Portugal’s Paths and Pousadas Perfect for Cyclists
“In Europe it’s still possible to find wild and untrammeled nature. This is especially true in Portugal where our company maximizes the diversity of the country’s national parks,” says Loren Siekman, founder and director of Pure Adventures Self Guided Travel.
Pure Adventures programs are self-guided, inclusive of accommodations, breakfasts, luggage transport, a road book with route maps, cue sheets, site visit information and other destination information, emergency service and telephone assistance in English locally, cell phone for use with local contacts, orientation and personalized assistance on arrival day, rental bike delivery, pickup, and fitting. Without the expense of an accompanying guide, participants save considerably.
New for 2013: Portugal – Heritage & Coastal Tour starts at the medieval town of Obidos, the first of several historic towns while running along the coastline. Obidos, originally a Roman village, was taken from the Moors in 1148. Its castle is classified as a national monument and it is a perfect example of a medieval fortress. This 7-day / 6-nght tour is from €1255. The rate varies by season. The tour, available year round, is rated moderate in difficulty, averaging 45km of cycling daily (four days of cycling, one day of walking).
After exploring the coast, the walking day encompasses the World Heritage site of Sintra. There is a hike up from the village through paths and stone steps surrounded by thick Mediterranean vegetation. At the top is a Moorish Castle dated from the 8th or 9th century. The Pena Palace is the most complete and remarkable example of the Romantic architecture in Portugal. Guests then ride along the Sierra and visit and the old Capuchin Monk Monastery on the way to the westernmost point on the European mainland. The tour ends with a scenic ride along the coast going into Cascais, a beautiful city by the ocean.
This new itinerary joins two other Pure Adventures tours that also focus on the Alentejo region.
“The Alentejo region of Portugal is the perfect region to explore if you’re an adventure cyclist! It has coastline and loads of interior charm with a southerly regional climate similar to the famous Algarve just to the south but without the crowds,” notes Siekman.
Charming Pousadas of Alentejo is a 7-day / 6-night program rated moderately difficult and averaging 35km of cycling daily. It is offered year round (except in July and August) starting at €1399 per person (rate varies per season). In addition to the fascination of the historic pousadas themselves, highlights enroute include Mira Estuary, the abundance of cork, olive oil, wine, rosemary and lavender. Guests may choose to visit Monsaraz, an historic village on the top of a cliff dominated by a castle, visit a winery, tour an olive oil plantation, explore Arraiolos (famous for its rugs) and the World Heritage site of Évora.
Alentejo Coast & Natural Parks starts from and returns to from Lisbon after cycling through nature reserves, and along the unspoiled and undeveloped coastal regions of the Algarve. This is a 7-night / 8-day program rated moderate to challenging and covering on average 58 km daily. This landscape of southwest Portugal is 300 million years old and it is one of the most preserved landscapes in all of Europe. This area boasts a diversity of rare botanical species, with interesting flora and a variety of maritime birds that nest here. After three days riding, guests arrive at Cape S. Vicente, which is the south-westernmost point in continental Europe and a passing area for thousands of birds. Available year-round except in July and August, the per person rate is from €1365 depending on the season.
There are also several tour options available in the Alentejo and Algarve regions for mountain bike trips. These are all guided tours and available on a custom request basis for as few as four persons and up.
Self-guided tours are offered in 2013 in over a dozen countries including Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, England, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Scotland, Slovenia, Spain, and Switzerland.