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Northern Portugal

$7,950

We like to think of Northern Portugal as European cycling’s best kept secret. This randonnée will take us deep into the mountains and right to the heart of one of the world’s most beautiful countries, on a point-to-point journey of discovery that celebrates Portugal’s rich past and unique way of life.

The riding is all on narrow, quiet roads that twist through an incredibly diverse landscape, from the Serra da Estrela National Park, home to the highest roads in the country, to the beautiful banks of the Douro, where every inch of the surrounding hills is wrapped in precious vineyards.

You’ll explore hilltop towns and pristine nature reserves, stay in a hand-picked selection of unique, charming properties and indulge in the best food and wine that this culinary treasure trove has to offer. There will be some truly spectacular views along the way and a very special finish in wonderful Porto, a city that overflows with culture and history. And because so many of our team call this place home, we can offer the kind of local knowledge that guarantees a truly unforgettable week.

Check out this video for a taste of what’s in store! 

Included With Trip:

  • All lodging*
  • All food and beverages**
  • Pinarello Dogma F12 Disk with SRAM RED eTap AXS
  • Daily Bike Wash
  • One custom Castelli × inGamba 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:

Porto

Finish Location:

Porto

Days Riding:

6

Group Size:

8 – 12

Total Distance:

481km

Total Elevation:

8,206m

Biggest Climbing Day:

Day 2. Unhais da Serra – Penhas Douradas. 2,357m

Longest Day:

Day 6. Quinta da Pacheca – Porto. 116km

...

Day by Day Breakdown

1

Tortosendo loop

This trip starts as it means to go on, climbing on quiet roads through the foothills of the
Serra da Estrela Natural Park. The ride begins with a descent, before the first of three manageable climbs begins after 13km. There are two longer ascents in the final 15km though, so you'll want to keep some gas in the tank. Overall, this is meant to be a relaxed ride to get comfortable on your new bike, and as a taste of things to come, there will be plenty of stunning views across the rural Portuguese landscape.
2

Unhais da Serra – Penhas Douradas

Today we climb into the foothills of the Serra da Estrela, Portugal’s highest mountain chain. From there our picturesque ride will take us through the towns of Unhais da Serra and Seia before the ascent to Penhas Douradas – a "Hors catégorie" climb of 20km with about 1,000 meters of elevation gain. After a tough day on the bike we will be welcomed into the peaceful surroundings of Casa das Penhas Douradas and the national park of Serra da Estrela.
3

Penhas Douradas – Marialva

Today we will go deep into the part of Portugal known as Beira Alta and near the birth town of João’s father, Sarzeda. We will start by riding down the glorious descent from the Serra da Estrela National Park and finish in the town of Marialva, a picturesque walled village that Literature Novel Prize novelist José Saramago describes as “...this complex of ruined buildings, and the mystery that unites them, the present memory of all those who lived here, that suddenly moves the traveller, brings a lump to his throat and tears to his eyes."
4

Marialva Loop

The historic village of Marialva was once a strategically important border fort, but these days it’s better known as charming medieval granite cottages and the imposing castle. This hilly route explores the peaceful countryside of the Beira region, passing through several quaint little towns along the way.
5

Marialva – Quinta da Pacheca

The Quinta da Pacheca is located in one of the first Douro properties to bottle wine under its own label, way back in 1738. Today, this charming boutique hotel is entirely devoted to gastronomy and wine tourism. The first 50km of this route is on rolling terrain with a few easy climbs, while the last 30km follows the banks of the river into the town of Cambres.
6

Quinta da Pacheca – Porto

The climbing starts right away on this route, as we leave Quinta da Pacheca behind and head for Porto. With more than 1,800 meters in elevation gain throughout the day it won’t be an easy ride, but the stunning panoramas as we wind along by the Douro river will more than repay your efforts. The valley is famous for both its beauty and its vineyards, and there’ll be plenty of time to enjoy the views. The gradients will get easier in the second half of the ride as we get closer to Portugal’s second city, where we’ll end our adventure in style.
7

Departure

This is our final morning together and after a leisurely breakfast, it will be time to say goodbye, or at least arrivederci, until we meet again. Transfers to the airport will be arranged by our hard-working crew but if you’re planning on staying a few extra days, let us know if we can help with reservations or a few recommendations. 

YOUR Guide

Manuel Cardoso

The Quiet Crusher

Manuel Cardoso is no longer sitting on the front of the pack, pulling everyone along at what some would describe as a “brisk” pace and what others are unable to describe at all, because they're too busy gasping for breath and holding onto the wheel in front of them for dear life. Manuel is now sitting just slightly off the back of the pack. As I look back, I realize he has that look on his face. The look which struck fear in the hearts of the Pro Peleton for many years. The look which is part grin, part mischievous child and all business. He is about to start some shenanigans. Sure enough, just a few kilometers later and Manuel has picked one lucky contestant out of the pack and they are sitting-in, waiting, like predators, for the perfect moment. For Manuel, just like when he raced pro, this is when the road turns slightly up, a spot in the road where it gets tough for everyone. And he accelerates with his breakaway “partner” in tow. It is something to see. He ramps it up to a speed with which no one can latch onto the back and with such precision you have to question whether or not you actually want to try and close the gap he has created. And you can’t see it, but you just know, he is grinning from ear-to-ear.

BIKE OPTION

PINARELLO DOGMA F12 DISK

FRAMESET:

Pinarello Dogma F12 Disk

COCKPIT:

ZIPP Service Course SL

GRUPPO:

SRAM RED eTap AXS

PEDALS:

Speedplay (or your own)

SADDLE:

Selle Italia

WHEELSET:

Zipp 302 Carbon Clinchers

TIRES:

Vittoria Corsa CX

BOTTLE CAGES:

Elite Custom Race

BIDON:

Elite Corsa Team

COMPUTER:

Garmin Edge 820