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Portugal

Historic Villages

Self-Guided Leisure Bike Tour

Grade

1
2
3
4
5

Duration

8 days

Prices from

$1,610 P.P.
Portugal

Historic Villages

Self-Guided Leisure Bike Tour

Grade

1
2
3
4
5

Duration

8 days

Prices from

$1,610 P.P.
BOOK NOW
This lovely self guided cycling tour in Portugal takes you through the remote and beautiful eastern border between Portugal and Spain. On quiet country roads you will explore this traditional region, take in its natural beauty and experience its Roman and medieval history.
Travelling from south to north, you'll skirt the Spanish border passing through white villages built around medieval castles that once served as outposts to guard against the Spanish invasions. You'll stay in small, good quality accommodation and with excellent local food to boot, this cycling vacation is a true gem!
Your cycling starts in Marvão and follows narrow countryside roads meandering through a stunning granite landscape. Highlights along the way include the Tejo river and its imponent gorge at Vila Velha de Rodao, Monsanto once considered the "most Portuguese village of Portugal", medieval Sortelha and the fortified village of Almeida - a jewel of the 18th century, where a stay in a beautiful Pousada is a fitting end to this wonderful cycling journey through Portugal.
You will be provided with route notes, maps, and GPS so navigating the day's rides couldn't be easier! With start dates flexible and lots of great flight options now possible to Lisbon, there's never been a better time to enjoy a week of cycling in the ever lovely Portugal.
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Highlights

  • Exploring Marvão and its hill top castle offering incredible views of the area
  • Staying overnight in “the most Portuguese village of Portugal” – Monsanto
  • Staying in a charming Pousada built into the mountain top
  • Visiting the old Roman village of Egitânia with its olive oil press
  • Spending an afternoon in the remote, modern Spa of Cró with its lovely warm water pool
  • Spending your final night in Almeida

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Itinerary

Day 1
Arrival into Lisbon Airport - Transfer to Marvão

Following your arrival in Lisbon you will be met by your local representative and transferred to your first night’s accommodation in the village of Marvão (approx 2.5 hrs). Marvão is an enchanting village set on top of a granite mountain and the village is a world heritage site. Its imposing fortified walls encircle the mountain on which it sits. Here your representative will set up your hire bikes, should you be hiring, and talk you through your maps, notes and GPS routes to make sure everything is clear for the week ahead.

Day 2
Marvão to V.V. de Rodão
32 Miles / 51 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast

You’ll start the day descending from Marvão, making your way to the historical town of Castelo de Vide surrounded by awe-inspiring granite landscapes. Castelo de Vide is well worth a visit, and we recommend exploring on foot. Back on your bikes the route then leads you to the biggest river on the Iberian peninsula, the River Tejo. As the day unfolds you will ride through beautiful countryside as you make your way alongside a reservoir, passing the village of Nisa, to finally meet the river in Vila Velha de Rodão, as it flows through a big stone gorge.

The River Tejo bisects the country from north to south and there are noticeable differences between the two sides of the river – the locals’ appearances and accents, as well as the architecture and the food all demonstrate the distinctions in culture found here. Your hotel in town provides rooms with amazing views of the river, the town and its surrounding meadows.

Day 3
V.V. de Rodão to Idanha-a-Nova
45 Miles / 73 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast

Beginning this morning on the north side of the river, your route will take you through tranquil farmland and along undulating country roads. You’ll gradually wind your way up to the village of Idanha-a-Nova, another hilltop village and your destination for the evening. Your accommodation for the evening will be a peaceful country hotel, offering blissful relaxation; it’s the perfect way to relax after a day’s pedallin’!

Day 4
Idanha-a-Nova to Monsanto
24 Miles / 39 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast

Today offers you a relatively relaxed ride through peaceful landscapes. This morning you’ll be riding on flatter, wider roads through agricultural land. For the majority of the day you will have these quiet roads to yourselves, with the untouched landscape stretching off in the distance.

One of the day’s highlights is the Roman village of Idanha-a-Velha (Egitania in Roman times) which was home to many different civilizations stretching back before the Romans invaded. You can still experience its historical wealth through the Roman remains, columns and tiled floors. The old Roman oil press deserves a visit!

But the cherry on top of the cake is still to come at the end of a great day in the saddle. Monsanto is 850m above sea level and is known in the country as “the most Portuguese village of Portugal”. The 360 degree views from the castle on the top are breathtaking! Monsanto is a jewel of tradition with its houses built around, over and below the large granite boulders. You’ll spend the night in a small, recently-renovated hotel in the village. Make sure you allow yourself time to explore Monsanto’s tight cobbled streets and marvel at the views from the castle up top.

Day 5
Monsanto to Sortelha
35 Miles / 57 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast

You’ll start the day descending from Monsanto to the plateau below. Cycling on quiet narrow roads you’ll eventually reach the foothill of Penamacor, another historical village. After this, you’ll head into a large valley between the remote Malcata mountains and the high Estrela mountains, and you’ll meander through agricultural fields on relatively flat land.

On the last part of today’s ride there’s a cheeky climb, as you ascend up a steep hill to take you to the historical village of Sortelha which stands at the top of the hill. Together with Sabugal, Sortelha is an icon of medieval history in the region. Its surrounding castle and stone houses allow you to take a leap into the past. You’ll spend the night in a small, traditional stone house in the village.

Day 6
Sortelha to Cró
18 Miles / 30 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast

Today you have a short and relaxed ride to allow plenty of time to visit Sabugal and spend the afternoon in the hotel spa at the end of the day.

Your first stop on the ride, will be Sabugal, famed for its fascinating castle, boasting a pentagonal centre stone tower. From Sabugal, your route meanders through tranquil landscapes on quiet narrow roads. You’ll end the day at your hotel, a modern facility built to rehabilitate the once very famous thermal waters, which provide the most relaxing treats you can think of after 5 days in the saddle. The indoor warm water swimming pool is a must, and watching the sun setting over the imposing granite landscapes through the wide glass windows, you’ll be completely relaxed.

Day 7
Cró to Almeida
31 Miles / 51 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast

Your final day’s cycling covers the Planalto Beirão, the north-eastern high plateau, offering spectacular views throughout the day. After reaching the plateau, today’s ride is a more gentle one offering plenty of opportunities to explore the fortified towns and villages which have grown up around the region’s many castles.

Almeida, your final destination, is considered to be the jewel in the area’s crown, emblematic of the area’s architecture and historical influences. Your home for the night is a beautiful pousada which offers a great place to relax and reminisce over your journey through this beautiful and dramatic corner of Portugal.

Day 8
Departure from Almeida - Transfer to Lisbon Airport
  • Meals: Breakfast

After breakfast you will be met by your local representative to begin the journey back to the airport for your flights home (4 hour transfer). Please note, due to the length of the transfer, pickup from your hotel in Almeida must be between 08.45 am and 12 pm.

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The Cycling

Terrain

With a lot of the most picturesque places to visit, including several of our overnight stops being perched on hill tops, inevitably there are a few climbs. These are, however, mostly rolling, rather than too long or steep. Day 3 will pose the biggest challenge, being the longest day, with some bigger climbs to tackle on days 2, 4 and 5. The route sticks 100% to asphalt so is suitable for hybrids or road bikes with slick or semi slick tyres (25mm or wider). Please note, the majority of the route is shared with traffic, but due to the remote nature of the tour, this isn’t usually too busy or fast moving.

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Leisure Cycling Grade

1
2
3
4
5
Grade 3 : Moderate

Distances generally between 20-45 miles / 32-72 kms per day

For the leisure cyclist with a good level of physical fitness

May include some steeper, cheeky climbs

Possibly sections of varying terrain (eg. forest tracks, gravel paths etc).

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?

Although you may not cycle everyday, you do keep yourself relatively fit and maybe enjoy an afternoon out on your bike at the weekend. Your preference is perhaps for flatter terrain but you don’t mind tackling some hills, and the occasional steep climb if you can take it at your own pace. For those happy to tackle some ups and downs, and possibly some sections of varying terrain (eg. forest tracks, gravel paths etc) we’d recommend our grade 3 trips. We’d generally expect those on a Grade 3 trip to have a decent level of physical fitness and be comfortable with some longer days in the saddle.

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Dates & Prices

Daily departures available between 01 Mar and 30 Nov (excluding departures in July and August).

Choose your date
Start Date
End Date
Duration
Price p.p.
Start Date
Return Date
--/--/----
Duration
8 days
Price
$1,610.00

Whats Included Tick

A) Hotel accommodation (shared twin / double en suite rooms)

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

C) Local representative (with welcome meeting)

D) Detailed route notes, maps and GPS

E) Luggage transfers

F) Airport transfer on scheduled arrival day from Lisbon airport (LIS)

G) 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) Single room (available if required)

D) Travel insurance

E) Meals not stated in the itinerary

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

Airport transfers are included in the cost of your trip.

For this tour we ask that you fly into and back from Lisbon airport (LIS). Please arrive between 08.00 and 15.00 and depart after 14.30.

Most flights from North America require overnight travel, and depending on your departure airport, you may be able to fly direct with KLM or Air France or may require a stop over in an intermediary airport, with Norwegian, Air Canada or Swiss maybe combining with another airline being a common combination for this trip.

Please note that flying from North America may involve multiple travel days.

Please check with Skedaddle before making any travel arrangements. Please note – If you make travel arrangements that fall outside of the above time windows there may be an additional charge for your transfers.

Accommodation

Accommodation (shared twin or double rooms) will usually be ensuite in 3 and 4 star hotels and local 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 hybrid bikes with semi slick tyres and 28” wheels. Hire bikes in Portugal will have a crossbar frame as standard, but size small bikes will have a step-through frame. If you do decide to hire we can include a helmet and all necessary spares for the trip. Please request helmets when making your booking.

Hire bikes also come with pannier racks, 1 pannier bag, emergency repair kit including spare inner tubes, bike pump, a bottle holder and bike lock. The tours are all guided by GPS, and the hire bikes have GPS support brackets. All bikes have flat pedals, but clip-in-pedals can be fitted on arrival, if you’d like to bring your own. You are also welcome to bring your own saddle, if you prefer.

We also have electric bikes available on request, should you wish. Please note, on our electric bikes in Portugal it is not possible to fit panniers or a water bottle holder, and so we’d recommend bringing a rucksack to store daily essentials.

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