† Explanation of BAC Ride Fee – This fee is not included in the Estimated Cost and is non-refundable once submitted. The Ride Fee for US and Canada is $50 and $100 for all other countries, both are per participant.
Portugal: Wildflowers & Castles in the Spring
SUMMARY: Experience the full flavor of Portugal on a two-week combination of its Alentejo and Minho regions. Spring is an ideal season to bike the Alentejo, when it’s carpeted by poppies, wildflowers, and greening groves of cork and olive trees. Our route winds though whitewashed villages with their traditional blue trim and ornate azulejos tiles, many crowned by hilltop castles and medieval walls. Each destination has its own story to share: Évora’s Roman temple and Moorish streets, Vila Viçosa’s ducal palace, Flor da Rosa’s Templar castle (now a pousada where we’ll stay), Marvão’s commanding mountaintop perch.
A half-day transfer leads to the Minho region for the second half of our tour. Following a free afternoon for sightseeing in the regional capital of Viana do Castelo, we’ll discover the verdant wine country of northern Portugal. Grapevines suspended on trellises form graceful patterns on the Minho’s terraced hillsides. Timeless granite villages line our route through the Rio Lima, Vez, and Minho valleys. We’ll climb through the rugged mountains of Peneda-Geres, Portugal’s only national park, before ending with two days along the coast of Galicia in Spain. A grand finale ride combines mountains populated by wild horses, mystical Celtic ruins, and Atlantic coast views via a bike path shared by the Portuguese way to Santiago.
Vineyards and valleys, castles and coastlines—it’s the ultimate Iberian cycling celebration!
RIDE RATING: The average distance for the 7 required riding days is 37 miles and the average daily elevation gain is 2527’. Riders are expected to ride the distance. The support van is intended primarily for luggage transfers and emergencies (injuries, illness, and mechanical breakdowns).
WEATHER: Typically, early June in the Alentejo has warm, comfortable daytime temperatures in the low to upper-80s F. with low humidity. The Minho region tends to be a bit cooler, with daytime temperatures averaging through the 70s. Bring a lightweight jacket for cool nights and a waterproof windbreaker in case of the odd shower. In recent years, temperatures have been as high as 96 degrees and as low as 50.
LODGING & MEALS: Our accommodations will be in historic Portuguese pousadas, 4-star hotels, one guest house in Monsaraz, and a seaside Parador in Baiona, Spain. In keeping with Portugese tradition, our eight dinners, including wine or beer, will begin at 7:30 pm. Social hours will have substantial snacks provided, however, due to hotel restrictions, riders will need to purchase their drinks at the hotel bars.
LOGISTICS: Our trip meets at noon on May 30 in the UNESCO World Heritage city of Évora. You may wish to arrive a day or two early for sightseeing on your own. Évora is located 130km (80 mi.) east of Lisbon. Most riders will fly into Lisbon, which is a city worth spending a few days. The train from Oriente Station in Lisbon to Évora takes 1 1/2 hours and operates 5 times daily (see www.cp.pt). For those who wish to arrive early for sightseeing in Évora, extra nights may be reserved directly with our first hotel.
At the end of tour in Baiona, Spain on June 11, Easy Rider will include charter bus transportation back to Oporto Airport in Portugal (130km/80 mi south of Baiona) for flight connections. We’ll arrive at Oporto Airport by 10:30 a.m. local time and Campanha Station in downtown Porto (the Portuguese name for Oporto) by 11:00 a.m. The high-speed train from to Lisbon runs frequently and takes under 3 hours (see www.cp.pt).
Day 1 (5/30/22): Meet in the UNESCO World Heritage town of Évora in the Alentejo region. Bike fitting (if renting), optional warm-up ride on the Ecovia bike trail to the traditional carpet-weaving town of Arrraiolos (0, 15 or 31 miles / 384’ to 1197’ cumulative elevation gain).
Day 2: Ride to the medieval-walled hilltop village of Monsaraz: Cork and olive groves and traditional white villages. Stop in São Pedro do Corval to visit its pottery workshops (39 miles / 1793').
Day 3: Ride to Vila Vicosa: Quiet backroads pass prehistoric dolmens, the castle of Terena, and marble quarries for which the region is known (34 mi /2126’).
Day 4: Free day in Vila Vicosa to tour the Paço Ducal de Bragança, the summer palace of Portugal’s last royal dynasty. Or bike an optional loop ride to Juromenha castle on the Spanish border: (31 mi / 2033’).
Day 5: Ride to Flor da Rosa: Stop in Estremoz for its charming old quarter and tiled chapel of Dona Isabel, the sainted wife of King Dinis. Continue through rolling plains and ancient villages to Flor da Rosa, a 14th-century Knights Hospitaller castle restored as a comfortable pousada (48 mi / 2183’, 55 mi / 2812’ or 63 mi / 2741’).
Day 6: Ride to Marvão: Changing vegetation of the northern Alentejo as we cycle through evergreen forests and boulder fields in the Serra da São Mamede nature park and climb to the ancient walled hilltop village of Marvão, overlooking distant mountains in Spain (30 mi / 3294').
Day 7: Transfer north to the coast at Viana do Castelo, capital of the Minho region. Charter coach transfer (4 hrs) with free afternoon for sightseeing or a short coastal loop (5 to 12 mi).
Day 8: Ride to Ponte de Barca: Scenic backroads into the vinho verde wine country lead to riverside Ponte de Lima and Ponta da Barca, named for their Roman bridges over the Rio Lima (42 mi / 2983’).
Day 9: Free day in Ponta Barca for loop ride into Peneda-Geres, Portugal’s only national park. Climb through pine and eucalyptus forests to the ancient Celtic village of Soujo with its ancient granite granaries, now a National Monument (30 mi / 3090’, 39 mi / 4289’, or 50 mi / 6101’).
Day 10: Ride to Moncão: Follow the Rio Vez to its headwaters for a spectacular descent to the Rio Minho along the Spanish border (35 mi / 2453’).
Day 11: Ride to Baiona, Spain: Bike path through the fertile Minho valley, cross an Eifel bridge into Spain, then climb through the Mount Aloia Nature Reserve. End along the coast at Montereal, the fortress where la Pinta returned from the New World with news of Columbus’ discovery, now a National Parador (32 mi / 2633’).
Day 12: Free day in Baiona for sightseeing, beaches, or an spectacular loop ride (37 mi / 1460’, 42 mi / 2399’ or 51 mi / 4363’).
Day 13: Morning charter bus transfer to Oporto, Portugal for afternoon flights and train connections.
ROAD CONDITIONS AND BICYCLES: 27-speed Marin hybrid bicycle rentals ($260 for the tour duration) as well as a limited number of e-bikes (approx. $450) may be arranged with Easy Rider Tours.
If you bring your own bike, you need to bring spare tubes and any items that may be non-standard or unique to your bike. There are a number of town centers along our route that are paved with cobblestones. If you bring your own bike, the recommended tire width is 28mm to accommodate the cobblestones and a couple of short dirt sections on bike paths.
A maximum of 2 tandems can be accommodated by the van. Please advise when signing up if you are travelling with a tandem.
Storage of bike cases during the tour, and transfer of the cases from the start location to the finish location, is included in the cost of the tour.
COST: Cost of the trip per person includes 12 nights lodging with breakfast, 8 group dinners including wine, snacks at social hours, maps, cue sheets, GPS files, daily luggage transfer, emergency van pick-up, bike box storage and transfer, rider transfers per itinerary, local guides, gratuities for 2 guides, bus transfers between the Alentejo and Minho regions, and from Baiona, Spain to Porto, Portugal.
The initial deposit of $1,500 will be due within 2 weeks of acceptance on the ride. The second deposit of $1,500 will be due on December 15, 2021 and the final payment of $ 885 is due January 15, 2022.
Singles sharing a room are welcome and the ride coordinator can assist in arranging roommates. No single sharing a room will be moved from the waitlist to the participants list without having a roommate. Solo rooms will be limited to two for those who wish to pay the solo supplement for a room of their own. The solo supplement is an additional $850 and is due with the final balance on January 15, 2022. Mail solo supplement payments, paid by check, to: Bicycle Adventure Club, PO Box 23998, San Diego,CA 92193.
CANCELLATION POLICY: The BAC ride registration fee and payment processing fee is not refundable unless the entire tour is cancelled due to participation below stated minimum requirements. Refunds of tour payments will depend upon whether a replacement rider signs up, and on costs that can be recouped. The amount refunded will be based on the principle that the tour’s remaining participants will not incur any additional cost as a result of cancellations. If the cancelling participant is replaced, a refund will be made at that time. If the cancelling participant can't be replaced, any refund will be determined after the ride and final expense report are completed. If a single participant cancels and another roommate cannot be found, in addition to other costs that cannot be recouped the cancelling roommate may also be liable for the solo supplement fee of the roommate remaining on the tour. BAC encourages members to purchase trip cancellation insurance.
In addition to the BAC Policy, Easy Rider Tours may impose the following fees if a rider cancels AND a replacement cannot be found: cancellations made before December 15: $150 fee, cancellation between December 15 and January 15: $850, cancellations between January 16 and March 1: $1,700; after March 1: $3390.
Budget is based on the July 2021 Dollar/Euro exchange rate of approximately $1.19 = 1 Euro. Easy Rider Tours reserves the right to increase cost of tour and the final payment amount may need to be adjusted if the exchange rate worsens beyond $1.22 to 1 Euro by time final payment is due (February 1, 2022).
RIDE PARTICIPANT RESPONSIBILITY: Please remember that BAC Ride Leaders are volunteers, and that successful tours depend on participants providing much of their own support. Participants are expected to come to the ride well trained, in good health and ready to accomplish the required daily riding using well-maintained bicycles. All participants should accept responsibility for a safe and enjoyable tour. We encourage you to read the ride description carefully and respond to requests from Ride Leader. While on the ride, support your Ride Leader with offers to help with various tasks such as happy hour preparation and clean-up. Please do not interfere with the ride by inviting non-participants onto any portion of the ride or tour. Please keep the Ride Leader informed of any special request you may have and respect the Ride Leader’s decisions.
Before participating in any BAC tour, members should review their medical coverage and assess whether what you have is sufficient. If it isn’t, you should purchase additional travel medical coverage. BAC maintains a policy that provides coverage for expenses related to medical emergencies and repatriation when members are on tours outside the US and their home country. The policy ceases to be applicable if a member makes a personal deviation (e.g., makes a side trip not related to the planned BAC tour), has limits on expenses covered for family members and only applies for 45 days following departure from home. None of the policies maintained by BAC will cover costs associated with self-quarantines that may be government mandated. Members should also ensure that vaccinations are up to date (e.g., annual influenza, tetanus, etc.). If travelling outside your home country you may wish to consult with a travel physician or nurse to ensure that the appropriate vaccinations are up to date.
COVID CONSIDERATIONS: We are requiring all participants to have documentation of full vaccination prior to starting the tour. In addressing any COVID risk, we will follow all the necessary rules, change activities as needed to remain COVID compliant, and keep our tour as safe as possible. You may be asked to wear PPE in public, maintain social distance in public and limit social gathering according to the destination’s mandate at the time of the tour. Ninety days before the tour a video conference with Easy Rider Tours will be scheduled to discuss any recent Covid updates. In addition, 30 days prior to the tour start we will communicate by e-mail any COVID-related requirements.
SIGN-UP:To submit a request to join this ride use the "links" displayed above this Ride Description. When you are accepted, the Ride Leader will move you from the Waitlist to the Pending List. At this time you will receive an email notification to login to the BAC website to sign the release of liability form and pay the non-refundable BAC ride registration fee and the initial tour deposit of $1,500 by credit card. As soon as your deposit has been processed, your name(s) will be added to the Participant List. To contact the Ride Leader, "click" the name at the top of this Ride Description.
Bicycle Adventure Club
PO BOX 23998 San Diego, CA 92193
Telephone (858) 715-9510 firstname.lastname@example.org