Beginning in the awe-inspiring ancient royal city of Vila Vicosa, enjoy Portugal’s rich culture and exquisite accommodations as we take the high road across this quiet country’s wondrously diverse terrain.
Portugal has everything for the avid cyclist: big climbs, spectacular scenery, historic villages (complete with cobbles!), and exceptional food and wine. Combine all of the above with the quietest, traffic-free roads you’ll find anywhere in Europe, super-friendly locals and absolutely stunning historical hotels and you’ll soon understand why Portugal is a firm favourite with all of our staff.
Welcome to Portugal!
Our trip starts at Lisbon Airport where our staff will be there to welcome you before the short transfer to our hotel in the ancient Royal city of Vila Vicosa.
On arrival at the hotel, we’ll have an orientation meeting then get the bikes built up before sitting down to lunch. After lunch we’ll head out on our first ride, a beautiful route through the Portuguese countryside around Vila Vicosa.
Marvao via Sao Mamede
Today we start our Northern journey across Portugal. Our first destination is one of the country’s most spectacular hilltop fortified villages, Marvao.
The first 80 km to Alegrete are mostly rolling with a few short, steep climbs. After Alegrete the serious climbing starts with 4 climbs in the final 40 km. At just over 1000 m, the climb to Montarecos and Sao Mamede is the toughest challenge with maximum grades of +15% over the last km! Save some energy though, our hotel is situated inside the medieval walls of Marvao, at the end of the final 5.3 km climb!
Portas de Almourao
With 4 categorized climbs on the agenda, today’s ride is definitely one for the mountain goats.
The climbing starts after a nice 40 km descent from our hotel. We begin with a short climb to Vinagra, followed shortly by the climb to the Portas de Almourao with its spectacular views over the River Ocreza gorge. The steep descent leads us to Foz do Cobrao and the final 70 km over 4 categorized climbs, including the stunning 11 km climb through Alvita da Beira with many sections of +10%. Our hotel lies at the bottom of the final 6 km descent into Pampilhosa da Serra.
Big climb day! With over 30 km of climbing and a total elevation gain of almost 2000 m (6,500 ft), the climb up to the ski station at Torre is one of the toughest climbs in Europe.
Leaving Pampilhosa we’re immediately into climbing mode with 2 Cat 2 climbs, the 10km climb to Soerinho and the 6 km climb through Gralhas. Enjoy the spectacular views of the Serra da Estrella from the ridge around Gralhas before descending into the beautiful mountain village of Piodao. The long descent from Piodao leads us to Vide where we start the massive climb to Torre. Enjoy!
The Douro Valley
After the last couple of extremely challenging days, we take a bit of a break today with a flatter ride into the Douro River Valley, a UNESCO world heritage site!
Our ride continues northwards, once again over virtually traffic-free roads and timeless villages. It’s impossible not to notice the old women working in the fields whilst their husbands chat it up on the village benches. The fields and olive groves are gradually replaced by extensive, terraced vineyards signalling the approach of the Douro River Valley.
Our final destination is the 5-star Hotel Vintage House in Pinhao which sits on the banks of the Douro river.
Senhora da Graca
After our “flat day” yesterday we’re back into climbing mode with a Volta a Portugal favourite - the Cat. 1 climb to Alto da Senhora da Graca which spirals around the mountain for 9 km before reaching the summit at the famous sanctuary.
From our hotel in Pinhao, we immediately head up through the vast, terraced vineyards of the Douro valley. Take time during the 18 km climb to enjoy the views of this very special valley. The Barragem do Alvao climb is next but not before we ride through a spectacular landscape dotted with ancient villages where time has stood still. An absolutely fantastic and unique cycling experience!
Serras da Cabreira and Geres
We saved the best for last. Today’s ride is a firm favourite with our ride leaders! From Mondim da Basto we head north towards the border with Spain riding through some really unique landscapes. River valleys, big climbs, pristine lakes and the usual picturesque, ancient villages characterize today’s ride.
After 90 km we drop down to the Rio Cavada in the heart of the Geres National Park. We’ll head north through the park before heading west over the Calcedonia climb with it’s unique boulder-strewn landscape. From the top of the Calcedonia climb, enjoy the great descent and the leisurely ride along the Rio Cavada to our hotel - an exceptionally beautifully restored 12th century monastery!
Unfortunately our trip must come to an end. We’ll transfer you to the Porto airport. Safe travels!