almeida a personal favourite and another highlight the climb and descent of Estrella! I would recommend this holiday to anyone, due to the rides, the support, the team and Portugal as a whole. Thank you again for a fantastic trip!

Richard, New Zealand

Itinerary

Day 1
Arrival: Porto Airport
Non Riding Day

Porto is the closest airport to the start of your tour and it is from here we will pick you up and make the 90 minute transfer to the first hotel set on a plateau on the Douro River. Tonight we stay in a hotel on a perfect spot to start our journey up the river.

After building bikes (assistance will be on hand) we’ll settle in for the evening and dine in the hotel together. Over dinner you will have the opportunity to chat with your Skedaddle guides about the week ahead.

Day 2
Cidadelhe to Lamego
44 Miles / 70 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch
  • Ascent: 1,450 Metres Approx.

Once considered the most beautiful road of Portugal, the N222 is the road for all of our first day. Riding upstream we tackle the crossing of several tributary rivers on dozens of climbs and descents, some short, some long, some steep and some gradual, going through dozens of villages scattered along the slopes. Finally we leave the N222 and start climbing to the historical town of Lamego, and the views of the Douro are breathtaking as we get higher above the river.

The hotel tonight is a wine production farm, a very comfortable and relaxing spot to recover from a hard first day.

Day 3
Lamego to Folgosa
47 Miles / 76 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch
  • Ascent: 1,550 Metres Approx.

We start the day riding on narrow roads through small villages and visiting the Ucanha Bridge, which was tolled in medieval times, and the convent of Salzedas before we come to Armamar, a town hanging over the River Douro, and the capital of apple farming in the country. After Armamar we drop down to meet the town of Régua, the centre of the Douro Valley wine production. Passing on to the other side we tackle the longest climb of the day, followed by an exhilarating steep descent back to the river. The last 10km of the day are ridden along the Douro River, first on its north bank, then after crossing the river on a dam, on the south bank reaching the tiny village of Folgosa where our hotel is located.

Day 4
Folgosa to Almeida
79 Miles / 127 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch
  • Ascent: 2,200 Metres Approx.

Today is our longest day and almost all fully ridden on the amazing N222 road. We start with a flat first section along the river followed by a long but somewhat gentle climb that takes us to Sao Joao da Pesqueira, a town high up on the plateau above. Following the N222 to its end near the historical village of Almendra we ride on undulated landscapes interrupted by the deep River Coa Valley where the road meanders down to cross the bridge, and up on the under-side to get back to the plateau. After Almendra the terrain becomes less rugged as we approach the end in Almeida, a walled town which in history has particular relevance during the French invasions of the Iberian Peninsula. The comfortable hotel inside the walls is a welcome spot after a long but amazing day on the saddle.

Day 5
Almeida to Cro
52 Miles / 84 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch
  • Ascent: 1,000 Metres Approx.

Today is possibly the easiest riding day of the tour. For the most part of the day we will be riding on the plateau, where the terrain is characterised by gentle undulations on open landscapes and where the granite is dominant, and oak forests complement the scene.

We start on a fast flat road which soon sees us descending to the village of Castelo Bom. From here we take a secondary road heading south, passing small villages from where we can see Freineda, once the residence of Lord Wellington during his campaign, helping to defeat Napoleon’s troops in the beginning of the 19th century.

On the final part of the day we will be riding north and following a narrow country side road that undulates along the Coa Valley.

Day 6
Cro to Penhas Douradas
51 Miles / 81 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch
  • Ascent: 1,650 Metres Approx.

After a well deserved ‘easier’ day yesterday we set off on a more challenging day today that takes us to the Serra da Estrela mountains in the centre of Portugal. Today we finish our cycling at an altitude of 1,500 metres.

The Serra da Estrela have the highest peaks of continental Portugal, and at 2,000 metres sits its highest point, Torre. Serra da Estrela is an area of rare landscape beauty, with striking mountain drops, where you can immerse yourself in the silence of the heights. Take advantage of those moments to absorb into your mind the diversity of plants and birds and the flocks of sheep herded by Estrela dogs, the breed of dog named after the mountain range.

Day 7
Penhas Douradas to Unhais da Serra
34 Miles / 55 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch
  • Ascent: 1,150 Metres Approx.

Our last day is ridden entirely inside the Serra da Estrela Natural Park and it will be a day to remember!

We start by riding down a very winding and twisting road dropping down to the village of Sabugueiro where our big climb begins. This is the climb of the tour, and it will take us 17km to reach Torre, the 2,000m mark. On the first part, right after the village, the road ascends steeply towards the Lagoa Comprida reservoir, mid-way to the top. Here is a place to stop for a rest and the cafe by the side of the road. This is where things get more challenging – the climb becomes steeper but the grandiosity of the mountain shadows any of our feelings of tiredness. We gain altitude very quickly and soon we are able to see the summit, 5 more kilometres of road see us to Torre where a photo is mandatory to commemorate the achievement.

All that is left now is a long descent to the hotel, taking 22km to drop 1,500m, surrounded by amazing high mountain scenery, rocky peaks, small lakes, mountain huts and never ending forests.

The cherry on top of the cake, the hotel is one of the best hotels in Portugal boasting invigorating thermal waters in its spa area. The hotel cuisine is also outstanding and perfect for our celebratory dinner!

Day 8
Departure: Lisbon Airport
Non Riding Day
  • Meals: Breakfast

Following breakfast in the hotel, we make our way to Lisbon airport for your return flights, leaving behind a week fulfilled with moments of pure pleasure of cycling on the remote ‘yet-to-be-discovered’ mountainous interior of Portugal, amidst grandiose and varied landscapes, 8 days filled with new experiences in an unforgettable cycling tour.

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The Cycling

Terrain

The Douro Valley is known for its high-sloped banks. The difference in level between the river and the top of the slopes ranges between 300m/1,000ft and 600m/2,000ft. The climbs are generally long and gentle and on well-paved, quiet secondary roads. Descents are as frequent and long as the ascents and many feature numerous tight bends and switchbacks. Competent and confident descenders will undoubtedly enjoy the downhill parts, however all riders will be expected to exercise caution. The middle part of the tour is run on less rugged terrain and on quiet and larger roads. Approaching the high mountains the long climbs are back and the last climb to the top at 2,000m/6,500ft is the longest and the most challenging. Coming down from the top the road surface can be rougher due to the harsh winter weather in the mountains. A drop of 1,500m/5,000ft to the end village on a seemingly never ending steep descent sums up the tour.

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Road Cycling Grade

1
2
3
4
5
Grade 4 : Challenging

45-80 miles / 80-130 kms per day

For cyclists with stamina & a good level of fitness

Long & challenging days with multiple tough or high altitude ascents, with steep sections over extended distances

Long & often technically demanding descents

Road riding for experienced riders

Our grading guidelines have been carefully created based on our many years of cycling experience, as well as customer feedback from our trips. Of course, if you're still struggling to figure out where you fit on the scale, do feel free to give us a quick call and we'll be more than happy to help!

For more information about our grading system click here.

Is this suitable for you?

You‘re an enthusiast. It’s probably your main hobby and possibly the only sport you take seriously. You‘re in pretty good shape and you ride as often as you possibly can. You might participate in the occasional cyclo-sportive and when you do, you probably opt for the longest distances. You love bikes and fantasise about the latest model or the joy of a new set of wheels. You love challenges and you‘re looking for a tour with plenty of climbing, preferably with an opportunity to tick off some famous Tour de France cols or the like. You‘re a competent descender, and you‘re not afraid of speed, but you ride safely and within your limits at all times. You understand road etiquette and you‘re comfortable riding in a bunch. You‘re happy to do your stint at the front of the pack if the need arises. You know you can ride a century and probably have done a few. It sounds like you are a Grade 4.

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This was probably the best-organised tour I’ve done. Our tour leader’s tour dossier was outstanding! My favourite day was probably the second day of riding, from Lamego to Folgosa – fun descents. Lunches were great, and the level of the hotels was high!

Kent, USA

Dates & Prices

Private Departures

Private Departures

Are you keen to only travel with your family or friends? Struggling to find the right date? Well, we can organise a private departure for this tour and tailor aspects to suit your group's specific needs. Contact our friendly team and we'll help you turn your dream into reality.

Start Date
End Date
Duration
Price p.p.
Start Date
08/05/2021
Return Date
15/05/2021
Duration
8 days
Price
£2,045.00
Start Date
23/10/2021
Return Date
30/10/2021
Duration
8 days
Price
£2,015.00

Whats Included Tick

A) Accommodation (shared twin / double en-suite rooms)

B) Meals as per the itinerary (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)

C) Full tour service, including Skedaddle guides

D) Unless stated, at least one leader qualified in first aid

E) Support vehicle and luggage transfers

F) GPS unit with GPX route files installed

G) Airport transfer on scheduled arrival day from Porto airport (OPO)

H) Airport transfer on scheduled departure day to Lisbon airport (LIS)

What's not Included Cross

A) Bike hire (available if required)

B) Flights and charges for travelling with your bike (if applicable)

C) Meals not stated in the itinerary

D) Single room (available if required)

E) Travel insurance

F) Personal clothing and equipment

G) Personal expenditure (souvenirs, bar bills, hotel facilities etc)

H) Entrance fees to museums and other attractions en route

I) Airport transfers on days other than the scheduled arrival/departure days

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The Essentials

Travel Options

Group airport transfers are included in the cost of your holiday. To join the airport transfer on arrival, you’ll need to arrive into Porto airport (OPO) by 14:00 for a 14:30 transfer.

At the end of the tour we will transfer the group to Lisbon airport (LIS), with an estimated arrival time of 12:00 – please consider this when booking your return travel and allow enough time to check in for your chosen flight.

Please contact us for more detailed information on the specific flight schedules available for your holiday. Please check with us before booking any flights, to make sure we have reached the minimum number required to guarantee your holiday and to ensure your flights fit with our scheduled transfers. Please note – If you make travel arrangements that fall outside of the above time windows there may be an additional charge for individual transfers.

Accommodation

Accommodation (shared twin or double rooms) will usually be en-suite in 4 and 5 star hotels or guesthouses.

Bike Hire

If you don’t own a suitable bike or would prefer to avoid bringing your own we have bikes available to hire. These bikes are typically KTM Revelator or alternative brand equivalent, great bikes with good quality components. If you do decide to hire we can include a helmet and all necessary spares for the trip. Please request helmets when booking. The bikes will come with flat pedals as standard, so please do bring your own pedals if you use clip-in pedals.

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