North of Portugal and Minho cycling holiday
Cycling in the oldest Village of Portugal along the river side and the sea
The Cycle Trail of Minho River was ranked as the fourth best 2009 trail in Europe. That alone showcases all the amazing Portuguese landscapes, rivers and seaside views which you will be enjoying during this trip. Cycle trough World Heritage villages, vineyards, farmed land, beaches, historical towns, going down the country in the direction of the mighty city of Porto.
The Minho River is also the perfect excuse for relaxing in the north of the country. Explore the trails and the Portuguese villages along this border river and its main highlights. The Minho River flows along 300 km. It serves as a natural border between Portugal and Spain, travelling the entire way across Melgaço and its mouth in Caminha.
Taste the worldwide known gastronomy. Enjoy the delicious corn bread, sausages, codfish, lamprey, trout and shad, cooked in many traditional ways. For those who enjoy good meat, you can’t miss out on the famous “sarrabulho” porridge and the seasoned pieces of pork. Relish on the regional wines that the country couldn't go without. This will surely enrich your trip and give you the desire to come back and discover more of Portugal!
- Flat route. Some short climbs in beginning of the 1st day and in the last day, entering in the city of Porto.
- 40 % bike lanes and wood walkways and 15% smooth dirt roads. Some coubblestones roads and 10 % paved secondary roads with low traffic.
Day 1 – Melgaço
Day 2 – Melgaço - Valença ( 43 km )
Day 3 – Valença – Viana do Castelo ( 55 km)
Day 4 – Viana do Castelo – Ponte de Lima ( 25 km)
Day 5 - Ponte de Lima – Esposende ( 55 km)
Day 6 – Esposende – Porto (60km)
Day 7 - Departure
Route classification: Easy
Estimated KM: 152 km and 1894 m of cumulative gap climbs
Day 1: Melgaço
Day 2: Melgaço – Valença (43 km)
Day 3: Valença – Caminha (30 km)
Day 4: Caminha – Viana do Castelo (25 Km)
Day 5: Viana do Castelo – Ponte de Lima (26 Km)
Day 6: Ponte de Lima – Ponte da Barca ( 18 Km; estended track to Arcos de Valdevez 28 km)
Day 7: Departure
The cycling trip starts in Melgaço, a city in the north of Portugal, on the banks of the Minho River. It is a small, beautiful and historical town, overseen by the tower of Homage, located high up in the old medieval area. It overviews the beautiful Minho valley, filled with vineyards that surround Melgaço and the nearby Peneda Geres park. Today you will also be meeting our local partner, including a tour presentation and explanation. Farm: Reguengos de Melgaço
Melgaço is alongside the Minho River. Famous for its beautiful landscape, history, gastronomy and also for producing the well-known and much appreciated green wine caste, “Alvarinho”.Every year this city organizes the “Festa do Alvarinho e do Fumeiro”, a huge event which is nationally and internationally known. This event showcases the local gastronomy (like the Alvarinho green wine) and many other local handmade crafts. Advancing to Monção, where the valleys are conducive to the practice of agriculture and viticulture, it is possible to find several archaeological finds that testify to a past filled with traces of the passage of different communities through these lands. The city of Valença is a historical town in the north of Portugal. It is located right on the border with Spain, separated by the beautiful Minho River, and surrounded by ramparts atop a hill, boasting a long defensive look. Hotel 4 *: Pousada de Valença Hotel
Leaving Valença, continue along with the Minho river. One of today's destination is Caminha, a fortified town where several battles were fought between Portugal and Spain. Standing on a tiny island in the middle of the estuary are the ruins of the fort of Ínsua, built as a defensive measure concerning the entrance in the river during the XVth century. Nowadays there is a daily ferry-boat linking the two banks of the river between the countries. This city is also very well-known for its natural and green heritage: the sightseeing areas, waterfalls, beaches, camping parks and the “Modelo” beach (a favorite destination of famous people in Portugal). The midday stop is Vila Nova de Cerveira, the 'Village of the Arts'. The city became, after 1978, the meeting point of artists from all over the world. Cycle alongside the coast, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, and you’ll reach Viana do Castelo. The city is one of the most beautiful seaside cities of the north of Portugal. Viana held a huge importance to Portugal in the Age of the Portuguese Discoveries and later on with the cod fish fishing. This city has a huge tradition and connection with the sea, with the fisherman proudly showcasing it nowadays, mainly during the great festivity of “Nossa Senhora da Agonia”. It was also here that the ships were built and later deployed to Brazil, India, Africa and other Portuguese colonies, during the XVth and XVIth centuries. Hotel 4 *: Melo Alvim Hotel
Leaving Viana, the cycling will be back to the interior of Portugal, with the beautiful Lima River alongside. The destination is now Ponte de Lima, a city recognized as world heritage and stands as the ultimate North of Portugal in all its rusticity and scenic beauty. This land is full of history and is located in the former Braga-Tui military road. It is the oldest Portuguese village, since 1125 when it was granted charter. Its bridge, over the river Lima, built by the Romans in the 1st century, has always been a place of passage for the pilgrims who were going to Santiago. Ponte de Lima is the cradle of Housing Tourism, of the “Loureiro” variety that distinguishes the “Vinho Verde” and the Rice of “Sarrabulho” appreciated in the most faraway places in the world. Hotel 4 *: In Lima Hotel
Today is a day to get to know the south bank of the river Lima for about 25 km. Then we will begin our journey heading to Esposende, a seaside city located in the North. During this day, you will be overwhelmed with seaside landscapes and small “Portuguese rivieras” until you reach Esposende, a city from the Middle Ages. Neiva river and its clear waters, green pine forest of Ofir and the stunning views that offer different viewpoints of Esposende, are just some of the interesting features of the county in which the richness of the natural landscape and heritage built by human hand, as is the case of windmills, fields in the trough, the forts and mills, are combined in a unique harmony, forming landscapes of high scenic and environmental value and confirms Esposende as one of the most beautiful counties in the North region. Hotel 3 *: Suave Mar Hotel
During the last day, you will be overwhelmed with seaside landscapes and small “Portuguese rivieras” until you reach Porto. You will have a chance to meet a huge variety of fishing villages, like Póvoa de Varzim, where you can experience ancient traditions linked to the fish exploration as well as tasting this famous gastronomy. In Vila do Conde, you’ll know why these Portuguese coastal cities were so important during the “el dorado” of the Portuguese Discoveries. Hotel 4 *: Porto Trindade Hotel
- LS - Low season: Nov 01 to Mar 25
- RS - Regular season: Mar 26 to 25 Jun and Set 26 to 31 Oct
- HS - High Season: Set 01 to 25 Set
- SS - Summer Season: Jun 26 to August 30
- Prices are based for 2 people sharing the same standard room;
- Sea view (when available) or premium rooms, price on request;
- Prices can suffer updates due high season, holidays or weekends
- Beverages are not included at lunch and dinner when included in the package
- If in a triple room with parents Children up to 10 years old - 35% discount. Children from 11 to 14 years old - 20% discount. Children from 15 to 17 years old - 15% discount.
- Electric bicycles price: 240€
- Supplement for single room: LS: 390€, RS: 420€, HS: 450€, SS.480€
- Solo traveler: 200 €
- Extra nights: on request
- Private group price on request
What People Are Saying
GL Oi, Malasya,
We loved all the towns along the route, which was really scenic and offered different experiences. The food and wine were as good as everyone said it was. The team in Top Bike were marvelous, helpful and friendly.
Geoff Fogarty, Fairlight, Australia,
I organised a group of 6 late 50’s/ early 60 year olds who are all very occasional recreational riders to do this ride. Fold n Visit modified their North of Portugal self-guided itinerary for us by starting in Castro Laboreiro so that we could experiences the beautiful mountains in the north, but without the pain of big climbs.
Sergio provided an excellent service -
The bikes were new or near new....two in the group opted for e-bikes. The power boost was rarely used as the ride is easy...mostly on cycle paths, many sealed or on boardwalks. The power option however did provide “peace of mind” for those that had it. Between 6 of us, we had a couple of flat tyres and a chain jumped off...all easily rectified.
The accommodation was excellent......generally 3 or 4 star.
The route planning and GPS helped us to easily stay on track.
Sergio was a pleasure to deal with....everything that was promised was delivered and at a very reasonable price.
May was a great month to be there...Spring flowers and fresh growth on deciduous trees, generally cool (rarely more than 20 degC), but not too cold. A fresh following breeze as we headed down the coast and not too busy.
Manoel de Carvalho, Brasil,
We did the North of Portugal trip )from Melgaço to Porto) on November 2021.
It was great and I recomend.Hotels were very good ..and the food FANTASTIC.
We did a lot of research into riding in Portugal and after looking at a lot of companies went with Top Bike Tours and selected the North of Portugal and Minho ride.
The reason we went with Top Bike is the personal service we received from Sergio when looking to book. We are in Australia and even with the net, dealing with someone across the other side of the planet has challenges but Sergio worked through everything with us, made changes to hotels we wanted, provided good local advice etc and made the whole booking thing easy.
We looked at other ride companies but Top Bike are Porto locals and know the North of Portugal very well.
When we arrived in Porto, Sergio's team picked us up, briefed us on the bikes, equipment, GPS, trip route, everything. They then took us for a walking tour of Porto which was unexpected and gave us some very good local tips e.g. riding along the Atlantic, train trip up the Douro, local site, cafes etc.
After lunch in Porto the transfer to the north from Porto was easy, they booked us into our first nights hotel, Hotel Rural Reguengo de Melgaço, gave us some local tips and then let us be.
We then had the best 6 days of riding. Well planned ride, great paths, great local tips for coffee, lunch, sites on the way, dinner. Checked in on us from time to time to make sure everything was going okay, but mainly left us be to enjoy ourselves and make our own way.
Pick up for return to Porto was without fuss and we were returned to Porto from Ponte de Barca with more local tips and advice for staying in and around Porto.
Overall. we had the most enjoyable time.
That had a lot to do with what Sergio and his team had put together.
A well planned itinerary.
A well planned riding route which took us through little villages and off the beaten track. Good equipment, the bikes were near new, well serviced and ran well.
GPS, a Ride with GPS app, hard copy back up maps and daily itinerary.
Very good hotels, who were very welcoming and had great local breakfasts.
Efficient and easy bag transfer.
Overall, great support.
If I had any tips it would be to check out the hotels on tour on line well before you book. Some of them are well out of town, which is fine if you want that, but if you want a post ride drink or dinner, we found it nice to know how far we'd be walking distance to town. Having said that, we were not sure about the first nights accommodation at Hotel Rural Reguengo de Melgaço near the village of Melgaco. The hotel was quite out of the way and a long way from the village of Melgaco. Turns out it was absolutely terrific. After arriving at the hotel we rode up to Melgaco in the afternoon for a drink, and then rode back to the farm/hotel as it got dark. We then walked to a small village nearby and found a local restaurant, Adega do Sossego. The locals looked a bit surprised to see us, but the hospitality, service and food was terrific. In the morning we discovered we were the only couple in the hotel, but the lady running the hotel was there to greet us with a great breakfast. She couldn't speak any English and us no Portuguese, but she wanted to show us about the farm which was beautiful and had it's own chapel. Turns out the place had previously been the home of the local Baron from some time ago. A great start to the ride and obviously good advice from Sergio and Top Bike Tours.
Special mention to the locals. Very welcoming friendly people and so patient with our poor language skills. Lovely people.
Highly recommend this company on the basis of our experience.
For our honeymoon, my new husband and I did the 7 day Northern Portugal Bike Tour. It was absolutely incredible, probably one of the best/most memorable trips we've done in all our travels.
Sergio met with us the morning we arrived in Porto and shared with us an outline of our 7 days, with just the right amount of details. We knew the directions, distances, and topography for each day of our ride, plus a brief description of the route, and suggested places along the way to explore, have a bite to eat, and experience the treasures of Portugal. The terrain was flat and comfortable riding through such a variety of bike paths, trails, cobblestone paved neighborhoods, vineyards, corn field, and wooden boardwalks.
The outline gave us plenty of flexibility to choose our "adventure for day" and opened our eyes to a much more intimate and local feeling experience of the country and Portugese culture.
Some of our highlights included....Discovering our first night’s stay off the Camino de Santiago Portugal in the historic castle town, Valenca, on the border of Spain.
The bike ride through the farmers’ fields and along the Lima River, taking in the sunset at the Cathedral in Viana do Castelo.
Riding along the coast, taking in the seaside landscape and passing through many small, traditional fishing villages.
This was an unforgettable experience! It was perfect for the two of us that like the flexibility and autonomy of traveling on our own, yet it provided just the right amount of directions and accommoda
Karen, South Africa,
We loved our tour of Northern Portugal. Great route, good bikes and excellent guides. Thanks to Sergio, Tiago and Pedro!