While riding around on a bicycle isn’t necessarily a luxury affair, Bike Tours Portugal (BTP) has found a way to make it a little more glamorous when visiting Europe. Choosing from either guided, self-guided or tailor-made tours, guests can hop onto their very own two-wheeler for an adventure that is both eco-friendly and filled with four- and five-star accommodations.
Ranging from six- to eight-day tours, with two days of transfers at the start and finish, the guided and self-guided itineraries are meant to spare no expense in offering the most exclusive lodgings, unique points of interest, top dining destinations and quality personal service. And since National Geographic just named Alentejo, Portugal one of its Best Trips 2014, there's even more incentive to see what these tours are all about.
First, you'll choose from one of six guided tours, four self-guided or your own to begin the journey. The Alentejo Heritage adventure (designated an easy ride), will take you through 22 miles of trails and dirt on a hybrid bike where you’ll get to explore medieval castles and palaces. Rows of traditional white-washed houses, olive tree meadows and alluring landscapes will be your backdrop during the week. Making a stop at the World Heritage city, bikers can discover one of the most famous wineries in the area and and have an Alentejo regional lunch. Among nightly accommodations are hotels such as Flor da Rosa Monastery – a 21st century Palace-Monastery, The Luxury Collection Convento do Espinheiro and L’AND Vineyards Resort.
If you’re the more adventurous type and want to go at it alone, the self-guided Alqueva and the Great Lakes tour will transport you back to the 13th century to view Moorish Castle, considered of the finest examples of Mudéjar art in Alentejo. While moseying along you’ll also be introduced to a 16th century marble palace and be able to explore the Medieval Village of Monsaraz (translated city in the clouds). During the trip check out the village of Monsaraz and the castle fortified by the Knight’s Templar or view Portugal’s submerged city of Luz.
What’s also great about BTP is that its tour guides are avid bikers, lovers of the outdoors and their beautiful country. They know the roads, are familiar with the locals and know which routes to avoid and which ones will wind you through Portugal’s best scenery. There are also family-friendly excursions with have tandem bikes, baby chairs and a selection of novice routes available for the whole gang.
Yet, if you still don’t see any tour that stands out or you’ve done a few already, Bike Tours Portugal will gladly design an itinerary just for you. Just let them know what you’d like to see and do, choosing from interests such as wine, foodies, heritage, culture, and eco-tourism among others.
Sunny and warm most days, the climate is most closely represented by California with its 77 F weather in the summer months and around 60 F during their winter. Starting at around USD $2,700, tours include: breakfast, luxury accommodations, luggage transfer, GPS device, bike, lock, helmet, quick tire repair kit, cell phone for emergencies, and vehicle or shuttle transfers.