Bespoke Tours

TAILOR-MADE BIKING TRIPS FOR PRIVATE GROUPS 

Get your own group of riders together and we can create and personally deliver a tour specifically designed to meet your needs and interests.

For anyone interested in cycling and exploring one of Europe’s loveliest, yet least developed, tourist destinations Portugal has no shortage of options and attractions:

Historic towns, rolling plains, stunning castles, deep river valleys, tiny back roads, sleepy villages, low hills, big mountains, windswept beaches – the choice is yours.

My wife Carolyn and I will both design and deliver the tour for you. We only work with small groups (maximum of 10 riders) and we’ll be there with you from day one of the tour until we say goodbye at the end. We believe that friendly, personal and expert service is what makes our tours – and your experience – special.

We can adapt one of our existing guided tours or plan something completely different depending on what you want to do, where you want to go and how much time you’ve got.  

Possibilities could include:

  • 12-night tour – cycling 60-80km (37-50 miles) for eight days with three rest days (plus optional extra rides). Price: €1,520* 
  • 8-night tour – riding 40-60km (25-37 miles) on alternate days based on two or three centres. Price: €1,270* 
  • 6-night tour – with five days of riding up to 90km (55 miles). Price: €1,135* 
  • *Prices are per person, based on 10 in group

For a further example, scroll down for details of a 10-night bespoke tour we ran in May/June 2017.

You can also see what riders thought of our previous tours on our Reviews page. For further tour news and other information on biking in Portugal don’t forget to also check out the Pedal Portugal Facebook page and blog

“Huw and Carolyn…made everything seamless for us. The 10-day bespoke tour in the Alentejo that Huw planned and delivered for me and 8 friends…met and exceeded all expectations.” Caroline Moore, Oregon.

Why bespoke?

With a closed group, you and your companions get to decide all the important questions when planning the tour, such as:

  • The kind of places you want to visit and stay in
  • How far you want to ride and the kind of terrain you prefer for cycling
  • Whether to bike everyday or have a mix of main cycling days and other, optional rides

Depending on factors like where we are going and the time of year, we may also be able to factor in other activities like walking tours of historic towns, trips to see old fortresses, visits to the beach etc.

Ideally we need a minimum of six riders in order to make a tour viable – and keep down costs for you.

You are welcome to provide a detailed plan of exactly what you want or just give us a ‘wish list’ and then leave it to us to come up with options that meet your requirements.

During the planning stage we will advise you on what’s possible – and what’s not – and draw up a detailed trip plan for you and your group to consider so you know exactly what’s involved in terms of factors like:

  • the riding
  • likely weather conditions
  • other possible activities
  • accommodation and food
  • bicycle hire
  • the price

Oregon group – example bespoke tour

Put together for a group of nine riders, this trip was an adaptation of our highly popular Border Castles Tour. 

However, because this group wanted shorter rides (25-35 miles) and more rest days with optional extra rides, we altered the route to suit their requirements.

We took the group on a route that followed the following itinerary:

  • Day One: arrive in the UNESCO-listed city of Évora and enjoy our first group meal in a local restaurant
  • Day Two: ride to the picture-perfect village of Monsaraz with its 14th century hilltop castle, cycling nearly all the way on quiet rural roads. 62km
  • Day Three: optional morning ride (32km) to visit castle at nearby town of Mourão, afternoon exploring Monsaraz (or relaxing by the pool)
  • Day Four: ride to the marble town Vila Viçosa, a former royal wedding gift with its 16th century ducal palace and quiet old centre. 50km
  • Day Five: cycle along back roads towards the Guadiana river and on to Elvas, home to one of Portugal’s biggest and most impressive military complexes, arriving in time for an afternoon visit to the wonderfully preserved Nossa Senhora de Graça fort. 39km
  • Day Six: optional morning ride (32km) to an old bridge over the Guadiana – and a chance to bike over the border into Spain – followed by an afternoon walking tour of Elvas, where our accommodation is a former 16th century convent and Napoleonic era military hospital 
  • Day Seven: turn north and visit several quiet country villages, riding past cork oaks, olive trees and rolling pasture on our way to the sleepy little town of Arronches. 52km
  • Day Eight: we head north-west on rolling roads, visiting typical white-washed Alentejo villages before reaching the historic little town of Alter do Chão, home to a small ruined castle and a former royal stud farm, where we stay in another old convent. 45km
  • Day Nine: we continue north-east across a gentler landscape, visiting one of the biggest Neolithic tombs in Portugal and the old farming town of Crato before the final stretch on tiny rural roads to the delightful old town of Castelo de Vide. 54km
  • Day Ten: optional morning ride in countryside on the edge of the Serra de São Mamede natural park, plus a chance to visit the fabulous village of Marvão, a frontier border post with a 13th century castle perched atop a rocky ridge with amazing panoramic views – and nine-mile walk back to Castelo de Vide. 
  • Day Eleven: option to transfer back to Lisbon or other onward travel

“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.” Deanne Unruh, Oregon.

Prices and what’s included

For a group of 10 people, this tour would cost €1,425 per rider* – around £1,300 or $1,670 US at current exchange rates (June 2017).
 
This includes:
  • 10 nights bed and breakfast (based on two people sharing a twin or double room) in a good hotel or guest house
  • evening meal – typically three courses with house wine or beer and coffee**
  • picnic lunch on main riding days (not provided on optional rides/rest days)
  • support vehicle to carry luggage etc (and emergency transport)***
  • transfers to and from Lisbon airport on Days One and Twelve if required****
  • experienced guide to ride with you*****

Notes:

*Price: The price above is an example of how much a 10-night bespoke tour is likely to cost. Various factors – such as the part of Portugal being visited, the time of year, the number in the group and the length of the tour – could result in the price going up or down!

Once agreed, the price in euros will not change. However, as a UK-based operator, payment will be taken in sterling based on the exchange rate at the time.

**Food: Portugal is not a great place for vegetarians or anyone with special dietary requirements. I will try my best to make suitable arrangements but few Portuguese restaurants have vegetarian options and choices will be limited. Please let us know about any dietary requirements and seek advice before booking.

***Support van: The support van will carry your luggage. It can also take passengers if a rider is unable to continue cycling following an accident, mechanical breakdown or other emergency. It is not suitable for using on a casual hop-on, hop-off basis and riders should be capable of riding the agreed distances on consecutive days.

****Transfers: We may be able to offer a pick-up service on Day One but this will depend on numbers and arrival times. If this is not practical for any reason we can book train/bus tickets and advise on alternative travel arrangements. The same applies for transfers at the end of the tour.

*****Guides: My wife and I will alternate between riding with you and driving the support vehicle.

What’s not included?

The price above does not include:

  • travel to Portugal and any internal transport other than that agreed upon as inclusive to the tour
  • insurance – you are responsible for ensuring you have all appropriate medical/health/travel insurance
  • snacks, coffees etc. – and lunch on days other than on main route
  • bike hire (see below)

Wherever possible, if anyone is unable to ride I will try to take them in the support vehicle. However, the support vehicle is not intended for taking passengers. If essential, I can make arrangements with a taxi or bus but any individual costs will be additional.

Optional extras?

Cycle hire – road or hybrid bike – can be arranged on your behalf but is extra. We work with Cycling Rentals, a company that is based near Lisbon but can deliver anywhere in Portugal. The exact cost will vary depending on the type of bike, any accessories required and the number of people hiring. However, the cost for a road touring bike/hybrid suspension touring bike will be around €180 for a 10-day tour.

Single rooms should also be possible but for a 10-night trip this will involve an additional supplement of around €220 (exact price will depend on numbers/month).

For anyone wanting additional accommodation, either before or after the tour, I can either book this for you or suggest various options but this would be an extra cost.

Supporting a worthy cause

We’ve both been long-term supporters of the disaster relief organisation ShelterBox and we donate £15 to the charity for every rider who joins any of our tours.

What now?

Because we can only operate a limited number of tours every year, any bespoke tours have to be fitted into our schedule alongside (or instead of) our regular tours.

If you are interested in a bespoke tour the best thing is to contact me as soon as possible to let me know what you have in mind. Then I can tell you what’s possible and come up with some suggestions.

The form below is not comprehensive but will help give me a useful start on what you’re looking for – otherwise you can also email me via pedalportugal@gmail.com

 

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