Thinking of doing a guided bike tour in Portugal? Want to know what our riders thought of Pedal Portugal’s trips? 

On the road to Tomar – early morning on our Historic Heartland tour.

After two years off the road due to the pandemic, Pedal Portugal is now back in action. We’ve now run our first tours of 2022 – welcoming back many old friends as well as meeting new ones.

The reviews below (most recent first) are all from riders who have taken part in our tours.

To find out more about our forthcoming tours, click here.

85 thoughts on “Reviews”

    This was our 2nd Pedal Portugal adventure and once again it was a fantastic experience. Our leaders, Huw and Carolyn, are delightful, knowledgeable, helpful and organized to say the least. Our accommodations were excellent, food and wine delicious and plentiful, and the bike routes were all well chosen to allow us to experience the best of Portugal. Thank you for creating so many wonderful memories!

    Loved this tour. Carolyn and Huw are well organized, great hosts, and do a good job of herding cats (cyclists)! Dinners were fabulous. Looking forward to our next opportunity to tour with them. 5/5!

    This was our second tour with Pedal Portugal and, not surprisingly, we had a fantastic tour.

    Huw and Carolyn are wonderful guides. Everything is well-organized, daily communication is superb, and the routes are always very enjoyable and interesting. We especially like that we use back roads off the beaten track, which allows a safer, more leisurely pace and minimum stress to make our way through the amazing countryside. The accommodations are always excellent. The meals are consistently very good and the wine is, of course, fabulous and locally produced.

    Each tour allows us to meet and make great friends. We treasure the memories and look forward to seeing them again.

    We highly recommend Pedal Portugal for an affordable, well-organized and unique way to explore our favourite country in Europe. We look forward to more tours in the future.

    Where do I start? The border castles tour was delightful with quiet roads and amazing scenery. Accommodations were excellent and comfortable with excellent amenities including pools in the majority of the locations. Food was authentic, carefully chosen and crafted. Really enjoyed the dinners together with pre dinner drinks at local pubs and cafes. But most of all was the kind and gracious support and organization of Huw and Carolyn. This couple will ensure your Portugal experience will bring you back time and time again. Thank you so much for this richly crafted experience. See you soon. Audrey

    The fact that I returned to do a second trip with Pedal Portugal tells those who know me that the first trip must have been exceptionally good. I always move on to try something new. However, having found perfection, how do you surpass that?
    So I returned for a second trip and was not disappointed. It was every bit as good as the Border Castles trip of last spring. Perhaps even better? Surely not. Can perfection be bettered?
    As for our fellow travellers across the pond… Well, I am convinced that Huw and Carolyn have an agreement with the Canadian and U S. governments to send him the best and most congenial people from their respective countries.
    They even have a hot line to the weather gods. Swimming in March. Cycling in the sun. Excellent food and wine. Convivial companions oh and great cycling routes.
    What more could you wish for?

    Absolutely wonderful tour. Carolyn and Huw have developed a perfect tour with decent mileage, wonderful food, and great lodging. They have thought of every detail and are warm and friendly hosts. I selected Pedal Portugal because they know Portugal well, only host trips in Portugal, and the tour was longer than most and fundamentally about cycling. The bike rental company they recommend was also very good. Highly recommended!!

    This was one of the best valued , interesting and relaxed bicycle tours I have done. Huw and Carolyn were great hosts , organized and knowledgeable of the area . I had a total of 3 flats in 2 days and Huw pleasantly” got the job done “ even in a downpour of rain. I would not hesitate do another tour with them in the future 10/10 rating.

    Just completed border castles October tour. Surpassed expectations in every way. Food wine and accommodation were varied authentic and generous . Being not the fittest of cyclists found the occasional day taxing which provoked rueful contemplation.and weight loss plans which were shelved by dinner time .We were taken on roads less travelled and had a blast Many thanks

    Eastern Frontier was a wonderful trip. The roads were, as promised, quiet and took us through beautiful countryside where we saw cork trees, olive groves, Roman aqueducts and the many fortifications along the Spanish border that seemed to grow out of the granite there. Huw and Carolyn made it easy to ride at your own pace and were very attentive throughout the ride. Dinner each night was a fun, sociable and delicious occasion and the picnic lunches (they always found shade for us!) were simple but a very nice break in the day. The riding, as promised, could be challenging, especially as we climbed up to fortified cities at the end of the day, but the guides and the group were always encouraging and supportive.
    A great experience and great value.

    Fantastic trip, heartily recommended.
    Well organised but in a relaxed manner. The medieval hill forts and towns were amazing and relatively quiet for how fantastic they were. Lovely scenery. Very good hotels and meals considering how relatively cheap the tour is compared to other companies.
    The cycling was really enjoyable on quiet roads with no rush or pressure to keep up, just go at your own pace with plenty of stops and a nice but simple picnic lunch and a coffee stop every day. You do need to be happy and capable of cycling 50 miles or so consecutive days as it says in the trip notes.
    Great way to see the less visited areas of Portugal. Monsanto and Marvao forts and villages have to be seen !

    Yes when you read all these glowing reviews they are true Huw and Carolyn take care of you 24-7. The planning they have done, arranging of hotels, food, beverages and travel routes is excellent and it shows their love of cycling and of Portugal. They even let us complain about “ another hill” 🤣🤣. We say thank you to them both for taking good care of us and making our second trip with them fun and many good memories. Hugs to you both

    Repeat customers … our third trip!
    Back in 2018, immediately after completing Southern Explorer, our group asked Huw to design a route through central Portugal for us to do in 2020. Well, things happened … pandemic, illness, border restrictions .. and our original group wasn’t able to get together to cycle the Historic Heartland. With some new friends (and another group doing the inaugural HH), we have now created new memories!
    Thank you to Huw and Carolyn for their perseverance and skill in creating this route through spectacular countryside with exceptional accommodations, great food and a sense of a shared experience amongst the group! It always feels like coming back home to cycle with them!
    To our friends who did not get to ride this route this time, we wish you great weather and the wind at your back when you do return to cycle with Huw and Carolyn!
    Not only have we enjoyed our three excursions with PP, we have introduced many family and friends to them and now they are, or will be, repeat customers too!

    There aren’t enough gushing adjectives to describe my first tour with Pedal Portugal. The cycling, towns and cities, food, wine, guests and hosts were all superb. Huw and Carolyn really take care of you. I was a bit nervous about the hills and my knees but with some preparation the trip was immense fun. The food was generous and tasty, the wine was wonderful, and the stories told over it all were legend. I can only say Go For It.

    This was our first-ever cycling tour and we can’t say enough about how happy we were to take the plunge and join Pedal Portugal on this year’s adventure. Huw and Carolyn had everything taken care of on each spin of the wheel along the way. Each day we experienced the beautiful countryside of Central Portugal along back roads and through villages, up and down and all around LOL.

    The accommodations at each stop exceeded our expectations and the daily snacks and planned meals were consistently delicious and filling (maybe too filling?). Perhaps the best part, however, was the quick friendships we made with our group. They were all so welcoming and full of helpful advice and assistance along the way.

    We are already thinking about our next tour with Pedal Portugal……

    We enjoyed the Historic Heartland tour – our first trip abroad post pandemic and it was amazing! Beautifully scenic and quiet roads starting from the highest city in Portugal and at the coast – and no, it was not all cycling downhill. Huw and Carolyn did a fabulous job of selecting routes, accommodation, dining venues, and being tremendous hosts for an eventful journey. We’d definitely return! Thank you Huw and Carolyn!

    We thoroughly enjoyed our cycle tour with Pedal Portugal and highly recommend the experience. Memories of wild flower-lined quiet country roads, lovely lunch stops, nights in historic towns and cities, the interesting variety of hotels and the ample food and wine – will remain with us. Even when mishaps occurred Huw and Carolyn managed to keep us all moving forward with grace and good cheer we truly appreciated. We look forward to our next cycle adventure. Maureen and Ted Angen

    We return to Portugal for our second tour with Huw and Carolyn. Historic Heartland it is. Our routes were fabulous quiet country roads. What a beautiful country this is, and Carolyn and Huw are the perfect hosts, having sorted every detail of the trip,, and dealing with unexpected surprises so well! Can’t say enough good things about Pedal Portugal…Would we return for another adventure? In a heartbeat! Thanks for a wonderful trip!

    A great journey from the highest city in Portugal to one of the towns on the Atlantic Coast. Huw continues to amaze with beautiful country roads winding through olive groves, vineyards, past castles and ancient churches, medieval communities and more.
    The hospitality is unbeatable as Huw and Carolyn introduce guests to Portuguese cuisine in family restaurants, comfortable (sometimes luxurious) hotels, great scenery and historic locales. They’ve become good friends and we’ll be back for our fourth (for me) and fifth (for my wife) tours soon.

    Another great ride with Pedal Portugal on their Border Castles tour. Huw and Carolyn deliver a complete package with an obvious passion for Portugal and cycle touring. History, culture, food, and natural beauty were all abundant as we traveled along quiet roads through interesting old towns. Pedal Portugal accommodates all cyclists and interests which made for a fun and unique group of fellow travelers and an even better experience.

    Nothing beats that feeling of being in the perfect moment and doing exactly what you want to be doing. Maybe it’s cresting a hill, overlooking a vast field of wild flowers onto an historic town with a centuries old castle nestled into a distant hillside. Oh Yeah!

    This was my 3rd bike tour with Huw and Carolyn. Each one has been a new and exciting adventure.
    Every day highlighted a different feature of the landscape and towns. A truly unique way to visit Portugal and see areas not available to most tourists. The inns and hotels ranged from intimate country estates to classic Portuguese architecture. The routes allowed you to cycle at a comfortable pace and stop to take photos. The food quality and quantity was incredible. There was also the occasional wine and beer available after a day’s ride :). The entire group seemed to get along well, which I credit to the leadership of Huw and Carolyn.

    We came back 2 weeks ago from the Border Castles Tour of Alentejo. We had a very enjoyable time, with an interesting & delightful group of people. Carolyn & Huw, our hosts & guides looked after us remarkably well. Many thanks to them.
    The food & accommodation were excellent & we slept well every night on a full stomach! We would certainly recommend to anyone to give it a go – you won’t be disappointed.

    As we cycled along I had to make many photo stops as the roadsides were covered in white, yellow, and purple wild flowers. Every day there was a castle to check out. We all know how hungry cyclists are and the meals were generous and representative of this wonderful region called the Alentejo. The location of the restaurants and accommodations was superb. From an old convent to an olive pressing building we enjoyed them all. Huw and Carolyn have created a superb tour.

    Brilliantly planned and executed. I do not lavish such praise easily.
    As a rule I am not a group person preferring to ride alone or, at most, one other. This trip surpassed all my expectations of what an organized group trip would deliver.. Huw and Carolyn ran the whole operation with a light touch that seemed without effort. This can only be achieved by meticulous organizational and attention to detail.
    I am a convert and would gladly go with them again. I highly recommend this trip even to the loners like me. You will have a lot more fun and be free of any hassle.

    I couldn’t have asked for a better cycling adventure! Huw and Carolyn were the perfect hosts while being very knowledgeable and experienced guides. Everything was arranged and handled flawlessly from getting train/bus tickets to the meeting location, coordinating a variety of very special accommodations, dinners at local restaurants that served delicious meals, planning routes with great cafe and lunch stops as well as beautiful views and landscapes… and the castles and historical sites were really a fun part of the trip. We had a terrific and friendly group from several different countries that made this a fabulous experience!!

    What a fabulous adventure! Biking in the countryside of beautiful Portugal. We now understand why Pedal Portugal receive such great reviews. Beautiful scenery, well planned and organized routes, not to mention the exquisite dinners, and roadside picnics. I can’t think of a better way to experience Portugal.
    Huw and Carolyn were amazing hosts. Their attention to detail & concern for the riders safety and enjoyment is second to none. And the big bonus…..all the friends we made along the way. Who knows….maybe next time we’ll even break into a song! Obrigado Huw & Carolyn.
    Scotty & Janet Mannen

    We’ve returned home after completing the Southern Explorer tour and could not be more pleased with our tour experience. Among the riding highlights was the mountain climb, as we crossed from Alentejo into the Algarve, which gave us spectacular views of the countryside all the way to the ocean in the south. This was followed by a more leisurely ride through quiet roads of fragrant orange and lemon groves towards our finish on the stunning beaches of the Algarve.
    The towns, accommodations and restaurants provided us an experience we felt was unique and authentic. We side-tripped to impressive remnants of a Roman village in Vidigueira and were serenaded by locals in a restaurant in Moura, among the many vivid moments.
    Huw and Carolyn are warm hosts and their passion for Portugal and cycle tourism made it all the more special.
    – – Des and Cathy

    This was our second tour in a row. First The Algarve, now Southern Explorer. Exceedingly well organized. Variety of hotels from quaint to regal to modern. Saw sights not on normal bus tours.
    Delicious Portuguese meals for all appetites. “Sampled” Portuguese wines and beer. (Ok, maybe more than sampled…) Ideal biking weather and views from quiet roads were exquisite. Daily distance and pace over mountainous terrain was achievable for a variety of relatively fit recreational riders. Even the odd flat tire added to fun and fellowship, causing a mere blip in the schedule.
    End result, an enjoyable, interesting and calorie neutral vacation.

    Charlene and I have both been on a lot of tours. Huw and Carolyn were among the best leaders we’ve ever had. They are very caring and want to make sure everyone has a great time on the road.
    The accommodations and food service was excellent especially considering the low cost for the tour. We thought it was a great value. Since I’m older now, I appreciated the shorter distances each day and the ride having a Sweep to insure everyone was OK. I also liked the Van driver riding back to the group each day.
    The GPS maps were right on and easy to follow along with the paper instructions. We totally recommend trying Pedal Portugal. I might add the rental bikes were in excellent condition and we really appreciated the bike vendor.

    Thank you for a great tour. Everything was very well organised – route, hotels, dinners, picnics, bikes and weather.
    Huw and Carolyn are supportive, enthusiastic, knowledgeable and know how to organise a holiday that runs like a dream.
    I can understand why a good proportion of their guests are repeat customers. I would thoroughly recommend a spring break in Portugal organised by Pedal Portugal.

    We can thoroughly recommend Pedal Portugal’s itinerary. Huw & Carolyn’s attention to detail throughout the whole experience, from our first enquiry to the trip itself and follow up after we returned home could not be faulted.
    The cycling routes were well researched and for the most part avoided almost all traffic. The hotels were a delightful mix of new and old, modern and rustic and evening meals a mix of typical Portuguese fare with occasional more international menus.
    We definitely recommend Pedal Portugal to cyclists wanting a holiday rather than a training camp and will be looking to book a different route for next year.

    This was a great tour, well organised by Huw & Carolyn, with great attention paid to detail. Good food, hotels and quiet attractive roads. They do really make it very simple; if you want to tour in Portugal use Huw & Carolyn. Thanks for the Christmas feel to the tour, 5 stars
    Peter & Michelle

    The tour was a fantastic experience! Huw and Carolyn took care of all the details like meals and accommodation and route planning so that we could just enjoy cycling through some incredible scenery and beautiful towns and villages. It was great to meet new people and everyone was friendly and encouraging.
    The Border Castles tour was perfect for our age and ability level (50s/60s and recreational riders). Huw and Carolyn made adjustments to the daily routes as warranted by road construction, weather and our energy levels and provided detailed route sheets every morning as well as providing verbal instructions as we progressed throughout the day. Accommodations were clean, quiet and comfortable and meals were great (don’t expect to lose weight!) We do HIGHLY recommend that you join a Pedal Portugal tour. You will be so glad you did!

    Fabulous tour! Accommodations were clean and comfortable and the meals shared with our fellow adventurers were locally sourced and superb. Huw and Carolyn’s knowledge of Portugal and their choice of low traffic routes through amazing little towns created a beautiful bike tour inlaid with a wonderful cultural experience.

    What an experience! We do not hesitate to recommend Pedal Portugal as a tour company. Huw and Carolyn were so very organized and paid great attention to every detail. The accommodations were fantastic the restaurants provided a variety of options that were delicious. There certainly was no lack of food or drink for the entire trip! We also appreciated the time you took to provide guidance and optional walkabouts after cycling and on rest days.
    We absolutely loved Portugal and seeing the country by bike allowed us to see more authentic Portuguese areas with fewer tourist influences. The Portuguese people and the beautiful scenery with cliffs, beaches and wild flowers were spectacular.
    Thanks Huw and Carolyn for making our vacation so memorable! We will be back some day!

    What can I say, there are so many highlights, the whole trip was a highlight. We truly enjoyed this trip, it was an absolutely wonderful way to experience the beauty of the Algarve region. Huw and Carolyn did an awesome job of taking such good care of the details and ensuring we all were well taken care of and enjoying our experience. They are both such warm, caring, fantastic hosts!
    I would highly recommend their tour company without any hesitation, in fact, I’m already trying to plan my next trip with them. Obrigado Huw and Carolyn!

    We just got home after cycling the Algarve with Pedal Portugal.
    I can’t possibly explain how smoothly everything ran, and how much fun we had, thanks to Huw and Carolyn…we were a large group, and they handled the numbers with ease.
    The food, the wine, the scenery, the exposure to Portuguese culture…it was absolutely fabulous.
    They had an ability to get us through the day smoothly, without ever giving us the feeling we were being rushed.
    They worked so hard every day, making sure that our experience was the best it could be (from finding shade for me at the lunch spots, pointing out the good gelato places in town, to walking us around the cliffs after our ride)
    Im definitely coming back!
    Thank again Huw and Carolyn

    Now I understand why people keep coming back. Huw and Carolyn are fantastic guides and hosts.
    As this was our first long distance cycling trip it turned out to be both an enjoyable and challenging adventure.
    It was exhilarating to conquer some of the long and steep grades and the quiet roads made it quite pleasant.
    The attention to detail, individual personal assistance and precision planning ensured that each rider’s needs were fulfilled.
    In addition, the bikes were superb and accommodations and meals were first rate.
    We were able to participate in authentic Portuguese locales that few vacationers would ever see.
    Also, the pace was comfortable, allowing me to pause to take many pictures of the countryside and coast.
    Pat and Andy Price (Ancaster, Ontario)

    Just completed the Algarve Tour. As a group of 10 with varied cycle touring experience, Huw and Carolyn did a great job accommodating everyone. We enjoyed every stop and meal along our journey and feel as though we experienced Portugal in a unique and authentic way. As for riding highlights, there were many, but the big climb of Monchique and routes that had us viewing dramatic coastline and beaches were standouts. Huw and Carolyn are warm hosts. I hope to do another tour with them sometime soon.

    We really can’t say enough good things about this bicycle tour.. First of all Huw and Carolyn are superb hosts, and as a Canadian group of 6 retired individuals from Ontario we thoroughly enjoyed touring with them.. Their route and logistics were expertly crafted and executed allowing us to ride through the countryside and experience the real Portuguese cuisine at restaurants frequented by the locals.. and stay in unique accommodations.. We saw and went to places we would never have experienced on our own.. We would not hesitate to recommend Pedal Portugal to anyone seeking an active cycling experience in Portugal..

    Thanks.. Ray d’Andrade and Debra Pearson..

    An excellent trip. I loved all of the spring flowers and blooming almond trees. The last days of the trip were spent near the ocean with spectacular beaches and waves pounding against the rocky cliffs. The hotels and meals (and wine!) were fantastic. A special treat on this trip was the opportunity to watch the Volta au Algarve cyclists go by on the narrow cobbled street and then turn the corner … WOW … incredible … something I’ve only ever seen on TV before.

    Just returned from the Border Castles ride with Huw and Carolyn. They are lovely people, and work hard to keep the trip running smoothly, while simultaneously appearing to have a great time themselves! Loved the accommodations, food, wine and beautiful small medieval towns.

    I can’t recommend Pedal Portugal cycling tours highly enough! The thoughtful planning of Huw and Carolyn made this one of the best cycling tours we have ever been on to date. Everything was wonderful – from the beautiful accommodations, delicious (and plentiful) food and wine, fun coffee/cake stops, unique castles, cool Neolithic tombs and standing stones, and spectacular views of the beautiful Alentejo countryside. As beer lovers we also appreciated Huw introducing us to some of the great local craft brews that Portugal has to offer :0) If you are thinking of booking a tour with Pedal Portugal, don’t hesitate. We will definitely be returning for another cycling tour in the future! Thanks again Huw and Carolyn!

    Carolyn and Huw have a thorough understanding of what makes up a successful bike tour and they put great effort into providing the best experience possible. They deserve top marks for our Border Castles Tour adventure. Bravo!!

    This was our first cycling tour and we are SPOILED! Huw and Carolyn were prepared, knowledgeable, and welcoming. The Alentejo rides went through rolling hills that were punctuated by some climbs that were just challenging enough. It was nice to be in a small group (10 of us) and we got along well. The dinners were a combination of outstanding local foods, wine and beer. The lodging choices were unique and exceeded our expectations, from the modern hotel in Evora to the picturesque winery and the elegant convent. We are already looking forward to another tour with Hew and Carolyn.

    Huw and Carolyn welcomed us like family from the first meeting. The routes were well planned out on well maintained, quiet roads. The boutique hotels were amazing, as were the meals. The best value for your dollar of any bike trip I have done. The quiet towns and villages that we visited, gave me the true local flavour of Portugal, and I can see why Huw and Carolyn love this country so much. A truly wonderful experience, and I would highly recommend Pedal Portugal. Although I would add that this particular trip was challenging.

    What an awesome trip!! Great hotels in quiet little towns, smooth deserted roads where we could enjoy the countryside safely, awesome food with double deserts every night 😉😉. Your attention to details and friendly manner made this a memorable trip. I can not say enough of how you took care of us and how you shared your love of Portugal.

    What an amazing adventure!! Carolyn and Huw are the BEST hostess/host you could imagine; they treat you like family. This trip was the most challenging I’ve ever done in terms of elevation gain day after day but I feel a sense of accomplishment and pride in my cycling abilities as a result. My jeans were fitting a bit snugly on the plane back home perhaps because the food was beyond all my expectations (a carnivore’s delight!!) and my wine glass at dinner was always full. I really appreciated our picnic lunches where we could relax in the shade after preparing a sandwich, munching chips and/or a chocolate bar sipping a soda or bubbly water. Now, let’s talk about the accommodation … WOW! We stayed in what we would call back home ’boutique hotels’ almost exclusively right in the old city centre. We’re going back again for another Pedal Portugal trip because we had such a great experience. Thank you Huw and Carolyn for introducing us to the wonders that Portugal has to offer.

    Our 11 day custom tour of south Portugal was well-planned and we had excellent support from Huw and Carolyn. The roadside lunches were hearty and the routes were mostly on little-traveled roads. I have traveled in 11 countries to date and Portugal has the best roads of any. The accommodations each night were quite comfortable with 2 people per room. The springtime wildflowers were at their peak and the weather was perfect, cool but no rain. Huw provided good maps with detailed instructions each day and briefed us periodically of the route. Scenic highlights were included even if they were off the direct route. Dinner each night was in a small, local restaurant serving regional specialities. All in all, one of the most comfortable bike trips I have taken.

    Great trip. The roads are typically amazing. Awesome countryside and views. Pedal Portugal did an excellent job planning, supporting and accompanying our trip.

    I just finished this tour with Huw and Carolyn and can honestly say it exceeded my expectations! Their attention to detail and their concern for each rider’s experience is what makes them special.
    We cycled perfectly planned routes, stayed in accommodations that mirrored the town we were in, ate outstanding local cuisine, and there was always that little extra – like in Moura; when we were serenaded by three locals who blew us away with Alentejo folk songs.
    Portugal is a beautiful country with lovey people and pedalling with Huw and Carolyn is a great way to get to know it.

      I agree completely with Mike’s comments about Californians Custom Tour 2018. Huw and Carolyn did a truly wonderful job shepherding us through Southern Portugal. We had gorgeous rides on quiet backroads, tasty lunches and comfortable/clean accommodations. 2 thumbs up for Pedal Portugal.

    Second trip was as good as the first! We finished the Southern Explorer a few days ago and our experience was as wonderful as last year’s Border Castle tour. Fabulous scenery, excellent accommodations, delicious food, great fellow riders and exceptional guides. Huw and Carolyn are exceptionally organized, patient, accommodating, professional, friendly and funny. The bikes from the bike rental company are top notch.

    Portugal is a beautiful country with a rich history. The people are very friendly. It is a pleasure exploring it by bike off many of the beaten tourist paths. Huw and Carolyn have a deep understanding and love for Portugal and its people, and I thank them for again sharing with us.

    Thank you Huw and Carolyn. We had a great trip and feel accomplished for finishing with great new biker friends and lovely memories. You two are awesome 😍😍 you have great patience, attention to detail and fabulous selections of resting spots. Lunches were devoured with smiles on our faces. You encouraged us to pedal up those hills!! and glide down many. Enjoy your next few days of rest. We will chat about you both and the hard work and fun we experienced. Hugs to you both xx

    My husband and I absolutely loved this marvellous back country tour. Carolyn and Huw were great leaders: knowledgeable, well organized, fun to be with. The routes chosen were scenic, very quiet, and interspersed with just enough castles. We also appreciated the variety of hotels and restaurants plus the good company of the others in the group.

    We enjoyed Portugal and the Algarve cycle in Feb/March 2016 with Huw and Carolyn so much that we just did another ride with them: the Border Castle tour, also wonderful. They are a fabulous couple and take great care of and create a seamless cycling experience. They find great places to eat and sleep and quiet and scenic cycling routes. We highly recommend riding with them on any of their tours.

    This was a cycling trip of a lifetime! Huw and Carolyn were over the top excellent at making the cycling experience wonderful. The rental bikes were good quality, the roads were lovely to ride on with quaint villages chosen for coffee and lunch stops. The dining experience was varied and wonderful with authentic local Portuguese restaurants. All accommodations were quaint and lovely. Huw and Carolyn took great care in hand picking everywhere and everything to make this an excellent adventure. I highly recommend it! Sincerely, a Canadian.

    We just enjoyed another terrific bike tour with Huw and Carolyn. This was our second tour with them and we enjoyed the trip as much as the first trip. The roads, pace, food, hotels and guides make the trip a holiday. A castle a day, often empty and perfect roads, interesting rest days and of course good people.

    Our Border Castles ride was a wonderful experience. Huw and Caroline were excellent guides/hosts, the food and accommodations were first-rate, and the scenery in the Alentejo was amazing.

    We are the tandem couple on the feature photo. We had such a grand time on the Borders Castles tour that we returned for the Eastern Frontier tour. Though we would love to tour other parts of Europe, it was just so much easier to leave the logistics to Huw and Carolyn. We also knew that we would have a grand time and be well taken care of. The people, food, and wine or Portugal are wonderful and the villages and sights are marvelous. You can pay a lot more to a few other tour companies but it won’t increase your comfort or pleasure.

    As a satisfied repeat customer, I can say Huw and Carolyn are the best! Attentive, knowledgable of the roads, housing, and restaurants, they provide a bike tour to be remembered.
    Comparing the two tours we’ve done: the Border Castle Tour done in the spring was full of wildflowers, and a bit of rain; the Eastern Frontier in the fall was quite hot (unexpectedly hot), and more challenging with the hills.
    Not having to book our lodging and figuring out restaurants was greatly appreciated by us. The daily mid-day meal as a picnic was a treat too.

    Hilary’s and Anita’s review: We would echo everything that Caroline, Deanne, and Tom & Beth (see Elizabeth West review) have stated. Huw was readily available for consultations as we developed our bespoke tour, and he regularly provided updates and inquiries to ensure our expectations were realistic. His and Carolyn’s organization and experience were evident every day of our tour. There were actually 10 of us on the tour, nine bicyclists and one motorist, and it was brilliant how Huw and Carolyn accommodated the range of abilities and needs among the group.

    The two of us especially appreciated the experience of not just biking, but engaging in the culture of the communities we visited, from owners of tiny bars and coffee shops, to sampling local fare with a regional emphasis, to rambling through villages on our rest days. Because the tour was through very small towns, we felt this particular adventure was an authentic taste, of all sorts, of that region of Portugal.

    We’ve already recommended them to several friends who hope to make a trip with them in the future.

    I’ve just arrived home from a 10-day “bespoke” tour in the Alentejo that Huw planned and delivered for me and 8 friends. It met and exceeded all expectations. While the rides were challenging and the temperatures warm, we all felt a sense of accomplishment each day when we rolled into another charming town and charming hotel. Huw and Carolyn run a well-oiled machine. They both love to ride, so they take turns driving the van, parking and hopping on the bike to ride back to meet the group. They made everything seamless for us, from the lovely “picnic” lunches that seemed to appear from nowhere, to the coffee stops every morning, to the fantastic dinners, which they always somehow managed to curate to satisfy the vegetarian and pescatarian in our group, plus all us carnivores. Wine was abundant and food was delicious.

    I highly recommend Huw and Carolyn. They have great senses of humor, are knowledgeable about the area and biking in general, unflappable in the face of problems, and just really nice and fun to be around.

      I was one of the 8 friends who participated in the 10-day “bespoke” in the Alentejo region. Caroline provided a great description of the advantages of this tour. To just add my 2 cents, Huw and Carolyn are great guides and have the logistics down to an art. Our “bespoke” was designed specifically for us and it was absolutely amazing. We biked through rural Portugal along country lanes and typically low-trafficked roads through the agricultural landscapes of cork trees, grape vines, olive and almond trees, and wheat fields; not to mention the cattle, sheep, and goats. The region is full of historical castles and fortresses. The routes selected demonstrated our guides’ knowledge of the region and their planning skills. In addition, the “picnic” lunches were healthy and very welcomed from a morning of riding. I also appreciated the local, authentic Portuguese, restaurants we were treated to each night with mounds of food and what seemed like an endless supply of wine. Finally, our lodging options were great. We stayed in two beautiful converted convents, cozy inns, or modern/eco hotels. I would highly recommend Pedal Portugal to any future riders. I hope Carolyn’s walking tour comes to fruition! I’d sign up for that, too!

        Tom and I were also part of the bespoke tour in May and June. We agree with everything Caroline and Deanne said and would like to add how much we enjoyed the arrangements that Huw and Carolyn made. We have been reluctant to sign up for a tour because we were afraid of feeling herded around, but Huw and Carolyn provided all the advantages of a tour (the logistical arrangements especially) without that “following the umbrella around” feeling. In fact, they arranged great accommodations, wonderful local dinners and picnic lunches, and routes on mostly country roads. The tour challenged us physically and yet was enjoyable. We highly recommend Huw and Carolyn and their tours.

    Ditto to everything that Leanne and Barb have written! We thoroughly enjoyed our trip with Huw and Carolyn exploring the quiet back roads and quaint villages of the Alentejo! There was a sense of accomplishment as we re-entered Evora but also sadness that the adventure had ended!
    As we drove speedy highways after the bike trip concluded, we found ourselves wondering what the area we sped through was really like. On the bike, you got a real sense of the culture!
    We are already looking forward to another trip with Pedal Portugal!!!

    Everything about the Border Castles tour was outstanding and exceeded expectations. Highlights included first-rate accommodations, exceptional dinners in a variety of great restaurants, gorgeous scenery on quiet country roads, and the companionship of a great group of travelers. Huw and Carolyn had everything figured out in advance and could not have been nicer. Also, they know how to pack a great picnic lunch! We enjoyed it all so much that we toyed with the idea of leaving a bad review to keep Pedal Portugal from becoming too popular; we want there to be room for us on a future trip!

    Thank you to Huw and Carolyn for an amazing ten day Border Castles tour. I am so grateful they are willing to share their love and knowledge of Portugal. The trip could not have been better. Great meals, accommodations, scenery, a ton of laughs, excellent organization and a small group all combined for an exceptional experience. I should mention for those who are inclined that Portuguese beer and wines are excellent.


    Portugal had been on our must do list for a little while for a cycle trip and when I came across Pedal Portugal’s website, I hoped it would be the right fit for us. Well it was fantastic, in fact, exceeded our expectations. The quality of the hire bikes really good and distances varied with the terrain – all manageable for a cyclist with a reasonable level of fitness. Huw and Carolyn managed the different cyclists abilities with ease and the directions given easy to follow with regrouping stops.

    Huw and Carolyn are passionate about Portugal and their well thought out itinerary presented beautiful scenic (mostly) quiet back roads, cycling into ancient historical cobbled towns with mandatory castle and a crossover into Spain for the night. The variety of accommodation fantastic and varied, especially the hospitality of Lidia at the country house in Pavia was exceptional.

    Huw and Carolyn aim to introduce you to as many local Portuguese food specialities as possible which means interesting restaurants and variety of dishes every night – you don’t go hungry. Our group went for the picnic lunch option, which was more than ample, fresh and always tasty, it also meant we got to town with enough time to be the tourist (or have a beer) before dinner.

    Scenery stunning: rolling hills, vineyards, cork trees, olive groves, sheep/cow/goats, wildflowers, quaint quiet towns – JUST GO!!

  66. Border Castles Tour – October 2016 (highly recommended)

    The Border Castles tour was a terrific tour with a great variety of cycling terrain along with some great historical sites and towns including Evora, Monsaraz and Elvas (the fort and aqueducts were fantastic). The accommodation chosen by our fabulous hosts, Huw and Carolyn, was also a highlight. We stayed in rural retreats, convents as well as some modern arty places. The restaurants chosen after a hard day of cycling gave us a taste of the traditional foods and wines from Portugal and was also a highlight. I personally valued the picnic lunches we had each day. It was simple, healthy and practical in terms of we are here to cycle not sit around for 2 hours eating. It meant arriving at our destination at a good hour so we could explore that location by foot too.

    We did a few quirky things along the way such as adding a few extra kms one day just so we could say we rode to Spain and back. Adding the extra 25kms on the last day to visit the “stones” megalithic site was well worth the amount of dust we ate on a 4km uphill stretch to finally reach the site. Ensuring we still had our teeth at the end of the downhill ride back was a bonus.

    The terrain of this tour is quite hilly with the first few days being being mostly up. Yes, the down hills did come too but that was later on. A couple of us classified only one hill as a “killer hill” (end of day 1) and although no hill by itself was extra hard it was a tough tour purely because of the sheer volume of hills. If you do chose this tour be prepared from a fitness perspective. Like most things in life you only get out of it what you put in. To enjoy the castles, towns and cycling ensure you are very fit and very capable. There is definitely more prestige in saying you cycled the trip instead of seeing it from a van.

    Huw and Carolyn direct the tour but also own the company. They are friendly, affable, well traveled and have all your interests at heart. Everything was organized perfectly and the trip went seamlessly. Their preparation helped make this a truly memorable holiday and a positive cycling experience. Thank you Huw & Carolyn and thank you to the other group members who made it a great holiday too.

    We recently completed the October session of the Border Castles tour and had a wonderful time. Cycling the quiet “undulating” (hilly) roads through beautiful rural countryside was a true pleasure. The many castles we visited along the way provided great photo opportunities, especially without the crowds of other tourists who visit similar historical sites in the coastal cities. We particularly enjoyed Monsaraz, the Fort at Elvas, Castelo de Vide (the Chocolate Shop is an excellent place to visit), Marvao and the Standing Stones. Huw and Carolyn did a great job of selecting a wonderful variety of comfortable accommodations and great restaurants serving traditional Portuguese food. It was a pleasure to cycle and spend time with them and the rest of the guests in our group. We highly recommend Pedal Portugal to others who wish to enjoy a similar great cycling experience.

    We had the privelege of being part of the first group to experience the Eastern Explorer Tour and what a treat. Carolyn and Huw put an incredible amount of time, thought and effort into the planning of the entire trip.
    While some days presented with ‘significant’ hills, every day was a good, challenging ride that ensured I became fitter and stronger all the time and conquered hills that I previously would not have even attempted.
    At the end of every day we were faced with excellent accommodation that was drenched in history (Moura was my personal favourite). There is no place for vegetarians on this trip so prepare to experience all the local meat, and some wonderul octopus and fish pie.
    If you are looking to do a cycling trip through Portugal and are either a strong cyclist or looking for a trip that will test your mettle then sign up now. And as for Carolyn and Huw, they are the best! You honestly could not ask for better tour guides.

    Pedal Portugal will spoil you for any other bike tour. Huw and Carolyn have created something really unique and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to anyone. Every day was a well thought out adventure with great cycling, empty roads, fun companionship, interesting sights and lots of sunshine! We had a diverse range of accommodations (all great) and wonderful evening meals. Thanks to everyone on this tour for making it so special.
    Maureen and Paul (California)

    I’ve just returned from Huw & Carolyn’s Eastern Explorer Sept 2016 tour. As a first time to Portugal I was looking for a “not cookie cutter” cycle trip in the less trodden areas, which I could then combine with my own travel to more touristed areas.

    The Eastern Explorer tour was just perfect! The cycling itself, the locations, accommodation, food & wine and Huw & Carolyn’s organization & logistics were wonderful. We could clearly feel the care & thoughtfulness which had gone into the planning & throughout the trip once we were on it. This, and our fabulous group and blue sunny skies the whole time., all really made the trip for me.

    I echo Chris & Sue to everything in their review. The easy going nature, good hard riding as you felt like it or take it easy if you felt like that, made for such great comeraderie through out.

    The Eastern Explorer Tour was a great trip made all the more enjoyable by our wonderful tour leaders Huw and Carolyn. The places we stayed in overnight were wonderful and a mix of old and new. However, there is a price to pay for the spectacular views from the overnight accommodation. Most of the towns are situated on top of what Huw termed a “significant” hill.
    After riding for 70 km through fairly hot countryside the sight of our hotel several kilometres up a steep incline was often accompanied by groans from the group. Luckily the reward for the climb was always a bar with cold beer. In my opinion a small price to pay!
    The cycling is fairly strenuous and a good workout for experienced riders. Anyone who does an occasional weekend ride on the weekend may well struggle with the distances and hills.
    I would love to do the tour again in the spring when the countryside is green and perhaps the temperature a bit cooler.
    Thanks for a very memorable experience Huw and Carolyn.
    Chris (Australia)

    Super fun vacation, riding on good roads with almost no cars. Loved having the small group (10 total), so well taken care of by Huw & Carolyn the whole time. Thanks for picking all the great hotels and dinner venues. It was especially fun to see Carolyn or Huw biking back to meet us after parking the van further on. Even our one day of rain riding was okay, since we had a big tailwind pushing us along and our Goretex suits kept us pretty comfortable. We thoroughly recommend this bike tour to anyone who likes to ride free of gear, through rolling countryside, interspersed with interesting stops along the way.

    We loved the Border Castles trip. We were intimidated by getting saddled with having to keep up with guys who had recently done the Leadville 100 – it’s worth noting that one of them was the only one to get lost and the other fell off his bike.
    Actually the group jelled well and went at a pace we could all do. There was enough time to do our own thing that we looked forward to the 2-3 hour dinners. The rides through lovely cork tree “parks”, rolling hills of the Alentejo, the medieval castles, low-traffic roads, and the super pleasant guides, Huw and Carolyn, made the days go far too quickly. We loved the choice of towns and accommodations and even got to catch the famous bull/horse & rider tango, a Portuguese bull fight.
    Did I mention that we would highly recommend a Pedal Portugal trip?

    We just finished the “Borders and Castles” tour with Huw and Carolyn and had a fantastic time! Everything was perfectly planned with great routes, delicious food and drink, awesome castles and sights everywhere! I would highly recommend this group and biking in Portugal to anyone.

    My wife and I recently finished the Algarve Winter cycling tour. We came away very satisfied. Huw and Carolyn were excellent hosts, always able to please. The routing and preparations were all well done. The countryside was beautiful, and the roads we travelled were very quiet. Value for cost was excellent. I would strongly recommend PedalPortugal to anyone considering a cycling trip.

    What could be better than biking from small town to town in the Algarve during the winter season? Beautiful beach after beach with not a soul around. Blue skies and warm temperatures. Our groups comings and goings heralded by the crow of roosters and the barking of the local dogs. Morning coffees in the local town cafe. Castles to explore. The smell of the orange blossoms in the air and wild calla lilies in bloom everywhere. I miss it already.

    Carolyn and Huw are wonderful hosts making our bicycle trip through this serene environment absolutely effortless. Their gracious personalities and attention to detail was amazing. From arranged accommodation that was always comfortable to dinners out in local restaurants sampling authentic Portuguese cuisine, everything flowed seamlessly making our job simply to enjoy the ride.

    Thanks to Carolyn and Huw for making this such a memorable time for Gary and I.

    What can I say? What are you waiting for? You’ll love it!

    Louise Day and Gary Bodeux

    My husband and were on the second Pedal Portugal tour starting Feb/March 2016. We loved having Huw and Carolyn plan and take us on a tour of the Algarve. They are great leaders, gracious, knowledgable and nice to spend time with.
    We had a good group and finished each day ready to enjoy a good meal and comfortable bed. The days were never too long, they were varied, with just enough “undulating”and we loved the region. We generally had good food that was varied and each place we stayed at was interesting and offered great post bike exploring. We loved the port tasting in Silves, the black pork and German made hotel in Monchique. We hiked around the tallest mountain in the Algarve and enjoyed “bluebird skies” most days. We missed biking in the only rain by 30 minutes! Chasing waves on the beach with the girls was just plain fun! We loved the tour and would love to try another.
    Thanks to Huw and Carolyn for a well planned tour and thanks to our tour mates that made the whole trip fun.

    I was a fellow traveller of all of the above & agree with what they say! Some of the above are used to light weight tent touring & being self-reliant; this tour worked for them and will work for those who like to let others take the strain – and for a winter sunshine break I was happy to have someone meet me at the airport assemble my bike (yes!) and then guide me round quiet back roads I’d not have found myself.

    I loved seeing the storks which greet their mates with clacking of beaks (we have so much in common) but I spotted parrots and a little owl too. It’s also fun to see what is growing up in the hills (metre high broad beans in February… And in the evenings – food for famished cyclists – bread and olives and cheese and sardines; then soup and stew (maybe cataplana – fish stew) dessert – expect ‘pudim’ = crème caramel, + coffee and maybe a digestif. And all that at a good restaurant that Huw and Carolyn have road tested. I’m only just back to pre-tour weight…

    A guided tour. Something I have never attempted before. I usually tour alone or in the company of one other. I’m used to having my independence and am notoriously bad at following instructions from others. Also my wife points out that I have a wicked sense of humour that others just don’t get unless they know me very well. She was starting to feel sorry for my fellow travellers before I had even finished my packing.
    Well as it turned out I was introduced to a great bunch of people. They were very understanding and put up with me for the whole ten days . A group of different nationalities and characters came together and made this a really enjoyable and memorable experience. Huw and Caroline went out of their way to look out for everybody and their standard of care for the riders was exceptional. Nothing was too much trouble and on the odd occasion when something did not turn out as planned it was soon sorted out.
    I thoroughly recommend Pedal Portugal and wish them well with this lovely business endeavour.

    Well that was a fun trip. Having never cycled in Portugal before I found the routes varied and interesting on quiet (but undulating) roads. The hotels and restaurants that had been chosen were generally of a very high standard.

    Huw and Carolyn were enthusiastic and knowledgeable and made sure that everything ran smoothly throughout the trip. It was a thoroughly enjoyable tour.

    I hugely recommend Pedal Portugal’s guided tour. Lovely guides with a vast amount of experience and knowledge that they were more than happy to pass on.
    If you are thinking you would like to do some bike touring in Southern Europe but are unsure of how do-able it is, the tour works perfectly as a platform to build your knowledge & confidence from. And you are doing that whilst meeting a diverse group of cool ,friendly people with whom you already know you have interests in common.
    I found it a privilege to meet them all; and collectively, what a vast amount of touring experience, to tap into.

    Best trip ever! Such lovely guides, such a beautiful country…..and the other riders??? Well, too much fun…hope our new friends all make it to our home Canada for a warm shower one day.

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