Donkey Week – Portugal’s Alentejo


Donkey week returns to Portugal for 2017 and we believe this is one of the best weeks of Mangia, Beve and Bici we have on our calendar. The itinerary is gruelling, but if your motto in life is “Go big or go home,” then this is the trip for you.

Not sure if you are a Donkey? Well, if you are a hard-charger or at least aspire to being one, then Donkey Week is right up your street. We will do plenty of miles, with some of the best climbing Portugal has to offer and we will be going out of our way to hit all of the best “Portuguese rollers”. And rest assured, your time off the bike will be spent indulging in some of the best meals, finest wines and coolest accommodations Portugal has to offer.

And just like in years past we will be calling this a Randonnèe, although we will not be moving every night which will allow us to take in the best routes in the best parts of the country. So if you’re looking for some early season miles with a pack of animals, it is time to sign on the dotted line.

Included With Trip:

  • All lodging*
  • All food and beverages**
  • Pinarello Dogma F10 bike rental with SRAM RED eTap 11-speed WiFLi components and daily bike wash
  • One Giordana FRc custom inGamba cycling kit and one additional Giordana FRc Inline cycling kit
  • Daily post-ride massage from a professional soigneur
  • Laundry service for cycling clothing


*Pre/post-trip lodging is not included

**Beverages ordered by guests beyond normal amounts and away from group activities will incur additional charges

Trip at a Glance

Start Location:


Finish Location:


Days Riding:


Group Size:

8 – 12

Total Distance:


Total Elevation:


Biggest Climbing Day:

Vale do Guadiana – Barrocal: 2250m

Longest Day:

Vale do Guadiana – Barrocal: 170km


Day by Day Breakdown



Bem-vindo a Portugal! Lisbon is beautiful, but too busy for cycling, so we’ll start our trip just south of the city, along the coast in Setúbal. This loop may be relatively short, but has some good climbing in it and we guarantee it will work out the cobwebs from the flight. The other reason for this test ride is to make sure that you’re comfortable on your Pinarello. If something is not quite right, this is the time to have the mechanic make any adjustments. We’ll descend down to the coast, and climb through the hills south of Palmela, which boast fantastic views out over the Atlantic. If you arrive a little later we will do a shorter 20km jaunt so you can get a feel for what the week will be like.

Vasco da Gama

After a quick ferry ride to the coastal town of Tróia, this course starts out flat with low traffic, perfect for a big group ride for the next 20km. Heading south we pass through the town of Sines, home of Vasco da Gama, the famous Portuguese explorer who was the first to reach India by sea. It’s a rolling route (with one big exception) until we reach the final.

Vale do Guadiana

Welcome to the heart of Alentejo: Portugal’s ‘garden’. The majority of this region is rolling and covered in expansive cork plantations, wheat fields and vineyards. The Alentejo region offers unexpected surprises, from ancient dolmens and superbly sited castles to Roman ruins. Our ride today will be towards the southeast on roads that are ideally suited for riding in groups with long straight aways that are sometimes windy. Our home for the evening on the edge of the Vale do Guadiana National Park is the gorgeous Alentejo Star where the sky is dark and the stars are bright.


Leaving the Vale do Guadiana National Park behind us, we head northwards paralleling the border with Spain. Towards the end of our ride we will climax at the formidable fortress of Monsaraz. The polygon-shaped citadel was erected to house Portuguese artillery, aimed squarely at their Spanish rivals. At the end of the day we will be welcomed into the new farmhouse turned resort, Barrocal.


The ranch of Barrocal has been owned by the same family for eight generations. Well, not quite. In the 1950's during Portugal's brief foray into a dictatorial government the ranch was nationalized, but eventually reacquired by the family of José Uva and recently renovated and modernized into its current form as a luxury hotel. Our ride today will explore some of the surrounding villages and agricultural centers towards the north.

Portuguese Rollers

One of the characteristic things about Portugal are the distinctive villages we roll through. These small villages form the center of life for people here in Portugal, and the cafés are the gathering place. This route begins in Barrocal and continues towards the Spanish border and then into deepest heart of the Alentejo. Be prepared for some larger hills as the landscape becomes more rugged and the creeks have carved some deeper ravines and valleys. Our home for the evening is the wonderful Convento do Espinheiro, a convent dating back to the 1500s. It has been lovingly converted into a luxury modern hotel. We guarantee that it will leave an impression.


Time to leave Evora, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of Europe’s oldest towns. We head east to finish our journey in Palmela, where this adventure began. This small inland town has its roots back in Roman times, and is full of historical and architectural treasures. The iconic Castelo de Palmela offers stunning views of the surrounding countryside, and of the coastline and the charming old city of Setúbal, which was once one of Europe's most important fishing bases, but these days is probably best known for being the hometown of the legendary football manager, José Mourinho.



Pinarello Dogma F10


ZIPP Service Course SL


SRAM RED eTap 11-speed WiFLi


Speedplay Zero or your own


fi’zi:k Arione, Antares, Aliante, Donna, Vesta or your own


Zipp alloy 30


Vittoria Corsa CX


Elite Custom Race


Elite Corsa Team


Garmin Edge 820