Biking tours in Portugal
Portugal is an excellent place for those who like to bike. Its geo-morphological landscape and its cultural variety create a lot of different opportunities. The choice actually just depends on the time of year and the abilities and interest of the participant.
Tugar organises basic one day tours or multi-day tours on routes developed by us.
We use mountain-bikes adapted to dirt roads and asphalt roads. The ability level for these activities is average to average/difficult.
The coastal area, a mainly flat area, is a good option to bike from North to South Portugal using the so called ecopistas and secondary roads. Travelling alongside the large sandy beaches of the Atlantic Ocean, the prevailing wind direction is from North or North-East which makes it preferable to bike from North to South. The best time of year to bike in this region is between March and October.
O Minho, probably the most green and humid area of the country, it’s a series of low mountain ranges. The small valleys of this region, where the famous vinho-verde is produced, are quite warm in the summer months. Therefore the best time of year to bike through this region is outside of the summer months.
Trás-os-Montes, also known as ‘the cold land’, is an area of highlands and low mountains, arid and sparsely forested. The temperatures fluctuate a lot between summer and winter. The economy is driven by the production of meat, cheese, nuts, olive-oil and smoked meats. The local culture is very much alive within these mountain regions, which are well populated. The small towns and villages are well maintained and highlight the beautiful landscape.
As Beiras, in central Portugal, whose limits are marked by the Douro river in the North and the Tagus in the South. The region is recognisable by its huge granite boulders and the castles which indicate the border area with Spain. This is the region where bike lovers can meet their biggest challenges. It does not have the heavy climbs to top of the mountains such as are found in the Pyrenees or the Alps. The challenges we find here are more to do with the big differences in altitude between the descents and ascents.
At last we get to the South, the Alentejo, with its low mountains and wide open plains. The cork oak trees, olive trees and vineyards dominate the landscape. This region is also perfect for big bike challenges. There are a lot of secondary roads and long dirt roads crossing the hilly landscape. In the extreme south lies a mountain-range, with a length of about 124 miles running along the coast. It is an authentic little paradise for the bike lover. This region is known for its gastronomical delights, the most rich and authentic Portugal has to offer. The summertime is normally quite warm, rather toasty, or absolutely roasting! Which makes the best time to bike here between October and June.
When we travel through Portugal we can choose three different kind of trails; asphalt roads, dirt roads or a mixture of asphalt and dirt roads.
The asphalt roads are perfect for adapted recreational bikes suitable for long distances. This kind of recreational bike became very popular in Portugal over the last few years. The small inland roads and the less populated areas along the coast have the ideal conditions for activities with these kinds of bike. Although it is advisable to consider that some of the more urban areas that need to be crossed are less interesting due to their main roads with heavy traffic and lack of bicycle paths.
In Portugal you can find a large network of dirt roads, crossing through the mountains and highlands or across wide open plains. This is what makes it possible to get really in touch with the beautiful nature of this country. During the last few years different organisations and individual bikers have set out large routes of about 124 up to 341 miles which make it possible to travel for about 8 to 10 days in a row. Biking this kind of extensive route is not advised without logistical support.
The mixed routes, with both dirt roads as well as asphalt roads are probably the best option for those who want to travel through Portugal and really get to know the country. These routes are not as intense as those of the dirt roads and not as monotonous as travelling only by asphalt roads. The mixture of roads are sufficiently flexible to set out a trail that crosses the different places one might like to visit. The monuments, river beaches, small villages and historical spots are all within reach using such a route. It is also easier to find suitable local accommodation, therefore avoiding transfers between the accommodation and the start/finishing point of the biking trail. For these reasons Tugar gives preference to this kind of route.
Tugar organises tailor made biking tours which enable it to offer various options to meet the personal interests of participants. Such as:
Use a basecamp. Using one accommodation as a base we organise daily tours for 2 to 4 days, depending on the region. We might use transfers between the accommodation and the beginning/end of the tour. Potentially it is possible to repeat this again in another region. This option is preferable for those who do not like to change accommodation every day.
Regional. We organise small tours from 2 to 4 days within one region, biking each day to arrive at the next accommodation. We repeat the same in another region using a transfer to get you from one region to the other. This option is preferable for those who want to see a larger area of Portugal.
Long tours. With this option you really feel you are making the journey by bike. We ride from one accommodation to the next and try not to use any transfers in between. Tugar has set out three different tours that meet these criteria. Each of the tours are about 7 days in duration. The tours take place in the Douro region, the Beira region and the Alentejo.
In all options Tugar takes care of the luggage transfers and gives technical and personal support.
For logistical reasons, availability of suitable accommodations, and to be able to give personal support, Tugar prefers groups between 3 and 6 participants.
Tugar has mountain-bikes available, adapted for dirt roads and asphalt roads. The ability level for these activities is average to average/difficult.
With some options it is possible to organise other activities such as horse-riding, kayaking, trekking and visiting other interesting locations.
The accommodation options are diverse and always depend on the availabilities the specific region has to offer. The bike tours organised by Tugar normally take place in areas with a low number of accommodations. Therefore it is necessary to organise the bike holidays well in advance. To be able for us to organise your tailor made biking holiday we need the following information with plenty of notice:
Information of participants:
The number of participants and the type of rooms required. Note that sometimes it is necessary to share a two- or three person room to be able to execute the chosen itinerary.
Number of days and possible dates. The easiest way to organise these activities is by choosing the number of days and having some flexibility with the start and end date of the activity. In this way it is more probable to find the right accommodations available.
Kind of bike and route. The mountain-bikes used by Tugar have an aluminium frame (M or L), 29” wheels, a front suspension of 100mm and a gear system of 3×9. The tyres are adapted for dirt roads as well as asphalt roads, depending on the choice of the participant.
If the activity is executed with the bikes of the participant, we need to know the size of the wheels, the thickness of the tyres and the distant between the axis.
Physical condition and ability level of the routes. It is essential to tell us what the physical fitness levels of the participants are and what kind of terrains and distances they are accustomed to biking.
The region where the activity will take place. The choice of the region depends on the kind of route the participant wants to bike. A certain flexibility is therefore necessary.