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.
9 Guest Reviews
Guest Reviews for this trip
I would like to emphasize how great your people were. In Portugal, the hotels were especially great and so were the meals, but it’s really the people that make the trips so great
Portugal is an amazing place to ride and Thomson has put together an incredible route that shows just what the country has to offer for the cyclist. The roads are excellent and wonderfully free of traffic, the scenery is awe inspiring, and the hotels that Thomson uses are just unbelievable. I’ve done many TBT trips and this has to be one of my favorites.
The trip exceeded my expectations — I went into it focused more on the epic riding and was in awe of the remote roads, spectacular scenery, cobbled historic villages, beautiful hotels/monasteries, delicious food and incredible Thomson staff!
Trans-Portugal is a spectacular, off the radar screen trip. The interior of the country offers beautiful, mountainous terrain on empty roads. The Torre climb lived up to its billing as one of the toughest in Europe, but the divine descent was a surprise—one of the best ever. The accommodations were great, many nights in historic Pousadas but always with modern, luxurious interiors. The Thomson staff was top notch as always. I highly recommend this tour as it offers challenges equal to Grand Tour peak bagging and an exceptional overall experience.
I have done several trips we Thomson Bike Tours. But this trip is unique because the outstanding accommodations, quite roads, cobblestones riding, great routes and food. In my opinion, the provided support is the best in the business. The overall cycling experience surpassed my expectations. So big kudos to Thomson Bike Tours. They certainly goes the extra miles to give an unique experience.
The Trans-Portugal trip was fabulous. The roads have excellent pavement and almost no cars at all! This trip far exceeded my expectations and I would highly recommend it. Being a Thomson Tour, there was lots of climbing… particularly as I don’t think that anything in Portugal is flat!
My husband and I have just returned from Trans-Portugal 2015 and have had yet another fantastic experience with Thomson Bike Tours. We completed the Campagnolo Experience in October 2014 with Sergi and Jordi and were so impressed with the experience that we had to do it again. You have assembled a fantastic team and we were lucky enough to ride with Sergi and Jordi again in Portugal, joined by Adam. With both trips, the flexibility that the ride guides provided to all levels of experience and the adaptability to daily energy/exhaustion levels was impressive. The accommodations and meals were fantastic, each location with its own character and historical provisions. Thank you for doing such a fantastic job with the selection of the routes, the accommodations and the people on your team. We’re looking forward to our 3rd trip with Thomson – just trying to decide what challenge to take on.
I was pleasantly surprised by the difficulty of the riding. There was plenty of tough climbing, for those looking for it.
I really enjoyed the trip. The quality of the cycling was really good and consistent with TBT standards on other trips. The TBT staff were helpful and fun to be with.
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.
Meeting Time and Place
Our guides will meet you at 9:30am - either at Lisbon Airport or at the Radisson Blu Hotel Lisbon
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. Our shuttle will take you to Porto Airport, arriving at approximately 8:00am.