Cycling Tour: Alto Minho to Porto

From 1,180 € pp

  • Duration

    8 days
  • Bookable From

    March - October
  • Trip Style

    Self-Guided
  • Country

    Portugal
  • Physical Rating

    Moderate

Overview

Explore the wonders of Alto Minho, the Costa Verde (Green Coast), and the UNESCO city of Porto on this 1-week self-guided cycling tour in Portugal!

Begin your adventure in Northern Portugal's spa town of Monção by visiting a winery. (Wait - this is a cycling trip, right?)

After Monção, your cycling tour will begin. Scenic eco trails will guide you along rivers and down the coast as you pass through wonderful beaches, fishing communities, and nature reserves. Interesting rural towns, historical cities (including Portugal's oldest!), and medieval villages will also be waiting for you to discover their charm.

Rejuvenate on the trail by savoring local gastronomy, and, of course, sipping local vinho verde ('young wine', which comes from Alto Minho), and wines from the famous, nearby Douro region. Your journey will eventually conclude in the UNESCO World Heritage city of Porto, home of Portugal's famous port wine.

Highlights

  • Visit a winery in the spa town of Monção
  • Cycle past stunning views of mountains, rivers, and coastline
  • Sample delicious local wine, produce, and traditional tapas
  • Admire local art, lace & embroidery work, and ceramics
  • Visit Portugal's oldest town: the beautiful Ponte de Lima
  • Experience a port wine cellar and do a tasting of Port and Douro wines

After arriving in the spa town of Monção, your cycling tour will begin.

Follow eco trails along the River Minho, which forms the natural border with Spain, and head southeast toward the Atlantic Coast toward the medieval town of Caminha. Be sure to admire local art in the town of Vila Nova de Cerveira on the way. You'll visit fortified towns, such as Valença, with centuries of history, and soak in fabulous views, wildlife, and scenery en route.

Cycle south along the lush and verdant coastline, exploring beautiful beaches and historical cities en route to Viana do Castelo. From this idyllic setting, cycle northeast, away from the coast, along the Lima River. Eco trails on either side of the river will take you all the way to the villages of Arcos de Valdevez and Ponta da Barca, both known for their impressive bridges and local delicacies. Then, you'll arrive in Ponte de Lima, which boasts the title of Portugal's oldest town!

A route southbound leads you to Barcelos next, home to local ceramics, a legendary cockerel (a young rooster), and an important stop on the Camino de Santiago pilgrim trail. It's time for more coastal wonders after this, so follow the eco trails west until you reach the ocean.

Conclude your cycling tour by heading south - stopping in Vila do Conde, where you can see local lace and embroidery work - until you eventually reach the UNESCO World Heritage city of Porto.

Like what you see but it is not a perfect fit?
Simply tell us what you’re looking for. We’ll happily adapt this itinerary to suit your personal interests, needs, and schedule to create your ideal trip.

Seasonal Notes

You can book this itinerary from March 1st through October 31st each year.

  • The low season is in March, April, and October.
  • The mid-season is in May, June, and September.
  • The high season is in July and August.

April, May, June, September, and October are ideal for a cycling holiday to northern Portugal. Days are generally warm and sunny but can be chilly and possibly windy, especially on the coast. There is always a chance of experiencing some rain, so please come prepared for changeable conditions. May, June, and September tend to be warmer with less chance of rain. Fall foliage in the countryside will provide a stunning backdrop to your adventure.

July and August are usually the hottest months, with temperatures regularly exceeding 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit). (Note: The Alto Minho region, although popular, is not as heavily crowded as some other well-known tourist hotspots in Portugal.)

Traveling during the low or mid-seasons is generally considered a sustainable tourism practice as it helps with tourism dispersal – spreading out where tourists go and how their money supports locals throughout the year.

Itinerary

Day 1 Transfer from Porto to Monção [Portugal] (arrival day)

Meet your private driver and experience a delightful journey through picturesque landscapes to the charming town of Monção in the Alto Minho region. After a welcome briefing with one of our team, you’ll visit a local winery and taste their Alvarinho wines.

If you have time, you may wish to sample the healing waters at Termas de Monção spa, or simply settle into your hotel and surroundings and relax in preparation for your cycling adventure.

Accommodation: Monção, 4-star hotel

IMPORTANT: In order to arrive in Monção with enough time to do the briefing and the winery visit, your flight must arrive in Porto before 1 pm. If this is not possible, we suggest adding a night in Porto so that you can explore the city at leisure and fully enjoy your time in Monção, which is 130 kilometers (81 miles) from Porto.

Day 2 Monção - Caminha (47.5 km | 29.5 miles | +55m)

Linear Route

Enjoy the views of neighboring Galicia across the mighty Minho River as you follow it to its mouth at Caminha. Birdlife abounds and you’ll see ingenious fishing platforms built into the river.

Take time to explore the fortress town of Valença and the art and architecture in the pretty little town of Vila Nova de Cerveira.

Caminha's medieval center is full of charms, which you can explore at leisure when you arrive as this is your base for the night.

Accommodation: Caminha, 4-star hotel
Meals: Breakfast

Day 3 Caminha - Ponte de Lima (56.7 km | 35.2 miles | +45m)

Linear Route

Portugal's Costa Verde (Green Coast) is known for its pristine beaches, backed by dunes, forests, and the occasional fishing village.

Enjoy the coastline for the first part of today's journey and spend time exploring the historical center of Viana do Castelo, famous for heart-shaped filigree jewelry and colorful embroidery, before heading inland.

Follow the south bank of the Lima River, through forests and farmland, to reach Ponte de Lima, a delightful town with plenty to offer.

Accommodation: Ponte de Lima, 3-star hotel
Meals: Breakfast

Day 4 Ponte de Lima & Arcos de Valdevez (42.1 km | 26.2 miles | +52m)

Circular Route

Using the Lima and Vez rivers as your guide, follow the eco-trail upstream through gorgeous countryside to the village of Ponte da Barca, allegedly the birthplace of the navigator Ferdinand Magellan.

Ponte da Barca is located on the left bank of the Lima River. It owes its name to the barge (barca) that crossed the river until the end of the 15th century when the bridge was built.

From here, you will head to Arcos de Valdevez, another pretty riverside town with an impressive bridge and delicious local cakes called charutos. If the river beach is operational, you can go for a swim or simply explore the town.

The return journey to Ponte de Lima follows the opposite banks of the Vez and Lima Rivers, passing through more rural wonders.

When you get back to Ponte de Lima, via beautiful nature trails, we will have a chilled vinho verde (regional wine) and Portuguese tapas waiting for you at a typical tasca.

Accommodation: Ponte de Lima, 3-star hotel
Meals: Breakfast

Day 5 Ponte de Lima - Barcelos (33.3 km | 20.7 miles | +195m)

Linear Route

Don’t be surprised if you see lots of people hiking on today’s route – you’ll be following sections of the Camino de Santiago pilgrim trail today, albeit in the opposite direction.

This stage brings you up close and personal with tiny villages and their local farming traditions and vineyards. It also offers fabulous views of nearby mountain ranges.

Accommodation: Barcelos, 3-star hotel
Meals: Breakfast

Day 6 Barcelos -Vila do Conde (44.6 km | 27.7 miles | +75m)

Linear Route

Make your way through more beautiful countryside as you head back to the ocean once more at the mouth of the Cávado River.

Then follow the coast south to the sandy beaches and riverside town of Vila do Conde, which is famous for bobbin lace-making, embroidered “handkerchiefs of love” and its naval history.

 

Accommodation: Vila do Conde, 3-star hotel
Meals: Breakfast

Day 7 Vila do Conde - Porto (34.8 km | 21.6 miles | +40m)

Linear Route

Look out for more birds as you cross the nature reserve south of Vila do Conde. The coastline is varied and beautiful, with windmills on some of the beaches. Stop at the colorful fishing village of Angeiras to see the community at work before making your way past the port of Matosinhos and along the Douro River into Porto city center.

After you have freshened up, it's time to find out more about the famous port wine at one of the most prestigious port wine lodges in Vila Nova de Gaia. With a tasting, of course!

There are plenty of other sightseeing opportunities in Porto, including Lello Bookstore and the Stock Exchange Palace.

Accommodation: Porto, 3-star hotel
Meals: Breakfast

Day 8 Porto (departure day)

After breakfast at your hotel, make your own way to your next destination. End of our services.

Meals: breakfast

Optional Extension

If you would like any additional nights in Porto, please do not hesitate to ask for a quote.

Route Map

A route map showing where cyclers will bike along the northern Portuguese coast and inland through Portugal's Alto Minho region.

Inclusions & Exclusions

  • In-person welcome briefing

  • Detailed route notes

  • App with trail information for use on a smartphone

  • 7 Nights’ hand-picked accommodation with breakfast

  • Private transfer from Porto airport to Monção on day 1

  • Luggage transfer between accommodations

  • 6 days bike rental (MTB TREK Marlin 6 with 29” wheels + panniers + helmet)

  • Winery visit with tastings in Monção (day 1)

  • Tapas and vinho verde in Ponte de Lima (day 4)

  • Port wine cellar tour with tastings (day 7)

  • 24-hour emergency contact number (English-speaking)

  • Flights to and from the destination

  • Lunches and dinners

  • Insurance

  • Touristic taxes

  • Gratuities

  • Personal expenses

  • Anything not mentioned in the “included” section above.

Pricing

Prices exclude flights to/from the destination.

Prices are for double room occupancy unless indicated otherwise.

Price varies between high, mid, and low seasons.

  • Low Season: March, April, & October
  • Mid Season: May, June & September
  • High Season: July & August
  • Deposit per person

    30% of the trip price

  • Shared Room - sleeps 2 - price per person

    Low Season: 1,180 € pp Mid Season: 1,240 € pp High Season: 1,290 € pp

  • Single Supplement

    Low Season: 390 € pp Mid Season: 440 € pp High Season: 490 € pp

Optional Add-ons

  • Extra night at Porto Hotel (4-star hotel): 110 € pp in a shared double room, 175 € pp in a private single room
  • Private transfer between Porto city and Porto airport: 45 € for up to 3 people, 75 € for 4-7 people
  • Upgrade to E-bike TREK Powerfly 4 625 (or similar): 175 € per E-bike

Payment & Cancellation Policy

A deposit of 30% is required to hold the reservation. The balance is due no later than 6 weeks prior to the arrival date. Clients may pay the full amount due all at once if they choose.

  • More than 30 days before the expected arrival date: no costs
  • From 29 to 15 days before the expected arrival date: we retain 50% of the total cost
  • Less than 14 days before the expected arrival date: we retain 100% of the total cost

Sustainability

We are dedicated to promoting travel as a positive force, benefiting both travelers and the communities they visit. With this core principle in mind, we meticulously design our itineraries to minimize environmental and cultural impact while actively contributing to the improvement of local quality of life.

Environmental Initiatives

Our eco trails and nature trails encourage visitors to appreciate and engage with the natural landscapes of the region while minimizing their ecological footprint. By exploring these areas, participants can experience the beauty of the countryside, coastlines, and rivers, fostering a connection to nature and raising awareness about the importance of environmental conservation. The focus on birdwatching, windmills, and the rural wonders also highlights our appreciation for biodiversity and renewable energy sources, promoting environmentally sustainable practices.

Sociocultural Initiatives
There are several sociocultural initiatives that contribute to the preservation and promotion of local culture and heritage. Visiting historical centers, such as Viana do Castelo and Valença, allows for the exploration of cultural sites and encourages heritage tourism. By engaging with traditional practices, such as bobbin lace-making, embroidery, and fishing village communities, participants gain insight into local traditions, supporting the sociocultural sustainability of the region. Additionally, visiting cultural landmarks like Lello Bookstore and Stock Exchange Palace contributes to cultural preservation and appreciation.

Economic Initiatives

Visiting local wineries and supporting regional agriculture contribute to the local economy and sustainable agriculture practices. Additionally, travelers engage with several local businesses by tasting regional wines and consuming Portuguese tapas, which encourages the purchase of locally produced goods, supporting the livelihoods of artisans, winemakers, and restaurateurs. These economic activities contribute to the overall economic sustainability of the region.

Health & Safety

Be sure you have traveler's insurance.

FAQs

What does the physical rating of "Average" mean for this trip?

Along the journey, you may sometimes encounter some steep climbs and descents, so good advanced physical preparation is necessary in order to do this trip.

What are the accommodations like?

A combination of 3 and 4-star hotels and all rooms have their own bathrooms. We’ve chosen these accommodations for their hospitality, comfort, and location. Upgrades to 4 and 5-star hotels and paradores (a type of inn) are available for an extra cost.

What is a self-guided tour?

On a self-guided tour, you navigate the route yourself with the aid of our Roadbook and GPS with all the tracks. We provide all the information you need including suggestions, maps, instructions, directions, and things to see. Our self-guided tours are a complete and affordable holiday, tailored specifically for independent travelers. They offer the same quality, style, service, and comforts of typical guided trips with the freedom and flexibility of making your own decisions about how you spend your time. Read more about self-guided tours here.

How many days are cycling days, and what's the total distance covered?

There are 6 cycling days on this itinerary. Total distance covered is 259 km (161 miles).

What are the bike trails like?

The route is a combination of rural paths (asphalt, cobblestones or dirt), forest trails (dirt or gravel, uneven and sometimes rocky), secondary roads and some main roads (both on asphalt).

How do I prepare for a cycling tour? Do I need to be experienced with bikes?

Along the journey, you may sometimes encounter some steep climbs and descents, so good physical preparation in advance is necessary in order to do this trip.

It is essential that you have previous experience with mountain bikes and basic bicycle repair knowledge, especially how to change a tire as punctures may occur during your trip.

What do I need to bring?

We'll provide the bike equipped with rear pannier bags, a water bottle, and a helmet.

What type of bikes do you use in your bike tours?

We know the importance of a high-quality and comfortable bike for a pleasant cycling tour, so we carefully selected the most appropriate bikes for each type of tour, and only work with the most recent, quality bikes from TREK. For this tour, we selected the MTB TREK Marlin 6 with 29” wheels, disc brakes, and front suspension. We have available bikes of all sizes for a more comfortable tour.

Reviews

Rolling green vineyards in Portugal's Douro Valley with a blue sky in the background.

Bill R.

Jan 10, 2024

Do yourself a big favor and contact Yugen Earthside

This was an amazing self guided walking trip to Portugal's Douro Valley vineyard country. What really made this trip awesome was Yugen Earthside. These people are incredible with their first rate customer service and attention to detail. We would give them 10 stars out of 5. So if anyone is contemplating any type of sustainable walking/biking trips to any of the incredible locations throughout the world, please do yourself a big favor and contact Yugen Earthside.

Inquire Now

Related Trips

We proudly partner with wanderwell, a B-Corp-certified travel insurance agency and 1% for the Planet member.

Request a FREE quote for Trip Protection or Travel Medical coverage.

Book Insurance Now