Cycling The Douro Valley7 Days & 6 Nights
- Pedal from the Douro National Park to Peso da Régua, the heart of port-producing Portugal
- The UNESCO Alto Douro - the world's oldest wine-making region
- Leisurely cycling through forests, almond groves and vineyard-carpeted hillsides
- Cruise through the Douro River gorge on a traditional rabelo boat
- Stay in elegant town houses and vineyard manor houses
- Two farm-to-table three course evening meals and an included wine tasting
What To Expect
Self Guided | Go at your own pace on an independent active 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
The route has been graded as Easy to Moderate overall based on the shortest distances each day. The first and last day's of cycling are graded at the low end of our moderate category, making this trip a good step towards an overall moderately graded trip. The route should be manageable for most semi-regular cyclists or those relatively new to cycling with a good level of fitness.
Pedal on a mixture of quiet country roads, car-free nature trails/track with distances between 29-48 km. On days 3-5, if you're feeling energetic, you can take an optional route extension, up to 48 km. While some days are largely flat, others take in rolling terrain meaning that the daily cumulative ascent varies from 98-414 m making this a great trip for anyone with good physical fitness. However, if you feel the hillier days may be more than you'd like to tackle on holiday then why not opt for some battery-powered assistance by hiring an e-bike?
Navigation is straightforward with detailed route notes and GPX tracks provided in a GPS unit you're provided with for the duration of your trip.
On this self-guided cycling tour in Portugal you will stay in a mixture of 3* and 4* hotels as well as traditional rural guesthouses and manor houses on wine estates. Most of your accommodations also have outdoor pools. Check-in is from 3pm and included in your trip some days are short morning and afternoon that will bring you directly to/from the trailhead to your accommodation.
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, and two three course meals with wine are also included. Lunch and four dinners are not included 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 wines, and of course port, are what the region is renowned for. Your holiday includes a wine and olive oil tasting at a local vineyard on day 6.
- 6 Nights in 3-4* hotels, authentic guesthouses and manor houses
- 6 Breakfasts and 2 dinners (3 course meal with wine)
- Luggage transfers
- Wine and olive oil tasting (Day 6)
- Traditional rabelo boat trip on the Douro River (Day 5)
- Transfer from Porto Airport to your first hotel in Miranda do Douro (3 hours)
- Transfer from your Peso da Regua hotel to Porto Airport (1.5 hours)
- 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, 4 dinners (2 dinners are included), 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.
In early March the trees of the almond groves blossom with delicate white flowers. While in mid to late September the grape harvest begins and the normally slow pace of life in the Douro Valley kicks up a gear.
Weather and Climate
Generally you'll find that the 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, although it will be hotter. 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. July is the driest month, and 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 this trip, and is served by many airlines, such as Easyjet, Ryanair, KLM and British Airways. 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 which takes around two and a half 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 Miranda do Douro is approximately 3 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 Peso da Régua to Porto Airport (approx. 1 hr 20 mins) is included in the trip. Your specialist will request your flight departure details nearer the travel date to arrange your pick-up.
Your luggage transfers between overnight locations are included in the tour. We request that you have only one piece of luggage per person and 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 get up hills 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 your destination. You can request either 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 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.
March, April and October into November are cooler months and are generally much quieter in the cities and towns, although these months can be chilly in the mountains. In May and September you will find the days are beautifully long and warm. June into July, days are long and hot and therefore you may like to enjoy a long lunch or relax on a shady terrace to avoid cycling in the midday heat.
We suggest you book as soon as your plans are finalised as this region is popular especially May to June and September. If you'd like to hire an e-bike get your request in as soon as possible to avoid disappointment as availability is limited.
The route has been graded as Easy to Moderate overall based on the shortest distances each day. The first and last days of cycling are graded at the low end of our moderate category, making this trip a good step towards an overall moderately graded trip. The route should be manageable for most semi-regular cyclists or those relatively new to cycling with a good level of fitness.
Once you have left the towns and villages you'll pedal on a mixture of quiet country roads, car-free nature trails/track with distances between 29-48 km. On days 3-5, if you're feeling energetic, you can take an optional route extension, up to 48 km. While some days are largely flat, others take in rolling terrain meaning that the daily cumulative ascent varies from 98-414 m making this a great trip for anyone with good physical fitness. However, if you feel the hillier days may be more than you'd like to tackle on holiday then you can opt for some battery-powered assistance by hiring an e-bike.
To get the most out of the trip we recommend a good level of fitness, and its a good idea to get out on your bike for a couple of consecutive days in the lead up to your trip so you 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 arrange hire of high quality hire 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 your destination. 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.
You will be provided with detailed route notes and maps to help you find your way. You will also be provided with a GPS unit loaded with the GPX tracks that you will be shown how to use at your orientation meeting. The majority of the time you will be cycling on small roads or cycle paths, so it will be relatively easy to find your way.
All baggage transfers are included. We request that you have only one piece of luggage per person to be transferred between overnight stops and it should weigh about 20kg. How do I find the way?
Our pre-departure information pack has detailed advice and a kit list on what to bring on your trip. This includes cycling gear and lots of other useful bits and bobs.
ItineraryDay 1 Arrive and overnight in Miranda do Douro
Your trip begins with an included transfer from Porto Airport (3 hours), easily from the UK, Europe, and North America, to the town of Miranda do Douro perched atop the cliffs of the Douro River gorge. In the evening stretch your legs and stroll the cobbled streets, passing the cathedral and castle ruins before dinner. Your hotel restaurant commands views over the 200m cliffs of the gorge below. Why not sample some of the local specialities, such as Mirandese steak and seafood salad, with one of the region's classic wines?
This Parador hotel is located in the town of Miranda do Douro, in the International Douro Natural Park, on a hillside overlooking the Douro River. In true Portuguese fashion the hotel combines modern architectural details with traditional features, you'll also be able to enjoy beautiful views from the hotel's terraces. The restaurant serves traditional Portuguese dishes and offers a great selection of Douro wines.
Today pedal south on the gentle highland plateau of the Douro Nature Reserve. The reserve is a haven for a variety of wildlife; from the incredibly rare Iberian wolf to wild boar and soaring golden eagles, vultures, and over 170 other bird species! The vast openness of the landscape morphs from rugged hills to forest-carpeted plains dotted with rural villages.
Arrive in Mogadouro and enjoy an afternoon coffee stop before a short transfer (15 minutes) to your rural guest house - on warm days spend the evening relaxing by the pool before your evening meal. A delicious three course meal with wine is included.
Ride: 47 km (311 m ascent)
Located in a small village just outside the International Douro Natural Park, this rural guest house comprises a collection of traditional houses, carefully restored to maintain their charm. The property is spread out over four buildings each slightly different in size and character, and with private bathrooms and TV's in your room. Relax in the surrounding gardens and enjoy an afternoon by the pool.
A short morning transfer will bring you to the start of today's route. Follow a mixture of quiet country roads, and off-road tracks on an old railway line through forests and over farmland. Make your way along the peaceful nature trails greeting local shepherds moving their livestock between pasture as you go. Pedal through olive and almond groves to reach the village of Torre de Moncorvo, renowned locally as the capital of the Almond Blossom Festival. The delicate white flowers of the almond trees are in full bloom in February and March.
Stay in a renovated manor house that combines the best of tradition and modernity. Your host happens to make her own liqueurs, which pair beautifully with the locally grown almonds. Why not try the local sweet delicacy - amêndoas cobertas (coated almonds)? Tonight dine in the intimate restaurant at your accommodation or one of the alternative options in the village.
Ride 1: 38 km (180 m ascent)
Ride 2: 48 km (414 m ascent)
In the heart of Torre de Moncorvo village, Casa da Avó takes you back in time. This charming manor house with its traditional architecture and classic design details is the ideal romantic escape. All bedrooms have a private bathroom, air conditioning and TV. There is also a bar, game room and library to relax in, along with a small restaurant preparing traditional Portuguese cuisine.
After a delicious breakfast leave Torre de Moncorvo behind and pedal downhill to the banks of the Douro River following it's meandering path west through stunning scenery. Soon you'll find the landscape more and more dominated by olive groves - the starting point for some of the finest olive oils - as you make your way to Vila Flor.
Arrive at this charming rural guest house located in the remote countryside with an outdoor pool. Here a three course meal with local wine is included - your hosts take a farm-to-table approach to dinner and you'll be served up delicious local cuisine (homemade cheeses, sauage, cured meat, freshly baked breads and homegrown fruits). On a clear night your tranquil countryside location provides excellent stargazing opportunities.
Ride 1: 28.5 km (271 m ascent)
Ride 2: 38 km (401 m ascent)
In the countryside near the picturesque town of Vila Flor you'll find the rural guest house of Quinta do Barracão nestled in the Vilariça valley. The estate combines its farming origins, with laid-back and charming accommodation. There are 17 bedrooms, spread out between the main house and two independent cottages. Each room has air conditioning and private bathroom. Enjoy the outdoor swimming pool, terrace and game room and sample organic olive oil from the estate's eco-friendly farm.
This morning a short transfer bring you to the start of today's route - an easy-going, flat then largely downhill day of pedaling awaits. The UNESCO Alto-Douro area is the oldest demarcated wine-making region in the world, it's terraced vineyards dotted with white-washed quintas (wine estates) have been producing wine for around 2000 years. On reaching the river just before midday load your bike onto a traditional rabelo boat at the river port of Tua and cruise downstream for an hour to the town of Pinhão. Here you'll find, not only the town's beautifully-tiled train station, but also the greatest concentration of renowned wine estates in the region.
Spend time exploring Pinhão and perhaps enjoy a long lunch before your afternoon transfer (25 minutes) to your accommodation. An 18th century manor house on the hillside in Sabrosa awaits, the manor is set among lush gardens complete with an outdoor pool. Venture into the small town of Sabrosa for dinner, making sure to check out the wine list - you may have cycled through some of the vineyards!
Ride 1: 28.5 km (98 m ascent)
Ride 2: 30.5 km (212 m ascent)
This 18th century manor house is located in the centre of the quiet village of Sabrosa. The manor house's comanding architecture and coat of arms attest to its important past as a home for nobility. The bedrooms mix the old and the new with their bright colours and large windows views onto the surrounding vineyards, and all have a private bathroom, central heating, TV and wifi. Outside you'll find two gardens to relax in, one more intimate shady garden perfect for relaxing with a book in the evening and the other with a pool overlooking the vineyards below.
After an al fresco breakfast under walnut trees in the garden leave Sabrosa behind as you pedal to Peso de Régua, the capital of the Douro district. Riverside cycle routes on quiet country roads lead you along the banks of the Douro with magnificent views of the rolling vineyard-blanketed landscape punctuated by charming rural villages.
Arrive in the heart of the Douro region and bring your trip to a close staying in a charming quinta with an outdoor pool. Your welcoming hosts will greet you with a wine and olive oil tasting experience and equip you with the best dinner recommendations for your last night in the region.
Ride: 31 km (295 m ascent)
Expect a warm welcome at Quinta de Tourais! This delightful rural guest house is situated in the countryside of the UNESCO Alto-Douro area near the town of Pesa da Régua. The peaceful location, with surrounding vineyards, small outdoor pool and terraces are the perfect place to relax after a day exploring the Douro Valley. The estate produces delicious local wines, olive oils and jams which you are welcome to sample. There are 7 bedrooms equipped with private bathrooms, air conditioning and TVs.
Enjoy a peaceful poolside breakfast on the terrace soaking up the wonderful views before a transfer (1hr 20 mins) to Porto Airport for your onward journey. Porto Airport is easily accessible from most major UK and European airports and direct flights are also possible from New York and Toronto.
If you'd like to extend your stay in Portugal we recommend adding a night or two in the city of Porto. Discover botanical gardens and over 1500 UNESCO-listed monuments, off-set by striking modern architecture and edgey street art. A gastronomic paradise, the city is home to a myriad of Michelin-listed restaurants. After a leisurely dinner stroll the winding streets in the old quarters of Ribeira, Miragaia and Massarelos to find a rooftop bar with a view and toast time well spent adventuring in Portugal's north. There is so much to discover in this colourful, charismatic UNESCO city on the banks of the River Douro!
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