Bike Tour in the Portuguese Historical Villages and Estrela Natural Park
Bike tour by Estrela National Park, riding from one Portuguese Historical village to another, in search for the medieval castles, traditions and tastes of this special region. A gravel or road cycling tour for intermediate to experienced riders who wish to explore the special trails and backroads of the highest region of Portugal and its rich culture dating back to Pre-historic days. This is where the "Lusitans" stood up agains the romans, where you'll find 30.000 year old rock engravings, 12th century medieval castles and a cultural heritage to match this richness, from its wines and gastronomy to the "Burel" tapestry.
/ Ride a Gravel or Road bike to the top of Continental Portugal, conquering the "Torre" of Estrela Sierra and riding in stunning car-free roads;
/ Explore the 12th century castles of the Portuguese Historical villages of Belmonte, Linhares da Beira, Trancoso, Marialva and Castelo Rodrigo;
/ Ride to the Zézere's spring, descend by Glacial valleys and explore the natural fauna and flora of Estrela Natural park and Beira Alta;
/ Indulge in the flavours of the local gastronomy and wines, explore the ancient shepard culture, the "Burel" textiles and relax at handpicked charming hotels and SPA's;
Type of Terrain: This tour can be done in either a Gravel or Road bike, as both options are available. Depending on which you choose from, you'll ride by macadam trails or backroads.
Hilly stages: Long climbs, with high gradients, and fast descents by the Estrela National Park. Climb all the way to the highest point of Continental Portugal.
Landscape: The Estrela National Park dominates the landscape, with its characteristic fauna and flora. You'll ride to Zézere river's spring, glacial valleys and Faia Brava natural reserva.
Pick up from your hotel or airport in Porto for a 2h30m transfer to Covilhã, by the Estrela Natural Park. Check-in at your charming hotel for the day, "Casa das Muralhas", a refurbished centenary property in Covilhã's historic center. After set up of the bikes and a private briefing to kick-off your tour, enjoy a free afternoon to relax at the hotel or walk wander by Covilhã's historical city center, exploring it's heritage.
Breakfast at the hotel. Start of your ride, from Covilhã to Belmonte, rolling by the backroads or macadam trails for the first 20km by the Zêzere river, followed by a short but steep climb to Belmonte, one of 12 Portuguese Historical Villages. Climbing to the top, you'll be able to see Belmonte's 12th century old castle - a good opportunity for a coffee stop and to better understand this strategic point that formed a defensive line against Leoneans and Castelhanos, famous for being a home fo the Cabrais family, of which Pedro Álvares Cabral is the most famous, for having discovered Brazil. After Belmonte, tackle the trails of the GR22 or the road towards Sameiro - a steady, 20km climb, passing by "Valhelhas", towards "Manteigas". Enjoy your coffee stop in Manteigas before tackling the big climb of the day, towards Penhas Douradas, where you'll relax at the amazing "Casa das Penhas Douradas Design Hotel & SPA" or "Casa de São Lourenço - Burel Panorama Hotel"( included in our "premium" option) - two amazing options in which you'll stay for the next two nights, in the middle of the Estrela Natural Park, where you'll get to explore the "Burel" textile traditions.
Breakfast at your hotel. Today's ride will lead you to the Torre - the highest point of Continental Portugal - start riding by the trails or backroads of the natural Park, by the lagoons of the "Nave", until you reach the national road that'll lead you to lagoa "Comprida", and ride all the way to the Summit, at nearly 2000m of altitude. Afterwards, enjoy a nearly 20km descend, overlooking the Glacial Valley, by trails and roads until you reach Manteigas - one of the most beautiful sections of the Natural Park. From Manteigas, you'll ride all the way up to Penhas Douradas to relax at your SPA for the day.
Breakfast at the hotel. Your day starts with a descent by the trails to the Mondego river - the longest river located exclusively in Portugal - followed by a 10km climb by the backroads of the National Park and a rewarding 10km descend to "Linhares da Beira", a village that received its ﬁrst charter from King Afonso Henriques in 1169 - wandering round the streets of this museum village is like travelling back in time. Replenish yourself at the historical center, before having fun on the descend back to the Mondego, by the trails of the GR"" or backroads of the Sierra, until you cross the river at Ponte Nova - from there, you'll follow the backroads until Penalva do Castelo, where you'll be able to rest for the day at "Parador Casa da Ínsua"- be sure to explore this amazing baroque style manor house, with it's own vineyards, gardens and cheese production facilities.
Breakfast at the hotel. Your ride for the day will have you pick-up the trails of the GR22 or the backroads of the region towards "Trancoso", a Portuguese Historical Village located at the top of a plateau, an ancient border town and stage for ﬁghts and battles that were decisive to the formation and independence of the Portuguese kingdom, where King Dinis commissioned the construction of the walls that still protect it. Make the best of your stay in Trancoso, as today's ride has several short but steep climbs, before heading towards Marialva, by the trails and backroads of this peaceful region, marked by almond trees, vineyards - the Douro river is close by. Marialva's castle is one of a kind - if you can, take the time to discover the beauties that lay within it's fortified walls. Today, you'll rest in Marialva, at "Casas do Côro" ( included in the "premium" option), voted best rural tourism in Portugal for it's unique charm, elegance and comfort or "Home Rural Termas de Longroiva", where you'll be able to relax and enjoy the local thermal resort.
Breakfast at the hotel. Start of today’s ride, again tackling the trails of the GR22 or the backroads of the region until you reach the Côa river's Vally - an affluent of the might Douro river - at the "Faia Brava" reserve. Today's first 18km will be flat, followed by a quick descend towards the Côa river, after which you'll have to climb until you reach "Figueira de Castelo Rodrigo", in the outskirts of the old town of "Castelo Rodrigo", the Portuguese Historical Village located at the top of a small mountain - the last climb of the day and the tour. Check-in at the intriguing "Casa da Cisterna", located at the top of the village, and enjoy the beautiful views over the plateau while you relax by the pool and soak in the atmosphere of this amazing region.
Breakfast at the hotel, followed by check-out and free time to enjoy Castelo Rodrigo's historical center before transfer to Porto (airport or hotel)