Sept 30 -Oct 6
Private and self-guided trips available also.
7 days/ 6 nights
Daily distance average 52k/31miles.
This region is a mix of rolling terrain and flats. Elevation gains are as follows: D1: 200m; D2: 535m; D3:535m; D4: 220m; D5: 350m; D6: 685m
The majority of the riding follows river valleys and is quite flat with occasional moderate climbs.
Land Cost (current year):
Includes all meals except 2 lunches, 1 dinner
Single Supp: US $100
Includes 2 nights at a 4-star hotel with breakfast daily, one half day guided visit of the city and Insider's Guide to Lisbon with recommendations on what to see, where to eat etc.
Slap bang in the heart of southern Portugal, stretching over one third of the country, from the Atlantic coast to the Spanish border and from the south bank of the Tagus down to the Algarve, lies sleepy Alentejo. Its coastal region is a long stretch of wild cliffs and untouched beaches, its undulating hinterlands an undiscovered territory of empty roads, white villages, cork-tree forests, vineyards and olive groves. Its evocative hilltop castles are reminders of the many battles and conquests of yore. The patios and gardens bear witness to the rich influence of the North African Arabs, roots that shaped the people and the nature of this sultry region.
The herbs and spices grown in the Alentejo countryside season, (and the wines tendered on the hillsides accompany), the medley of fish caught on its coastal waters – intimately connecting the land and sea to its people. And so, we arrive at Alentejo’s principal vices: food and wine. The stoic farmers of Alentejo are proud advocates for the richness of their gastronomic products. Here you’ll taste the much-loved and traditionally-tilled land in its pork and ham, seafood, cheese and olive oil, black pigs, lamb and hearty red wines.
From Moorish villages, Roman structures and Portugese kings, this region oozes big history, but Alentejo also offers incredible natural treasures. And, we think, much of the beauty of this region is encompassed in this tour. So, come along and join us on this journey around an unpretensiously sumptuous region; slow down with us to Alentejo's very seductive, lost-in-time pace of life.
Only Great Explorations:
- Small groups, extraordinary guides, and authentic experiences.
- Each of our trips in Portugal has a local guide
- A ride you will never forget: Crato to Marvao
- Order off the menu at restaurants you won't find in guidebooks
- Distinctive, charming hotels too small for larger groups.
- We design and operate our own trips so there are only good surprises.
Getting there :
Trains from Lisbon take approximately 1 hour.
The old walled town of Évora is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with a small-town feel but big-city ambitions. Within its ancient walls this compact town’s narrow, winding lanes lead to impressive architectural works: Gothic cathedral, Roman Temple, a 16th Century aquaduct and a picturesque town square. And not for the faint of heart is the macabre crypt of Capela dos Ossos. Built in the 16th Century, the Chapel of Bones warns at its entrance, We, the bones that are here, await yours. Its walls are coated with the bones and skulls of around 5,000 former Évora residents. Our guides will meet you on arrival at 4:00 pm at the hotel for a walking tour before dinner and then a welcome wine reception.
This easy ride will work out the jet lag from your head and legs and get you ready for the week ahead. Arraiolos is world-famous for its embroidered carpets modeled on those of Moorish artists expelled from Lisbon, abstract motifs, azulejo designs and flower, bird and animal depictions. There are many carpet producers in town, providing opportunities to admire and purchase these important cultural works of art. This region is dotted with megaliths and dolmens (including Europe’s largest, near Valverde), built around 5,000-6,000 years ago. Back in Evora, enjoy strolling around the historical center and dine in one of the many great restaurants.
Distance: 46 km, elevation gain 279 m.*
En route to Estremoz, today, you’ll pass through Redondo, renowned wine region and perfect place to stop for lunch.
Once the seat of the 14th Century Portuguese king, Estremoz remains grand and regal. The streets and buildings are lined in local marble, which gives the effect of everything appearing white and radiant. If you’re here on a Saturday, the town market is worth a visit for local produce and arts and crafts. The town is well known for its high-quality white marble and red clay sculptures. You’re here for two nights, providing plenty of time for exploration of this glimmering town.
Distance: 64 km, elevation gain 584 m.*
Today’s loop ride takes you east past marbel quarries and fragnant orange groves, on to Vila Viçosa, a lovely marble town. It boasts the Praça da República, a lazy long plaza set amid orange trees, a marble palace, one of the country’s largest, and its castle make this small town an impressive visit. The route also takes you to Castelo, a fine red-roofed village, home to the oldest synagogue in Portugal, a steeped Jewish quarter and a marble-columned fountain with supposed healing waters.
Distance: 49 km, elevation gain 244 m.*
Your destination is Flor da Rosa, just north of Crato, which was founded in the 14th Century but evidence in its ruins date it back to Megalithic times. This region is dotted in dolmens, with Anta do Tapadão being the most famous. En route today you’ll pass the famous stud farm, Coudelaria de Alter, in Alter do Chão, with its prized horses and informative museum.
Distance: 68 km, elevation gain 582 m or 106 km, gain 704 m.*
Your route today will take you along roads lined with cork trees passing several villages including Castello de Vide, a fascinating village with dramatic castle and then climbs to the gorgeous walled town of Marvão (NY Times has it on the list ‘1000 places to see before you die’) which sits on a narrow, spit of rock, overlooking the rugged plains stretching across into Spain. From its lofty heights, Marvão offers the best vistas of any outlook on this trip.
Distance: 65 km, elevation gain 954 m or 60 km, gain 1362 m.*
Depart from Marvão at your leisure.
*Distance and elevation gains may vary depending on hotels chosen for specific departure.
Map of the Area
What's Included in the Cost of Your Trip?
- Services of one or more experienced Great Explorations guides and support vehicle
- 6 nights lodging
- All meals except 2 lunches and 1 dinner
- Entrance fees for selected historical sites and museums
- Detailed map and route instructions
- All baggage transportation
- All transportation from initial meeting point to final drop-off (see arrive/depart cities)
Please note: Final itinerary is subject to revision; any changes made are done so in an attempt to provide the best possible trip given route conditions and available services. Due to the nature of our business and exchange rates, prices are subject to change. All prices quoted are U.S. dollars but we gladly accept payment in Canadian dollars also. Due to cancellations and waiting lists, trip availability fluctuates daily. If you have any questions or would like to confirm space on this trip before making your reservation, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at 604.730.1247
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