The Portuguese Road, or Caminho Portugués, is considered by many as the most spiritually connected pilgrimage route. Following the path St James’ body took to its resting place at the site of Santiago de Compostela in Spain, the quieter Portuguese path offers a wealth of history and delightful landscapes to discover. While the Caminho Portugués is traditionally walked by pilgrims, it is now possible to enjoy the route by bike. Starting in the historic capital city of Lisbon you will cycle through countryside towns to the lively Coimbra, and then continue on to the romantic Porto, located on the Douro River.
- Discovering by bike the small villages and pilgrimage sites along the Camino Portugués
- Exploring the fascinating cities of Lisbon and Porto
- Sampling the culinary delights of the area
- Enjoying the hospitality of family run hotels
Day 1 Arrive Lisbon
Lisbon is the capital of Portugal and one of the world’s oldest cities: known as Olispio by the Romans, settled by the Visigoths and the Arabs before becoming the base for the “Discoveries’ – Columbus, Magellan and Vasco de Gama all set sail from here. An earthquake in 1755 destroyed many buildings and dramatically brought an end to this powerful empire. The UNESCO-listed monastery in Belem still stands and is definitely worth a visit, as is the Alfama district for ‘fado’ (music) – or simply enjoy a stroll through the streets of this beautiful city. You will find the first waymark of your Portuguese Camino at the Cathedral.
Day 2 Cycle to Vila Franca de Xira (40km)
This morning you will be transferred from the hotel to the bike shop at around 10am to collect your bike. Today you will cycle along the River Tejo, following mostly flat paths. Before long you will be in the countryside and will be surprised by the stark contrast from the cityscape of Lisbon. Your destination for today is Vila Franca de Xira, a town famed for its bull-running festivals in July and October. There is an option to take an afternoon transfer from Lisbon to Vila Franca de Xira, to allow you to spend more time in Lisbon (an additional cost applies, speak to our staff for details, including price) (B, D)
Day 3 On to Santarem (52km)
Today you will continue to follow the river. The route today will take you through fields, vineyards and orchards. You will need to climb a steep hill into Santarem, where you will stay overnight. (B, D)
Day 4 Continue to Tomar (64km)
The cycle route between Santarem and Tomar is mainly flat, which will allow you to enjoy the scenery en route. You will cycle along tranquil country lanes, passing through farmland and little villages. On arrival in Tomar, be sure to visit the historic and picturesque Old Town. (B, D)
Day 5 To Alvorge (56km)
Today’s cycle is the most challenging of this section. This morning you will head off uphill out of Tomar. The route today is undulating and will take you through woods and forested areas as you pedal towards Alvorge. (B, D)
Day 6 Cycle to the lively town of Coimbra (38km)
Today you will again pedal over undulating hills, passing lots of trees including eucalyptus and pine. The final section takes you over the climb of Alto de Cruz de Mourocos, which sits at a height of 190m / 625ft, before dropping down into Coimbra. Coimbra is a lively university town situated on the Mondego River. Enjoy exploring this beautiful and historic city, its churches and museums and don’t miss the university itself, especially the library Biblioteca Joanina. (B)
Day 7 Continue to Agueda (48km)
Today you will travel through river valleys and urban areas along a relatively flat trail which becomes more challenging towards the end of the day. There is also a climb as you leave Coimbra. Your destination for today, Agueda, is situated on the banks of the Certima river. (B, D)
Day 8 To Olveira de Azemeis (36km)
Today you will cycle through lots of fields and little villages as you head towards Olveira de Amzemeis. The last few kilometres into Olveira de Amzemeis are up a steep hill, but you will be rewarded once you arrive. Be sure to visit one of the town’s main attractions, the Matriz de Sao Miguel Church. (B, D)
Day 9 Cycle into Porto (43km)
Today’s cycle will take you over rolling hills as you cycle into Porto. Porto, located on the banks of the Douro River, is a city full of maritime legacies. After checking in to your hotel, take the time to explore the city with its many cultural sites and sample the local Port wines. (B)
Day 10 Trip concludes
Trip concludes after breakfast – or continue along the next stage of the Portuguese Camino, all the way to Santiago. (B)
- 9 breakfasts, 6 dinners.
- 9 nights in a combination of 3-4 star hotels & farmhouse B&Bs on a twin share basis with ensuite facilities
- Luggage transfer (1 bag of 20kg max pp – additional bags and excess weight will attract a surcharge)
- Information pack including route notes & maps per room booked
- Emergency hotline
- Mountain bike rental (MTB, standard model) with repair kit, lock, panniers, water bottle holder, pump & helmet (gel saddle and toe clips available – supplement applies, must be booked in advance). MTB e-bikes and premium or professional MTBs available on request – supplement applies.
- Pilgrim’s Passport