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Discover the cultural highlights, sweeping beaches and natural beauty of central Portugal. Cycle up the Douro Valley, ride a bike path to university town Coimbra then take a train to picturesque Aveiro. Spend the next three days following the Atlantic Coast, trying the excellent local wines and catch of the day.
Explore Tour Leader
7 nights comfortable hotel
Leisurely and Moderate
Trip maximum 16 Explore Average 11
Itineraries on some departure dates may differ, please select the itinerary that you wish to explore.
Our trip starts in Porto. Portugal's second city straddles the River Douro and its atmospheric historic centre lies on the northern bank. The Port Wine lodges are located along the river in Gaia on the southern side.
For those arriving on time our Tour Leader plans to meet you in the hotel reception at 6pm for the welcome meeting and for those that wish, there is the chance to go out for dinner after the orientation walk.
If you would like to receive an airport transfer today, you will need to arrive into Porto Airport (OPO), which is a 30-minute drive from the hotel. If you miss the briefing, your Tour Leader will inform you of any essential information as soon as you catch up.
No cycling today.
Moov Hotel Porto Centro (or similar)
After breakfast, there will be some time to ensure all are happy with our bikes and to make any minor adjustments. We then start our cycling journey through downtown Porto cross Luís I bridge along the Douro River and later continue along the Atlantic Coast to Furadouro and our hotel for the night. Furadouro is a small unspoilt resort boasting an extensive sandy beach backed by a long stretch of pine-fringed dunes. Our premium hotel for the night is right by the beach with views of the Atlantic and close by to many restaurants and bars.
Our total cycling distance today is approximately 43 kilometres/26.7 miles (180 metres/590 feet of ascent and 250 metres/820 feet of descent).
Furadouro Beach & Spa Hotel (or similar)
We cycle from the hotel after breakfast and ride our way along the graded cycling trail into Ovar and visit this lovely old town. We then continue back to the coastal trail and ride to Sao Jacinto. Between white sand beaches, dunes, pine forests and marshes, the landscapes are quite simply spectacular. From there, we take a short ferry ride and then continue cycling to Aveiro, a charming town that is known for its canals, Art Nouveau architecture and colourful Moliceiros boats. In the afternoon, explore the centre of Aveiro often called the Portuguese 'Venice' or take an optional boat tour along the canals. Our hotel for the night is a typical Portuguese townhouse located right in the centre of Aveiro.
Our total cycling distance today is approximately 48 kilometres/29.8 miles (total 100 metres/328 feet accumulated ascent metres descent).
Veneza Hotel (or similar)
After breakfast, we start our cycle along the colourfully painted beachfront houses in the Costa Nova neighbourhood. The surrounding area is a shallow coastal lagoon rich in birdlife and our cycle route takes us outh, through the plains and marshland close to the sea, to finally reach Praia de Mira where our ride ends. We then travel to Nazaré where we spend the night. This seaside town has become famous among surfers for the monster waves, created by a trench close to shore, that can reach over 20 metres/65 feet in height in the winter months when conditions are right. Our hotel is situated less than 100 metres/328 feet from the beach and the breakfast room has panoramic views of the town and Atlantic Ocean. In the afternoon, spend time at the beach or climb up to the viewpoint and llighthouse.
Our total cycling distance today is approximately 40 kilometres/24.8 miles (total 75 metres/246 feet accumulated ascent descent).
Hotel Maré (or similar)
Our cycle route this morning follows the coast south towards the charming beach town of Sao Martinho do Porto. Then, we continue to Foz de Arelho for a much-deserved lunch on the beachfront. The afternoon is free to enjoy the fabulous beaches of Foz de Arelho which remains remarkably undeveloped and boasts a vast beach on the estuary, popular for windsurfing, as well as a great seafront beach just 15 minutes walking from town. Our hotel for the night is located in between Obidos Lagoon and the Atlantic Ocean, and walking distance from from the beach.
Our total cycling distance today is approximately 30 kilometres/18.6 miles (total 350 metres/1148 feet accumulated ascent descent).
Hotel Agua d'Alma (or similar)
Our final ride is always close to the sea as we cycle south until Peniche. In between, we make a stop inland, in Obidos for a walking tour. Obidos is considered to be one of the most picturesque and well-preserved medieval towns in Portugal. We then, cycle back to the coast and arrive in Peniche for the night, spectacularly set on a headland surrounded by the sea. The town remains an important fishing port as well as offering great beaches and surf. After settling in our hotel, explore the walled historic centre and see the old fort where Salazar's regime imprisoned political prisoners only a few decades ago. Tonight, we are staying in a family run hotel in a 19th century building located in Peniche's lively city centre, a 5-minute walk from the Atlantic Ocean and the Peniche Fortress.
Our total cycling distance today is approximately 48 kilometres/29.8 miles (total 450 metres/1476 feet accumulated ascent descent).
Sea Garden Residence (or similar)
This morning, we drive for around one-and-a-half hours to Lisbon where our Tour Leader will take you on an orientation walk and the afternoon will be free to discover the city at your own pace. Resting on seven hills overlooking the estuary of the River Tagus, Lisbon became the capital of Portugal after its conquest from the Moors in 1147. As Portugal built a global empire Lisbon became the hub of international trade and the heart of this maritime Golden Age of discovery, reflected in the monumental architecture. A devastating earthquake and resulting tsunami almost totally destroyed the capital in 1755 and therefore Lisbon appears as a carefully planned 18th century city. Lisbon offers a good selection of restaurants to celebrate the end of our journey followed by the option to see a live performance of traditional 'Fado' music for those interested.
Empire Lisbon Hotel (or similar)
The trip ends after breakfast at our hotel in Lisbon.
There are no activities planned today, so you are free to depart at any time. If your flight is departing later in the day luggage storage facilities are available at our hotel. If you would like to receive an airport transfer today, you need to depart from Lisbon Portela Airport (LIS), which is about 15 minutes' drive from the city centre.
Lisbon has so much to offer and if you would like to have more time to explore the city at your own pace, we suggest to book a few extra nights at the end of the trip.
Total distance : 209 kilometres
Overall, spring, early summer and autumn are ideal times for a trip to Portugal - though the weather varies enormously from region to region. The northern high plains has both extremes, stiflingly hot in summer, bitterly cold and swept by freezing winds in winter. The Atlantic coast, in contrast, has a tendency to damp and mist, and a relatively brief, humid summer. The Mediterranean south is warm virtually all year round. The islands have very different weather patterns due to their positioning and can have sudden rain falls throughout the year so waterproofs are recommended even in the summer.
2 Pin Round
Lisbon - Fado concert 35-40 Euros
When cycling: quick drying cycle tops, padded cycle shorts, lightweight wind and water proof jacket and warmer breathable layers where local conditions require. Be prepared for wind from the Atlantic in general and some colder days on the bike on departures in April, May and October. General: Pack essentially for mild or hot weather depending on the time of the year.
If you are not bringing cycle shoes then try to bring stiff-soled shoes as these are better for cycling - transmitting your energy into the pedals more efficiently. This becomes more relevant and recommended the more demanding the grade and distances to cover. SPD cycle shoes are not well suited to tours that combine sightseeing with cycling. Comfortable shoes, trainers, sandals or flip flops are useful when not on the bike.
We recommend you bring a daypack and one main piece of luggage (total allowance: 44lb/20kg). Please note that on days 2, 3 and 4 we travel by public transport along with your main luggage for which you will be responsible, while the support vehicle transfers the bikes. Where possible the tour leader will help to arrange taxi luggage transfers between stations and hotels where needed. Ideally it makes sense to pack relatively light and for your luggage to have wheels. Check the bike details section to see if a pannier or handlebar bag is provided on the bike.
On all Explore cycle holidays we strongly recommend you bring along and wear your cycle helmet. In case of an accident resulting in personal injury, certain insurance policies are invalidated in cases where a helmet was not being worn. Cycle glasses to protect against dust, pollen and the sun, padded cycle gloves and a water bottle or water delivery system (e.g. camelback or platypus) are also useful. You may choose to bring your own gel seat cover for added comfort. If a handle bar bag or pannier is not provided (check bike details) then you may like to bring a small rucksack to wear while cycling. Other items to consider bringing are a sunhat and sun cream, torch, earplugs and insect repellent. Please carry some or all of your cycling equipment e.g. helmet as part of your hand luggage.
On this tour, we are staying in comfortable hotels offering a good level of service with amenities such as a restaurant, bar, garden and air-conditionning. All are perfectly located whitin walking distance to the main sights and local restaurants and bars. In Furadouro, we are staying in a premium hotel, the Furadouro Boutique Hotel Beach & Spa facing the Atlantic Ocean.
Can you drink the water?
It is generally possible to drink the local tap water, therefore to reduce the need for single-use plastic bottles we recommend you bring a refillable water bottle with you. Your leader will advise you on refill points each day.
We strongly recommend that you check your government's travel advisory for up-to-date information and advice about your destination: safety and security, entry requirements, health, local laws and customs. For UK citizens, check the latest Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office advice.
Please refer to our COVID-19 entry requirements page for any country-specific conditions of entry. Whilst we strive to update this on a regular basis we recommend you also check the FCDO website for the latest advice on entry requirements in this fast-evolving situation. Information can change at any time.
Please note that some countries require proof of parental consent when travelling overseas with under 18s. Please check requirements with the relevant embassy or consular office well in advance of travel if this applies to your party.
Once your booking has been confirmed we guarantee the price will not increase, whatever the circumstances. However, please note that if you voluntarily make any changes to your booking including changing your trip or departure date, any additional costs or charges incurred will not be covered. Before booking please ensure you have read our important tour pricing information.Booking Conditions
Portugal: Visas are not required by UK, Australian, New Zealand, US and Canadian citizens. Other nationalities should consult their local embassy or consular office.
If you do require assistance in obtaining a visa then you may be able to apply through Explore's recommended visa service in the UK, Travcour. See www.travcour.com to download the relevant visa application for your trip, if applicable (UK citizens only), along with details of how to apply for your visa through Travcour. The Team at Travcour will be happy to answer specific questions relating to visa applications, please call them directly on 0208 5431846.
It is your responsibility to ensure that you are in possession of a full passport, with the correct validity for your chosen destination.
Before booking your Explore trip, please ensure that you read both our Essential Information and Booking Conditions.
Customers who have chosen to book on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements of our tour, please ensure that you have checked your tour specific ‘Joining Instructions’ prior to booking your own travel arrangements. Your joining instructions can be found below in the dates and prices information.
You may also be eligible for the Free Explore Transfer.
Customers booked on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements will receive a Free Transfer, provided you arrive and depart on the tour only itinerary start and end dates. The complimentary transfers will be arranged from the Explore designated airport or train station to your trips joining point, and then back from the ending point to the designated airport or train station. Generally the airport or station that Explore have selected will be the one that is closest to the town or city where the trip starts, or the one nearest to the joining point. It will be either an airport or train station but not both.
The exception to this rule is customers who are booked on a tour where the joining and ending point is at the designated airport or train station.
Free transfers are not available for Polar customers.
If you are not eligible for the Free Transfer then you will need to make your own way through to the joining and ending point. On a majority of our tours Explore will be able to provide a private transfer at an additional cost. Please ask for a quote at the time of booking.
For more information regarding the Explore Free Transfer click here
It is a condition of booking with Explore that you have adequate valid travel insurance. It is your responsibility to arrange appropriate travel insurance and ensure you have read and understood the full terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy to ensure that you are covered for all activities you intend to undertake whilst on the tour, including all optional activities. Your Insurance Policy must fully cover you for medical expenses and emergency repatriation to your home country. Please ensure your policy includes medical emergency helicopter evacuation in the event of illness or injury and covers the entire duration of your holiday. If you are trekking at altitude please ensure that there is no upper altitude limit which may limit or exclude cover for your trip. The cost of many of our Polar Voyages will exceed the capped amount covered by standard insurance premiums and you will be required to pay an additional premium to cover the full value of your trip. Please ensure that you are covered for the full amount of your holiday cost, as insufficient cover could invalidate a claim under the policy. Medical and repatriation insurance cover is not mandatory for UK residents who are travelling on trips within the United Kingdom.
Read more information about what travel insurance is required.
Explore offers a wide range of flexible flying options to make joining and leaving our trips easy. Read more about them here.
You are able to book this tour on a 'land only' basis or as a ‘flight inclusive’ package. Your flight inclusive package will be fully protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) ATOL protection scheme.
We have a good selection of flights not only from London but from many regional airports around the UK allowing us to compare fares between scheduled carriers as well as low cost and charter airlines. Our dedicated flights team will match the best flight options to your arrival and departure airport.
On our website we display a UK flight inclusive package guide price which is generally based on a London departure. To avoid paying supplements or to secure your preferred flight option, we recommend booking as early as possible, especially for peak travel dates.
Nothing compulsory but Tetanus is usually recommended as a precaution. Please check the latest requirements with your travel clinic or doctor prior to departure. The above is not an exhaustive list. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found by following the NHS and NaTHNaC links at Explore Travel Health and from your local healthcare provider. Visa and vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed by you before travelling.