- Accommodations in Historic Hotels in Castles, Palaces, Monasteries and Fortresses
- Magnificent views over the rivers and luxuriant vegetation
- Santa Luzia and the beautiful view over Viana
- Churches and Manor houses everywhere
- The rich gastronomy and the famous wine of the region: vinho verde
- The religious city of Braga and its churches
- Guimaraes – the birth of Portuguese nationality
- Re-live history itself in each stone, each glance and each object
- Peneda/Geres National Park and the amazing landscape
- Feeling a different outstanding atmosphere in each Pousada.
- Class: Historic Tour
- Region of Portugal: Minho (coast and inland)
- Duration: 7 days/ 6 nights/ 5 days cycling
- Begin: Valenca
- End: Guimaraes
- Overall difficulty level: Intermediate. You must be in good shape
- Distance: 198 km (123 mi)
- Average: 40 km/day (25 mi/day)
- Trails: 75% asphalt/25% dirt-roads.
This is a gorgeous Hybrid Bike Tour which takes you to several Manor Houses, Palaces and Monasteries; these magnificent places were once inhabited by the clergy or the Queens and Kings of Portugal and now are converted into exquisite lodgings, which we call Pousadas. This Tour starts in Valença do Minho which is a historic village in Northern Portugal located near the Spanish border; the border line is the beautiful river Minho and the village is surrounded by walls. There is a fortress with two towers and double walls, several manor houses and small palaces and several churches too. Then we will ride to Viana do Castelo, a town founded in the 13th century and whose port was one of the main ports from which the Portuguese explorers set sail, due to the Discoveries in the 16th century. We will cycle along the river Lima to Ponte de Lima, admiring an astonishing view and luxuriant vegetation. Ponte de Lima is a beautiful small town whose name derives from the bridge (ponte) which was the only safe way to cross Lima river. We will cross the hills in Gerês and will stay in a 12th century Monastery converted into a charming hotel. Next stop will be in a Nature hotel located in the heart of Peneda / Gerês National Park with a breathtaking view over the river and the peaceful Caniçada dam. On our last day we will ride to Guimarães which is traditionally known as the birthplace of the Portuguese nation. You can visit the medieval historic center, the castle and the palace nearby and feel the medieval atmosphere around you. We will stay in a Convent dated of the 12th century.
Day 1: Arrival – Welcome at Oporto airport. 1 H drive to Valença, briefing about the tour followed by dinner. Lodging in a Pousada which is set on the highest place of the old fortified area of Valença, with a great view to Spanish border.
Day 2: Cycling along the coast – 62 km (39 mi), level 4, acum. ascent 750 m. After breakfast we leave Valença and ride towards Viana do Castelo, a city founded in the 13th century and whose port was one of the main ports of sailing during the Portuguese Discovery Journeys in the 16th century. Picnic on the way. Dinner with the group. Lodging in a Pousada set on the hill of Santa Luzia, overlooking the city and the beautiful estuary of the river Lima.
Day 3: Along the Lima river banks – 32 km (20 mi), level 1, acum. ascent 260 m. After breakfast we ride towards Ponte de Lima, the oldest small town in Portugal with its amazing bridge which was the only safe way to cross Lima river until the end of Middle Age. Picnic on the way. Dinner with the group. Lodging in a new 4*Hotel.
Day 4: The most typical views in Minho region – 49 km (30 mi), level 4, acum. ascent 1110 m. After breakfast we ride on the green and luxuriant Gerês Hills and here and there we can find some houses. Picnic on the way. Dinner with the group. Lodging in a Pousada that is the result of the restoration of a former Cistercian Monastery from the 12th century.
Day 5: Climbing the green luxuriant hills – 18 km (11 mi), level 2, acum. ascent 550 m. After breakfast we leave the 12th century Monastery and we ride up the green Gerês Hills. Our ride is short but very steep until we get to our next Pousada; however the dazzling views make the effort worth. Picnic on the way. Dinner with the group. Lodging in a nature Pousada with a unique location, right in the heart of Peneda/Gerês National Park.
Day 6: Guimarães, the birthplace of Portugal – 37 km (23 mi), level 3, acum. ascent 660 m. After breakfast we ride towards Guimarães, the birth of Portuguese nationality. We leave the Peneda Gerês National Park and we start to ride down to this historic city. Visit to the medieval historic centre, to the castle and palace where you can feel the medieval atmosphere around you. Picnic on the way. Dinner with the group. Lodging in a Pousada which is the result of the restoration of a former Augustine Monastery dated of the 12th century.
Day 7: Departure – After breakfast transfer to Oporto airport – 40 min. drive.
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