Cycling Portugal, General, guided tours

Portugal cycle tours 2020 & 2021

With the good news that our guided tours are finally back up and running, we’re delighted to announce our plans for the next 18 months.

Carolyn and I are hoping to run two Pedal Portugal trips in 2020:

Border Castles: typical scene from our October 2019 trip
Algarve Coast: Odeceixe in December 2019

The Border Castles route follows a circuit around the north-eastern Alentejo region, visiting World Heritage-listed cities, ruined castles, hilltop towns, quiet countryside and Neolithic sites as we ride through this beautiful area.

October is normally very dry and can still be hot, with some perfect cycling conditions.

For the Algarve Coast & Country we take advantage of the longer season as we explore both the hill country and dramatic coast of the extreme south-west tip of mainland Europe.

The weather in November can be a bit more unpredictable but being so far south it’s generally a big improvement on northern Europe!

2021 DATES

For next year we’ve currently got five tours on the calendar open to all comers:

The Southern Explorer will follow the revised route we introduced in March this year, taking a zigzag journey south, mostly exploring roads and small towns that see relatively few other visitors, before crossing the hills to drop down to the Algarve coast at Carvoeiro.

Southern Explorer: rendezvous with support van on typical back road in March 2019

We test rode our Historic Heartland route in spring 2019 and should have introduced it as a new tour this year. Thanks to the pandemic we’ll be trying again in 2021, following a diagonal route across the middle of Portugal that incorporates wild hill country, big river valleys, historic cities, Roman ruins and quiet countryside, before ending at the beach on the country’s Atlantic coast.

Historic Heartland: town square in Tomar in May 2019

Our Eastern Frontier trip starts from Guarda (Portugal’s highest city) and heads north to the Douro valley before turning south towards the Tejo valley and across into the Alentejo as we explore some of the country’s wildest and most unspoilt landscapes. We’ll either be running this tour next September-October or another Historic Heartland, depending on the preferences of some returning customers who missed out this year.

Covid-19 precautions

The Covid-19 pandemic has meant a few tweaks to routes as a couple of our tours normally involve crossing the border for a bit of riding in Spain. This is not currently possible, athough it may be fine again by 2021.

Precautions against Covid-19 will also involve some other adjustments, including mask wearing when going into restaurants and cafes. However, infection rates in Portugal have remained low for some time and the country’s authorities have, so far, been very successful at keeping them under control at the same time as reopening to visitors.

A ‘clean and safe’ certification for hotels etc. lets them show they are following national protocols, while Visit Portugal has a useful FAQ page for general Covid-related information for visitors. We’ll also be introducing extra precautions/improved hygiene wherever appropriate on our tours, such as for how we organise our picnic lunches.

Please note: We’ve also updated our terms & conditions as a result of the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic and its impact on our ability to run tours. Anyone interested in our tours should read them before making a booking and we would urge all riders to make sure they have appropriate medical, travel and cancellation insurance.

Eastern Frontier: view from Monsanto in October 2018

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