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Tours

Castles Quest 2018

Duration 10 Days
dates September 14 - 23
Type Self Guided
Lodging Comfort

The Castle Quest is an event that challenges you to discover the history of the oldest European border through a self-supported adventure.
Portugal A2Z invites you to join us and ride for an 8 days adventure or in the shorter version for a weekend, riding 2 stages only.
Alone or with your team, this is a journey you don´t want to lose.

THE REGION
Find twelve villages spread in the Center of Portugal, each one more surprising than the one before. Crossing mesmerizing landscapes you will find these castle villages at the end of the day, after going trough perfect desert roads or ancient trails that lead to the top of the hill.

THE CONCEPT
Each participant is on their own and at their own risk and means to participate in a concept and philosophy of bikepacking.
The challenge is to cover numerous kilometers, in locations of elevated historical nature, following the general principle of total autonomy. The organization provides tools that make the adventure possible, integrated into a follow-up structure, guaranteeing information and security services.

BRING YOUR TEAM OR COME ALONE
Portugal A2Z Walking & Biking create several options of packages with accommodation and also accompanying packages, mostly for families. 
registration can be made alone, by Teams of 2, or Teams of 4.
The possibility to go through The Castles Quest in teams allows the Villages challenge to be shared as a team, which has oftentimes strengthened the history of the Historical Villages of Portugal. The course may be divided, with each element of the team doing a part of the same, and this division of responsibilities being up to the participants.

Full Package


Price per person  (sharing a double room): 790€

In this package, registration can be made alone, by Teams of 2, or Teams of 4.
The possibility to go through The Castles Quest in teams allows the Villages challenge to be shared as a team, which has oftentimes strengthened the history of the Historic Villages of Portugal.
The course may be divided, with each element of the team doing a part of the same, and this division of responsibilities being up to the participants.

This Package Base program includes:
9 accommodations with breakfast (sharing a double room)
GPS devise and GPS tracks
Registration  & Insurance
A2Z offer and water bottle

Notes / Extra Services:
Mechanical assistance during all stages: 120€*
Accommodation in a single room (supplement): 250€
Package 8 diners: 225€ (alcoholic drinks not included)
Transfers to and from airports: Limited to a limited number of places. On request

*mechanical assistance somewhere in the middle of the stage, plus at the end of each stage. This service occurs with a minimum of 5 participants. Does not include replacement parts and fluids.

Accompanying Package


Price per person  (sharing a double room): 590€

This Package Base program includes:
9 accommodations with breakfast (sharing a double room)
Maps and documentation with daily highlights to visit during riding days
Insurance
A2Z offer and water bottle

Notes / Extra Services:
Daily Guided Visit with van Support: on request
Accommodation in a single room (supplement): 250€
Package 8 diners: 225€ (alcoholic drinks not included)
Transfers to and from airports: Limited to a limited number of places. On request

The organization reserves a limited number of places in the hotels to host companions. These, however, will have to move during own rules, always respecting the rules of evidence, especially as regards the prohibition on the movement of vehicles which are not part of the organization.
The organization will give some indications of tourist to assist the accompanying persons in planning the days of the event and in points of potential tourist interest along the GR22.

Weekend Package


Price per person  (sharing a double room): 299€
September 21 - 23

(AVAILABLE FOR TEAMS AND INDIVIDUAL ATHLETES)
The course you will take is marked on the field (permanent sign) and is part of the GR22, the path marked North Loop. This course is circular, beginning and ending at the same village – the historical village of Linhares da Beira – and has a total distance of nearly 329 km.
The historical villages to overcome are the following: Belmonte, Sortelha, Castelo Mendo, Almeida, Castelo Rodrigo, Marialva, Trancoso, Linhares da Beira.

Registration System:
In both adventures (8 days/2 days), registration can be made alone, by Teams of 2, or Teams of 4.


The possibility to go through The Castles Quest in teams allows the Villages challenge to be shared as a team, which has oftentimes strengthened the history of the Historic Villages of Portugal.
The course may be divided, with each element of the team doing a part of the same, and this division of responsibilities being up to the participants. During registration, the team must inform the organization of the part of the course to be taken by each element.

This Package Base program includes:
2 accommodations with breakfast (sharing a double room)
GPS devise and GPS tracks
Insurance
A2Z offer and water bottle
Transfer from Starting point to Assistance point and to the end
Mechanical assistance in the middle  and at the end of the stages

Notes / Extra Services:
Accommodation in a single room (supplement): 50€
Package 2 diners: 50€/person (alcoholic drinks not included)
Transfers to and from airports: Limited to a limited number of places. On request

Other Packages


Mechanical Assistance Package:

Price per person: 150€ 
This Package Base program includes:
Mechanical assistance during all 9 stages*

*mechanical assistance somewhere in the middle of the stage, plus at the end of each stage. This service occurs with a minimum of 4 participants. Does not include replacement parts and fluids.


 
Transfers Package:

Transfers from/ to Lisbon Airport  to Linhares da Beira: 449€ (price per trip)
Transfer from/to Porto airport to Linhares da Beira: 260€ (price per trip)
Luggage transfers between the 8 riding days: 209€/person (this option is only available if there is a minimum of subscripted athletes)


 
Rental MBT Bikes:

Price per person (for 8 MBT days of the pedal): on request


 
Rental GPS & Tracks:

Price per person: 30€/person


 
Meals Package:

9 Dinners Package  - Price per person: 225€/person (alcoholic drinks not included)
8 Lunch boxes package of local specialties  - Price per person: 100€/person*

* This package is available with a minimum of 5 days in advance


 
Massage Package:

Price per person: on request
Pack of 4 massages at the end stages. Sessions of 15 minutes of sports massage by a specialized team. 

Daily Itinerary

Day 01
SEPTEMBER 14 - Linhares da Beira | Briefing
Optional Transfer from Lisbon/Porto to Linhares da Beira.
Linhares has a very interesting castle that is worth visiting. Rocky sections and ancient cobblestone paths are on today's menu.
Briefing & Time to prepare your bike for the first Castles Quest Journey.
Accreditation and registration:
Attain accreditation as a participant and register upon arrival to the event.
Sign the term of responsibility.
Receive documentation about The Castles Quest.
Charge GPS (if necessary).
Receive 1 Geolocator, which will be returned to the organization at the end of the adventure.
Deliver prizes to eventual partners of the challenge.
Watch the organization’s briefing about the adventure they will encounter in the next 8/2 days.
Participate in the opening Banquet Party.
Overnight in Linhares da Beira.
 
Day 02
SEPTEMBER 15 - MB Tour 1: Linhares da Beira | Vide ou Valezim
Distance: 67,34 km / 41,84 mi | climbing: 2118 m / 1253 ft.​

Linhares da Beira is a 12th-century medieval village boasting unique architectural and artistic diversity, as a legacy from different ages. It received its first charter from King Afonso Henriques in 1169. It was only later in the reign of King Dinis that its imposing castle was built, the village is a masterpiece and main attraction today. Wandering around the streets of this museum village is traveling back in time to its history and feeling the breeze from the Mondego Valley brushing your face.
Overnight in Vide ou Valezim.
Day 03
SEPTEMBER 16 - MB Tour 2: Vide ou Valezim | Dornelas ou Barroca
Distance: 56,10 km / 34,85 mi | climbing: 992 m / 3257 ft.

Valezim is a small parish in the municipality of Seia. This is known by the vestiges present here of the passage of Romans. There are sections of Roman road that had as limit Rome. The remaining sections still exist in Darrua and São Domingos.
Its greatest festivity is in honor of Our Lady of Health, held annually on the first Sunday in September.
Overnight in Dornelas ou Barroca.
Day 04
SEPTEMBER 17 - MB Tour 3: Dornelas ou Barroca | Castelo Novo
Distance: 45 km / 27,96 mi | climbing: 1679 m / 5508 ft.

Barroca – Dornelas do zezere
Inserted in the area of Pinhal Interior, with close proximity to the Zêzere River, this Shale Village has a dense hydrographic network, which gives it fertile and moist soils for agriculture. Today it has a wilder vegetation that is provided with natural pastures of herds. In the architecture arises the desire to beautify and give emotions to the construction, giving it greater aesthetic sense, thus being able to be seen enough windmills that take advantage of the river for its strength.
The use of slates of shale next to the main windows, as well as an opening of more unusual characteristics, tries to enrich the whole of the facade. The wooden structures, which are an integral part of the architecture that uses shale as a construction material, allows for few architectural ramblings. Over time, the facades take on nuances that make the village almost invisible in the landscape.
Overnight in Castelo Novo.
Day 05
SEPTEMBER 18 - MB Tour 4: Castelo Novo | Monsanto
Distance: 64,75 km / 40,23 mi | climbing: 1092 m /3582 ft.

In the heart of Serra da Gardunha, 650 meters above sea level, in a natural amphitheater landscape in green and grey, we discover Castelo Novo, surrounded by an aura of mysticism. Here we feel something fascinating, that surrounds us and harmonizes. All the natural environment captivates us, from the sound of the water that flows from the fountains to the eternal granite that lifts the village and carves the houses, the sidewalks, the squares. An entire architectural heritage unique and involved in nature.
At the exit of the village, in a small elevation, is the Cabeço da Forca, former execution zone of the condemned man, significantly marked by two skulls carved in the rock. It is next to this village that the springs of the waters of the Alardo are located.
The barnacle, excavated in the shell-shaped rock with a circular plant, has for centuries been used to make the "wine of all", an example of the collective work of the former rural communities.
Overnight in Monsanto.
Day 06
SEPTEMBER 19 - MB Tour 5: Monsanto | Sabugal
Distance: 67,59 km / 41,99 mi | climbing: 1326 m / 4350 ft.

Monsanto is at a high altitude, in a head that imposes itself when looking at most horizons. This Historical Village has a unique charm, which was awarded two titles in the 20th century - Portugal's Most Portuguese Village in 1938 and the Aldeia Histórica in 1995. Monsanto is considered a tourist icon of the region and is certainly an experience unique and unforgettable for those who venture to visit it. The oldest part is at the highest point, where the Templars built a fence with a tower to keep it.
This is an old place where the human presence is recorded very early. The archaeological remains present give an account of a Lusitanian Castro, traces of Roman occupation in Portugal (3rd century B. C.), but also Visigothic and Arab permanence. These archaeological remains bring a rich history to the place since it allows us to better understand the Portuguese culture.
Overnight in Sabugal.
Day 07
SEPTEMBER 20 - MB Tour 6: Sabugal | Almeida
Distance: 81,33 km / 50,53 mi | climbing: 1438 m / 4717 ft.
Sortelha is one of the most beautiful and ancient villages of Portugal. This was able to keep unchanged its urban and architectural physiognomy up to the present day, is even considered one of the best preserved. The old town is a medieval urban space (13th-14th century), which is very much altered by the interventions of the Manueline period (16th century) in the defensive needs and military organization of space. but since then the population had preferred to settle in the most fertile and less rugged zone away from the castle, leaving it to undergo changes to the present day.
Overnight in Almeida.
Day 08
SEPTEMBER 21 - MB Tour 7: Almeida | Rabaçal
Distance: 81,36 km / 50,55 mi | climbing: 1317 m / 4320 ft.

Almeida's origins are now lost in time, certainly in prehistory, but it is suspected that only in the Arabian domain has it received the name it now holds (Almeda - the table, due to the geographical situation of the plateau. Arabic Almeida was the scene of disputes with the kingdom of Leon (Spain) becoming definitely Portuguese in the late thirteenth century, this century in which the castle was completely rebuilt.
Almeida, faced with the need to modernize the obsolete medieval structures, was engaged after the Restoration, to build a renewed war machine that could be adapted to new firearms, and to allow it to seal the frontier. The main square is of a hexagonal plan, constituted by six bastions, to which correspond the same number of revelers.
Overnight in Rabaçal.
Day 09
SEPTEMBER 22 - MB Tour 8: Rabaçal | Linhares da Beira
Distance: 63,77 km / 27 mi | climbing: 1465 m / 4806 ft.

The name of "Rabaçal" in Meda, as it happens with other localities with the same denomination, has the certainty that, in its surroundings, there is a brook where there would be many “rabaças” (umbelliferous plant, latra rapatia). There are signs of much antiquity in the parish. Here you can still find sections of the Roman road that followed to Pocinho and from there to Chaves and Astorga.
The last stop is Linhares da Beira, a 12th-century medieval village boasting unequaled architectural and artistic diversity, as a legacy from different ages. Wandering around the streets of this museum village is traveling back in time to its history and feeling the breeze from the Mondego Valley brushing your face.
Overnight in Linhares da Beira.
Day 10
SEPTEMBER 23 - Departure
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