Porto to Santiago Cycling Holiday

A cycling holiday following the Portuguese Way, from Porto to Santiago de Compostela – both UNESCO World Heritage-listed cities full of character and wondrous architecture. Cycle along the beautiful Atlantic coastline, through forests and nature reserves, staying in lovely villages and towns, rich in culture and the Camino spirit.

There are a number of routes to Santiago de Compostela that pilgrims have followed for centuries. Some are less famous than others and the Portuguese Atlantic Way, while not the best known, is renowned for its beauty and tranquility, offering riders spectacular coastal scenery along the way.

Parque Natural do Litoral - Esposende

The ancient paths you will follow are centuries old and Queen Isabel of Portugal herself is said to have traveled the same route in the 13th century. Some of the towns and villages are home to magnificent Baroque and Romanesque churches and these, together with the monuments and crosses along the way, help to tell the story of this less-trodden route, all the while preparing you for your final destination of Santiago de Compostela – where, on arrival, you will appreciate why so many have followed these routes over the many centuries before you.

You will need to be a reasonably fit, regular cyclist to enjoy this route. The cycling is on 50% paved road, 25% bike lanes and wooden walkways, 20% dirt roads with some cobblestone and rough dirt roads as well. The route is flat or undulating for the first 2 – 3 days but more hilly towards the end.

Porto to Santiago Cycling Holiday

A cycling holiday following the Portuguese Way, from Porto to Santiago de Compostela – both UNESCO World Heritage-listed cities full of character and wondrous architecture. Cycle along the beautiful Atlantic coastline, through forests and nature reserves, staying in lovely villages and towns, rich in culture and the Camino spirit.

There are a number of routes to Santiago de Compostela that pilgrims have followed for centuries. Some are less famous than others and the Portuguese Atlantic Way, while not the best known, is renowned for its beauty and tranquility, offering riders spectacular coastal scenery along the way.

Parque Natural do Litoral - Esposende

The ancient paths you will follow are centuries old and Queen Isabel of Portugal herself is said to have traveled the same route in the 13th century. Some of the towns and villages are home to magnificent Baroque and Romanesque churches and these, together with the monuments and crosses along the way, help to tell the story of this less-trodden route, all the while preparing you for your final destination of Santiago de Compostela – where, on arrival, you will appreciate why so many have followed these routes over the many centuries before you.

You will need to be a reasonably fit, regular cyclist to enjoy this route. The cycling is on 50% paved road, 25% bike lanes and wooden walkways, 20% dirt roads with some cobblestone and rough dirt roads as well. The route is flat or undulating for the first 2 – 3 days but more hilly towards the end.

Itinerary

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Day 1 : Arrive Porto

You will be met at Porto airport and transferred to your first hotel. The rest of the day is yours to explore this vibrant, historic city from which the country and famous wine is named. Porto is Portugal’s second-largest city after Lisbon and is a delightful place to explore on foot. Head for the old town, built on the hills overlooking the Douro River and explore the narrow atmospheric streets. Then nip across the river to Vila Nova de Gaia to visit some of the famous Port wine cellars and perhaps indulge in a bit of tasting.

Day 2 : Porto – Esposende
23 miles/65 kms

Your journey towards Santiago de Compostela begins today, along the Portuguese Atlantic Way. You depart from the Sé (a UNESCO-protected area of the city) and cross Porto’s older quarters, including the remains of its medieval town. From there you then head north to Matosinhos and across the Leça River, before following the river’s course towards the towns of Vila do Conde and Póvoa do Varzim. Between the 15th-17th centuries, many European nations set out to discover unknown parts of the world, during what became known as the Age of Discovery – an age where these towns played an important role in the building of the Portuguese ships, destined for those mysterious lands. You’ll stop for the night in Esposende, a bustling little town at the mouth of the Cávado River.

Day 3 : Esposende – Caminha
37 miles/59 kms

The cycle route leads you northwards up the quiet, scenic coastline. Suddenly you find yourself starring down at the Lima River and the town of Viana do Castelo beyond. We recommend taking a break to explore the medieval heart of the town which has been a significant stop on the pilgrimage route for centuries. A few more kilometers of cycling up the peaceful coastline brings you to the lovely town of Caminha on the southern bank of the Minho River. The river is the natural border between Portugal and Spain so be sure enjoy a typical Portuguese meal in one of the many traditional restaurants before turning in for the night as tomorrow you cross the river into Spain.

Day 4 : Caminha – Vigo
41 miles/66 kms

A ferry transports you across the Minho River to the town of A Guarda in the Galicia region of Spain. Marvellous sea views accompany your ride up the coast to picturesque Oia. Here the imposingly-beautiful Cistercian Monastery of Santa Maria la Real is a must-see, with its 18th century Baroque facade. Leaving Oia, the terrain has more of an incline, as you follow the cliffs towards Cape Sillero along the old medieval road. Your destination today is the historical port of Vigo. A pleasant seafront path leads you into the heart of the city via some pleasant parks and gardens. In the evening take a stroll around the fabulous Marina and the beautiful old quarter.

Day 5 : Vigo – Pontevedra
25 miles/41 kms

The route leads you out of the city into the countryside once more. At Rendondela you leave the coast behind and head inland, crossing several rivers on ancient medieval bridges. Your legs will feel it a bit today as you’ll encounter more hills than you’ve seen so far on the journey. Now you begin to encounter more pilgrims as your route merges with other long distance routes all headed for Santiago. The historical town of Pontevedra (old bridge) gained its name from the impressive Roman bridge that spans the river, yet its historical centre and old quarter is more medieval in style. After checking into your hotel, head for Praza de Leña, a lively square at the heart of the town.

Day 6 : Pontevedra – Padrón
30 miles/48 kms

Shortly after leaving Pontevedra you cycle through a beautiful wetland region where you can admire many different bird species. You’ll then follow a charming old pilgrims’ path into the woods, passing small rivers and water-mills – this section really does feel like you have stepped back in time to a calmer more peaceful age. Your destination today is the pleasant old town of Padrón, a charming little place with winding flag stoned narrow streets.

Day 7 : Padrón – Santiago de Compostela
19 miles/30 kms

On the final few kilometers to Santiago you will be surrounded by tired but ecstatic pilgrims who, like you are approaching their goal. At Milladoiro, you catch your first glimpse of the stunning cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, within which the tomb of the Apostle St. James is located. On reaching your goal, the afternoon will be free to explore this fascinating city. Our top tip is to take time to explore the interesting and unique pedestrianised plazas that surround the cathedral. We also highly recommend chatting to some of the pilgrims about their journeys as some will have walked across Europe to get here and their stories are often astonishing and entertaining. You will spend the night in this magical city.

Day 8 : Santiago de Compostela - end of trip

After breakfast it is time to head for home or your next adventure.

Bikes

Regular bikes provided are modern alloy framed models with 24 speeds. The bikes come equipped with pannier, lock and a repair kit with pump.

Electric bikes are also available.

We suggest you bring your own helmet for safety and hygiene reasons. Alternatively, helmets are provided on arrival.

Accommodation

Below you will find examples of the types of accommodation typically used on this tour. Please note that the hotels we book for you may differ slightly from those described but they will certainly be of a similar standard.

Superior: Good quality hotels and guest houses.

Porto: Legendary Porto Hotel

Esposende: Hotel suave Mar

Caminha: Hotel Design & Wine

Vigo: NH Collection Hotel

Pontevedra: Parador Pontevedra

Padrón: Pazo de Lestove

Santiago de Compostela: Hotel Virxe da Cerca

Getting there

Fly to Porto where you will be picked up and dropped off at your first hotel (included in package).

Transfer at end of trip back to Santiago Airport is included. A transfer back to Porto Airport is available for a supplemen.

Research flights from the UK here

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