Live, Love, Ride – Cycling in Portugal
The Douro region
Terrain Profile: Hilly. Flat sections by the riverside, followed by big climbs and descents, with great tarmac.
Type of ride: Great for mid size rides, from 60 to 80kms, during which you can easily climb 1000 to 2000m accumulated height.
Best time of the year: May to July and September to October.
How to arrive and explore: Porto airport is the nearest and where the Douro river reaches the sea. From there it’s easy to drive or ride up the river, to the Douro Vinhateiro, the most scenic part of the river. Peso da Régua or Pinhão are great places to start discovering this region. You can then head up to the Douro International Park where the river reaches Spain, near Barca D’Alva and Freixo de Espada a Cinta.
Region description: The Douro is known for being the world’s first demarcated wine region. The UNESCO world heritage wine terraces blend in with the steep mountains that descend towards the river and are well-known for producing some of the world’s best wines. This is a great region to ride, as the roads are generally in excellent condition. If you like to climb, you’ll love it out here as you’ll get long, 8 to 13km climbs that are always rewarded with amazing viewpoints over the river.
The best way to tackle the region is to start your ride between Peso da Régua and Pinhão, riding softly on the N222 (voted best road of the world by Avis) and then explore the climbs towards Tabuaço, Alijó, Lamego or even to S. Salvador do Mundo lookout point.
Enjoy your afternoons visiting the wine cellars, going on a boat ride, tasting the wines and the local gastronomy for an excellent day out on the saddle. Continue exploring the river by going east, towards São João da Pesqueira for increasingly tougher climbs and different landscapes. You’ll find great wine hotels in the region to use during your explorations.
Tours and events: You can join 2000 other cyclists and ride the Douro Granfondo, which will occur on the 1st of May of 2016 for a great cycling weekend. Or book a bike tour in the Douro any time you please.
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