Portugal's Medieval Towns and Castles
October 4 - 23, 2024
Discover Southern Portugal on a 20-day adventure beginning and ending in Lisbon. Ride the spectacular Atlantic Coast, visit UNESCO World Heritage sites, and explore picturesque, well-preserved medieval towns. There will be 13 required riding days, 3 rest/choice days, and 2 days at both the beginning and end of the tour in the capital city of Lisbon. The average daily distance is 46 miles, with the longest day 57 miles. The average estimated daily climbing is 2,400 feet, with the biggest day at 2,900 feet.
Why is Portugal a great place for cycling? One reason is that Portugal has been designated as one of the safest and most peaceful countries in the world. Portuguese drivers are courteous and patient with cyclists and this route was chosen with quiet country roads. At the end of each day’s ride, you can relax in three and four-star hotels experiencing excellent Mediterranean food and wines. There’s also great seafood!
We will step back in time on this tour by exploring numerous towns brimming with fascinating medieval history. One example is Tomar, which is our first “choice day”. It’s perfect for exploring the 12th century Knights Templar Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In town you’ll enjoy narrow-cobbled walkways and mosaic-tiled squares. With a laid-back pace of life that’s typically experienced in Portugal, it’s easy to feel like you’ve traveled back through time while visiting this ancient town.
A tour highlight, the town of Evora is another choice day and UNESCO World Heritage Site. It features Roman temples, an aqueduct, and a medieval cathedral. As we continue our route, we’ll travel to more hilltop walled cities with medieval castles, such as Beja and Mertola. There are other medieval wonders such as the magnificent gothic monastery in Batalha. And you’ll always remember your time riding along the Atlantic Ocean when visiting the towns of Ericeira and Sines.
We will also ride through the south-central Alentejo region, which is known for its slower pace of life, sleepy villages, and empty roads though cork oaks and olive groves. This region was the center of the marble industry in Portugal with its large deposits of unique white marble. Lots of photos will probably be taken in the beautiful town of Estremoz, filled with both ancient and modern white marble buildings.