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...
The Cycling in Paradise tours take in the magnificent history and glorious countryside surrounding the medieval city of Evora, capital of the Alentejo. Designed to suit all levels of amateur cyclist of all ages, each day offers the option of being either guided or self-guided allowing you the flexibility to tailor make your own itinerary.
Cycling in the Alentejo region of Portugal is one of the best kept secrets in Europe. It is a safe and friendly environment and all the routes have been designed to offer a broad selection of the interesting highlights of the region. Tradition runs deep in this region and while riding your bike you can immerse yourself in the everyday life, arts, crafts and history of the oldest part of Portugal. Accommodation is provided at the comfortable Monte do Serrado de Baixo Country Farmhouse with a variety of dining options. Self Guide yourself with detailed maps and instructions or be led by an experienced guide and just relax and enjoy the ride.
Arrival at Lisbon Airport, transfer and check-in to your accommodation and enjoy a welcome dinner at the Farmhouse.
4 Days (3nts):
Choice of 2 days cycling between Routes 1,2 or 5.
5 Days (4nts):
Choice of 3 days cycling between Routes 1, 2,3 and 5.
7 Days (6nts):
Cycling 5 days on Routes 1,2,3,4 and 5.
8 Days (7nts):
Cycling 5 days on Routes 1,2,3,4,5 and either enjoy one day off or add Route 6 (at extra cost).
Departure day. Transfer to Lisbon Airport.
ROUTE 1 - Megalithic Monuments
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Cycling from Guadalupe to the Farmhouse.
The trail goes through beautiful holm oak forest and grazing land. You will visit the Dolmen of Zambugeiro - the largest monument of its kind in Europe, the Cromelech of Almendres - the oldest monument in Europe with a beautiful view of Evora. You will also see the Menhir of Almendres, the Church of Mitra and the Roman Ruins of Nossa Sr da Tourega. A very rich morning with plenty to see along the way!
In the afternoon you cycle to Evora to discover the amazing history of this beautiful city. You visit the surreal 'Bones Chapel' and the impressive cathedral, dating back to the 13th century. As a fitting finish you will enjoy wine tasting at the Evora Wine Tour centre.
35kms - includes transfer in the morning to Guadalupe and allows plenty of time to visit the city of Evora.
45kms, with transfer in the morning and visit to Roman Ruins.
70kms, cycling from the farm and back.
Terrain: Mostly gentle rolling dirt roads.
Transfer in the morning to Guadalupe - 25 Euros per person
ROUTE 2 - The Famous Carpets
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Cycling from othe Farmhouse to Arraiolos and back.
You start the day cycling along the eco trail, a man-made cyle path built along the path of an old railway line. You will ride through small rural farms and eventually arrive at Graca do Divor, a beautifully preserved village with pretty white and blue cottages. A good place to stop for a drink and try the delicious meat pies of Mrs Ilda! Next you will cycle to the fascinating 'Aldeia da Terra' which portrays the Portuguese way of life in a gigantic clay model village!
From here you ride to Arraiolos village, with its rich historical centre and reputation for carpet production. You can visit many of the carpet shops and taste the Pasteis de Touchinho. Next you will climb the hill to Arraiolos Castle and enjoy the magnificent views.
From here you will visit a winery which houses a fantastic private carriage collection and a few kms further you visit a cheese farm which also produces local liqueurs. Delicious!
If you want you can do a tasting of their products (including cheeses, liqueurs, jams and bread at very good value - see extra costs below).
36kms - includes all visits described and transfer from cheese farm back to hotel. You spend about an hour at each farm and 30 minutes in the 'Aldeia da Terra'.
45 - 53kms to winery and back - easy level
69kms - to winery and cheese farm and back a different way - medium level, very long day with the visits. Only for the very fast cyclists or those who dont want to do the visits.
Level: Medium or easy (depends if you buy the transfer)
Terrain: Gentle rolling roads, 15kms on dirt roads
Winery and carriage collection - 6 Euros per person (included on guided tours)
Tasting at cheese farm - 11 Euros per person.
Transfer back to the farmhouse - 29 Euros per person.
ROUTE 3 - Conquest of Valongo Castle
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Cycling from the Farmhouse to Valongo.
The day starts off cycling through olive groves, gently going up and down until you arrive at Nossa Senhora de Machede. You will visit a traditional leather factory and, if during the season (October/November), an olive oil mill. If requested visits can also be arranged out of season (subject to availability).
Next you cycle to Valongo and visit its surreal castle, surrounded by open countryside and litererally in the middle of nowhere.
From here you explore the Alentejo countryside at its best, following a dirt road until you reach the gorgeous Moinho do Alcaide (a water mill) and then follow the river passing several mills until you reach the main road. There is an optional visit to a winery at the end of the tour.
60kms with wine tasting and transfer back from the winery.
40 kms without the wine tasting and with transfer from Castelo de Valongo - no dirt roads.
50 kms without the wine tasting and with transfer from the winery.
Terrain: Gentle rolling roads. The last 6 kms on dirt roads. Possible to have an earlier transfer if you want to avoid dirt roads.
Wine Tasting - 8 Euros per person.
Transfer is included in this route.
ROUTE 4 - The Medieval Village of Monsaraz
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Cycling from Reguengos to Monsaraz.
You start the day cycling from Reguengos and wind your way partly along the Alqueva lake shore (the biggest artificial lake in Europe). You will see the village of Monsaraz perched on a hill for most of your journey. Built largely out of schist rock the village is an architectural wonder being set within the walls of the famous castle. Rambling vines contrast vividly against the pretty whitewashed houses wherever you look. Whilst wandering around the little village you will find little shops, bars and cafes many of which enjoy the beautiful panorama. From the castle ramparts you will enjoy one of the most spectacular views in Portugal with 360 degree views of the countryside and the Spanish border in the distance. You will see schist stone inside the castle walls of this amazing village, framing the windows and doors of the houses. The walls are so white that, sometimes, it's hard to keep your eyes open!
You will also visit several megalithic monuments and another highlight, the famous pottery village of S. Pedro do Corval.
43 kms includes cycling to the lake shore.
30 kms taking the shortest route
50 kms includies cycling to Mourao
Level: Easy (medium only on the 2 kms climb to Monsaraz)
Terrain: Flat roads except for climb to Monsaraz
No paid visits included.
You should leave a tip at the museum's tip box in the pottery, if you don't buy anything.
Transfer to Reguengos in the morning and back in the end of the day is included in this route.
ROUTE 5 - The Wine and Cork Route
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Cycling from the Farmhouse to S. Miguel de Machede.
You leave the farmhouse cycling through the open countryside in the direction of Igrejinha, a pretty village where all the houses have been painted in stripes of a variety of colours. You will visit a beautiful winery and learn a little about the regions winemaking processes. Next you will cycle to the cork factory which is surely the highlight of the day. See how cork is transformed and learn about everything it is used for! In the same village you can visit a factory producing knives and see the process of making kitchen knives, cork cutting knifes and many others.
Nearby there is a wonderful sanctuary with paintings covering all its walls, literally from floor to ceiling! See if you can find the oldest one. From here you cycle to S. Miguel de Machede, another small countryside village where you can enjoy a drink at a local cafe.
42 kms with transfer back to the farm, avoiding cycling in the main road
74 kms if you cycle all the way back to the farm.
Terrain: Mostly flat. A few kms on main road if you cycle back
Wine tasting - 9 Euros per person
Transfer from S. Miguel de Machede - 29 Euros per person
ROUTE 6 - The Wine and Marble Route
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Cycling from Estremoz to Terena.
Our ride starts in Estremoz, an unforgetable city. We highly recommend climbing to the top of the 14th century marble donjon tower to take in the impressive views. From here we ride to the amazing Villa Vicosa, where the marble commonly used instead of brick, gives an aristocratic look to the village. Here you can also visit the Ducal Palace, built between 1502 and 1700, or the marble museum.
Continuing through the marble land, visit a marble quarry and ride to Alandroal. Here we recommend a stop at a local cafe. After we ride to Terenca, where we cycle through a very flowery centre. Our ride ends in the amazing fortified sanctuary of Sr da Boa Nova. Even if churches are not your thing, you'll enjoy this one.
43kms for all the route
20kms, if you cycle from Estremoz to Vila Vicosa
30kms, if you cycle until Alandroal
Terrain: Rolling roads, mostly flat or downhill. A couple of climbs at the end
Transfer: Transfer to Estremoz in the morning and back from Terena's sanctuary is included on this route.
For all our cycling tours we have teamed up with Turaventur, whose office is based in the grounds of the Monte do Serrado de Baixo Farmhouse. 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 Cycling in Paradise 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 our 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 Tours and Group Tours are available on request.
2017 Guide Prices are per person based on 2 persons sharing double room and include:
4 Days/3 Nights Tour - Self-Guided
From £595 per person
5 Days/ 4 Nights Tour - Self-Guided
From £725 per person
8 Days/ 7 Nights Tour- Self-Guided
From £950 per person