The perfect way to explore 'real' Portugal is by bicycle... at your own pace. Immerse yourself in the stunning scenery, history and the everyday life of one of Europes best kept secrets...
This tour will take you through the historical centre of the Alentejo staying each night in castles, palaces and convents which have been beautifully restored as charming hotels. Sample the Alentejo peoples' way of life and learn about the cork, marble, olive oil and wine production in Portugal's largest wine growing region.
The Castles and Wine bike tour will live up to its name with most nights being spent either in a castle or an old convent, now beautiful charming hotels. On this bike tour you will get to know the great ancient city of Évora, a UNESCO World Heritage town. This town with its palaces, twenty-two churches and marble buildings is an architectural gem. This region of Portugal with its loveable Alentejo people, produces a wonderful array of regional delicacies, along with the wonders of cork, marble, olive oil and other crafts and produces almost half of Portugal's wine.
Guided Group Dates
|18 - 25 March 2017||Available|
|08 - 15 April 2017||Available|
|01 - 13 May 2017||Available|
|14 - 21 October 2017||Available|
|11- 18 November 2017||Available|
1st Day - Arrival
Early arrival at airport.
Transfer to Arraiolos, medieval village with a beautiful castle.
6 p.m. - Welcome drink and first briefing
Welcome drink and dinner included in van guided and guided tours only
Casa do Plátano, a very charming guest house in the village centre (standard)
Pousada de Arraiolos, built in a wonderful 16th century convent, with swimming pool(charm)
2nd Day - Arraiolos Route
Cycling from Arraiolos to Évora.
The bike tour starts cycling through Arraiolos village, famous for it's carpets, pastry, and for its rich historical centre. We climb up to the castle, one of the few round shaped in the peninsula and take in the unforgettable views. Riding through secondary undulating roads we then reach the cheese farm, where they also produce local liqueurs. A really tasty stop!
It’s now time to visit a winery where there is a fantastic private carriage collection. We will have our lunch here. We then ride through some small farms until we will reach the Aldeia da Terra, a gigantic cartoon made of clay depicting portugese life.
Our final destination is Évora and we reach it by riding on the ecotrail, a traffic free bike lane built on top of an old railway line.
42 kms, if you stay in Évora. 35 kms, if you stay at the Farmhouse
Total ascent: 400 mts
Terrain: Rolling terrain, some dirt roads.
Wine tasting, cheese tasting and picnic included in van guided and guided tours only.
Dinner not included.
Best western Santa Clara, 3*, in Évora historical center (standard)
Monte do Serrado de Baixo, Farmhouse and guesthouse, with swimming pool (charm)
Hotel Mar de Ar Muralhas, 4*, in Évora historical center, with swimming pool (charm)
Hotel Mar de Ar Aqueduto (with up grade cost)
3rd Day - Megalithic Route
Cycling around Évora
If you are interested in evolution, fascinated by the enormity of some Neolithic constructions or wondered about the magical meaning of some pre historical sites, than this bike tour day is for you. The biggest dolmen and one of the most important cromeleques in Europe with over 5000 years of history are waiting for you. The ride finishes in Évora, where you will have the chance to wonder around and get immersed in this ancient pre-roman settlement. One of the highlights will be the visit to the surreal XIII century bone chapel.
45 kms, if you stay in Évora. Also 45 kms, if you stay at the Farmhouse, and start with a transfer at the beginning of day.
Total ascent: 500 mts
Terrain: Flat terrain, some dirt roads. A more demanding climb in the beginning that can be avoided with the transfer when you stay at our farm
Picnic and ticket to bone's chapel included in van guided and guided tours only.
Dinner not included.
Accommodation in same hotel
4th Day - The Valley of the Degebe River
Cycling from Évora to Reguengos de Monsaraz.
Leaving Évora toward the rising sun a more barren landscape will keep us company. On this bike tour we ride through olive groves to reach the small and traditional village of Nossa Srª de Machede.
After a break for a cold drink or coffee we visit an old working leather factory. After lunch we will visit the mysterious castle of Valongo. A calm ride through easy backroads sets the tone for the day’s final destination. Before dinner a visit to a local distinct winery where the smell coming from the brewing clay pots fills the air with the ancient knowledge that makes great wine. Dinner is an unexpected surprise
50kms (if you stay in Évora) or 57 kms (if you stay at the Farmhouse)
Total ascent: 500 mts
Terrain: Undulating roads
Lunch and dinner included in van guided and guided tours only.
Accommodation: Solar de Alqueva, with swimming pool
5th Day - Conquest of the Castle of Monsaraz
Cycling from Reguengos to Monsaraz.
Today’s bike tour destination is the fortified village of Monsaraz, an important stronghold in the defence of our nation just by the border with Spain. On the way we will visit the famous pottery village of S. Pedro do Corval, where you can see the men doing magic with the clay, transforming it into beautiful pots and plates, and the ladies swiftly painting them with flowers.
With Spain in sight, lunch is taken by the biggest artificial lake in Europe, the Alqueva dam reservoir. Then it’s time to conquer the castle, use all your energy to climb up to Monsaraz before going down to the relaxing country hotel to cool off and dine.
Total ascent: 380 mts
Level: Easy except the climb to Monsaraz
Terrain: Flat roads, with one ascent to the castle
Lunch and dinner included in van guided and guided tours only
Accommodation: Hotel Rural Horta da Moura, 4*, a charming hotel with swimming pool.
6th Day - The Sanctuary Route
Cycling from Monsaraz to Vila Viçosa.
The day’s ride will lead us to the marble capital of Portugal and the marble triangle will mark the landscape for the next bike tour days. The so called white gold is the main economy of the region. Its richness is a constant presence in the wide streets and tall buildings. The picnic lunch and the visit to an impressive fortified sanctuary with an interesting tale will end the morning. Then we catch a rare sight of distinctly coloured lagoons and finish with accommodation in an aristocratic convent.
Total ascent: 680 mts
Terrain: Undulating with some climbing
Picnic and dinner included in guided tours only
Solar dos Mascarenhas, 3* manor house in Vila Viçosa, with swimming pool (standard)
Pousada D. João IV, built in a convent, with swimming pool (charm)
7th Day - The Marble Route
Cycling from Vila Viçosa to Estemoz.
Todays bike tour ride is easy, so take this opportunity to taste some local delicacies: Petiscos.
From tavern to tavern the ride is delightful as we make our way towards Estemoz, the final destination of the journey. Dinner and closing celebrations with some surprises will be held in an old 15th century jail house - only for the nobles!!! And the journey will not be over until you climb up to the marble Donjon tower of the castle where you will sleep!
Total ascent: 680 mts - possible to cut out some of these climbs even on a self guided tour - paying a small extra fee the luggage transfer can be done in a van that can pick you and the bikes up along the way.
Terrain: Undulating with some climbing
Lunch, consisting of several Petiscos/snacks and dinner included in van guided and guided tours only
Hotel Pateo dos Solares, an historical building
Pousada Rainha Stª Isabel, built in a palace, with swimming pool (charm)
8th Day - Departure
Transfer to Lisbon Airport.
For all our cycling tours we have teamed up with Turaventur, who's offices are based in the grounds of the Monte do Serrado de Baixo Farmhouse near Evora. Their experienced team of guides and back up staff are on hand to make sure you get full enjoyment out of the cycling tours. They will meet you at Lisbon Airport and organise your transfers, ensure you have the correct equipment and act as your hosts looking after all your needs at the farmhouse.
The Castles and Wine Tours can be Self Guided or Guided.
On Self Guided Tours you are given detailed maps and written instructions with specific distances to each point highlighted.
On Guided Tours groups are accompanied by one or two cycling guides, and a guide who takes the support car, prepares the picnics and transports your luggage. Delicious lunches are generally prepared as picnics with traditional foods from the local area. Ocassionally local restaurants are visited as an alternative.
On all Guided Tours you receive a complimentary cycling jersey from Turavenur.
All the Cycling Guides speak English and are from the local area with excellent knowledge of the region. They are very service minded and most of them have been working with Turaventur for many years. They are also bikers themselves and love to go cycling on their holidays so they know what you expect from them.
Prices for Guided and Van Guided Tours are available on request.
2017 Guideline Prices are per person based on 2 persons sharing a room and include:
• Return flights to Lisbon (other UK airports available)
• Transfers to and from Lisbon Airport
• 7 nights based on a double/twin room at Charm hotels, some built in castles, convents or palaces including breakfast
• Bicycle with helmet, front bag, back rack, tool kit and pannier or similar
• Luggage transfer from hotel to hotel
• Detailed maps, route descriptions and history notes
• Tasty gastronomic surprises each day
• 24 hour phone support
• Personal accident and third party insurance for the tour days
Includes all of the above for the Self Guided Tour plus:
• Support car during the 6 cycling days
• Guide who drives van and meets cyclists enroute giving advice and information
• Water and Fruit each day
• 6 Lunches (including 2 catered picnics)
• 5 Dinners with wine or soft drinks
• 2 Wine Tastings
• Entrance fees to 3 historical sites/museums
• Free Portugal Best Cycling Jersey
Includes all the above for the Van Guided Tour plus:
• Guide to ride with each group (one or two guides depending on group size)
• GPS Rental available
• Electric E-Bikes available
7 Day Tour - Self-Guided
From £1135 per person
7 Day Tour - Van-Guided
From £2145 per person
7 Day Tour - Guided Group
From £1995 per person