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Porto to Coimbra Cycling

from $2,649.00

Enjoy cycling from wine capital, Porto, south along the coast and bay-hopping to Aveiro, Portugal’s Venice before heading inland and finishing in Coimbra, Portugal’s old capital with UNESCO recognized heritage.

  • Reviews 32 Reviews
    5/5
  • Vacation Style Holiday Type
    Self-guided
  • Activity Level Easy plus
    4/8
All about the Porto to Coimbra Cycling.

On this nine-night, self-guided cycling holiday you’ll enjoy wonderful, relaxed cycling along the idyllic coastline south of Porto and the beautiful Aveiro Lagoon, discovering two of Portugal’s most important cities – Porto and Coimbra – and sampling some of the country’s signature wines.
You begin in UNESCO-recognised Porto, a beautiful mix of winding, mediaeval streets, impressive architecture and the serene Douro River, packed with brightly coloured rabelo sailing boats – it’s also home to some world-famous wine cellars. From here you’ll head south, past sandy bays and beaches, to your luxury hotel in Furadouro right on the beachfront, before heading via the Aveiro Lagoon, to ‘Portugal’s Venice’, Aveiro. Here, the latticework canals are overlooked by grand buildings and inviting restaurants, while pretty moliceiro boats sail leisurely along the water. Returning to the ocean you’ll pass high sand dunes and fragrant pine and acacia forest, on your way to Praia de Mira, before heading inland to the Spa town of Curia in the Bairrada wine region, the home of Portugal’s best Champagne-style wine – be sure to stop for a tasting! From Curia your final stretch takes you to Coimbra, Portugal’s former capital and now a cosmopolitan university city. Explore its charming cobbled alleyways, bustling markets and wonderful architecture such as the C16 aqueduct and the university’s sublime Baroque library, perhaps rounding off with a traditional fado evening in one of the local bars.
We’ve picked some rather special accommodation for you including luxury 4-star hotels in art-deco and historic buildings in Porto and Aveiro respectively; a design hotel in Praia de Mira with a rooftop pool boasting fabulous ocean views, stylish spa hotels in Furadouro and Coimbra and a restored Belle Epoque hotel in Curio, set in 14 acres of private gardens and parkland. We’ve included five evening meals for you on this holiday and you’re free to choose from some great local restaurants in Porto (night two), and also in Aveiro and Coimbra.
Please note: Cycling helmets are a legal requirement in Portugal for anyone using an e-bike.

The tour package inclusions and exclusions at a glance
What is included in this tour?Items that are included in the cost of tour price.
  • 9 nights hotel-to-hotel accommodation in a mix of **** hotels
  • All continental breakfasts and 5 evening meals
  • Management by your local Headwater-appointed agent
  • GPS Route directions and maps
  • RideWithGPS navigation app
  • High quality bikes
  • Luggage transfers between hotels
What is not included in this tour?
  • Flights
  • Single Accommodation (available on request, inquire for supplement)
  • Room upgrades and extra nights at selected hotels (inquire for prices and details)
  • E-Bike (available on request, inquire for supplement)
  • Tandems available (inquire for supplement)

Highlights

  • Superb varied cycling: riverside and forest routes; beaches and sand dunes; charming cities
  • Taste wine in Porto’s famous wine cellars and in the superb Bairrada wine region
  • Aveiro’s Venetian canals; UNESCO-recognized Coimbra
  • Coastal and lagoon wildlife: pink flamingo, purple heron, kingfisher and sandpiper
  • 4-star hotels throughout in beachfront, town and country locations
  1. Day 1 Day 1 Arrive in Porto

    Arrive at your hotel in Porto. After a briefing with our agent you can enjoy dinner on the Douro riverfront. (Staying at the Vila Gale Porto Ribeira, evening meal included in a local restaurant this evening)

  2. Day 2 Day 2 At Porto 20km/12.5mi

    Today you could opt for a return cycle ride, taking you north of Porto and along both the Douro River and the ocean front, passing glorious beaches, the C16 castle of Sao Joao da Foz, Matosinhos – with some great seafood restaurants – and the Boa Nova Tea House which belongs to the Portuguese Masterchef’s Rui Paula. If you’d rather spend the day exploring Porto, why not enjoy a stroll along the riverfront, wander the narrow, winding streets or explore the historic Ribeira district, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. For dinner this evening you can choose from a number of fine local restaurants. (Staying at the Hotel Vinicci Porto, Breakfast only)

  3. Day 3 Day 3 Porto to Furadouro 30km/19mi or 43km/27mi

    This morning, enjoy a relaxed ride along the Douro River’s south bank, full of brightly coloured rabelo boats. You could stop for a tasting in one of the famous port wine caves before following an idyllic waterfront path from the Natural Reserve of the Douro Estuary – a great spot for birdwatching – to the Atlantic coast. Heading onwards, you’ll pass some beautiful sandy beaches – perhaps stop for lunch in one of the seafront restaurants and relax on Espinho’s gorgeous golden sands – before following a cycle path through pine forest to your beachfront hotel in Furadouro, where you’ll enjoy dinner in the restaurant. (Staying at the Furadouro Boutique Hotel, Half Board)

  4. Day 4 Day 4 Furadouro to Aveiro (Estarreja) 34km/21.5mi

    Head south from Furadouro along the protected Aveiro Lagoon, one of Europe’s last pristine coastal marshes and a haven for many bird species including plover and sandpiper – you can discover more about the area by joining the canal and paying a visit to the BioRia Interpretation Centre. It’s then on to Salreu where you’ll take a short train journey (10 mins – pay locally) to Aveiro, your home for the next two nights. There are plenty of good fish restaurants to choose from for dinner, within easy reach of your luxury hotel. (Staying at the Hotel Moliceiro, Breakfast only)

  5. Day 5 Day 5 At Aveiro

    Aveiro is known as ’Portugal’s Venice’, with a picturesque network of canals weaving their way through the city, lined with grand buildings and former fishermen’s houses and filled with gondola-style boats making their way leisurely along the water. Charming alleyways are lined with churrasquerias for lunch, while a bustling fish market takes place every day. Visit the impressive Jesus Monastery and Aveiro Museum, along with the beautiful cathedral which dominates the town square. (Staying at the Hotel Moliceiro, Breakfast only)

  6. Day 6 Day 6 Aveiro to Praia de Mira 33km/21mi

    Cycle southwards today and visit the factory and museum of Vista Alegre, Portugal’s oldest fine porcelain producer, based in Ilhavo, before crossing the Aveiro Lagoon to meet the ocean again in Vagueira. From here you head north to Costa Nova, home to a lovely sandy beach lined by colourful candy-striped houses, before cycling back to Vagueira and along the coast. Turning inland, you’ll make your way to your 4 star beachfront hotel at Praia de Mira, passing fields of pears, lemons and strawberries en route. (Staying at Macarico Beach Hotel, Half Board, evening meal taken at a local restaurant)

  7. Day 7 Day 7 At Praia de Mira 24km/15mi

    Perhaps take it easy today and enjoy a day at a beach, relaxing on Praia de Mira’s silky sands dotted with brightly coloured fishing boats and several beach cafes. Alternatively, follow a trail eastwards into lagoons and acacia forest, crossing the canals over New England-style bridges. This is a lovely route lined by iris and bright cistus and you’re likely to spot kingfisher and blue heron, along with several good picnic spots! (Staying at the Macarico Beach Hotel, Half Board, evening meal taken at a local restaurant)

  8. Day 8 Day 8 Praia de Mira to Curia 42km/26.5mi

    Leave the coast behind and follow a cycle path inland through acacia forest, before passing farms and small villages on your way to the vineyards of the Bairrada region. Stop for a spot of wine tasting at the Quinta do Encontro before a short ride brings you to Curia and your ’Palace Hotel’ set in 14 acres of gardens and parkland. (Staying at the Curia Palace, Half Board)

  9. Day 9 Day 9 Curia to Coimbra 37km/23.5mi

    Your final day takes you through vineyards to the Mondego River Valley. You’ll cycle alongside farms and rice fields, following the river, with a final stretch through the Choupal Forest to arrive in Coimbra. There’s so much to discover in this beautiful riverfront city, including the historic university with its spectacular Baroque library, the Museo de Castro, whose art collection in the Bishop’s Palace is one of the finest in Portugal, not to mention the interest-packed streets and leafy plazas just perfect for exploring. We recommend spending extra nights here so you can enjoy the city to the full, including the markets, restaurants and lively fado bars! (Staying at the Hotel Vila Gale, Breakfast only)

  10. Day 10 Day 10 Leave Coimbra
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Where you stay
Vila Gal Porto Ribeira
Vila Gale Porto Ribeira is a boutique hotel and has a riverfront location and is approximately 1,200 yards from the historic old town of Porto. There is a tram stop right outside the door making the town very accessible. Rooms are dedicated to famous painters; the dcor is tasteful with a modern appearance. The breakfast is superb with a great choice of hot or cold dishes. We recommend you enjoy a glass port wine on the riverfront terrace.
Furadouro Boutique Hotel
Facing the beach just a 5km ride from the inland town of Ovar, the Furadouro Hotel is a chic and classy waterfront property with cutting edge design throughout. The spa facility is a nice way to reward yourself after a day on the bike, as is a good walk along the endless beach. Evening meals here are a real treat- taking traditional recipes and infusing a modern twist. We use a selection of comfortable 4-star hotels. All hotels are high quality and individual and have been selected for their location, comfort and character. All rooms are en suite and some hotels have a swimming pool or a sea view.Please note some hotels might change on certain departures
Hotel Moliceiro
In the heart of Aveiro amid the canals and colourful boats (from which the hotel takes its name), the Hotel Moliceiro is a **** hotel in one of Aveiro’s period buildings. Artwork on the walls, patterned fabrics and atmospheric lighting all add to the luxurious atmosphere. It is easy to walk out and explore the narrow streets and alleys that are filled with restaurants, and it makes an ideal base for exploring the town.
Macarico Beach Hotel
The Macarico Beach Hotel mixes nautical themes with contemporary design and is located on the beachfront of Praia de Mira. There is a rooftop swimming pool with fabulous views of the Atlantic Ocean. We use a selection of comfortable 4-star hotels. All hotels are high quality and individual and have been selected for their location, comfort and character. All rooms are en suite and some hotels have a swimming pool or a sea view.Please note some hotels might change on certain departures
Curia Palace Hotel
The Curia Palace is a lovingly restored ‘Belle Epoque’ building in the centre of the spa town of Curia. Set amongst 14 acres of formal gardens and parkland and with pool and spa facilities this is a wonderful place to relax.
Hotel Vila Gale
One of the newest and most luxurious hotels in the city of Coimbra, the Vila Gale Hotel is a large riverfront property around a 10 minute walk from the centre of the city. The rooms are modern and spacious with every possible convenience. The hotel also has a spa with an indoor pool, hammam and gym, and by the riverside the large outdoor pool is also ideal for relaxing at the end of the trip. The grand public rooms on the ground floor are very high and light, with lots of glass making the building very light and attractive.
Eating and Drinking

Portuguese cuisine is wholesome, hearty, and rarely fancy and relies heavily on the use of different herbs and spices due to its Moorish influence. Fish dishes are more predominant in the south, although northern regions often offer delicious freshwater fish dishes.
The region is also famous for sticky desserts that use egg yolk. During the Golden Age (15th and 16th century), the area was very rich because of all the treasures that were brought back from the discoveries of the New World. These riches paid for many convents. The nuns needed egg whites to starch their habits so they used the egg yolks in many gooey desserts that have curious names like monk’s breast and nun’s stomach.
The Alentejo is also a highly respected wine region. The Romans were the first to start cultivating vines here. You’ll find a whole range of different vintages to try en route, the best known ones include Roupeiro, Rabo do Ovelha and Antão Vaz (white) and Periquita, Trincadeira and Aragonez (reds), although many small family run vineyards produce their own versions as well. The majority of the wines served in Portugal come from this region. If you enjoy a very young wine, try Vinho Verde from the North. Calcos do Tanha from the Douro region is a good red wine as are Cozinha Velha, Esporão and Ma Partilha from Terra do Sado. Try one of the many excellent ports as a digestif.

Cycling Conditions
Classification
: SelfGuided
Average daily distance: 31.4km (21miles)
No. of days cycling: 7
Terrain and route: The suggested cycle routes follow a mixture of dedicated cycle paths, which are either beside the road or separate from the road and some tracks.
Vehicle Support: This is a self-guided trip for those who prefer to cycle independently, but with our assistance to take out the stress of the logistics and planning. We arrange your accommodation, provide you with a map and route notes so that you can cycle at your own pace, while your bags are transported from one hotel to the next.

It is important that you are happy reading maps and following route notes, we make these as accurate as possible and they are regularly checked.

As this is a self-guided holiday there is no group and no leader. There maybe others on the same departure date as you, but you will not be organised together. The routes notes contain a 24-hour emergency assistance telephone number should you need it and in emergencies, the hotels are normally able to dispatch a taxi or pick you up themselves. They may wish to charge for this service.

Overall Rating
5/5
Reviewed On 06/11/2019
5/5

Mrs Hemingway

Very well thought out and planned holiday with materials (detailed maps + descriptions + garmin, once I had read the clear instructions on how to turn it on to the relevant route,) provided excellent. We would have appreciated the detailed written routes accompanying the maps to have included place names

Reviewed On 04/11/2019
4/5

Mr Roff

Lovely area to visit with excellent hotels and support. Only weakness is very poor standard of app based guidance which is fine if you just want a car-like sat nav experience but it fails completely to provide any useful background information on the places being visited or passed en route. Much lower quality than the excellent written notes which Headwater used to provide. To be fair, if all you want is to get from A to B on your bike on the prescribed route, they are absolutely fine.

Reviewed On 14/10/2019
5/5

Mr Sharp

This was our first Headwater holiday. We really enjoyed it. The scenery was diverse. The routes were interesting. The bikes, though heavy, served us well. The routes were easy to follow and the gps worked well. The weather in early October was fantastic - warm and sunny. Curia and Coinbra suffered from early morning mist which made the mornings cool. Evenings also made a Jumper advisable. Only issue we had was with the Mecarico Hotel where our upgraded room was directly opposite the building work which was no more than 20 feet away. We also had some difficulty in finding our way from the train station at Porto to the Metro. There are no signs. The escalators were not working. The Metro Route is route E. It was not operating a direct service. We had to change at Musica although we stayed on the same platform. Portuguese people were really helpful and friendly. Food was good and relatively inexpensive

Reviewed On 02/10/2019
5/5

Mrs Brownscombe

We enjoyed this holiday, it was well-organised with a good variety of hotels and easy cycling on great bikes. The Ride with GPS App, which we had never used before, worked very well and kept us 'on track'. We liked the contrast between the urban environments of Porto, Aveiro and Coimbra and the coastal stops at Furaduoro and Prairie de Mira. Curia was an experience in itself, a real step back in time. The food was good throughput and we especially enjoyed the local restaurant at Praia de Mira and a tapas bistro called Dux Taberna Urbana (recommended by the hotel reception) in Coimbra. We found the people very friendly and helpful everywhere we went.. Some of the cycling is a bit dull, but this is to be expected in a flat coastal area and we found it more interesting when we turned inland. There may well be more birds and w ildlife in the spring and early summer. However we were lucky with beautiful September sunshine all the way and It was interesting seeing the different ways in which life works in the different areas, especially the fascinating the way of netting fish in Praia de Mira. I would recommend ladies to consider taking a gel saddle cover as despite some long cycles on unmade tracks I did not experience any lasting discomfort. The upgrade to a sea view room at the front of the hotel in Praia de Mira was definitely a good idea, we loved sitting on the balcony in the sun overlooking the sea. One night would not be enough in Coimbra, there is so much to see.

Reviewed On 29/12/2017
5/5

Hills

We really enjoyed the trip and were completely satisfied.

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