Portugal is Europe’s wild child: on the edge of things, a bit untamed, unselfconscious and authentic. On our bike tour we explore gorgeous medieval villages, vineyards, olive groves, fields of wild flowers, endless surf beaches below soaring cliffs and tucked away restaurants where your meal goes on for hours and the bill is scribbled on your paper tablecloth.
And what better way to appreciate the slow and lovely pace of Portugal than by bike? We’ve created a fabulous route that takes you from Lisbon, where we explore the old town’s nooks and crannies, through sleepy, sunbaked Alentejo and down to the Algarve. Along the way we explore the labyrinthine streets of ancient villages including Evora (where we sleep in a former monastery beside a Roman temple), Monsaraz (the oldest settlement in Portugal) and Mertola (oh the views!). We go way off the beaten track to hang with the locals (and relatives of our guides) in whitewashed Vidiguerira, where wine is made in massive stone jars and where we’re treated like locals. We give our legs a break during a river cruise then end up with exhilarating rides on paths high above the Atlantic Ocean. Add into the mix accommodations in converted heritage properties and gorgeous boutique hotels – we can safely say you will rest happily each night.
Day 1 – Arrival in Lisbon
We whisk you from the airport to a hip, historic hotel down a quiet cobbled street in the city’s beautiful old quarter. Settle in then head to the roof top bar ad pool for stunning views over the city and ocean. Tonight we’ll take in some Fado music during our welcome dinneris one of Europe’s most beautiful cities and cultural hotspots: lots to do if you want to add a day at the beginning or end of the trip.
Day 2 – Lisbon to Évora
Take in the sights of Lisbon on a tuk-tuk tour! (It sounds counter intutitive, but believe us, it’s a blast). Lunch with locals in one of our favourite tucked away eateries, then transfer to Evora, an ancient UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Check into our hotel, a restored 15th century convent, and marvel at the Roman temple next door.
Day 3 – Évora and Environs – 52 km
Meet your bike and set off on circular historical ride around Évora, stopping along the way at ancient and amazing sites.
Day 4 – Évora to Monsaraz – 62 km riding
Pedal deep into rural Alentejo, through rolling fields filled with colourful wildflowers. IStop for coffee and lunch in sleepy village squares. Put on a final spurt to get to our home for the night, a hill top medieval village with a huge castle and sweeping views.
Day 5 – Monsaraz to Herdade do Sobroso – 70 km
Pick up speed as you head down the hill and back on to the plain. This is our longest day yet, but on arrival you can have a wine tasting and a dip in the pool.
Day 6 – Herdade do Sobroso to Vila de Frades – 30 km
An easy day to give us to time to explore the slow paced lifestyle of Vidigueira and Vila de Frades. Visit friends and relatives of our guides, drop in to see the local butcher who is a renowned photographer, taste wine made in huge stone vats and get heaped with hospitality.
Day 7 – Vidigueira to Herdade da Malhadinha – 68 km
Go deep into the countryside, stop to admire ancient olive groves and cork trees, and wind up in the middle of nowhere, except – wait – there is a world class vineyard and a superb boutique hotel and spa. Spoil yourself – book ahead for a hot stone massage!
Day 8 – Herdade da Malhadinha to Mértola – 50 km
You’re spared the steep ride up to hilltop Mertola – we’ll stay on the river with beautiful views across to it. But don’t rest your legs too soon, as we’ll explore this ancient town on foot!
Day 9 – Mértola to Tavira – River Boat Cruise
Morning walk through Mértola followed by a boat cruise down the Guadiana river until the sea port town of Tavira. Then its back in time once, as we explore our hotel, a restored Augustinian convent with a Renaissance cloister and Baroque staircase. Oh, but the swimming pool is new!
Day 10 – Sagres to Aljezur – 60 km
We transfer to Sagres and hop back on our bikes for a final stunning cliff top ride above pounding Atlantic waves. We’ll have time to check out some pocket beaches and will arrive in the charming village of Aliezur in time to wash the salt from our hair before dinner.
Day 11 – Aljezur to Lisbon
After a visit to the Moorish castle we transfer to Lisbon, back to the lovely hotel it all started, and gather for drinks and dinner to celebrate our adventure!
Day 12 – Farewell
Sad farewells, promises to meet (and cycle together) again, before transfers to the airport.
We think of our itineraries as melodies: they have a beginning and an end, a certain arc, dramatic highlights and a few surprises. We like to improvise, to adapt to the mood of our guests or to circumstances that arise — an invitation to a traditional wedding, say, or a local ethnic festival…
Crafting beautiful, harmonious trips with delightful twists is our trade mark and passion.
Catalonia! There is no place like it: natural beauty, fantastic food and wine, incredible ancient and modern architecture, a world famous cuisine, and a huge art heritage. Want to experience it all? Join us!
The trip starts and ends in Barcelona, one of Europe’s most beautiful cities, set on the Mediterranean against a backdrop of mountains. Barcelona can easily be reached with flights from most other European cities and some direct flights from North America.
A reasonable level of fitness is required. The cycling is relatively easy, with short distances (around 50 km per day) mainly downhill with a few climbs while in the Pyrenees Mountains and then it’s mainly flat along the coast.
We use high quality hybrid bikes as we will be both on smooth roads and unpaved country lanes. Electric-assist bikes are available for an extra fee. Feel free to bring your own bicycle seat or pedals if you feel this will add to your comfort.
The cuisine of the region is one of the main features of this trip! We will be savouring tapas that are each a miniature work of art, exquisite seafood in traditional restaurants and some very sophisticated ‘out there’ dishes: a true culinary adventure!
Not at all, but please let us know in advance, and advise us on your dietary preferences.
US and Canadian citizens do not require a visa for Spain.
Medical insurance, including emergency evacuation, is mandatory on all our trips. We also strongly advise you to purchase trip cancellation insurance.
Your routine vaccinations (tetanus/diphtheria, polio, etc.) should be up to date.
Airport transfers on the first and last days of the trip, all cultural tour guiding and entrance fees, all accommodation and meals, water throughout the trip, equipment and guide fees.
International and domestic flights, airport transfers not on the first or last days of the trip, beverages except for bottled water, alcoholic drinks, personal insurance and gratuities.
ATMs are readily available through out the trip.
When you sign up for the trip, we will provide you with a comprehensive clothes and equipment list.
No special equipment is required. When you sign up for the trip, we will provide you with a comprehensive clothes and equipment list.
Absolutely not. We have many guests who travel with us on their own. They appreciate the camaraderie of our Hidden Places groups and usually go home with new-found friends. Prices are quoted on a shared room basis. If you require a single room, a Single Supplement will apply.
This trip will be led by Maria Coffey, co-founder of Hidden Places Travel
From US $4950 per person
Scheduled: May 2018 (exact dates TBA)
Private: Apr through Oct
11 nights / 12 days
4 star hotels, historic boutique hotels and comfortable country inns.
12 guests maximum
Easy cycling (30 to 70 km per day) with e-bike option; river boat cruise; wine-tasting and culinary adventures.
Discover Catalonia’s tapas culture, art, wine and food on this 12 day exploration by bicycle.