Travel

Cycling in Sicily

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Sicily’s diverse landscapes offer a multitude of cycling routes, from the historical wonders in the province of Agrigento to the majestic climbs up Mount Etna. Cyclists can explore ancient archaeological sites, enjoy scenic coastal routes, and challenge themselves on Europe’s highest active volcano. Noteworthy routes include the journey from Porto Palo di Menfi through Sciacca and Menfi to Montallegro, offering views of the WWF reserve of Torre Salsa, Scala dei Turchi, and the Valley of the Temples. Interior routes offer a different flavor, winding through fields of wheat between castles and rural landscapes. The Baroque cycle route showcases UNESCO-protected towns such as Modica and Noto, leading cyclists through the beauty of Sicily’s south coast​​.

Historical Overview

Sicily has a long and storied history dating back thousands of years. It has been inhabited by various civilizations, including the Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Normans, and Spanish, each leaving their mark on the island’s culture, architecture, and cuisine. Sicily was once the center of Magna Graecia, a collection of Greek colonies in southern Italy, and later became part of the Roman Empire. Over the centuries, it was ruled by Arab emirs, Norman kings, and Spanish viceroys, among others, resulting in a rich cultural tapestry that is evident in its archaeological sites, historic cities, and culinary traditions.

Notable Tours and Routes

Mount Etna Volcano Tour

One of the most active volcanoes in the world. Join a guided tour to discover the lunar landscapes of the volcano’s summit craters, explore ancient lava caves, and learn about the geological and natural history of the area. Optional activities include hiking to panoramic viewpoints, exploring lava fields on foot or by jeep, and tasting local wines produced in the volcanic soil of Etna’s slopes.

Valley of the Temples Archaeological Park Tour

Explore the Valley of the Temples (Valle dei Templi) near Agrigento, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most important archaeological sites in Sicily. Join a guided tour to discover the ancient Greek temples dating back to the 5th century BC, including the Temple of Concordia, one of the best-preserved Doric temples in the world. Explore the archaeological park’s extensive ruins, including temples, necropolises, and ancient city walls, and learn about the history and significance of ancient Akragas.

Sicilian Baroque Towns Tour

Immerse yourself in the beauty of Sicily’s Baroque architecture with a tour of the region’s historic towns and cities. Visit the UNESCO-listed city of Noto, renowned for its exquisite Baroque palaces, churches, and public buildings. Explore the picturesque town of Ragusa Ibla, with its charming narrow streets and ornate churches, and admire the elegant architecture of Modica, famous for its chocolate-making tradition. Other notable Baroque towns to visit include Scicli, Palazzolo Acreide, and Caltagirone, known for its ceramic art.

Aeolian Islands Boat Tour

Set sail on a boat tour to the Aeolian Islands, a volcanic archipelago off the northern coast of Sicily. Visit the islands of Lipari, Vulcano, Stromboli, and Panarea to explore their dramatic landscapes, pristine beaches, and picturesque villages. Swim in crystal-clear waters, snorkel among colorful marine life, and hike to volcanic craters for panoramic views of the Mediterranean Sea. Don’t miss the opportunity to witness the natural fireworks of Stromboli’s active volcano during a sunset boat tour.

Sicilian Wine Tasting Tour

Indulge in Sicily’s rich wine culture with a guided wine tasting tour through the island’s renowned wine regions. Visit vineyards and wineries in areas such as the Etna DOC, Marsala, and Vittoria to sample a variety of Sicilian wines, including Nero d’Avola, Grillo, and Moscato. Learn about the winemaking process from local producers, explore vineyards nestled between rolling hills and coastal landscapes, and savor Sicily’s flavors through guided tastings paired with traditional Sicilian cuisine.

Cycling Accommodations

Villa Sant’Andrea [website]

Via Nazionale, 137, 98039 Taormina ME, Italy
Villa Sant’Andrea is a luxury hotel located in Taormina, offering elegant accommodations with stunning views of the Ionian Sea. Cyclists can take advantage of the hotel’s bike rental services, secure bike storage, and proximity to scenic cycling routes along the Sicilian coast and Mount Etna.

Masseria Susafa [website]

Contrada Susafa, 90028 Polizzi Generosa PA, Italy
Masseria Susafa is a charming farmhouse hotel nestled in the Madonie Mountains, offering rustic-chic accommodations surrounded by olive groves and vineyards. Cyclists can explore the scenic countryside with guided bike tours organized by the hotel, followed by hearty Sicilian meals made with fresh, locally sourced ingredients.

Hotel Signum [website]

Via Scalo, 15, 98050 Malfa ME, Italy
Hotel Signum is a boutique hotel located on the island of Salina in the Aeolian Islands, offering stylish accommodations with panoramic views of the Mediterranean Sea. Cyclists can rent bikes from the hotel to explore the island’s picturesque villages, vineyards, and coastal roads, returning to relax in the hotel’s spa and gourmet restaurant.

Agriturismo Baglio Fontana [website]

Contrada Fontana, 1, 91020 Salemi TP, Italy
Agriturismo Baglio Fontana is a traditional farmhouse hotel situated in the countryside near Salemi, offering comfortable accommodations in renovated stone buildings surrounded by orchards and gardens. Cyclists can enjoy guided bike tours through the rolling hills of western Sicily, with stops at local wineries, archaeological sites, and medieval villages.

Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo [website]

Via Teatro Greco, 59, 98039 Taormina ME, Italy
Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo is a historic luxury hotel located in the heart of Taormina, offering elegant accommodations with panoramic views of Mount Etna and the Bay of Naxos. Cyclists can arrange guided bike tours through the hotel concierge, exploring the scenic countryside, charming hilltop towns, and ancient Greek ruins nearby.

Bike Shops

Sicily Cycling Tour [website]

Via Vittorio Emanuele, 91, 98039 Taormina ME, Italy
Sicily Cycling Tour offers bike rentals, guided tours, and self-guided cycling itineraries throughout Sicily, allowing visitors to explore the island’s diverse landscapes, historic sites, and charming villages on two wheels.

Bike In Sicily [website]

Via Roma, 158, 95030 Nicolosi CT, Italy
Bike In Sicily provides bike rentals, guided tours, and customized cycling experiences tailored to individual preferences and skill levels, offering routes that showcase the island’s natural beauty and cultural heritage.

Sicily Bike Tour [website]

Via Teatro Greco, 9, 96100 Siracusa SR, Italy
Sicily Bike Tour specializes in guided cycling tours and multi-day bike trips across Sicily, led by experienced local guides who provide insights into the island’s history, culture, and cuisine along the way.

Must-See Places

Sicily Biking Tours offers a selection of itineraries that cater to different interests and skill levels. From exploring the Late Baroque towns of Val di Noto to cycling between Trapani and Marsala, these tours allow cyclists to experience Sicily’s artistic heritage and natural wonders at their own pace. Options for electric bikes are available for those needing assistance with the terrain​​.

Sicily Cycling provides an extensive list of bike routes and trails, suitable for city bikes, mountain bikes, road bikes, and touring bikes. Routes are categorized by difficulty, distance, and type of bicycle, ensuring that cyclists can find the perfect path for their adventure in Sicily​​.

Exploring Sicily by bike is an unforgettable experience, offering a unique blend of cultural exploration, physical challenge, and scenic beauty. Whether you’re navigating the rural landscapes, climbing the slopes of Mount Etna, or meandering through Baroque towns, cycling in Sicily promises an adventure that caters to all senses.

View cycling routes in and around Sicily 

Restaurants & Cuisine

Osteria Antica Marina [website]

Via Orsi Giovanni, 40, 95131 Catania CT, Italy
Osteria Antica Marina serves traditional Sicilian cuisine with a focus on fresh seafood dishes, homemade pasta, and regional specialties, all prepared with locally sourced ingredients.

Trattoria La Grotta [website]

Via Vittorio Emanuele, 49, 98039 Taormina ME, Italy
Trattoria La Grotta is a cozy restaurant located in the heart of Taormina, offering classic Sicilian dishes and Mediterranean-inspired cuisine in a charming atmosphere with views of the surrounding hills.

Ristorante Al Duomo [website]

Piazza Duomo, 31, 96100 Siracusa SR, Italy
Ristorante Al Duomo is situated in the historic center of Syracuse, overlooking the famous Piazza Duomo and the city’s ancient cathedral. It serves creative Sicilian cuisine with a modern twist, using seasonal ingredients sourced from local markets.

Planning Your Trip

  • Spring (April to June)

Mild and pleasant weather, blooming flowers, fewer crowds, ideal for outdoor activities and sightseeing.

  • Fall (September to October)

Warm temperatures, fewer tourists, perfect for exploring historic sites, enjoying Sicilian cuisine, and relaxing on the beaches.

  • Shoulder seasons offer a more authentic experience with local festivals and events, without the large crowds of the peak summer months.

Airport

Catania–Fontanarossa Airport (CTA) is the main airport serving Sicily, located near the city of Catania on the eastern coast of the island. It offers domestic and international flights, providing convenient access to Sicily for travelers arriving by air.

Train Stations

The main train stations in Sicily are located in Catania, Palermo, and Messina, providing rail connections to other cities in Italy, including Rome, Naples, and Milan. Additionally, smaller train stations serve towns and cities throughout the island, offering regional and local train services.

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Cycling in Puglia

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Exploring Puglia by bike offers a unique and immersive way to experience the beauty and culture of Italy’s southeastern region. From the enchanting trulli houses of Alberobello to the whitewashed city of Ostuni and the coastal charm of Salento, Puglia presents a diverse landscape for cyclists of all levels.

Historical Overview

Puglia, Italy, situated in the southeastern part of the country, boasts a rich and diverse history dating back to ancient times, with influences from civilizations such as the Greeks, Romans, and Byzantines. Flourishing during the Roman era as a pivotal center of trade, Puglia’s landscape is dotted with remnants of its past glory, including Roman ruins and medieval fortifications. Throughout the medieval period, the region witnessed a succession of conquerors, including the Normans and the Swabians, leaving behind a legacy of impressive architecture seen in the majestic castles and cathedrals. As part of the Kingdom of Naples in the 13th century, Puglia continued to thrive culturally and economically, sustaining its importance as an agricultural hub famed for olive oil production. The region’s modern identity is shaped by its picturesque towns, UNESCO World Heritage Sites, such as the unique trulli of Alberobello, and a renowned culinary tradition that showcases the flavors of the Mediterranean. Today, Puglia stands as a captivating blend of ancient history, breathtaking landscapes, and vibrant cultural heritage, inviting visitors to explore its treasures and experience its timeless allure.

Notable Tours and Routes

Cisternino, Martina Franca, and Alberobello

Ride through the Itria Valley, known for its picturesque trulli houses, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The route to Martina Franca introduces you to a unique Baroque style, while Alberobello offers a fairy-tale ambiance with its iconic trulli. The journey through these towns is not just about reaching the destinations but enjoying the scenic routes full of olive groves and ancient stone walls​.

Ostuni and Salento

Known as the “White City,” Ostuni offers breathtaking views from its hilltop location over the Adriatic Sea. Cycling in Salento, you’ll encounter beautiful marinas like Otranto and Castro, celebrated for their clear waters and receiving the European Blue Flag. The journey takes you through picturesque landscapes and coastal towns, offering a blend of natural beauty and historical charm​​​.

The Coast of Puglia

Starting and ending in Lecce, this 7-day journey lets you explore the southern Salento coastline. You’ll visit ancient walled cities like Gallipoli, relax on the white sands of Torre dell’Orso, and dine on local delicacies like freshly grilled swordfish and orecchiette pasta. The route is characterized by olive groves and coastal vistas, making for an easy-going cycling experience​.

View cycling routes near Puglia

Cycling Accommodations

Cultural Immersion: Puglia offers a deep dive into Italian culture, from its food and wine to its architecture and history. Staying in Masseria (farmhouses) provides an authentic experience of Puglia’s rural charm.

Varied Routes: With routes catering to all levels, from easy-going coastal rides to more challenging inland treks, cyclists can find paths that suit their preferences. The landscape varies from the dramatic coastline to lush countryside and historic urban centers​​​.

 

Bike Shops

  • Ciclo e Motocicli Franco Russi

Via Giovanni Amendola, 169, 70123 Bari BA, Italy
Ciclo e Motocicli Franco Russi is a well-established bike shop in Bari offering a variety of bicycles, accessories, and repair services.

Via Dei Carrettieri, 50, 73100 Lecce LE, Italy
Cicli Copeta in Lecce provides a wide range of bikes for sale, including road bikes, city bikes, and e-bikes. They also offer bike rentals and repair services.

Via Giovanni XXIII, 49, 72100 Brindisi BR, Italy
Cicerone 2.0 is a bike shop in Brindisi offering high-quality bicycles, equipment, and expert advice for cyclists of all levels.

 

Restaurants & Cuisine

Antichi Sapori

Address: Via Principe Umberto, 11, 70033 Francavilla Fontana BR, Italy
Information: Antichi Sapori is a renowned restaurant in Puglia known for its authentic cuisine, featuring traditional dishes made with locally sourced ingredients.

Osteria del Tempo Perso

Address: Via Camillo Benso Cavour, 25, 70043 Monopoli BA, Italy
Information: Osteria del Tempo Perso in Monopoli offers a cozy atmosphere and a menu inspired by Puglian culinary traditions, with a focus on seafood and handmade pasta.

Cibus

Address: Via Forno, 7, 72017 Ostuni BR, Italy
Information: Located in the charming town of Ostuni, Cibus is a popular restaurant serving contemporary Italian cuisine with a creative twist, using fresh and seasonal ingredients sourced from local producers.

Planning Your Trip

When to Go: The best times to cycle in Puglia are during the spring and autumn months, when the weather is mild, and the landscapes are at their most vibrant.

What to Bring: Prepare for varied terrain by equipping yourself with a versatile bike. Consider packing light but essential gear for both warm days and cooler evenings. Don’t forget your camera to capture the stunning scenery and unique architecture along the way.

Cycling in Puglia is not just about the physical journey; it’s an exploration of the region’s soul, offering an unforgettable adventure on two wheels. Whether you’re meandering through olive groves, exploring ancient ruins, or enjoying the local gastronomy, Puglia promises a cycling experience that combines physical activity with cultural enrichment and natural beauty.

Airports and Train Stations

Nearest Airport: The nearest major airport to Puglia is Bari Karol Wojtyła Airport (BRI), located in the city of Bari. Another option is Brindisi Airport (BDS), which serves the southern part of Puglia. Both airports offer domestic and international flights.

Train Station: Puglia has several train stations connecting major cities and towns within the region. The main train stations include Bari Centrale, Brindisi Centrale, Lecce, and Taranto.

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Cycling in Provence

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Cycling in Provence offers an array of experiences that cater to every type of cyclist, from leisure riders to those seeking challenging climbs like the iconic Mont Ventoux. The region is renowned for its scenic beauty, blending ancient villages, vineyards, olive groves, and lavender fields, with the rugged terrain of the Alps and the serene landscapes along the Rhône Valley.

Historical Overview

The historic French province of Provence, located in the southeast corner of France between the Alps, the Mediterranean, the river Rhône, and the upper reaches of the river Durance, was inhabited by Ligures beginning in Neolithic times; by the Celtic since about 900 BC, and by Greek colonists since about 600 BC. It was conquered by Rome at the end of the 2nd century BC. From 879 until 1486, it was a semi-independent state ruled by the Counts of Provence. In 1481, the title passed to Louis XI of France. In 1486 Provence was legally incorporated into France. Provence has been a part of France for over 400 years, but the people of Provence, particularly in the interior, have kept a cultural identity that persists to this day.

Notable Tours and Routes

Here are some of the must-ride and must-see places in Provence.

Cycling Mont Ventoux

Mont Ventoux is often seen as a rite of passage for many cyclists, presenting a formidable challenge with its steep inclines and unpredictable weather. However, Provence offers much more than just this mountain. Routes like the Gorge de la Nesque provide unforgettable cycling experiences, combining physical challenges with breathtaking views.

Col du Pas de la Couelle loop

One of the highlights of this biking route is the stunning alpine scenery. Cyclists will pass through picturesque mountain landscapes, including lush forests, meadows dotted with wildflowers (in the warmer months), and breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding peaks. 

Aqueduc de Roquefavour

The hilly terrain around the aqueduct provides opportunities for cyclists to test their skills and endurance. With rolling hills and winding roads, cyclists can enjoy challenging climbs and exhilarating descents while taking in panoramic views of the landscape.

View all cycling routes in the Provence Region

Cycling Accommodations

Provence is dotted with bike-friendly accommodations, ranging from luxury hotels to charming B&Bs, situated in picturesque locations perfect for cyclists. These accommodations often offer amenities tailored for cyclists, including secure bike storage and local cycling information.

Hotel la Garance [website]
18, avenue des Gobelins 75005 Paris – France

Coquillade Provence [website]

Hameau Le Perrotet
84400 Gargas – France (Provence)

 

Bike Shops

For those not bringing their own bikes, there are numerous rental options available across Provence, offering everything from high-performance road bikes to comfortable hybrid and electric bikes, ensuring you have the right gear for your cycling adventure​​.

Provence Bike Rental [website]

8 Rue des Teinturiers, 84000 Avignon, France
Offers a wide range of bike rental options for exploring Provence, including road bikes, mountain bikes, and electric bikes.

Cycles Mistral [website]

2 Boulevard National, 13001 Marseille, France
A well-established bike shop in Marseille offering sales, repairs, and rentals of bicycles, as well as accessories and gear.

Vélo Luberon [website]

1 Place du Château, 84400 Gargas, France
Located in the Luberon Regional Natural Park, this bike shop specializes in bike rentals and guided tours to explore the picturesque countryside of Provence.

Must-See Places

Exploring Provence by bike allows for unique encounters with the region’s rich history and natural beauty. Notable destinations include the market town of Apt, known for its Roman heritage and vibrant market scene, and the medieval village of Saint-Saturnin-Les-Apt, offering panoramic views from the Luberon Regional Nature Park​.

For those planning their cycling trip to Provence, detailed route suggestions, accommodation options, and rental services are available to ensure a memorable experience exploring one of France’s most picturesque regions by bike. Whether you’re meandering through the lavender fields, tackling the slopes of Mont Ventoux, or enjoying the culinary delights and wines of the region, cycling in Provence promises an adventure that caters to all senses.

Restaurants & Cuisine

La Mirande (Avignon) [website]

4 Place de l’Amirande, 84000 Avignon, France
A Michelin-starred restaurant offering refined Provençal cuisine in an elegant setting within a historic mansion.

Le Petit Nice (Marseille) [website]

Anse de Maldormé, Corniche J.F. Kennedy, 13007 Marseille, France
A renowned seafood restaurant overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, led by Chef Gérald Passedat, known for his innovative and creative culinary style.

La Chassagnette (Arles) [website]

Mas de la Chassagnette, Chemin du Sambuc, 13200 Arles, France
Set in the heart of the Camargue region, this restaurant offers a unique dining experience with a focus on organic, seasonal ingredients sourced from its own garden.

Planning Your Trip

The best time to visit Provence largely depends on your preferences and what activities you plan to do. However, generally speaking, the most popular times to visit Provence are during the spring (April to June) and the fall (September to October).

Spring (April to June)

  • Springtime in Provence is characterized by mild temperatures, blooming flowers, and vibrant landscapes.
  • The weather is generally pleasant, making it ideal for outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, and exploring the charming villages.
  • April and May are particularly lovely months when the countryside is blanketed with colorful wildflowers, including lavender in bloom towards late June.

Fall (September to October)

  • Fall in Provence brings cooler temperatures and fewer crowds compared to the peak summer months.
  • The vineyards are bustling with activity as its harvest season, offering opportunities for wine tasting and vineyard tours.
  • The landscapes are still picturesque, with the added bonus of autumn foliage painting the countryside in shades of gold and red.
  • Summer (July to August) can also be a popular time to visit Provence, especially for those who enjoy warm weather and festivals. However, keep in mind that it can get quite hot during these months, and popular tourist destinations may be crowded.

Ultimately, the best time to visit Provence depends on your preferences for weather, activities, and crowds. Whether you choose to visit during the spring, fall, or summer, Provence offers something unique and beautiful year-round.

Airport

The nearest major airport to Provence is Marseille Provence Airport (MRS), also known as Marseille-Marignane Airport. It is located approximately 25 kilometers northwest of Marseille, making it a convenient gateway to the Provence region.

Train Stations

Provence is well-connected by train, with several train stations serving different parts of the region. Some of the key train stations in Provence include:

  • Gare d’Avignon-Centre (Avignon Central Station)
  • Gare de Marseille-Saint-Charles (Marseille Saint Charles Station)
  • Gare d’Aix-en-Provence TGV (Aix-en-Provence TGV Station)
  • Gare de Nîmes (Nîmes Station)
  • Gare de Arles (Arles Station)

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Cycling in Douro Valley

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Cycling through Portugal’s Douro Valley offers an enchanting experience that blends physical activity with cultural immersion and natural beauty. The region, known for its rolling vineyards, olive groves, and riverside villages, provides a scenic backdrop for cyclists of all levels.

Historical Overview

The history of winemaking in the Douro Valley dates back to ancient times, with evidence of grape cultivation and wine production dating as far back as the Roman era. However, it was during the 18th century that the region’s wine industry flourished, particularly with the development of Port wine, a fortified wine that became highly prized in European markets. The Douro Valley’s unique microclimate, soil, and terraced vineyards were recognized as essential factors in producing high-quality wines, leading to the region’s designation as the world’s oldest demarcated wine region in 1756.

Notable Tours and Routes

Pinhão

 This charming village is located in the heart of the Douro Valley and serves as a gateway to the region’s vineyards and quintas (wine estates). Explore the picturesque streets lined with colorful tiled buildings, visit the historic Pinhão train station adorned with traditional azulejos (tiles), and enjoy wine tastings at local wineries.

Quintas (Wine Estates)

The Douro Valley is famous for its terraced vineyards and historic wine estates, known as quintas. Take a guided tour of a quinta to learn about the region’s winemaking traditions, sample a variety of wines, and enjoy panoramic views of the Douro River and surrounding landscape.

Douro River Cruises

Experience the beauty of the Douro Valley from the water with a scenic river cruise. Relax on a traditional Rabelo boat as you sail past terraced vineyards, medieval villages, and lush landscapes. Many cruises also include stops at local wineries and attractions along the riverbanks.

Miradouros (Viewpoints)

The Douro Valley is home to several stunning viewpoints offering panoramic vistas of the surrounding countryside. Visit viewpoints such as São Leonardo de Galafura, Casal de Loivos, and São Salvador do Mundo for breathtaking views of the Douro River and valley below.

Lamego

Explore the historic city of Lamego, known for its baroque architecture, ornate churches, and cultural landmarks. Visit the iconic Sanctuary of Our Lady of Remedies, perched atop a hill overlooking the city, and climb the famous staircase adorned with azulejo tiles. Don’t miss the Lamego Cathedral and the Lamego Museum, housed in a former episcopal palace.

View cycling routes in the Douro Valley

Accommodations

The Douro Valley doesn’t just offer stunning cycling routes but also boasts charming hotels and wine-producing estates where travelers can relax after a day’s ride. Accommodations often incorporate historic elements, offering stays in late 12th-century castles turned into rural tourism projects. These estates provide a unique opportunity to connect with the owners, explore vineyards, and enjoy local wines and cuisine​​.

The region is celebrated for its traditional gastronomy and wines, particularly the famous port wine. Cyclists have the chance to indulge in local specialties, including “enchidos” (smoked sausages), lamb, goat, and seared octopus, paired with the area’s light and fruity wines​​.

Must-See Places

The Douro Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site nestled in northern Portugal, boasts breathtaking landscapes and a rich cultural heritage. Pinhão, a charming village at its heart, offers a picturesque introduction to the region with its colorful tiled buildings and historic train station adorned with traditional azulejos. Nearby, quintas, or wine estates, dot the terraced vineyards, inviting visitors to discover the art of winemaking through guided tours and tastings. Embarking on a Douro River cruise unveils the valley’s beauty from a unique perspective, with Rabelo boats gliding past medieval villages and lush landscapes. Scenic viewpoints like São Leonardo de Galafura and Casal de Loivos offer panoramic vistas of the Douro River winding through the valley below. Further exploration leads to Lamego, a historic city famed for its baroque architecture and the iconic Sanctuary of Our Lady of Remedies, where a grand staircase adorned with azulejo tiles ascends to reveal breathtaking views. With its blend of natural splendor, cultural treasures, and renowned wine culture, the Douro Valley promises an unforgettable journey for all who visit.

Restaurants & Cuisine

 

DOC Restaurantv [website]

Estrada Nacional 222, Folgosa, 5110-204 Armamar, Portugal
Located on the banks of the Douro River, DOC Restaurant offers a contemporary dining experience with panoramic views of the valley. The menu features modern Portuguese cuisine inspired by the region’s seasonal ingredients and traditional flavors.

 

Restaurante Castas e Pratos [website]

Rua António José Da Costa, 45, 5110-058 Armamar, Portugal
Restaurante Castas e Pratos is known for its authentic Douro Valley cuisine, highlighting local ingredients and traditional recipes. The restaurant’s cozy atmosphere and terrace overlooking the vineyards provide a memorable dining experience.

Restaurante Douro In [website]

Largo do Cruzeiro, 25, 5050-255 Peso da Régua, Portugal
Restaurante Douro In offers a relaxed dining experience in the heart of Peso da Régua, serving classic Portuguese dishes and regional specialties. The restaurant’s terrace offers panoramic views of the Douro River and surrounding landscape.

Planning Your Trip

Late spring (April to June)
Mild and pleasant weather, blooming flowers, ideal for outdoor activities and exploring vineyards.

Early fall (September to October)
Mild temperatures, vibrant foliage, grape harvest season (vendimia), offering unique opportunities to witness winemaking practices and participate in grape-picking activities.

Summer (July and August)
Hot temperatures and crowded, making spring and fall more preferable for a relaxed and authentic experience in the Douro Valley.

Airport

Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport (OPO) in Porto is the nearest international airport to the Douro Valley, located approximately 120 kilometers (75 miles) away. It offers domestic and international flights, making it a convenient gateway for travelers visiting the region.

Train Stations

The train station of Peso da Régua is one of the main train stations serving the Douro Valley. It connects the region to Porto and other cities in Portugal via regular train services operated by Comboios de Portugal (CP). Additionally, there are smaller train stations in Pinhão and Tua, providing access to other parts of the Douro Valley.

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Cycling in Andalucía: A Journey Through Southern Spain

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Andalucía, a region known for its diverse landscapes, offers a unique cycling experience that ranges from the rolling hills of the countryside to the rugged terrains of its mountains. The region is dotted with historical sites, and whitewashed villages, and offers routes that cater to various levels of cycling proficiency. 

Historical Overview

Andalucía has a rich and complex history that spans thousands of years, with influences from various civilizations that have left their mark on the region. From the ancient Phoenicians and Carthaginians to the Romans and Visigoths, Andalucía has been inhabited by numerous cultures throughout history. However, it was during the Moorish rule from the 8th to the 15th centuries that Andalucía flourished as a center of Islamic civilization, leaving behind iconic landmarks such as the Alhambra in Granada and the Mezquita-Catedral in Córdoba. The Christian Reconquista in the late Middle Ages led to the eventual unification of Spain under Catholic rule, shaping Andalucía’s cultural landscape into the vibrant blend of Christian, Muslim, and Jewish influences that we see today.

Notable Tours and Routes

Here are some notable tours and routes in Andalucía.

The Alhambra and Generalife Gardens Tour (Granada)
Explore the breathtaking Alhambra Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and wander through the lush gardens of the Generalife. This guided tour provides insight into the history, architecture, and culture of Moorish Spain.

Seville Bike Tour
Discover the highlights of Seville on a guided bike tour, including the majestic Cathedral, the historic Alcazar, and the picturesque Barrio Santa Cruz. This leisurely ride offers a unique perspective on the city’s landmarks and hidden gems.

Caminito del Rey Hiking Tour (Málaga)
Embark on an exhilarating hike along the Caminito del Rey, a narrow footpath clinging to the cliffs of the El Chorro Gorge. This guided tour takes you through stunning natural scenery and offers unparalleled views of the surrounding landscape.

White Villages of Andalucía Tour (Ronda)
Explore the charming white-washed villages of Andalucía, including Ronda, Grazalema, and Zahara de la Sierra. This guided tour takes you through picturesque landscapes, ancient streets, and historic landmarks, offering insight into the region’s rural life and traditions.

Sierra Nevada Cycling Route (Granada)
Cycle through the stunning Sierra Nevada mountains, home to some of Spain’s highest peaks and most spectacular scenery. This self-guided cycling route takes you along mountain roads, past scenic viewpoints, and through charming villages, allowing you to experience the beauty of Andalucía at your own pace.

Cycling Accommodations
The accommodation options in Andalucía range from luxury convents and monastery hotels to charming boutique haciendas, ensuring a comfortable and memorable stay. These accommodations are carefully selected for their historical significance, location, and hospitality, providing a perfect complement to the cycling experience.

Hotel Palacio de Santa Ines, siglo XVI [website]
Cuesta Santa Ines 9, 18010 Granada Spain

Hotel Alhambra Palace [website]
García de Paredes 1, 18009 Granada (Spain)

Hotel Las Casas de La Judería [website]
Santa María la Blanca, 5, Old town, 41004 Seville, Spain

Bike Shops

Bikefriendly [website]
Calle Virgen de la Cabeza, 17, 18196 Sierra Nevada, Granada

Bikefriendly offers bike rentals, guided tours, and bike-related services in Sierra Nevada, Granada, and other locations in Andalucía. They cater to cyclists of all levels, providing high-quality equipment and personalized assistance.

Seville Bike Tourse [website]
Calle Betis, 19, 41010 Sevilla

Seville Bike Tour offers guided bike tours of Seville, allowing visitors to explore the city’s iconic landmarks, charming neighborhoods, and scenic riverfront. They provide well-maintained bikes and knowledgeable guides to ensure a memorable experience.

Marbella Bike Tours [website]
Av. Ricardo Soriano, 31, 29601 Marbella, Málaga

Marbella Bike Tours offers guided bike tours along the Costa del Sol, including routes through Marbella, Mijas, and the surrounding countryside. They specialize in small-group tours, providing an intimate and personalized experience for cyclists.

Must-See Places

Andalucía is an autonomous community located in the southern region of Spain, renowned for its rich cultural heritage, stunning landscapes, and vibrant traditions. It encompasses diverse landscapes, including the Sierra Nevada mountain range, the arid plains of the Tabernas Desert, and the sun-drenched beaches of the Costa del Sol. Major cities such as Seville, Granada, and Córdoba are home to magnificent Moorish architecture, bustling markets, and lively flamenco performances, while picturesque white-washed villages dot the countryside, offering glimpses of traditional Andalusian life.

Restaurants & Cuisine

El Pimpi (Málaga) [website]
Calle Granada, 62, 29015 Málaga

El Pimpi is a historic bodega and restaurant located in the heart of Málaga’s old town. It offers a wide selection of traditional Andalusian dishes, including tapas, seafood, and grilled meats, served in a charming and atmospheric setting.

Taberna Casa Rubio (Seville) [website]
Calle Castilla, 1, 41010 Sevilla 

Taberna Casa Rubio is a popular tapas bar in Seville, known for its delicious selection of traditional Andalusian tapas and local wines. The cozy atmosphere and friendly service make it a favorite spot among locals and visitors alike.

Bodegas Campos (Córdoba) [website]
Calle Los Lineros, 32, 14002 Córdoba

Bodegas Campos is a historic restaurant in the heart of Córdoba, specializing in traditional Andalusian cuisine with a modern twist. The restaurant’s elegant dining rooms and courtyard offer a refined setting to enjoy dishes such as salmorejo, rabo de toro, and flamenquín.

Planning Your Trip

The best time to visit Andalucía largely depends on your preferences and interests, as the region offers different experiences throughout the year. Generally, the most pleasant time to visit Andalucía is during the spring (April to June) and fall (September to November) months.

During the spring, the weather is typically mild and comfortable, with blooming flowers and lush landscapes. This time of year is perfect for outdoor activities such as hiking, cycling, and exploring the region’s historic cities and landmarks. Additionally, spring brings fewer crowds compared to the peak summer months, allowing you to enjoy popular attractions without the hustle and bustle.

In the fall, Andalucía experiences similar weather to spring, with warm temperatures and clear skies. This season is ideal for sightseeing, wine tasting, and attending local festivals, such as the grape harvest celebrations and traditional Andalusian fairs. Fall also offers opportunities to experience the changing colors of the landscape as the leaves turn golden and orange.

While summer (July to August) can be hot and crowded in Andalucía, it’s still a popular time to visit, especially for beachgoers and sun-seekers. The coastal areas, such as the Costa del Sol, offer excellent swimming and water sports opportunities, while the inland cities provide shade and cool breezes in the evenings. However, be prepared for higher temperatures and more tourists during this time, particularly in popular tourist destinations.

Overall, the spring and fall months offer the best combination of pleasant weather, fewer crowds, and a wide range of activities and events to enjoy in Andalucía.

Airport

The main airport serving Andalucía is Málaga Airport (AGP), located in the city of Málaga. It offers domestic and international flights, serving as a gateway to the region for travelers arriving by air.

Train Stations

The primary train station in Andalucía is Santa Justa Station. It is a major transportation hub with high-speed AVE trains connecting Seville to other cities in Spain, including Madrid, Barcelona, and Córdoba. Additionally, there are regional and local train services connecting various towns and cities within Andalucía.

Final Thoughts

Cycling through Andalucía offers an unparalleled opportunity to explore the region’s breathtaking landscapes, rich history, and vibrant culture. Whether you’re gliding through ancient cities, climbing rugged terrains, or enjoying the serene countryside, Andalucía promises an unforgettable cycling adventure.

Looking to add some magic to your season this year?

Visit our home page to find existing camps, request a bespoke adventure quote, or just email us!

See you on the roads!

Cycling the Amalfi Coast: An Italian Escapade

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The Amalfi Coast is a stunning stretch of coastline in southern Italy, renowned for its dramatic cliffs, colorful seaside villages, and panoramic views of the Tyrrhenian Sea. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a popular tourist destination, attracting visitors with its charming towns, picturesque beaches, and delicious cuisine.

The Amalfi Coast is characterized by its steep terraced cliffs dotted with lemon groves and vineyards, as well as its historic architecture, including medieval churches, grand villas, and narrow cobblestone streets.

Historical Overview

The Amalfi Coast, situated in the Campania region of southern Italy, boasts a rich historical heritage dating back thousands of years. The region’s history is deeply intertwined with the development of maritime trade and the influence of various civilizations that have left their mark on its landscape and culture.

The history of the Amalfi Coast dates back to ancient times, with evidence of human habitation found in archaeological sites such as Pompeii and Herculaneum. The region flourished during the Middle Ages as a maritime republic, with the town of Amalfi emerging as a major trading power in the Mediterranean. During this period, the Amalfi Coast became known for its maritime prowess, shipbuilding industry, and contributions to art and culture. Today, the area’s rich history is evident in its historic towns, ancient ruins, and traditional crafts.

Notable Tours and Routes

Here are some of the must-ride and must-see places on the Amalfi Coast:

Positano

Famous for its pastel-colored houses tumbling down the cliffs to the sea, Positano is one of the most iconic towns on the Amalfi Coast. Explore its narrow streets, visit the charming boutiques, and relax on the picturesque beaches.

Amalfi

The historic heart of the region, Amalfi was once a powerful maritime republic. Visit the stunning Cathedral of St. Andrew, wander through the winding streets of the old town, and soak in the lively atmosphere of the Piazza del Duomo.

Ravello

Perched high above the sea, Ravello offers breathtaking views of the coastline and the surrounding mountains. Explore the beautiful gardens of Villa Rufolo and Villa Cimbrone, and attend a concert at the famous Ravello Festival.

Sorrento

While technically not on the Amalfi Coast itself, Sorrento is a popular base for exploring the region. Wander through its historic center, visit the clifftop Villa Comunale gardens, and sample limoncello at one of the local shops.

Capri

Just a short ferry ride from the Amalfi Coast, Capri is a glamorous island known for its stunning beauty and celebrity visitors. Take a boat tour around the island, visit the famous Blue Grotto, and explore the charming town of Anacapri.

Cycling Accommodations

Many hotels along the coast cater specifically to cyclists, providing secure bike storage, repair facilities, and information on local cycling routes. Additionally, bed and breakfast establishments offer a personalized experience and may provide amenities such as bike rentals, guided tours, and packed lunches for cycling excursions. 

Hotel Calypso [website]
Mare Adriatico, 84098 –  Pontecagnano Faiano (SA), Italia

le terrazze [website]
Smeraldo 11, 84010 Conca dei Marini, Italy

Villa Lara [website]
6, Place du Québec, 14400 Bayeux, France

Bike Shops

Here are 3 bike shops in the Amalfi Coast area, along with their details:

Amalfi Bike Rentals [website]

Via dei Cesari, 20, 84011 Amalfi SA, Italy
Amalfi Bike Rentals offers a range of bicycles for rent, including mountain bikes, road bikes, and e-bikes, allowing visitors to explore the scenic routes and coastal paths of the Amalfi Coast.

Cycling Amalfi Coast [website]

Via Maestra dei Villaggi, 84010 Maiori SA, Italy
Cycling Amalfi Coast provides guided bike tours and rentals for cyclists of all levels, offering personalized itineraries and expert guides to explore the beauty of the Amalfi Coast by bike.

Amalfi Coast Cycle Hire [website]

Via delle Cartiere, 58, 84010 Maiori SA, Italy
Amalfi Coast Cycle Hire offers bike rentals and self-guided tours, providing visitors with the flexibility to explore the coastal towns and scenic countryside of the Amalfi Coast at their own pace.

Must-See Places

The Amalfi Coast invites travelers to embark on a captivating journey through its enchanting towns and scenic vistas. Starting in Positano, where vibrant houses cling to steep cliffs above the Tyrrhenian Sea, visitors can immerse themselves in Mediterranean ambiance while exploring charming alleys and enjoying panoramic views. 

Continuing to historic Amalfi reveals a rich maritime legacy, highlighted by the grand Cathedral of St. Andrew adorned with Byzantine splendor. Nearby, the hilltop village of Ravello captivates with its lush gardens and ancient villas, offering timeless beauty at Villa Rufolo and Villa Cimbrone. 

Concluding in Cetara, a quaint fishing village renowned for its seafood cuisine and limoncello, visitors can embrace the coastal lifestyle amidst traditional boats and picturesque landscapes. 

Whether marveling at historic landmarks, savoring scenic vistas, or indulging in local delights, the Amalfi Coast promises an unforgettable experience steeped in Mediterranean allure and cultural richness.

Restaurants & Cuisine

Ristorante Marina Grande [website]

Via C. Colombo, 127, 84017 Positano SA, Italy
Ristorante Marina Grande offers breathtaking views of the sea and Positano’s colorful skyline. Known for its fresh seafood and traditional Amalfi Coast cuisine, this restaurant provides an unforgettable dining experience in a romantic seaside setting.

Ritrovo (Montepertuso) [website]

Via Montepertuso, 97, 84017 Positano SA, Italy
Ritrovo is a family-run restaurant located in the charming village of Montepertuso above Positano. It specializes in authentic Neapolitan cuisine, including wood-fired pizzas, homemade pastas, and locally sourced ingredients, all served with stunning views of the Amalfi Coast.

La Caravella (Amalfi) [website]

Via Matteo Camera, 12, 84011 Amalfi SA, Italy
La Caravella is a historic restaurant in the heart of Amalfi, housed in a 13th-century building overlooking the town’s main square. Renowned for its elegant ambiance and gourmet cuisine, the restaurant offers a menu inspired by traditional recipes and local ingredients, accompanied by an extensive wine list featuring regional and international selections.

Planning Your Trip

The best time to visit the Amalfi Coast is typically during the late spring (May and June) and early fall (September and October). During these months, the weather is generally pleasant with mild temperatures, sunny skies, and fewer crowds compared to the peak summer months of July and August.

In late spring, the landscape is adorned with colorful flowers, and the weather is warm enough for beach activities but not overly hot. This time also offers a great opportunity to explore the coastal towns and hiking trails without the summer crowds.

Similarly, early fall provides comfortable temperatures, making it ideal for sightseeing, hiking, and enjoying outdoor activities. Additionally, the sea remains warm for swimming, and the grape harvest season begins, offering a chance to experience local wine festivals and events.

While the summer months are the busiest, with higher temperatures and more tourists, they still offer a vibrant atmosphere and plenty of opportunities for beach relaxation and water activities. However, be prepared for higher prices and crowded attractions during this time.

Airport

The nearest airport to the Amalfi Coast is Naples International Airport (NAP), also known as Capodichino Airport, located approximately 70 kilometers north of the coast. From Naples, visitors can reach the Amalfi Coast by car, bus, or ferry.

Train Stations

  • Salerno Railway Station
  •  Naples Station
  • -Bus connections to towns along the Amalfi Coast.

Final Thoughts

The breathtaking beauty and culinary delights of the Amalfi Coast will challenge your legs and take care of your appetite! You won’t regret this trip, we promise.

Looking to add some magic to your season this year?

Visit our home page to find existing camps, request a bespoke adventure quote, or just email us!

See you on the roads!

Discover Cycling in Alentejo, Portugal: An Unforgettable Journey

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The allure of Alentejo lies in its tranquility, natural beauty, and rich cultural heritage. Cycling here means riding through landscapes dotted with cork oaks, olive orchards, and vineyards under the vast expanse of the Portuguese sky.

The region is also a haven for birdwatchers, with storks, hoopoes, and bee-eaters commonly spotted​​. Alentejo’s unique blend of natural and historical attractions, combined with its exceptional local cuisine and wines, provides a deeply immersive experience.

Historical Overview

Alentejo, “beyond the Tagus River,” boasts a millennia-spanning history, with evidence of human habitation dating back to the Paleolithic era. It flourished as an agricultural hub under Roman rule, later witnessing the influences of Visigoths and Moors during the medieval period.

The Christian Reconquista in the 12th century marked a turning point, leading to the establishment of Christian kingdoms and the region’s pivotal role in Portugal’s Age of Discoveries. In the modern era, Alentejo underwent social and economic transformations, yet retained its enchanting blend of Roman ruins, medieval architecture, and traditional cuisine.

Today, its vast plains, cork oak forests, and picturesque towns testify to its rich cultural heritage, inviting visitors to explore its history and immerse themselves in its timeless landscapes.

Notable Tours and Routes

Here are some of the must-ride and must-see places in Provence.

Serra de São Mamede Natural Park

The natural park features a network of mountain biking trails suitable for riders of various skill levels. These trails wind through diverse terrain, including forests, rocky slopes, and scenic viewpoints, providing riders with exhilarating experiences and opportunities to immerse themselves in nature.

Atlantic Coast Route

The Atlantic Coast Route is known for its relatively flat terrain, making it accessible to cyclists of various skill levels. Along the way, cyclists can expect to encounter a mix of dedicated bike paths, quiet country roads, and scenic coastal trails, making for an unforgettable cycling experience filled with natural beauty, cultural discoveries, and memorable encounters with locals.

Rota Vicentina​​

Divided into several interconnected trails, the Rota Vicentina caters to cyclists of all levels, with options for leisurely rides or more challenging mountain biking adventures. Along the way, cyclists can expect to encounter picturesque fishing villages, historic towns, and abundant wildlife, providing opportunities for cultural exploration and nature appreciation.

Click here to find and search more routes.

Cycling Accommodations

Alentejo’s accommodations range from luxurious pousadas housed in historical buildings like monasteries and castles to cozy local inns, offering experiences that blend comfort with history. Many of these accommodations provide cyclist-friendly amenities, ensuring a restful end to a day of exploration​.

Hotel Vila Park [website]

Avenida de Sines Apartado 146
7501-909

Pousada Castelo Alvito [website]
Alvito, 7920-999 Alvito, Portugal 

Herdade do Sobroso Wine & Luxury Boutique Hotel [website]
Herdade Do Sobroso – Alqueva, 7960-011 Pedrógão, Portugal

Bike Shops

The region is well-equipped with bike hire services, offering everything from high-performance road bikes to electric assist bikes for tackling those bigger hills. Services often include top-notch equipment and support vehicles, ensuring a hassle-free cycling experience​.

Monte Bike [website]

Rua de São Francisco, 25, 7000-863 Évora, Portugal
Monte Bike offers bike rentals, guided tours, and repair services in the Évora area, allowing visitors to explore the beautiful landscapes and historic sites of Alentejo by bike.

Bike & Nature [website]

Rua 25 de Abril, 43, 7800-460 Beja, Portugal
Bike & Nature provides bike rentals and guided tours for exploring the natural beauty and cultural heritage of Alentejo, with options available for all skill levels.

Pedal Alentejo [website]

Rua do Bocage, 11, 7300-143 Portalegre, Portugal
Pedal Alentejo offers a range of biking experiences, from leisurely rides through scenic countryside to challenging mountain bike trails, with knowledgeable guides to enhance the exploration of Alentejo’s diverse landscapes.

Must-See Places

Alentejo, Portugal’s serene heartland, beckons travelers with its captivating blend of natural beauty, rich history, and laid-back charm.


Begin your journey in Évora, a UNESCO World Heritage city renowned for its well-preserved Roman ruins, medieval streets, and majestic cathedral. Explore the hauntingly beautiful Alentejo countryside dotted with whitewashed villages like Monsaraz, where time seems to stand still amidst its ancient walls and panoramic views of the Alqueva reservoir.

Venture to the rugged coastline of Costa Vicentina, where dramatic cliffs meet pristine beaches, offering opportunities for coastal hikes and breathtaking sunsets. Delight in the region’s culinary treasures with a visit to the wine-growing town of Évora Monte, where you can savor local specialties like migas, açorda, and Alentejo wines. 

Conclude your Alentejo odyssey in the historic town of Marvão, perched atop a granite hilltop with commanding views of the surrounding plains, epitomizing the timeless allure of this enchanting region.

Restaurants & Cuisine

Tasca do Celso (Évora) [website]

Travessa das Alcaçarias, 8, 7000-863 Évora, Portugal
Tasca do Celso is a cozy restaurant in the heart of Évora, serving traditional Alentejan cuisine with a modern twist, using fresh local ingredients.

Restaurante Gadanha Mercearia (Estremoz) [website]
It offers a contemporary take on Alentejan cuisine, focusing on fresh, quality ingredients sourced from local producers. The restaurant’s menu showcases creative dishes inspired by traditional recipes, accompanied by an extensive wine list featuring regional vintages.

Solar do Forcado (Portalegre) [website]

Largo Dr. José Maria dos Santos, 8, 7300-124 Portalegre, Portugal
Solar do Forcado is a charming restaurant housed in a historic building in Portalegre, known for its refined Alentejan cuisine and extensive wine list featuring local vintages.

Planning Your Trip

The best time to visit Alentejo depends on your preferences and the activities you want to enjoy. However, generally speaking, the region is delightful to explore throughout the year due to its mild climate and varied attractions. Here’s a breakdown by season:

Spring (March to May)

Spring is a wonderful time to visit Alentejo when the countryside bursts into bloom with wildflowers, including colorful carpets of almond blossoms and vibrant fields of poppies. The weather is mild and pleasant, making it ideal for outdoor activities such as hiking, cycling, and exploring the region’s charming towns and villages.

Summer (June to August)

Summer in Alentejo can be hot and dry, especially in July and August, with temperatures often exceeding 30°C (86°F). Despite the heat, this season is popular for beachgoers, as the region boasts some stunning coastal areas along the Atlantic Ocean. It’s also a great time for outdoor dining, festivals, and enjoying the long daylight hours.

Autumn (September to November)

Autumn brings cooler temperatures and fewer crowds to Alentejo, making it an excellent time for exploring the region’s cultural and historical attractions. The countryside takes on hues of gold and amber as the leaves change color, creating picturesque landscapes. September and October are particularly pleasant months for outdoor activities before the winter chill sets in.

Airport

The nearest major airport to Alentejo is Lisbon Portela Airport (LIS), located in Lisbon, Portugal. From Lisbon, you can reach various parts of Alentejo by car, bus, or train.

Train Stations

There are several train stations in Alentejo, including:

  • Évora Train Station
  • Beja Train Station
  • Portalegre Train Station

Final Thoughts

Cycling in Alentejo is not just about the physical journey; it’s an exploration of Portugal’s soulful countryside, rich history, and vibrant culture.

Whether you’re gliding through its sprawling vineyards, exploring ancient ruins, or enjoying the local gastronomy, Alentejo promises an unforgettable adventure on two wheels.

Looking to add some magic to your season this year?

Visit our home page to find existing camps, request a bespoke adventure quote, or just email us!

See you on the roads!