Home > Jewels and Treasures along the Silver Coast: Porto to Coimbra
NB: Starting on another weekday is possible for groups (must be 4 or more at time of booking and departure).
This week-long bike tour on Portugal’s west coast weaves a tale of two cities -- and all the seaside villages, natural landscapes, and cultural heritage in between!
The itinerary starts in Porto, a vibrant urban centre on the Douro River, famous for its historic districts and monuments, as well as its production of Port Wine. At the other end of the route lies venerable Coimbra, with its 13th-century university, and fantastic collection of churches, monasteries, and cultural institutions. Both cities have a charming character that is both historic and modern, where you can enjoy a sangria on a riverside terrace after a day of wandering among treasured relics of eras past.
Along the way, you’ll follow quiet roads and cycle paths through pine woods, along lagoons and sand dunes, and explore the lovely towns and beaches that line Portugal’s renowned “Silver Coast”. Tour the canals of Aveiro in a traditional Moliceiro boat, go bird-watching in the Natural Reserve of the São Jacinto Dunes, and experience the charms of coastal life in Mira and Figueira da Foz. Dine daily on fresh fish and other local specialties, and let yourself dream about never having to leave this idyllic corner of the world...
We recommend flying in early to Porto, to make the most of your first day! After arriving at your hotel in the city centre, you’re free to explore this charming World Heritage city to your heart’s content. Walk around the historic Ribeira quarter or cross the bridge towards the Port wineries and cellars that rise up from the south bank. Wherever you choose to wine and dine, you can’t go wrong with Porto’s excellent variety of restaurants.
After breakfast and a briefing with our local representative, you’ll spend the day pedaling along Portugal’s stunning Atlantic coast, following bike paths and quiet roads. Your main challenge today:
not getting too distracted by the ocean views and not stopping at every beach you pass! Cap off the ride with a peaceful section through a quaint pine forest; when you emerge, you’ll find yourself at Furadouro, a friendly town known for its superb fish.
Your second day of riding takes you through the Natural Reserve of the São Jacinto Dunes, a protected area featuring serene sand dunes and freshwater ponds. If you’re a bird enthusiast, keep an eye out for migratory species like the tufted duck and herring gull as you pedal along the flat stretches.
From the village of São Jacinto just south of the reserve, you’ll need to catch a ferry to continue on to Aveiro. If you have time, we highly recommend taking a small tour on a Moliceiro, the vibrant hand-painted wooden boats traditionally used for gathering seaweed. Weaving through the canals of this “Portuguese Venice”, you’ll find much to delight in, from the Troncalhada salina (salt pans) to the striking Art Nouveau architecture. For a sweet treat, learn how to make ovos mole, the delicious typical pastry of Aveiro -- it makes the perfect finish to the day’s activities!
Pack some ovos moles for the road and set off from Aveiro, following lovely paths along beaches, rivers, and pine woods towards the small fishing village of Mira. Pedaling lagoon-adjacent for 10 kilometers (6 miles), admire the picturesque town center with its multi-colored striped houses (palheiros) in Costa Nova, and enjoy a beachside lunch at Praia da Vagueira. Your accommodations are located by the seaside just outside of Mira, where you will find more palheiros and enough fresh fish on the dinner table to make your mouth water! Take in the sunset over the nearby lagoon and go for an evening stroll before heading back to your hotel for the night.
You’ll head slightly inland today from Mira, as you join up with the Estrada Atlântica cycling path -- the largest in Portugal, spanning a total of 62 km (39 miles). Let your thoughts wander while cycling peacefully through green fields and wild pine woods. Your return to the coast comes after Quiaios, and you’ll spend the rest of the way trailing the sea breeze until Figueira da Foz. Relax on the beach, catch a show at the casino (one of the oldest in Portugal), or visit the 16th-century Santa Catarina fort and its photo-friendly park.
For the last ride of your trip, you’ll be alternating between city trails and a tranquil cycle path along the winding Mondego River and its rice fields on your way to Coimbra. Coimbra itself is a lively cultural centre, due in large part to its 13th-century university (the oldest in Portugal!) Drop your bikes off at the hotel and spend the rest of the afternoon exploring the city on foot, from the World Heritage buildings in its beautiful historic centre to the more contemporary riverfront with its spiffy dining and shopping districts. Indulge in some of the local specialties for dinner, which include leitão (roasted suckling pig), chanfana (meat stew), and arrufadas (sweet rolls), and let the lilting strains of fado music transport you through the memories you’ve made over the past week.
If you’re ready to say goodbye to Portugal, we’ll transfer you back to the airport in Porto; or you may choose to spend some more time in this enchanting country!
6 nights’ accommodation in 3- and 4-star hotels