Route Planning Service

Want to go bicycling in Portugal? Unsure where to go or how to get there? Not certain of the best time to go? 

Setting off through a new country can be a challenge. Particularly when most guidebooks only tell you about the big towns – not the little back roads or where to find a bike shop. Route planning collageFor those who want to travel independently but aren’t sure where to go, I can put together bespoke rides and touring routes.

Based on your interests and preferences, I can create detailed itineraries taking you on cyclist-friendly routes across different parts of the country.

These can either include just the maps and advice on logistics like bus and train travel, bike hire etc. Or I can provide the maps and logistics advice plus detailed navigation instructions, as well as notes on places to see along the way and suggestions for accommodation. (See below for details.)

Expert knowledge

route planning 1
Thirsty work. Exploring the far north-east of Portugal in October 2014

Whether your interest is the landscape, history or the wine regions, I can use my knowledge of the country to help you decide where to go (and where not to go).

Equally importantly, I know many of the country’s roads. I can tell you where to find back roads that don’t appear on any printed maps. I can also tell you how to avoid busy highways – and where you have no choice but to join the traffic.

My wife and I rode the length of Portugal in 2005 on our first visit and we subsequently spent three years living in the country – which is when I launched the Pedal Portugal website. 

I still spend several months a year in Portugal and by now have ridden thousands of kilometres of the country’s roads. 

During the past couple of years I have published two guidebooks on cycling in Portugal, as well as launching a series of guided biking tours that take small groups of riders around some of my favourite parts of the country.

Please note: Planning detailed routes is not something I can always do instantly (I might be off leading a guided tour). If you want to use this service please give me at least a month’s notice. 

Scroll to the bottom of this page to see reviews from some of the riders who have already used my services.

What’s on offer

My route planning service is there for anyone needing help working out where to go in Portugal and I can offer two levels of help:

Maps-only

If you’re confident about navigating and just want to know where to find the best cycling, this is the simple option. I’ll provide the maps for your trip and any travel/logistics advice you need (see below).

Maps-Plus

This option gives even more comprehensive help with planning a bespoke cycle tour through Portugal. As well as designing the maps for a bespoke route or rides, I can also create detailed, turn-by-turn, navigation instructions, plus give advice on accommodation options.

First step

Whichever option you choose – and whether you’re planning a few rides from a holiday destination or a lengthy tour – the first step is to fill out the questionnaire below. 

Give as much information as possible on where you want to go, what you want to see (and don’t want to see), the kind of terrain/amount of ascent you like etc.

I’ll then liaise with you by email until I’ve got a good idea of what you want. After that, I’ll produce an outline route (see below). If necessary, I may also be able to arrange a WhatsApp call to discuss your ideas.

Outline route

After we’ve agreed on an outline for your trip, I will then produce an outline route (or several) based on what you’ve told me.

Once you’ve approved the outline, I will send an invoice and get to work on the detailed plan.

Maps etc

Example route map - click on the image to visit the ridewithgps website
Example route map – click on the image to visit the ridewithgps website

The detailed plan will use maps created using the RideWithGPS app/website.

The maps can then be downloaded to Garmins, phones etc and viewed using Google Maps, Open Street Map etc.

RideWith GPS can also generate a cue sheet giving turns, junctions and distances, athough this does not give any actual description.

For an example route, click on the example map.

What’s included

Maps-Only will include 1,2 & 3  below.

Maps-Plus includes all of the following:

  1. A route map* for each day – including alternative routes where available/suitable. This can be downloaded to a cycle computer or printed out as detailed directions.
  2. A ride profile. This will show the gradient/incline along the entire route, metres of ascent/descent, the steepest incline/decline and the average over the day.
  3. Logistics advice, covering things such as getting from airports, using public transport along the way or hiring bikes.
  4. Detailed directions for the each day of riding, plus notes on places to visit/sights along the way. Where possible I will also include information on cafes, supermarkets etc so you know where to find provisions.
  5. Accommodation suggestions. Booking where to stay will be up to you but I will give you ideas for anything from campsites to rural B&Bs or hotels, depending on what you’re after.

If there’s anything else you want to know, just ask. I can’t promise to answer every query but I’ll try my best.

Please note: I can not guarantee to have personally ridden every kilometre of routes I recommend. However, I will probably have ridden/travelled at least 80% of the roads involved. Other sections will be based on detailed research and personal knowledge of the general area.

Charges – Maps-Only

There is a minimum fee of £15 (GBP) for each day of route planning (as detailed above) for rides of up to 80km/50 miles. For longer routes the price is as follows:

  • 80-120km = £20
  • 120-160km = £25
  • 160-200km = £30

Payment is required in advance once an outline route has been agreed. 

Charges – Maps-Plus

There is a minimum fee of £25 (GBP) for each day of route planning (items 1-6 above) for rides of up to 80km/50 miles. For longer routes the price is as follows:

  • 80-120km = £35
  • 120-160km = £45
  • 160-200km = £50

Payment is required in advance once an outline route has been agreed. 

Questionnaire

11 thoughts on “Route Planning Service”

  1. We are finally on our flight home and i wanted to thank you for the perfect plan you made for us.
    The route was beyond my expectations. I didn’t expect it to be so diversed with new sights on each day. I prepared myself to a monotone landscape and i appreciate you for taking it into considerations.
    It was quite unusual for us but we didn’t get lost even once thanks to the thorough directions you gave us.
    Thanks
    Ilan

  2. Huw’s route planning services and general advice about cycling in Portugal were invaluable for me. Huw crafted three routes for me on quiet, scenic roads which I would not have been able to find or create on my own. His routes included very good attention to detail, including where to park and where to get food and drinks along the way. This was my first time riding by myself in another country and Huw’s advice made me feel much more confident about the rides.

  3. Huw planned a 6 day cycling tour primarily in the Alentejo region east of Lisbon. Prior to the trip, Huw was very responsive. When I first contacted him, I knew nothing of Portugal and had no preconceived ideas of where to travel. Huw suggested Alentejo and it was perfect as I toured on decent roads, with a variety of terrain, and visited many interesting places. He also provided excellent suggestions on where to stay, where to rent a bike, and what sites to visit. All this value add made the trip go very smoothly. On the trip itself, I found the cue sheets quite detailed and easy to follow and the digital maps, including the suggestion to use the app, maps.me, were also very useful. The trip was a very memorable experience for me and much of the credit goes to Huw. I unreservedly recommend him for a custom, unguided tour. If you are concerned about the cost, I think you’ll find it’s money well spent as Huw will save you hours (days?) of planning and will save you some money by directing you to good value accommodations and bike rentals.

  4. Huw devised a great 6 day plan for my wife and me in April, 2017. He also gave excellent advice on hotels and other logistics. Also very helpful was his suggestions on loading the detailed maps onto a phone app so I could see all details as i rode (brought an inexpensive mount for my I-Phone on my bike). Huw also suggested a bike rental company, http://www.cycling-rentals.com, which we used and were very satisfied with. They had very good, newer equipment (not always the case) where it was supposed to be – these people are real pros. Portugal is a wonderful place to ride and visit. We will do it again and our first contact will be with Huw. Thanks.

  5. Huw’s map service was invaluable help to my husband and I as we rode for a month-long sojourn in Portugal in October 2016. His advice to start up north and end down south was his first good call, as we started with warmer weather in the northern mountains/national parks and headed south along the Spanish border to the coast as Fall arrived. Huw was available to answer questions and very generous with his time and knowledge. You couldn’t find a more knowledgeable person to help you with a riding itinerary in Portugal. Thanks again Huw.

    Sandy & Frank
    Olympic Valley, CA

  6. My wife and I completed a 5 day Castelo tour of Alentejo region of Portual that Huw plotted out. We are both experienced bike tourers and had never really used a service like this before. This was one of the best trips that we have ever done. Huw directed us through the most picturesque small country roads (whenever possible), suggested great places for us to stay and have lunch along the way. He worked with us to make sure that we had the daily mileage and also suggested key points of interest along the way. We stayed in some of the most beautiful Castelo’s (Castelo de Vide, Evas, Elvora, Alcacer do Sal) along the way, saw thousand of acres of cork trees, herds of cattle and enjoyed the local cusine at all of our stops.

  7. Huw put together a 14 day route from Guarda to Evora and it was about perfect. Detailed and the right distances for us. Two thumbs up!

  8. On holiday with the family but being a keen cyclist was wanting to do some road cycling whilst here. I asked Huw to design me a couple of routes (he actually came back with 2 variations of each route so ended up with 4 rides which was great) as i don’t know the area at all and didn’t want to spend the time cycling looking at maps, nor trying to design something on my garmin and ending up on bad roads etc.

    Thus far I have done two lovely rides, leaving each morning at 7am to try to avoid the strong algarve sun. The routes have been excellent, encompassing both coastal views and lovely inland small roads. A terrific service I have to say as took all the hassle away, literally hired a bike (again using a shop Huw recommended), uploaded the routes to my garmin and off i went. Great fun rides and it got me to see some of the algarve that I would have not seen otherwise. I will do the other two rides this week. Thank you Huw!

  9. Huw did a wonderful job helping us with our trip to Portugal in March 2016. We asked him to help us plan day bike rides for us on our tandem throughout Portugal. We were on 21 day trip. He suggested a driving route to 14 towns over about 1,000 miles making sure that we saw great scenery, castles, museums, Roman ruins, and other interesting places. All we had to do was follow the maps that we downloaded on our phones and use the Maps.Me app. With Maps.Me your phone becomes a GPS device He also sent us a description of each of the bike rides and driving trips between the 14 towns where we stayed. What we liked a lot was that Huw’s directions took us on many back roads and we saw things that most tourists do not see. The routes he suggested were always very good roads. The bike routes were well planned on good biking roads. He took into account that my wife and I were on a tandem. We would highly recommend using Huw’s planning services.

  10. BEIRA trip

    Huw devised a 5 day cycle trip for me in the Beiras Region of Portugal during March 2016. His abilities are unique and outstanding. From the cycle route maps I downloaded and used on maps.me to the detailed advice I how to get to the start points and back to Lisbon as well as referral to a cycle rental company . He scores 11/10 ! Why better than perfect? Because he also arranged for perfect autumn weather and the only day it was overcast and with slight rain was on the allotted rest day!

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