Overview

Discover the natural beauty of Portugal’s most-famous wine region on our Douro Valley Cycling holiday.

Portugal’s rich Roman heritage often reveals itself as ruined villas, converted temples and ancient bridges. They also introduced viticulture – wine has been produced in the valleys of the Alto Douro for over 2,000 years, and the Roman legacy can still be seen today in the distinctive schistose stone terraced vineyards, the expansive olive groves and blossoming cherry orchards.

Year around, the weather suits cyclists almost as much as the vines. Winters are pleasantly cool, as the region is protected from the harshest weather by the Marao and Montemuro mountains. Summers are hot and dry, but the valleys are well-irrigated by the Douro and its many tributaries, and the gentle west winds from the Atlantic also help to maintain a year-round level of humidity.

Life is made deliberately tough for the vines, and their roots are forced to search for nutrients through the loose earth and shale. The work is worthwhile, as the ground stores the heat of the sun and radiates it homogenously during the night. The riding reflects the life of the vines: routes are tough but rewarding, with steep climbs giving way to magnificent, sweeping views across a landscape of rolling hils and intersecting river valleys.

Your week begins in the historic spa town of Vidago, the 18th century playground of the last kings of Portugal. You’ll head south through the farmlands of the north, following the now defunct Corgo railway line to Vila Real. After an evening on the Quinta do Portal wine estate, the gradients ramp up as you crest the mountains at Abrecovo – the grand Douro river reveals itself, as a sweeping descent brings you down to the pretty wine town of Pinhao.

Having arrived in the valley, you’ll explore on two wheels with a series of challenging local loops – or you might prefer a guided tour of a local vineyard, a gentle cruise on a traditional Rabelo boat, or a trip on the famous Douro Valley railway. Your week ends in Peso da Regua, the historic wine capital of the region, where Portugal’s Denominacao de Origem Controlada was first drafted. The DOC system protects grape varieties and regional production techniques right across the country – it’s the world’s oldest system of wine classification and has ensured Portuguese vintages are of the highest quality since the mid-1500s.

Itinerary

You’ll begin your holiday with a direct flight to Porto. Our driver will collect you from your flight, for your transfer to the historic spa town of Vidago.
Your first ride takes you from Vidago to Vila Real, following the route of the old Corgo railway line, (distance: 55km, ascent: 599m, difficulty: moderate).
For your second ride, you’ll leave Vila Real, heading southeast to the rural village of Vilarinho de Sao Romao, via the neolithic burial site at Mamoa de Madorras and the village of Sabrosa – birthplace of Ferdinand Magellan, (distance: 33km, ascent: 683m, difficulty: moderate).
Leaving Vilarinho de Sao Romao, you’ll crest the high hills of Abrecovo before descending into the Douro Valley to the pretty wine town of Pinhao (distance: 30km, ascent: 419m, difficulty: moderate).
You’ll take a long loop through the beautiful Pinhao countryside, (distance: 38km, ascent: 769m, difficulty: moderate to difficult). Thanks to its secluded location, all rides from Pinhao ride begin with a climb – if you’d prefer a day of rest and relaxation, we can switch you to a short cruise on the river.
You’ll leave Pinhao today, heading down river to Peso da Regua. There are a few options to choose from: a challenging 45km ride, a more leisurely ride 26km, or for ultimate relaxation, a trip on the famous Douro Valley railway.
For your final ride, you’ll take a loop from Regua to the historic city of Lamego. You’ll take on one of the week’s more-challenging climbs, but you’re rewarded with some of the best views, (distance: 32km, ascent: 614m, difficulty: moderate).
You'll be transferred to the airport for your flight home.

From £2790 per person

We can create a tailor-made holiday to suit your budget.

Direct flights from the UK to Porto, accommodation in twin/double en-suite rooms on a B&B basis (dinner is included at Casa das Pipas and the Vila Gale Douro), airport transfers, luggage transfers on cycling days, 2 x hybrid bikes (carbon road bikes and e-bikes are available for an additional cost) and digital route maps.

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