UNESCO world heritages of northern Portugal
Look forward to this beautiful bike tour, a combination of our proven radial tour Porto, a boat trip through the Douro Valley and the bike tour Porto - Coimbra. Begin your holiday in Porto, which is idyllically situated on the Douro River and has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1996 with its historic buildings, baroque churches, port wine cellars and fantastic bridges. You will be enchanted by the city of Porto and will discover on your trips the seaside resorts on the nothern coast, the religious capital Barga and the picturesque Guimaraes - birthplace of Portugal. Look forward to the bike trip through the Douro Valley and the boat trip from Pocinho to Regua, before you cycle towards south to the dune lined sandy beaches at the Atlantic Coast. Discover small seaside resorts and cycle through the protected wide lagoon of Aveiro. Look forward to the picturesque town, which is also called "Venice of Portugal" and to the mundane seaside resort of Figueira da Foz. You cycle along the longest river in Portugal and finally reach the old town of Coimbra with its medieval streets. Ideal cycling conditions await you from mid-March to the end of October due to the mild spring, not too hot summer because of the location on the Atlantic and sunny autumn.
1. day Porto arrival
Use your day of arrival to explore Porto and indulge into the special atmosphere of the beautiful city. From many European airports, there are inexpensive direct flights to Porto. The airport is directly connected to the old town by Metro (30 minutes travel time).
2. day Porto - Sightseeing tour by bicycle 25 km
You start in the old town right a way with a stop at the Cathedral and cycle to the famous Iron Bridge over the Douro with fantastic views of the historic center. In a large curve you cycle directly down to the bank and may take a first break at the river beach. It continues now along the water to the famous Port wine cellars, where you can take your time for a visit incl. Port wine tasting. An entire neighborhood is here dominated by countless historical warehouses and on your route you will be spoiled for choice. Once again you follow the Douro and just before the mouth you take a small passenger ferry over the river. From here you will cycle back constantly on a bike path through green parks up to the Serralves Museum with many outdoor exhibits and a colorful flower garden in the middle of the city. Next the path leads through the vast city park, which was opened in 1993, down to the sea and then at the end into the midst of the old harbor district Matosinhos, with its typical inexpensive seafood restaurants. Here you should definitely take a break before you comfortably return to the Old Town by metro.
3. day Porto - 3 rivers tour in the Douro Valley 30 km
With a short ride (30 min) you come today to the hinterland of Porto right to Valongo. Directly here the nature reserve Serra de Valongo begins. The small river Rio Ferreira leads romanticly through the nature area. A small road follows the river valley and like this you cycle without effort into this wooded recreational area where anglers, climbers and mountain bikers feel comfortable. After 13 km the river feeds the Rio Sousa and in its valley you cycle till you reach the Douro. Here it get lively, excursion boats and rowing boats are on their way, small villages and tourist cafes line the shore. The scenery is unique and a real treat is the entrance to Porto, because during the last 7 km you will cycle back to the newly built waterfront with a beautifully landscaped bike path directly to the old town.
4. day Porto - Seaside resorts on the north coast 42 km
Today you spend the whole day at the flat coast and cycle on the well-developed bike paths along the stilts paths and beautiful sandy beaches through the vast dune landscape. First in the morning you take the train either to the village Povoa de Varzim with its 2 km long beach promenade and the old port district, or you leave the train already earlier, to get to the coast. This allows you to shape today's stage length individually and spend more or less time on the 30 km long sandy beach. In the afternoon you again reach the Douro estuary and cycle here always right on the banks of the river back to the old town of Porto.
5. day Porto - Braga 22 km
In the morning you take the train directly to Braga, the oldest city in Portugal and religious center of the country. Numerous evidence can be seen in the center of the city such as the oldest cathedral of Portugal, the Episcopal Palace, chapels dating from the 7th century and more richly decorated churches as well as two major sanctuaries the surrounding area. Stroll through the old streets with many cafes before starting to climb the mountain by bike. About 100 meters difference in altitude you cope in the saddle, you reach the 600 steps with 14 chapels which the pious pilgrims do. The steps bring you directly to the Sanctuary 'Bom Jesus do Monte'. You can take your bike instead which saves you the climb. Through the associated park it goes further up mountain. You have another 100 vertical meters to master in the saddle until the second pilgrimage church 'Santuario do Sameiro'. The wide view from to the city and surrounding area rewards for the exhausting mountain tour before the 8km wooded descent begins which takes you back to Braga. From here it goes by train back to Porto.
6. day Porto - Guimaraes 26 km
Comfortably you take the the modern railway in the morning and reach in 80 minutes Guimaraes, Portugal's first capital and European Capital of Culture 2012. The medieval town center has been changed only very little since the 15th century and has been recognized in its entirety by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Here you can immerse yourself in the pedestrianized historic quarter streets with beautifully restored town houses and palaces and numerous street cafés that invite you to idyllic places to stay. The partly preserved medieval city walls, the Palace of the Dukes (Museum), the Romanesque chapel S. Miguel and the accessible city castle are worth seeing before you take the cable car (incl. Bike transport) from the city up to the 400m high mountain Penha. From the steps of the local pilgrimage church you have breathtaking panoramic views of the city and to the surrounding areas. Here you continue your bike ride with a beautiful descent through the well wooded area which is dominated by eucalyptus trees. Then you follow on mostly flat roads the river Vizela which is surrounded by vineyards of the famous Vinho Verde. You arrive in the spa town of the same name, where already the Romans loved and used the bubbling springs. From here you can take again the train to get back to Porto without any efforts.
7. day Porto - Boat trip through the Duoro Valley
Look forward to an exciting day trip by train and boat through the Douro Valley. The beautiful terraced slopes of the Douro valley, which have been planted with countless of vines, testify to the impressive man-made landscape. In former times, the barrels from this wine-growing village and its historical center, Peso da Régua, were shipped on boats to Porto. Look forward to the wine-growing region of Alto Douro, which has been the world's first protected wine-growing area since 1756 and a UNESCO World Heritage site since 2001. Early in the morning you will go on board and enjoy a beautiful boat trip. Marvel at the vineyards and enjoy breakfast and lunch on board and always discover new fantastic views during your trip to Pinhao. After arrival in Pinhao you will visit a vineyard including wine tatsing. In the evening a bus takes you back to Porto (arrival in Porto at 21:30)
8. day Porto - a day for your free disposal
In Porto is where the heart of the North beats. The picturesque Old Town with its Baroque church treasure is UNESCO World Heritage Site, the modern Porto shines with lively culture and nightlife, and the shore line presents itself in a Mediterranean style. Use your time today to visit the closely nested old town, the baroque Bishop's Palace and the cathedral.
9. day Porto – Furadouro 45 km
Today your cycling trip starts spectacular. You cycle to the picturesque Douro river, across the historic iron bridge to the famous port wine producers and follow the Douro to the wide estuary to the Atlantic. Enjoy wonderful panoramic views of the picturesque old town. On a separate bicycle lane you bike along the beach promenade. Like this you can enjoy the gentle waves of the Atlantic and the wide white sand beaches. In the middle of the dune landscape, you follow the cycle path along wooden walkways. Look forward to Espinho, here you will find the most beautiful beaches south of Porto. Take a refreshing swim or relax in one of the numerous beach bars. In the afternoon you will cycle through the pine-tree forest to the former fishing village of Furadouro with its kilometers of sandy beaches. Take a stroll through the wide promenade and enjoy the day.
10. day Furodouro – Aveiro 55 km
Once more you go south by train to Estarraja. From there you cycle to the well-developed lagoon landscape of Aveiro, separated from the Atlantic by an extended dune strip. It offers a unique biotope with wide shallow waters, small canals, diverse flora and fauna and lively fishing. Enjoy the beautiful fishing village of Aveiro with picturesque canals. In the Art Nauveau dominated old town, colorful traditional boats offer small canal cruises. Dive into this picture-book town, visit the cathedral and enjoy the evening in one of the numerous restaurants of the old town. To get back to Porto just use the train again and enjoy the passing landscape.
11. day Aveiro – Praia de Mira 46 km
In Ilhavo you can admire the museum and the historical factory area of the Vista-Alegre porcelain factory, where noble porcelains of world renown is produced. The Spanish and Belgian royal houses, the White House and many museums are among the customers. Take a break at the coast in the town of Costa Nova with its countless colorful painted houses (palheiros), which now houses pretty holiday houses, cafés, restaurants and nice shops. Kilometers of dunes, the foothills of the lagoon landscape and a variety of bathing facilities will accompany you all day. The seaside resort of Praia de Mira, with its fine beach promenade and typical small restaurants and fishermen's houses, can be reached on separate cycle paths away from any traffic.
12. day Praia de Mira – Figueira da Foz 56 km
It is an experiance to watch the fishing as the fishing boats are pushed into the water by bulldozers. At the end the fishing nets are pulled back to the beach slowly and the fishes are going to be sorted out manually and sold on trucks. But you got to go, as today's trip holds many beautiful moments for you: Quite different landscape impressions characterize your day. 12 km you cycle through the wide state forest with beautifully scented pine trees. A separate cycle path leads you idyllically along densely wooded streams to historic water mills and small lakes. Afterwards, you will cycle along small streets through dreamy villages, colorful fields and green forests. Enjoy the well wooded track, as just before your reach your destination you have to master 200 meters height. Reward yourself with a "stopover" and look forward to the deserved descent down to the coast to the wide dream beach of the fashionable seaside resort Figueira da Foz.
13. day Figueira da Foz – Coimbra 38 km
After a short train ride (15 km) you reach the impressive castle complex of Montemor-o-Velho. This widely visible fortification complex on the top of the hill, you reach relaxed by using three escalators, which have been fitted into the narrow old town. Enjoy the fantastic panorama without effort. Right at the end of the day, you have to master 100 meter uphill, then you will roll on small roads, alternately along the edge of the Mondego valley. Through the fertile plain, you cycle to the river and follow it to the old town of the venerable university town of Coimbra, which is located majestic on a slope.
14. day Coimbra – Porto by train
Today’s day is free to define. We recommend to start the morning with a walk through the historic city of Coimbra. In 2013 the old but still quite busy part of the city became UNESCO world heritage. Particularly worth seeing is the fa-mous university and it’s so called historic-baroque ‘golden’ library, which is open for visitors. After a short lunch break in one of the inviting Cafés or student bars you can take the train or simply our practical return transfer back to Porto.
Back in Porto you can explore the city and enjoy the sunset and rest of the evening at the waterfront of Douro river.
15. day Porto departure
After breakfast in your hotel it is time to say good bye!
Individual tours: Here you decide when and with whom you would like to travel. We provide you with detailed tour documents and practical planning tips, and you enjoy our all-in, worry-free package with separate luggage transport throughout your tour.
Guided tours: You can simply get on your bike and enjoy a group holiday (8–20 participants). Your tour guide will take care of everything, and your luggage will be transported separately.
This overview shows you the grade of difficulty for our tours:
In the case of our original Velociped tours, we are the tour operator. We organise and accompany these tours personally.
So that you have an even bigger selection to choose from, we also cover additional routes in collaboration with long-standing partners. With these Velociped partner tours, we are the tour broker.
Minimum number of participants
Velociped can withdraw from the tour twenty-one days before the starting date of the tour, at the latest, in case the minimum number of participants stated under the tour description is not attained. You will duly be informed without any delay in case of a withdrawal. Velociped will of course refund the paid tour price immediately. Please note our General Terms and Conditions.
Prices are per person.
bookable additional services
- Cat.A: 14 x accomodation incl. breakfast
- Cat.B: 6 x accomodation incl. breakfast in hotel category A and 8 x accomodatoin in the apartement in Porto (without breakfast)
- personal tour information
- boat trip Douro Valley
- GPS rental unit with all tour tracks
- accommodation incl. breakfast
- room with shower/bath/WC
- luggage transport
- map of bike trails with marked route
- detailed route description
- tips for tour preparation
- touristic information
- 7 days hotline service
Worth knowing about the bike tour Porto - Douro - Coimbra
Please find more information about the bike trip "Porto - Douro - Coimbra" below. If you have any further questions feel free to contact us by phone: 0049 - (0)6421 - 886890.
Arrival by plane
Porto can be reached from many German and European airports. From the airport in Porto you will reach downtown Porto by metro (journey time approx. 30 minutes).
Condition of cycle paths
You cycle 90% on paved paths and only a few km gravel paths.
Available rental bikes
All rental bikes are 24-speed gear shift and freewheel bikes (unisex) with a pannier and a tool set. The bikes are available in different frame sizes and have a low opening.
Electric bikes are bookable on request.
Your Velociped contact person at the location
In Porto we have an absolutely reliable all-round service for you as well. Our english and german-speaking local partner, born in Porto, will be at your disposal every day, will welcome you, takes care of the bikes and knows every bicycle tour personally. He is looking forward to give you insider tips and common information.
Apply/rent a GPS device as a navigational aid
You are often going to cycle on small roads and paths with turnoffs in a very much diversified landscape. Cycle path signs or town signs are rare. In order to facilitate orientation here and to avoid constantly reading detailed route descriptions, you will get a GPS on site. The device (for example at the handlebars) guarantees that you always find the right way. Operation of the device is easy to understand. You will be pleasantly surprised how easy the route finding is with the GPS. You will receive the device, together with a short briefing from our contact person on site.
So as not to be dependent on the technique, you'll still get more detailed maps, with the route marked on site. This will take you directly and without long searching always to the desired destination - we guarantee it!
In March daytime temperatures are well suited for cycling already and in April you can expect balmy evenings. High season starts in May and in June a shelter from the sun is already treasured. The bathing season is in July and August and you are going to meet many locals at the waterfront. As of September the temperatures are very pleasant for cycling again. Even October is still a good month for travelling but the Atlantic Ocean is way too fresh for a long bath at that time.
Return journey Coimbra - Porto
Kindly be aware that the transfer between Coimbra and Porto as well as the transport of your luggage on day 14 is not included in our service package. You can book yourself a train ticket to get back to Porto or make use of our offered transport.
Trains leave approx. every 2 hours and take 120 minutes. The tickets costs approx. 16,00 EUR and can be purchased in advance in travel agencies or online on the english website of the Portuguese railway company. Kindly be aware that the pre-bookings are linked with a fixed time of departure. You will take your luggae with you on the train ride.
Our transfer starts directly from your hotel in Coimbra at 1 PM. After a 90 minutes ride the driver will drop you off at your hotel in Porto. The transfer is bookable with a minimum number of 2 guests and costs 75,00 € per person. An advanced reservation is necessary. Kindly inform our stuff at the latest 2 weeks before the start of the tour.
Extra services not included in your package
The trips with the inexpensive public transport (Metro, Train) are not included in the price, as well as the travel journey on day 14 (Coimbra - Porto). All transfer services together cost about 35, - EUR per person, the bicycle is free of charge in public transport. The city of Porto charges a tourist tax: € 2 per person per night. This must be paid locally at the hotel.
7 days hotline service
Just in case the bike chain is broken, flooding makes it impossible to continue your tour or any other nasty surprise: you can reach us seven days a week and we will do anything to help you as fast as possible.
Passport and visa requirements, health regulations
For EU citizens, there are no special passport or visa requirements and no health formalities to be considered for this trip.
The tour price already includes the statutory insolvency insurance. In addition, we recommend that you take out travel cancellation insurance upon receipt of your travel confirmation in order to protect yourself against financial disadvantages in the event of travel cancellation, interruption of travel, illness or accident.
Old town of Porto
Known as the Ribeira the old town of Porto starts right on the river banks of the Douro and is since 1996 part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. In addition to numerous winding streets and alleys, there are especially many Baroque churches in the old town, that is why Porto is also known as the baroque city. The special feature of the old town is that it is less influenced by individual interest, but rather by their contiguous charm. This becomes clear especially from the other side of the riverbank, from where you have a beautiful view over the old town and thereby the overall pictures from buildings, roads and churches is shown. At the same time there are today many shopping streets and cafés in the old town, which invite you to a long stroll.
Port wine cellars
Portos best known export product is the Port wine. The vineyards where the grapes are grown for this particular sweet wine, extending inland along the Rio Douro. Since 1756 only grapes may be used for the production of Port wine which come from a area that is precisely defined by law. From there, the wine is brought to Porto to the numerous Port wine houses with their famous cellars where it is processed and matured. Visitors can spend days visiting the cavernous cellar at the riverside (there are more than 50, from which you can choose), where you can taste dozens of excellent Port wines.
Bridge Ponte Dom Luis
The impressive Dom Luis Bridge with 172 m span is a filigree steel-arch bridge in two levels above the Douro and connects Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia. It was built from 1881 until 1888, after plans of the engineer Théophile Seyrig. Seyrig already been completed along with Gustav Eiffel the 500 meters further upstream located bridge "Ponte Maria Pia". The bridge belongs to the territorially historic center of Porto, and therefore since 1996 to the "World Heritage Site". The upper part of the bridge is used by the Metro, cyclists and pedestrians, the part underneath is used by car traffic, cyclists and pedestrians.
The city is one of the most important religious centers of Portugal and is know for its Baroque churches, grand houses from the 18th century and beautiful parks and gardens. The old town is venerable and ancient, although trade and industry had brought a modern lifestyle into the city. This is complemented by local universities, modern restaurants and lively bars. Every Thursday morning there is the biggest market held in the region Braga. On the stands market trader just sell everything - from fresh produce to traditional pottery. The history of the city is reflected in its numerous churches and monuments. One of the major landmarks are the remarkable Sé Cathedral and the Church of Santa Cruz from the 17th century. On a hill about 5 km south-east is the Sanctuary of Bom Jesus do Monte, an important pilgrimage site.
This extraordinary medieval city leaves the visitor the impression of a film set: elegant cast-iron balconies, granite steps, mansions with towers, ornate arches over narrow streets stretched, magnificently equipped churches, Romanesque chapels, centuries-old cobblestones, restored town houses and squares, palaces and the overarching mighty castle. The impressive square keep of the castle dominates the horizon for miles. These shield-shaped castle was built in the 10th century to protect the city from invaders, and expanded in the 12th century to an arsenal and palace. According to legend, Portugal's first king was born here. Visitors can stroll along the castle walls and visit the tiny Romanesque chapel of São Miguel. In 1910 the castle was declared a national monument.
Through the enchanting capital city of Aveiro, nicknamed the "Portuguese Venice", a shimmering Channel runs and the city is considered one of the most enchanting destinations in the country. That is because of the brightly patterned moliceiro boats, the numerous pastel colored buildings in the Art Nouveau style and its quiet, urban atmosphere - a picturesque backdrop. In the city center there are a variety of restaurants as well as a great selection of bars and shops. When you wander through the city, you should go in one of the typical cafes and sample the heavenly ovos moles, the sugary-based egg specialty of the district.
Praia de Mira
Praia de Mira lays on the Atlantic Ocean and the Barrinha-lagoon. It is a popular seaside resort with a long, fine sandy beach which is dune-lined. The “Museu Etnográfico da Praia de Mira“ reminds of the fishermen and their hand-operated fishery, whose importance has waned. The church „Capela de Nossa Senhora da Conceição“ with its gold-plated crosses, was redecorated in 1884 after a thunderstorm and is under a preservation.
The historic city Coimbra is situated in the interior and on the beautiful river Mondego, approximately 100 km south of Porto and is domicile of Portugal’s oldest University. Would you like to get to know the real and authentic Portuguese Life? Coimbra is the right place. You can feel the special flair especially in the narrow winding streets and alleys of the old town. Due to the city’s history you will find many places of interest as well – don’t miss it.
University of Coimbra
The reputed Alma Mater is the city’s landmark. Built in the 12th century, you find it on the highest point of the city, alreday visible from afar. Characteristic for the students in Coimbra is a black cape and the varicolored ribbons (“fitas”), which differs depending on the faculty. Universities’ centerpiece is the majestic library “Joãnina” form the 18th century with about 300.000 books. Those relicts are preserved with the aid of a colony of bats, which spend the nights in the library and feed on insects.