- Biking: Total distance (maximum): 60 km/ 37.3 mi
- Longest day: 40 km/ 24.9 mi
- Walking: Total distance (maximum): 20 km/ 12.4 mi
- Longest day: 5 km/ 3.1 mi
- Accommodations: Selected (4 stars inns).
Day 1: Transfer from the airport in Lisboa to Lousã. On the way to Lousã we will stop in the City of Santarém to visit Santa Maria da Graça Church where Pedro Álvares Cabral, discover of Brasil is buried under a simple slab near the main chapel. The church was built between the 14th and 15th centuries in a mix of mendicant and flamboyant Gothic styles. Has a magnificent main portal and rose window (unique in the world, carved out of a single stone). Lodging and dinner: Hotel in Lousã.
Day 2: Lousã
Located right in the centre of Portugal, Lousã is a town with much of interest even though many of its visitors are sports enthusiasts seeking it out for the nearby Serra da Lousã, the true highlight of this region. This walking trail is located mainly on the slopes of Serra da Lousã and connects the area of Lousã Castle and of the Chapel of “Nossa Senhora da Piedade” with the two most emblematic Schist Villages in this area - Talasnal and Casal Novo. This hiking route is also a journey through time, because we will be repeating the same steps that the ancient residents of these villages did to reach Lousã. Often framed by vegetation, the trail is relatively protected in all seasons. Due to the accumulated climbs and descents, it requires good physical condition; however, you can choose a signed shortcut to make it shorter. Walking trail Lousã Schist Villages (7 km/ 4.4 mi | 2-3 hrs). Lodging: Hotel in Lousã.
Day 3: Coimbra and Gondramaz Schist Village
Morning - Optional guided visit to Coimbra. The city of Coimbra contains important archaeological remains of structures dating from the time when it was the Roman town of Aeminium, such as its well-preserved aqueduct and cryptoporticus, as well as from the period when it served as the capital of Portugal (from 1139 to about 1260). In the Late Middle-Ages, declining as the political centre of the Kingdom of Portugal, Coimbra began to evolve into a major cultural centre with the foundation of the University of Coimbra in 1290, one of the oldest in Europe.
Afternoon - walking trail in the Schist Villages of Gondramaz (4 km/ 2.5 mi | 1-2 hrs). This Walking Trail connects Gondramaz Village to the Chapinha Picnic Park. The trail has a section next to Espinho stream banks. Close to Gondramaz is possible to do a return detour leaving the main route to visit Penedo dos Corvos (cliff), where you can enjoy a magnificent view over the valley. Travel over this trail is also a journey through time, reminding the ancient journeys daily made by millers in order to visit several mills that existed in the area. The vegetation that involves most part of this Walking Trail, the stream and its waterfalls makes this journey a pleasant choice in the hottest summer days. Free dinner. Lodging: Hotel in Lousã.
Day 4: Fajão | Santa Luzia | Janeiro de Baixo | Janeiro de Cima | Barroca
Transfer to the top of the mountain - 40 km/ 24.9 mi. | 40 min. Today you have the chance to bike in a beautiful area and visiting some of the most beautiful Schist Villages of the area like Fajão, Janeiro de Baixo, Janeiro de Cima and Barroca. You can choose the distance you want to bike up to 33 km/ 20.5 mi. For those that don’t want to bike, there is a optional walking in Janeiro de Baixo (6 km/ 3.8 mi or 10 km/ 6.2 mi). The Janeiro de Baixo Walking Trail is a loop around the village. The total distance is approximately 10 km but there is one optional shortcut that allows doing the loop with 6 km. The route takes you along the Zêzere river in a ancient path once used by the locals to connect to other villages and to the outstanding rock formations that form the Serra de Janeiro crest.
Fajão is an ancient town, located in a picturesque corner of the mountains, perched over the Ceira river, close to its spring, between tall and gigantic quartzite boulders whose configuration reminds visitors of ancient natural castle. In Janeiro de Cima we will visit Casa das Tecedeiras (weaver’s house) where we can listen to the orchestra of looms at work, weaving a symphony of color. In the walls, among the orange schist stone, round stones stand out, a unique feature of this village. In the late afternoon sunlight, this singular architecture made of river stones gives a red hue to the houses. Transfer to Unhais da Serra (46 km/ 28.6 mi | 45 min). Lodging and dinner: Hotel in Unhais da Serra.
Day 5: Serra da Estrela
Free day in the Hotel SPA and/ or walking trail in the Serra da Estrela National Park, with departure and arrival at the hotel (3 km/ 1.9 mi or 5 km/ 3.1 mi - circular). Serra da Estrela Nature Park is the largest protected area in Portugal, with its 1000 km2. It includes the Serra da Estrela mountain range, which is mainly granite, but which also has a few shale outcrops. Some major Portuguese rivers (Mondego, Zêzere, Alva) have their sources within the boundaries of the Nature Park, which also contains vestiges of ancient glaciers (U-shaped valleys, lagoons, erratic granite boulders, hollows). The park is home to the highest point in mainland Portugal, Torre, which reaches a height of almost 2000 m. The climate is influenced by both the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, and the park’s central plateau is considered a Bio-genetic Reserve by the Council of Europe. Lodging and dinner: Hotel in Unhais da Serra.
Day 6: Torre (Serra da Estrela) | Belmonte
Transfer to Torre – 23.5 km/ 14.6 mi route Nave | 41 km/ 25.5 mi route Covilhã. Today we will bike (downhill) from Torre (Serra da Estrela) to Belmonte. You can choose the distance you want to bike up to 50 km/ 31.1 mi all the way to Belmonte. Belmonte is the birthplace of Pedro Álvares Cabral, the discoverer of Brazil (1500). The town of Belmonte is indeed very much involved in the history of Portuguese Judaism, and it still shelters today the largest Jewish community in the country, whose origins go back to at least the 13th century. Lodging and dinner: Pousada in Belmonte.
Day 7: Belmonte. Visit to Belmonte Historical Village and to the discoveries museum. We will visit the local museums, observe the diverse existing heritage, and explore the quiet streets of this village. Lodging and dinner: Pousada in Belmonte.
Day 8: Lisboa. Transfer to Lisboa. Sailboat ride along Tejo river or free afternoon. Today we will have the chance to see Lisbon from a different perspective seen from the river on an unforgettable sailing trip on the Tejo river. Farewell dinner in a Fados house. Lodging: Hotel in Lisbon.
Day 9: Transfer to the airport.
Also see tour packages in:
Europe Portugal Outdoor: Land Rambler Multi-activity Cultural Journey