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Mountain Bike Tour in Historical Villages - North Loop

Duration 8 Days
Type Self Guided
distance 350 km
Lodging Comfort
Ref. Tour: tour011

The North Loop of the Grand Route of Historical Villages (GR22) is circular and nearly 350 km long. It is split up into 7 stages that will take you to 8 of the 12 Portuguese Historical Villages. 

The stages run along ancestral trails and invite you to discover and explore the region’s history. Full immersion in natural beauty, discoveries around every corner, and the wealth of heritage are invitations for great times, where your bike takes centre stage. From military defence walls to castles and fortresses, Portugal’s historical villages will be conquered once again... By you and a bike, on the GR22!

 

Daily Itinerary

Day 01
Arrival Lisboa /Porto
Take the train to Covilhã or ask us to arrange a private Transfer from Lisboa/Porto to Covilhã (Optional).
Transfer from Covilhã to the Historical Village of Belmonte.
The town of Belmonte in Cova da Beira commands a broad view of the eastern slopes of the Serra da Estrela mountains and fully justifies its name. Tradition has it that the name Belmonte comes from its location (beautiful hill). Some say, however, that it comes from 'belli monte', the hill of war. A sunny place, with good people, endless vistas, and centuries-old history.
Overnight in Belmonte.
Day 02
Belmonte - Soito (50 km / 1096 m D+)
Today you will visit one of the oldest, most beautiful towns in Portugal: the Historical Village of Sortelha. It has kept its physiognomy all this time and is considered one of the best-preserved. A visit to its streets and alleys, enclosed in a defensive ring and watched over by a lofty 13th-century castle, takes outsiders back to past centuries, among medieval tombs, by the Manueline pillory, or in front of the renaissance church.
After that, you will cross Sabugal. This town has a beautiful Castle, known for being the base for British and Portuguese troops during the third French invasion. It has played its part in the history of one of Europe’s oldest nations.
Overnight in Soito.
Day 03
Soito - Almeida (68 km / 1155 m D+)
Today's ride will take you to 2 idyllic Historic Villages:
CASTELO MENDO: This predominantly medieval village is divided into two walled sections, the Citadel and Barbican. The oval citadel is the old town, which grew after a charter from King Sancho II. The new town, or Arrabalde de S. Pedro, is protected by a Dionysian wall that once boasted eight towers. They were partially destroyed by the 1755 earthquake. It still has its five gates, however (Vila, Guarda, Sol, Traição and D. Sancho gates). Castelo Mendo's charter granted and regulated the first free fair in Portugal. It was held three times a year, at Easter, the feast of St. John the Baptist and the feast of St. Michael, and lasted for eight days.
ALMEIDA: Because of the need to modernize its outdated medieval structures after the Restoration (1641), Almeida set about building a new war infrastructure that was suited to the new artillery and would enable it to control the border. The stronghold is hexagonal and consists of six bulwarks, each with its ravelin. The town within the walls still has a substantial number of military buildings and very interesting civil architecture.
Overnight in Almeida.
Day 04
Almeida - Juizo (62 km / 1084 m D+)
The first stop of today will be the Historical Village of Castelo Rodrigo. As a whole, it is a genuine location of monuments preserving important medieval references. The most valuable features of its historical heritage are the old walls, the ruins of Cristóvão de Moura Palace, the 16th-century pillory, the medieval church, the parish church, the medieval cistern, and the inscriptions attesting to the existence of a substantial new-Christian community.
Leaving Castelo Rodrigo behind, you will descend to the Côa River, passing by the Faia Brava Park where the key natural values are rupicolous birds, cork oaks, holm oaks, riparian habitats, and temporary Mediterranean ponds.
After crossing the river to the other side, you will have the last climb of the day.
Overnight in Juízo.
Day 05
Juizo - Trancoso (40 km / 1000 m D+)
Leave behind Juízo village towards the Historical Village of Marialva, situated on a rocky mountain at an altitude of 580m. Marialva was already occupied before the Roman ruling. 
Your final destination will be the Historical Village of Trancoso, a town whose narrow streets and stone houses preserve the medieval atmosphere. The plateau on which it is situated, at an altitude of 870 meters, gave it a strategic position in the defence of the frontier with Spain and made it an important fortress during the Middle Ages. 
Time to explore the labyrinth of stone streets that lead to the town centre and the Pillory, where the Old Town and New Town meet.
Overnight in Trancoso. 
Day 06
Trancoso - Linhares da Beira (44 km / 763 m D+)
After leaving Trancoso behind, you will have a long descent through a beautiful valley, until the Mondego River. After crossing the river, you will have to go up to the next Historical Village.
Linhares da Beira is a 12th-century medieval village boasting unequalled 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's masterpiece and main attraction today. Wandering around the streets of this museum village is like travelling back in time to its history, all while feeling the breeze from the Mondego Valley brushing your face.
Overnight in Linhares da Beira.
Day 07
Linhares da Beira - Belmonte (67 km / 1700 m D+)
The journey of today will take you to Vale do Rossim, a breathtaking place where it's possible to refresh yourself. Leaving the Rossim Valley, the route passes through the Meteorological Observatory and goes down a dirt track until it begins a technical descent, partially by a sidewalk to the village of Manteigas. 
Manteigas is a town located next to the magnificent Valley of the River Zêzere, with high peaks and forest-covered slopes. It’s the genuine "mountain village". In Moorish times, an agreement was made affecting the thermal waters of the spa at Caldas de Manteigas. The village is also home to the headquarters of the Natural Park of Serra da Estrela. 
Leave Manteigas behind and move towards your final destination, the Historical Village of Belmonte. The town of Belmonte in Cova da Beira commands a broad view of the eastern slopes of the Serra da Estrela mountains and fully justifies its name. Tradition has it that the name Belmonte comes from its location (beautiful hill). Some say, however, that it comes from 'belli monte', the hill of war. A sunny place, with good people, endless vistas, and centuries-old history.
Overnight in Belmonte.
Day 08
Departure
Transfer from Belmonte to Covilhã (30 min), so you can take the train to Lisboa/Porto.
(Optional) Private Transfer from Belmonte to Lisboa/Porto
End of services.
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Dates & Prices

From 569.00€/person  |  Min. 2 participants

Single Supplement:
From: 155€

This tour is also possible Guided. Ask us for more information.

More Information

Included

7 nights in a double room with breakfast (based on 3* lodgings or similar)
Briefing with an A2Z Guide
Transfer from Covilhã Train station to the Historical Village of Belmonte
Transfer from the Historical Village of Belmonte to the Covilhã Train station
Self-Guided kit (Mobile APP with Routes) - You´ll need a smartphone/iPhone
Insurance
24 hours support line

*For more information about lodgings please contact us!


 
Extra Services

Extra night in Oporto (Hotel 2*/3*/4*): on request
Extra night in Lisboa (Hotel 2*/3*/4*): on request
Transfer from Covilhã to Belmonte (so you get the train from Lisboa/Porto to Covilhã): on request
Transfer from Belmonte to Covilha (so you get the train to Lisboa/Porto): on request
Private Transfer from Lisboa/Porto Airport to Belmonte: on request
Private transfer from Belmonte to Lisboa / Porto: on request
MBT Bike rental:  on request
Luggage transfers between stages: on request
E-Bike rental:  on request
Package of 7 dinners: 175€/person
Helmet rental: 20 €/person
Helmet (buy): 90 €/person
Gel pad for the saddle: 1,5€/day
GPS device rental: 50€
Powerbank rental: 15€

 
Not Included

Personal equipment
Other personal expenses
All items not mentioned in “included”
Flights


 

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