Day 1: Arrival - Welcome at Porto Airport
Transfer from Porto (OPO) Airport to Melgaço (02h00). After Check-in, a comprehensive information pack will be handed to you and also the bike after final adjustments made for you. Melgaço Town is waiting and if you still have time, take a stroll to the castle and old centre. Taste the famous Vinho Alvarinho, Alvarinho wine.
Day 2: Bike Melgaço to Valença do Minho (48km, +400m)
Going back to Melgaço old centre where the cycling tour really starts. If you couldn’t find time yesterday, this is a good way to start visiting the narrow street of the old town. Make a stop at Solar do Alvarinho and have a glimpse of the famous Alvarinho Wine, a Green Wine!! From Melgaço you will follow the river Minho to its river mouth, but today is only to Valença do Minho. The cycling will follow one low traffic lane that passes through villages and an always green landscape, sometimes covered with vines, other with patches of forest. The history is always along the way, from old medieval bridges and tours to the XVII and XVIII centuries old Manors’ granite coloured white walls. Moncao town is a good place to explore the fortress, streets and have a meal; the central square is typical of the Minho architecture.
If you have time in your schedule and make the detour go visit the Palace of Brejoeira and his wine estate. Well worth of a visit. About 3km from Moncao Town centre. From Moncao to Valença do Minho, you’ll follow a cycle path that runs along the river; it was once a railway track. Its smooth surface will lead you truly to the country. The fortress of Valença do Minho is overlooking the old iron bridge to Galicia. The small narrow streets of the fortress town are a delight to the eye.
Day 3: Bike Valença do Minho to Caminha (31km, +250m)
Descending from the Fortress the road will meet the river shore and follow them to Vila Nova de Cerveira. Views over the river are calm and peaceful, and this is a relaxed bike ride until Cerveira. Vila Nova de Cerveira is one important art centre in North Portugal; every two year there is one very important art festival. Apart from that there is one interesting town centre, his castle and surrounding narrow streets. To arrive at Caminha town the path goes by the river outside Cerveira, but after a while it goes a little inland through villages and rural areas. Arriving at Caminha the path goes over the river Coura to enter into town. Once again a beautiful typical minho town centre and its buildings from another era. You are at the mouth of the river Minho into the Atlantic.
Day 4: Bike Caminha to Ponte de Lima (56km, +300m)
Preparing for a longer day, out of Caminha you will follow the coast line until Viana de Castelo. You will have the opportunity to spend time in small beaches if you wish. All along the way from Vila Praia de Ancora to Viana de Castelo you will go along small fields not far from beach, and in some points it is possible to halt and get a bath...Viana do Castelo is an important city; the centre is characteristic of the Minho and reminds its ancient past. Viana is part of the Saint James path to Santiago. At the top the Zimborio, the Santa Lucia church that can be reach via road (bike) or Funicular, part of all postcard.
It is a vibrant place full of cafes and restaurants, the pedestrian streets are still full of life and small shops.Out of Viana do Castelo by the north margin of the river Lima you will encounter a cycling path that leaves you at Ponte de Lima, but first you’ll traverse the natural place of Lagoas de Bretiandes; some lagoons that are well known for bird-lovers. Ponte de Lima is one of Portugal most ancient towns and passage over the river since the roman time, more recently the most important passage to Santiago de Compostela from medieval times, the town itself has a wonderful historical center to be explored.
Day 5: Bike Ponte de Lima to Esposende (46km, +350m)
This day will take you back to the Atlantic Coast, making your way back to the ocean this time along the South margin you’ll reach the Gustave Eiffel bridge near Viana do Castelo. Following part of the Santiago alternative path you will pass some villages and arriving at the river Neiva. A place where you will still cross like a pilgrim, the bridge is very Spartan, but a delight for travellers. By foot of the hill and crossing two villages you arrive at Esposende. A nice town at the river mouth of the Cavado. Nowadays is a beach-town with a beautiful beach front and lighthouse and even a fort from the XVII century. A good place to enjoy a sunny afternoon and relax a bit....
Day 6: Bike Esposende to Porto (65km, +400m)
The biggest day of cycling of this tour is waiting. Leaving Esposende by the bridge to Fao and Apulia you enter the Natural Parque of the north Litoral. Following the dunes you will be delighted with the calm and beauty of the landscape and sea. Some agricultural fields of vegetables will be part of the ride. By the beach front you’ll cross Póvoa do Varzim and Vila do Conde, two major towns dependant of the sea. The Fishing port of Póvoa is the most busy in the north of Portugal, Vila do Conde is smaller but carries the historical site of the building of vessels for the discoveries in the XIV and XV centuries. A copy of the Carravels is still here for visit. Having a stop is just by the path.
Now until Porto the path will follow in the opposite direction the variant of Saint James Path, this time to Porto. A bit before Leca da Palmeira a cycling path will lead you to Porto center, passing through Matosinhos and its mobile bridge. Longing the Port and by the front beach you reach the Fortress of Castelo do Queijo, you are entering Porto. Continue cycling the lane and you’ll reach the mighty Douro river and soon the center UNESCO world heritage site. A marvellous site, and once again history is present. This final stage is along XIII century town... And some from XIX c. to arrive to your hotel.
Day 8: Departure - Farewell at Porto Airport
Transfer to Porto (OPO) Airport (30 min drive). In accordance to your flight.