Cycling the Atlantic Coast - Porto to Lisbon

Independent 12 Days / 11 Nights - 10 Days Cycling

Your tour commences in colourful Porto, Portugal’s second city and the gateway to the Douro region, home of Port wine. Follow the Atlantic Coast discovering cultural and natural attractions along the route. There are beautiful beach resorts and small towns that give a glimpse of Portuguese culture and life. Cross the Sao Jacinto Dunes Nature Reserve, the Ria de Averio and the estuary of the Vouga River to reach Aveiro City, a little ‘Venice’ with canals and waterways. Further south cycle through pine forests and across the dunes system with plenty of opportunities to stop and enjoy the seaside at typical fishing villages. Arrive Obidos, the most well preserved medieval village in Portugal then bike to Sintra, a UNESCO World Heritage site and a land of castles and palaces. End your journey at Cape Roca and transfer to Lisbon.

Your Journey

Day 1 Arrive Porto

Porto is very accessible with many pedestrian areas. Explore the Old Town where there are fine buildings in many styles and periods: Romanesque churches, baroque gold, Portugal’s classic Manueline style, art nouveau cafes and shops but also contemporary art such as the work of world-famous Alvaro Siza Vieira. Don’t miss the Dom Luis bridge over the Douro River, Igreja dos Clérigos and Sao Bento station. The river front and old fishermen district, Ribeira, is a patchwork of colourful tiled buildings. Port wine and more - even if you don’t like to drink it, you can still admire the big Port cellars and ‘rabelo’, traditional boats of Gaia that ply across the Douro River. Names like Sandeman and Taylors are common. Porto is also very close to the coast and the beach at Matosinhos connected with the centre of town by metro.

Day 2 Porto to Espinho (24km, +15m)

Leave Porto through the Old Town, to cross the Don Luis Bridge, design and planned by Gustave Eiffel. Almost all the way to Espinho you will follow a cycle path near the coastline, crossing numerous small beaches where you can stop for a swim and enjoy the sun. Stop at Praia de Miramar worth a stop to visit the Church os Senhor da Pedra, a small chapel at the sea edge.

Day 3 Espinho to Aveiro – (60km, +25m)

An easy and enjoyable day by the sea, almost completely flat. Cycle through pine forest to reach Ria de Aveiro. The River Vouga Delta (Ria de Aveiro) was formed in the 15th century, when the sea retreated. The dune system of São Jacinto is a natural reserve for walks along the beach and to view the abundant birdlife. From São Jacinto catch the ferry to Aveiro.

Day 4 Aveiro to Praia da Mira – (42km, +25m)

Cycle out of Aveiro and its canals to reach a dune system close to Ria Aveiro. You will follow this huge dune system by an inner road that passes small villages that overlook the calm water of the river. Stop along the way and climb the dunes, just a few metres from the road, to see the sea. At the end of the river circuit, bike through small fields and vegetables gardens to arrive the village of Praia da Mira.

Day 5 Praia da Mira to Figueira da Foz (50km, +270m)

Enjoy the peace and tranquillity of crossing one of the biggest dune systems covered in pine forest. Near Figueira da Foz is the big climb of the day. You cycle up to the Serra da boa Viagem and then down to the lighthouse of Cape Mondego. Overnight in Figueira da Foz with its huge sandy beach.

Day 6 Figueira da Foz to S.P. de Moel – (70km, +315m)

Join the cycling path, the Atlantic Way near Carriço, that leads through the Pinhal de Leiria, a pine tree forest which was planted by a king in the 14th century to provide timber to build ships to discover New World and sea route to India (hundreds of years later). There are numerous small beaches along the cycle path which crosses this immense pine forest. Places like Praia do Pedrogão, da Vieira and São Pedro de Moel are like oases in this countryside of pine forest covered dunes.

Day 7 Sao Pedro Moel to Obidos (73km, 700m+)

Ride through pine forests passing h beautiful beaches to arrive at Nazaré, a typical Portuguese fishing village. Follow a scenic route along the coast to Óbidos, the most beautiful and well preserved medieval village in Portugal, with an incredible castle above it. Wander the cobbled lanes and streets to soak up the wonderful atmosphere.

Day 8 Obidos to Peniche (52km, 500m+)

Ride to the coast passing a beautiful lagoon. Discover Peniche Peninsula, an area full of fishing traditions and incredible rock formations and cliffs. Finish the day at wild and beautiful Carvoeiro Cape then return to Peniche for overnight accommodation.

Day 9 Peniche to Ericeira (66km, 800m+)

Ride along the sea and sometimes inland in a hillier region with fields of different crops and colours.

Day 10 Ericeira to Sintra (38km, 800m+)

Today you will ride to the hilly region of Sintra and explore the scenic hills above Sintra village, passing by castles, palaces and old manor houses. Such is the grandeur and importance of these buildings and monuments that Sintra was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995. Two of the most important monuments of Sintra are the amazing Moorish Castle and the Pena Palace situated high on a hilltop. With impressive multi-coloured turrets, dramatic architecture and exotic gardens. Many of these castles and palaces were built by Portuguese aristocracy in the 13th century.

Day 11 Sintra to Cascais (40km, 1000m+)

Your ride this morning brings you to an old Capuchin monastery. Continue to Cape Roca, the westernmost point on the European mainland. Your last ride of the tour is a scenic easy route along the coast to get to the delightful seaside town of Cascais with its trio of beautiful bays. Wander through the delightful old town and along the marina before lingering to eat alfresco in a local fish restaurant.

Day 12 Cascais to Lisbon

Transfer from Cascais to Lisbon (30min)

Terrain

Easy to moderate – 100% cycling on quiet roads and dedicated cycle paths. Mostly flat but lots of short but steep hills in the Sintra region. Average daily distance is 57 km

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Cycling Europe Offers Cycling Holidays in Europe and around the world.

  • Our experts Jill, Therese and Michele have over 65 years combined experience working within the travel industry.
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