- Obidos: a picture perfect walled castle village, ginginha liqueur
- Sintra: palaces, castle, lush scenery and pastries
- Cabo da Roca: the most westerly point in Europe
- Serra da Arrabida: natural park with spectacular sea views and convent
- Azeitao: cheese, wine-making; hand-painted tile-making workshop
- Vila Nova de Milfontes: a lovely whitewashed seaside village
- Alcácer do Sal: medieval castle converted into lodging
- Monchique: the original mountain spa village surrounded by orange groves
- Sagres: stunning cliffs marking the most southwesterly point in Europe
- Algarve region: beaches, fig and almond trees, pottery
- Great seafood from start to finish: grilled fish, shellfish served with chilled white wine.
Day 1: Obidos
A short transfer takes us to the Ribatejo region and we'll cycle along the quiet and flat back roads of the Tejo River plain past farms, vineyards and roadside fruit stands while flocks of egrets fly overhead. Tonight, we sleep in Óbidos, a picture-perfect walled village with meticulously kempt whitewashed houses covered in vines and flowers. It is impossible not to succumb to the village's charms. Its name comes from the Latin oppidum, meaning "citadel" or "fortified city" and its walls are still standing today. The tranquil atmosphere is perfect for quiet conversation in a local tavern and tasting ginginha, the liqueur made from locally grown cherries. Tonight we'll sleep within the castle walls in Obidos. Distance: 44 m/70 Km or 19 m/30 km.
Day 2: Sintra
After a short transfer we will cycle the quiet back roads heading south (generally we get tailwinds) in the direction of lovely Sintra. Tonight, we will stay in the charming Lawrence’s Hotel in Sintra, the oldest hotel in Europe still in operation. Sintra is a lush mountain town jutting out of the landscape topped with a fantastical pink palace and 8th century castle. The poet, Lord Byron called it a "glorious eden". It is no surprise then, that this UNESCO World Heritage site was once the summer residence for the kings. Set among lush vegetation, it boasts two palaces, a Moorish castle, many convents and private estates as well as museums. We'll select a few monuments to visit and afterwards relax in town over piping hot travesseiro (pillow) pastries, a local specialty. Distance: 23 m / 36 km with optional alternatives (more or less).
Day 3: Cascais
We'll depart from the doorstep of our hotel and bike through the forest of Sintra Natural Park to visit the moss-covered Capuchos Monastery with its tiny cork-lined chambers for the monks and then coast down to Praia Grande on the Atlantic. After a short pit stop we'll start our hike to the most westerly point in Europe - Cabo da Roca or "the rock cape" over the cliffs above the waves. When we are done, there is the option to ride downhill along the winding coast to Guincho beach and Cascais, a once tiny fishing-village now turned world-class sailing center. After exploring this pedestrian friendly beach town with its many souvenir shops, cafes and seafood restaurants choose your own place for dinner. It is no accident that Terracotta Journeys calls Cascais its home. Distance: Bike 24 m / 38 Km. Hike along the coast (optional): 6 m/10 km.
Day 4: Alcácer do Sal
After a transfer across the Tejo River to the castle town of Palmela, fabulous panoramic views await us as we cycle through Arrábida’s many vineyards and the forested cliffs of the natural park down to the tiny bay of Portinho de Arrabida. After a gourmet picnic and we'll continue to cycle along the breathtaking cliffs of Arrábida. When we’ve spent all of our energy we’ll attend a traditional tile-painting workshop and/or visit a local winery estate. The minivan will then take us on a short ride to Alcácer do Sal, an imponent walled castle town got its name for its history of exporting salt (sal).
This evening we'll have a chance to amble through the town and admire the vestiges left behind by previous visitors: the Phoenician, Romans and Moors. Tonight we'll all sleep like kings in the historic Pousada D. Afonso II, the converted five hundred year old castle. (Trivia: Did you know that the Portuguese are the biggest consumers and producers of rice in Europe? This is probably due to their historical connection to the Eastern world and their discovery of new lands). Distance: 31 miles/50 km.
Day 5: Vila Nova de Milfontes
After a short transfer, we'll ride through the countryside along roads lined with fields of flowers and typical whitewashed cottages bordered in blue. At Santiago de Cacem we'll stop and visit the impressive “Mirobriga” Roman ruins. Our final destination is Vila Nova de Milfontes, a quaint seaside village with a spectacular setting. After a satisfying day of cycling we'll sleep at the Castelo de Milfontes, a unique historical family inn which was once a 16th-century fort built to protect the village against North African pirates. Distance: 30 m/49 km.
Day 6: Vila Nova de Milfontes. Today is farewell day, with a transfer to Lisbon.
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Europe Portugal Outdoor: Land Rambler Bicycle Touring Cultural Journey
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