Minho to Porto by Bike8 Days & 7 Nights
- Combine rugged hills, vineyards, coastal nature reserves and the vibrant city of Porto
- The untamed beauty of the Peneda-Gerês National Park on the Spanish border
- Astounding architecture; from intricate tile-clad buildings to crumbling fortresses
- Miles of white-sand beaches and colourful shore huts on the dramatic Atlantic coast
- Stay with welcoming locals in authentic manor houses set in the beautiful countryside
- Enjoy wine tastings on local vineyards and a visit to one of Porto's port cellars
What To Expect
Self Guided | Go at your own pace on an independent holiday.
Inn to Inn Cycling, E-Biking | A classic point to point cycling holiday, staying in a different location each night, E-Bikes with electronic motors to assist available to hire on this holiday (subject to availability), to make things easier
This trip is suitable for:
Ideal if you have an interest in:
- Foodie Adventures
- Wine, Whisky & More...
Grade & Terrain
Pedal on a mixture of quiet country roads, cycle paths and some sections on track with distances between 32-53 km (or up to 57 km if you opt for one of the extensions). While some days are largely flat, others take in rolling terrain meaning that the daily cumulative ascent varies from 97-300 m making this a great trip for anyone with good physical fitness.
The route has been graded as moderate overall based on the shortest distances each day. Although graded as moderate 3 out of the 6 day’s cycling are graded as easy to moderate, making this trip a good step up towards a more challenging moderately graded trip. The route should be manageable for most regular cyclists or those relatively new to cycling with a good level of fitness.
Navigation is straightforward with detailed route notes and GPX tracks provided in an app, or an on request GPS unit, you're provided with for the duration of your trip.
On this tour you will stay in a mixture of modern 3* and 4* hotels as well as a traditional manor house on a vineyard near Moncao and a rural guesthouse in Ponte de Lima. End your trip in Porto in a large 4* hotel in a UNESCO protected area just minutes from the Douro River in the lively old quarter of Ribeira. At your accommodation on days 2 and 4 enjoy a wine tasting experience with your hosts, and on day 6 visit one of Porto's renowned port cellars.
During the high season, you might be booked into alternative accommodations that are not listed in the main daily description. If those listed are unavailable the alternative accommodation will be of the same or better standard than those described.
Single Rooms & Solo Cyclists
If you require single rooms within your party we would be happy to accommodate you although there is a single room supplement payable. It is also possible to travel as a solo cyclist, please get in touch with one of our specialists as our solo prices for this trip are on request only due to logistics.
Breakfast is included each morning, but lunch and dinner are not so that you are free to choose from the surrounding options. If there isn't a restaurant at your accommodation there will be options nearby. For lunch, you will pass through towns and villages en route where you can purchase provisions for a picnic lunch.
World-class seafood, crisp white wines (vinho verde), and of course port, are what the region is renowned for. Your trip includes two wine tastings at a small local vineyard, and a port tasting in Porto on the final cycling day of your trip.
- 7 Nights in 3-4* hotels, an authentic guesthouse and vineyard manor house
- 7 Breakfasts
- Luggage transfers
- Wine tasting experiences in Monção (Day 2) and Ponte de Lima (Day 4)
- Port wine cellar visit and tasting in Porto (Day 7)
- Transfer from Porto Airport to your first hotel (2 hours)
- Transfer from your Porto hotel to Porto Airport (20 mins)
- Detailed information pack, route notes, GPX tracks and loan of a GPS unit
- 24/7 Emergency telephone support from our UK & US offices
- Bike hire (standard or e-bike options)
- Lunches, dinners, drinks & snacks
- Personal equipment
- Travel insurance (required)
- Additional nights in Porto at the end of the tour
- Bike hire (standard hybrid)
- E-Bike hire
When To Go
You can begin your trip on any day of the week between March and mid-November.
Weather and Climate
Generally you'll find that spring and autumn are the best times for cycling in Portugal, with temperatures from 12-19 degrees Celsius and the added bonus of less summer tourists. However, being in northern Portugal and therefore cooler than the south this trip is also pleasant in the summer months. Summer temperatures vary from 18-25 degrees Celsius and perhaps into the high 20s on occasion. Rainfall is generally low, with a monthly average of no more than 12 mm between March and November. May to September tend to be the driest months of the year.
Getting to the Start
Porto Airport (or Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport) is the most convenient airport for beginning the trip, and is served by many airlines, such as Easyjet, Ryanair, KLM and British Airways. However, you can also reach Porto from Lisbon Airport.
From Lisbon Airport take an airport shuttle bus to the Santa Apolonia Train Station and then a train to Porto (approx. 2.5 hours). Lisbon is served by many airlines in the UK and from many other gateways in Europe.
Transfers to and from Porto Airport, to your first and last accommodations are included in the price of the trip. Your arrival transfer from Porto to Castro Laboreiro village is approximately 2 hours by car/minibus. Your specialist will request your flight arrival details nearer the travel date to arrange your transfer.
Getting from the End
A departure transfer from your accommodation in Porto to the airport is included in the trip. Your specialist will request your flight departure details nearer the travel date to arrange your pick-up.
Luggage transfers between overnight locations are included in the tour. We request that you have only one piece of luggage per person, it should weigh approximately 20 kg.
Hybrid & E-Bike Hire
Hire of a hybrid or e-bike is not included as standard, but we can arrange hire of high quality bikes. Choose from either a Specialized Rockhopper Sport or Cube Touring Exc (low frame) touring/hybrid bike.
Included with bike hire is a pannier rack, 1 pannier per bike, handlebar bag (one per two bikes), a lock (one per two bikes), toolkit, first aid kit, puncture repair kit, pump, spare inner tube, and use of a helmet. Although, we recommend that you bring your own helmet for your own comfort. As well as the option to borrow a used hire helmet for your trip it's also possible to buy a new Specialized (or similar) helmet, which you will be presented with on arrival. Please ask your specialist at the time of booking so we can cost-check and arrange this for you.
For some battery-powered assistance on longer days, and to ease ascents, we recomend hiring an e-bike. The rechargeable battery on your bike will be your reliable riding partner, getting you to the top of hills or to your final destination with more energy in the tank for an afternoon swim or simply for exploring. You can request either a Cube Reaction or Cube Touring Hybrid (low frame) model of e-bike. E-bikes are growing rapidly in popularity so please make sure to request one at the time of booking so we can secure availability for your trip and avoid disappointment.
Please note that unless you specifically request a low frame bike a standard frame model will be allocated - so if you would prefer a low frame bike please let us know when you book.
Bike frame measurements:
- Standard frame bikes: XS 35 cm, S 38 cm, M 43 cm, L 48 cm and XL 53 cm
- Low Frame bikes: M 45cm and L 48 cm
For navigation you will be provided with a pass code to access a route-finding app with your route's GPS tracks. Alternatively, on request you can borrow a GPS unit pre-loaded with the tracks you will need for your daily rides.
It is a requirement of booking this tour with Macs Adventure that you have suitable travel insurance that covers you for the activity, emergency evacuation and hospital care.
This trip is graded as moderate, but with 3 out of 6 days graded as easy to moderate it's a very manageable moderate cycling itinerary. Daily distances are from 32 km—48 km. Once you have left the towns and cities much of the cycling is on quiet country or coastal roads with some sections on good tracks. You will encounter some rolling terrain throughout the tour. On days 2, 6 and 7 there are optional longer routes for the keen. We can arrange the rental of e-bikes if you would prefer a power-assisted ride.
To get the most out of the trip we recommend a good level of fitness, and it's a good idea to get out on your bike for a couple of consecutive days in the lead up to your trip so you can get used to riding back to back days. However, it’s not all about the cycling. Each day there are plenty opportunities to visit historic sights and sample locally produced food and wine.
Hire of a hybrid or e-bike is not included in the tour package as standard, but we can certainly arrange hire of high quality bikes. Choose from either a Specialized Rockhopper Sport or Cube Touring Exc (low frame) touring/hybrid bike. Included with bike hire as standard is a pannier rack, 1 pannier per bike, handlebar bag (one per two bicycles), a lock (one per two bicycles), toolkit, first aid kit, puncture repair kit, pump, spare inner tube, and use of a helmet. We recommend that for your own comfort that you bring your own helmet. As well as the option to borrow a used hire helmet for your trip it's also possible to buy a new Specialized (or similar) helmet which you will be presented with on arrival.
For some assistance on your trip we recomend hiring an e-bike. The rechargeable battery on your bike will be your reliable riding partner, getting you to the top of hills or to your final destination with more energy in the tank for an afternoon swim or simply for exploring. E-bikes are growing rapidly in popularity so if you would like an e-bike please request this when you book so we can secure availability for your trip and avoid disappointment.
ItineraryDay 1 Arrive in Porto and transfer to Castro Laboreiro
Your trip begins with a transfer (approx. 2 hours) from Porto Airport to the small mountain village of Castro Laboreiro in the Peneda-Gerês National Park in northern Portugal. The mountainous landscape of Peneda-Gerês is part of Portugal's only official National Park. Here you will find that old traditions are still very much alive in the mountain villages where you might see locals mingling around shared bread ovens. If you have time before dinner we recommend stretching your legs and wandering among the 9th century Romanesque castle ruins overlooking the village.
Castrum Villae is a welcoming hotel in the small mountain village of Castro Laboreiro (at 1000 m altitude) in the Peneda-Gerês National Park. The hotel’s mountainous location makes it a stunning place to begin your journey - enjoy fantastic views of the surrounding landscape. The hotel has 32 rooms and suites with air conditioning, a TV, wifi access, minibar and en suite bathrooms. In the evening relax in the leisure room or enjoy an aperitif at the bar.
From Castro Laboreiro the first 35 km of your journey are largely downhill, so you can relax and take in the beauty of your surroundings. Look out for striking espigueiros (granite grain stores on stilts) and local wildlife from golden eagles, to free-roaming Garrano horses, deer and wild boar. The National Park is also home to the illusive Iberian wolf - although it's almost guaranteed that you won't lay eyes on these shy creatures. Arrive in the town of Monção with its 14th century fortifications that held off Spansh invasion. The locals are not only proud of their heritage, but also of the region's Vinho Verde, a crisp white wine made from young grapes.
Overnight in a traditional 17th century manor house near the town set among its own vineyards and on arrival enjoy a wine tasting with your hosts.
Ride option 1: 44 km (250 m ascent)
Ride option 2: 57 km (222 m ascent)
This magnificent manor house dates back to the 17th century and preservers all of its charm and history, from the architecture to the classic details. The 10 rooms are elegantly decorated with stone and wood and all have en suite bathrooms and a view of the gardens or vineyards. The family run estate also produces excellent Vinho Verde wines. Strolls through the gardens or relaxing in the sauna make for relaxing evening activities.
Today's largely flat ride takes you along the River Minho towards the Atlantic Ocean. Pedal through vineyards, and pass by the Palácio da Brejoeira - owned by one of the largest producers of Alvarinho wine in the region. Pause here to enjoy a tour of it's stately rooms and a wine tasting if you wish. Continue on your journey to the sea through the town of Valença with its 17th century Vila Nova de Cerveira fort before arriving in the elegant town of Caminha at the estuary of the River Minho.
Overnight in the heart of Caminha town, and take your pick from a variety of great dining options. What better way to celebrate your arrival at the ocean than sampling some delicious seafood?
Ride: 48 km (134 m ascent)
The Design & Wine Hotel combines modern architecture with the heritage of an 18th century building. The 23 rooms are equipped with all the modern comforts including an iPad, minibar, TV, wifi and an aromatherapy system, along with views to the Minho River and Santa Tecla mountain. Enjoy the library, game room and the hotel restaurant that takes local cuisine and gives it a modern twist. The spa features a sauna, Turkish bath, gym, hot tub and an indoor pool.
The longest day's ride on the trip, but with an almost flat profile it makes for an easy-going day in the saddle. From Caminha at the mouth of the River Minho pedal south along the dramatic Atlantic coastline to the city of Viana. The city was the setting off point for ships in the "discoveries" of the 16th century, and later cod fish shipping vessels bound for Newfoundland. The opulent town houses and the impressive 19th century Byzantine Santa Luzia Church overlooking the city from its hilltop are testament of past prosperity. Enjoy a long lunch here before following the River Lima upstream to Portugal's oldest town. Ponte de Lima, named after its 1st century 24-arched Roman bridge, is an important stop for pilgrims making their way from Porto to Santiago de Compostela. Explore this charming town before pedaling on slightly to your overnight stop in the nearby countryside.
Tonight stay in a rustic 16th century guesthouse complete with vineyards, beehives, olive groves and an outdoor pool. In the evening sample some of the local wine at a tasting with your host.
Ride: 53 km (97 m ascent)
Quinta da Agra is a rustic manor house dating back to the 16th century. The house faces the green valley of the River Lima, in a peaceful rural setting. A warm welcome from your hosting family awaits - the 7 hectare estate boasts vineyards, olive groves, a winery, stables, and small ponds. The house has 3 double rooms and 3 twin rooms, all with private bathroom and central heating. In the evening enjoy the games room and outdoor swimming pool.
After enjoying some of the honey made by bees on the estate with fresh bread for breakfast hop back into the saddle for a day's pedaling through hillier terrain as you follow the pilgrimage route to Barcelos. Ride through the rural landscape of rolling fields and vineyards to arrive in Barcelos, make sure to visit the 13th century Mother Church with it's peeling hourly bells. Feira de Barcelos is the famous Thursday market that takes place in the town, but if you miss the market it's worth wandering through the medieval heart of the town looking out for pottery that the town is known for to take home as a keepsake. In the evening, we recommend a refreshing glass of vinho verde with tapas before a late dinner.
Ride: 32.5 km (300 m ascent)
Located in the historic centre of Barcelos on the main square, is a modern hotel within the shell of a municipal heritage building. There are 54 rooms with air conditioning, en suite bathrooms, mini bar, wifi and TV. On the 4th floor is a lounge bar boasting a terrace with potentially the best view in town. The hotel is also renowned for its 400-year-old restaurant serving traditional Portuguese food such as “Caldo Verde” soup or “Rojões à moda do Minho” (pork meat at regional style).
Today choose from two rides that will take you back to the Atlantic coast and its vast strips of white-sand. After a stretch of lightly rolling terrain enjoy a largely downhill then flat approach to your next overnight stop.
Make sure to arrive in Vila de Conde with plenty of time to explore. With a prosperous ship-building past you'll find grand townhouses, a replica of one of the "discovery" ships in the charming harbour, overlooked by Santa Clara monastery and the impressive aqueduct. For the seafood enthusiast sampling freshly caught cuisine with a view of the Atlantic is surely the only option for dinner.
Ride option 1: 36 km (246 m ascent)
Ride option 2: 44 km (273 m ascent)
The charming Brazao Hotel is located in a historic building in this fisherman’s town. The hotel has 30 rooms, all with en suite bathrooms, TV, air conditioning, mini bar and hair dryer. Relax at the hotel bar or explore the town - the local beach-side restaurants specialise in fresh seafood dishes.
On your final day in the saddle, follow a mosly flat route along the coast past large dunes, through a seabird reserve and plenty of small fishing villages. Cycle into the beautiful UNESCO city Porto via the River Douro estuary. The city's renown for its vast port export is evident from the terracotta roofed storage warehouses on the banks of the Douro. On arrival take a cellar tour and enjoy a port tasting, then spend the evening exploring the city.
Discover botanical gardens and over 1500 UNESCO-listed monuments, off-set by striking modern architecture and edgey street art. A gastronomic paradise, Porto is home to not only a 1 star Michelin restaurant but also a myriad of Michelin Guide-listed restaurants. After a leisurely dinner stroll the winding streets in the old quarters of Ribeira, Miragaia and Massarelos seeking a rooftop bar with a view, and toast time well spent adventuring in Portugal's north.
Ride option 1: 34.5 km (232 m ascent)
Ride option 2: 48 km (120 m ascent)
The hotel comprises six historic buildings in the old quarter of Ribeira and just a one minute walk from the banks of the Douro River. This 4* hotel has 160 elegant guestrooms and has a restaurant, bar, and gym and fitness area. Rooms are equipped with an en suite bathroom, wifi, air conditioning, safe, central heating, mini bar, direct phone and TV. On the banks of the Douro you'll find lively terraces, bars and restaurants, along with UNESCO monuments and charming shops.
After breakfast prepare to bid farewell to this incredible city. From your accommodation an included transfer (approx. 20 minutes) to Porto Airport will assist in your onward journey.
Why not add an extra night or two in Porto? There is so much to discover in this colourful, charismatic hillside city on the banks of the River Douro!
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