Mountain biking in Portugal

Mountain biking in Portugal

Mountain biking has become more and more popular in Portugal and that’s good news! Meanwhile there are several options for bike lovers from easy to difficult, for beginners and for the more advanced…

Tugar organizes different kinds of biking tours, such as biking over the old railways, mountainbiking through the Caramulo mountain range, biking through the highlands of the Serra de Freita or biking along the coast area to the São Jacinto peninsula.

It is also possible to create your unique multiple day biking tour together with us, where you enjoy the biking and we take care of all the rest…

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Biking over the old railways
At many places in the Portuguese mountains, old railways are transformed into biking and trekking trails. A unique way to discover Portugal since its itineraries lead right through the middle of the natural landscapes, far away from the hectic traffic.

Another advantage is the fact that those railways have very little height difference so you are able to bike through the mountains with just a little effort. The trails sometimes go on paved roads and other times on dirt roads.

Tugar can offer a special three hour tour that is almost only descending so you can enjoy the surroundings to the maximum without getting tired. We’ll be following the Vouga river and half way there will be time for a little snack.

At the end of the trail we stop at a river beach to take a nice dive in the water after which you will brought back to the meeting point by our transfer service. The perfect activity to enjoy with family or friends.

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Mountainbiking through the Caramulo mountains

We’ll be biking through the Caramulo mountains. These mountains, situated about an hour from Porto city, are formed of granite and slate. Moorland and broom are the dominant flora in the region. The mountains offer a magnificent variety of natural landscapes.

We’ll be biking over small paved roads and some dirt roads surrounded by small green fields while visiting the quaint local villages. The appearance of lichens is very common here and indicates very clean air quality, a known aspect of this mountain range.

The Caramulinho, with its highest point at 668 miles above sea level, offers you a perfect view of the surroundings where with clear weather, you can see the sea on one side and until the springtime, the snowy tops of the Serra de Estrela on the other side.

The Caramulo mountains are almost a secret place, adorable because of their diverse scenery, hidden valleys and the amazing views from the mountain peaks.

At the end of the tour there will be the opportunity to enjoy the local cuisine.

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Serra de Freita Mountain Biking

The Serra de Freita highlands are an excellent place to go mountain biking. The highlands are part of the Geological park, lately nominated again by Unesco as part of the Global Geoparks Network.

The bike tour is an easy level circular tour of 14 and a half miles (about 3h30) that will pass through some old villages and during which we will encounter several geological phenomenons, like the 246 foot high waterfall (one of the highest of Europe if you exclude Scandinavia and the Alpines), the Pedras Parideiras or birth-giving stones; a very rare phenomenon only seen at this location and near St. Petersburg in Russia.

During the ride it is highly likely we may come across freely roaming cattle like the famous Arouquian cows and horses or goatherds with their goats. The tour will go over paved roads and some dirt roads.

Half way will offer you some refreshments and, if the weather permits, you can go for a dip in one of the small creeks. With this tour you’ll be able to bike through the mountains without too many uphill slogs.

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São Jacinto mountain-biking tour

The mouth of the river Ria de Aveiro flows into the sea at Aveiro. Where the waters meet a large lagoon or estuary of brackish water is created. This outlet creates a distinctive coastline around Aveiro and in one area forms a headland of which Sao Jacinto is a peninsula.

Between Aveiro and Sao Jacinto the area is dominated by the tide and has been utilized for centuries to harvest salt. This area is also a favourite place for many shore birds who stop here on their migration south, and for many that stay here during the winter season. The local people work with their natural surroundings through agriculture and fishery. In the olden days they also harvested seaweed using their typical ‘moliceiro’ boats which they then used to fertilize the soil.

This bike ride offers the opportunity to get to know this rich coastline from another aspect other than the normal beach culture we are used to seeing. The city of Aveiro, from where the tour begins, has a historical centre where you can find some Art Nouveau architecture. Sao Jacinto, where the tour ends, is a quiet, somehow isolated fishing village which still has a very tight community where you can enjoy watching the fisherman catch fish from the river.

The tour has a 37,5 mile distance and takes about 4 hours to complete. It is possible to shorten the tour if you wish. We’ll ride along the edge of the estuary of the Ria de Aveiro over paved roads as well as dirt roads with very little traffic. The estuary with it’s food rich brackish waters, holds a special attraction for a wide variety of shore birds, for example flamingos and storks, who find themselves a perfect place to stay for a while.

We’ll be cycling through an open landscape with plenty of reasons to stop and enjoy the surroundings. Out there on the salt fields and beside the small agricultural fields and fishermen’s piers the time really seems to have stood still.

When we arrive at our destination we’ll have time to settle down on a cosy terrace or to have a nice fresh fish dish at the local restaurant.

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