As passionate cyclists, we are always on the lookout to design new bike tours with the best roads and trails to explore a certain region. Serra da Estrela Natural Park has always been on our mind, as it not only hosts the highest point in Continental Portugal, but truly amazing, undiscovered landscapes that transport us in space in time. In this region you're able to visit the "Historical Villages of Portugal", 12 villages that capture the essence of pre-roman to medieval times, understand the lifestyle and culture of the "Transumância", the Burel fabrics and textiles, experience Portuguese gastronomy at it's purest and some of the most different wines Portugal has to offer at the moment.
These reasons alone make it a special region to explore. But it took us a while to design the perfect bike tour in the region, as we needed to pair these attributes with key issues so we could make it into a perfect bike tour - trails, roads and the best hotels to showcase the region. And so, with the help of local riders, we designed a tour to be better experienced on mixed terrain, as this untamed land requires us to skip the road for some trails every now and then, so we can explore glacial valleys, river springs and the GR22. This lead us to create our first ever "Gravel" tour, as we feel that's the best bike to explore this mixed terrain, as it isn't technical and allows us to better flow from one castle to the next. And here it is, our "Bike tour in the Portuguese Historical villages and Estrela Natural Park".
This bike tour starts with a 2h30m transfer from Porto airport ( or hotel) to Covilhã, a gateway to the Estrela Sierra, where we'll stay for the night on a charm hotel that will allow us to explore it's historical city center and gastronomy - a great introduction to the region. After breakfast, we'll descend towards the Zêzere river, tackling the macadam trails towards Belmonte, the first of several historical villages we'll visit, where the castle marks the top of this fortified village. After the mandatory coffee stop, we'll ride by the GR22 towards Manteigas and then Penhas Douradas, where a SPA at high altitudes await - this is where we'll stay for the next nights, exploring the Sierra. For the next days, we'll be be conquering the "Torre" - the highest point in continental Portugal, descending by trails in Glacial valleys, riding to nearby historical villages like "Linhares da Beira", ride to the spring of the Zêzere river and get to know more about the ancient "Burel" textiles and gastro traditions of the Estrela national park - while indulging in the best accomodation and SPA of the region.
From there, we'll ride north, to "Penalva do Castelo", where we'll rest for a night at the spectacular "Casa da Ínsua" Parador, and then towards "Trancoso" and "Marialva", which boast spectacular castles and ruins of long lost eras, dating back to the 12th century. From Marialva, we'll cross the "Côa" river using the GR22 route, by the natural reserve of "Faia Brava" and ride to our last Historical Village of the journey, "Castelo Rodrigo", which sits on the top of a small mountain, overlooking the high mountains of Portugal and Spain. The Douro river is nearby, and so are the almond trees, vineyards and olive trees characteristic of this region.
As this bike tour comes to an end, you'll be transferred back to Porto and hopefully experienced this region in an authentic manner, bringing you closer to it's magic, in a way only a bike can transport you.
Join us there. Click here to view the full information on our "Bike tour in the Portuguese Historical Villages and Estrela natural Park"