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Mountain Bike Tour in the Great Route of Zêzere

Duration 8 Days
Type Self Guided
Lodging Comfort

The world has changed quickly and in a way not seen in the last few decades. The good news is that Portugal has plenty of opportunities to offer you the most idyllic but safe regions to explore, avoiding crowds and staying in small lodging units.

Imagine yourself cycling in one of the most environmentally diverse natural areas in the country, where a Great Route with 370 km was created to allow closer contact with the natural heritage.
This challenging but enjoyable MBT trip on the GRZ, aka Great Route of Zêzere, follows the Zêzere river from its source, the Estrela mountain range, to its mouth, in Constância, where it meets the Tejo River. It is possible to appreciate the richness of the fauna and flora, and the humanized landscape that has been established, in an unforgettable mixture.

Daily Itinerary

Day 01
Arrival to Manteigas
Pick-up from the airport in Lisbon and transfer to Manteigas (optional).
Come and discover the "heart of Serra da Estrela". Manteigas is the perfect place to start exploring the fantastic territory of the Serra da Estrela Natural Park, and a stunning destination at any time of the year. This small town, populated since "Moorish times", is known for its fantastic handcrafted products: sheep's cheese and burel, the ancient fabric that protected the shepherds from the mountain weather.
Overnight in Manteigas.
Day 02
MTB Route 1: Covão d'Ametade - Covilhã (50 km)
Starting in Covão d'Ametade, where the Zêzere river is born, you will be following the right bank of the Zêzere, a route with spectacular views over Sameiro and the Zêzere Valley. Cycle between orchards and walled farms until Covilhã, one of the important gateways to Serra da Estrela. Covilha´s historical heritage is filled with bits from all ages, such as the making of woollen goods from the early Lusitanian shepherds, as well as an old Judiaria (Jewish Quarter).  
Overnight in Covilhã.
Day 03
MTB Route 2: Covilhã - Janeiro de Cima (59 km)
On this journey, you will start by crossing the Alvares Bridge, an area of the river once used as a beach by neighbouring populations, where families got together to fish, have a picnic, go to the bath or even do the laundry.
You´ll keep going down on ancient paths just a short distance from the river, passing up the imposing heaps of the Panasqueira Mines. Quickly you will arrive at your destination, the beautiful village of Janeiro de Cima, where you will easily see the houses' construction detail, where schist is combined with rolled stone from the nearby river. 
If you arrive early, it is possible to make a loop to visit Barroca, where the Schist Villages Management Center is located, or perhaps refresh yourself in the Lavandeira River Park.
Overnight in Janeiro de Cima.
Day 04
MTB Route 3: Janeiro de Cima - Vilar Cimeiro (55 km)
After leaving Janeiro de Cima, you will visit its "sister village", Janeiro de Baixo and, perhaps, have time to see its religious and architectural heritage. It is after this village that the River Zêzere reaches all its splendour, through the famous “curves” - the intricacies of Zêzere. You will also have the chance to see one of the most beautiful landscapes of the whole route - connecting the two above villages and the Machialinho Mountain Range and the Zêzere’s Meanders or Curbes, which are classified as a site of geological importance by UNESCO.
Overnight in Vilar Cimeiro.
Day 05
MTB Route 4: Vilar Cimeiro - Dornes (60 km)
One more day to enjoy the green of the landscape, the sounds and the scents that nature has to offer while noticing the marks the mining industry left behind. If you have time, don't miss the Aldeia do Xisto (schist village) of Pedrógão Pequeno, a place of mandatory stop and visit, where you can stroll over the Filipina Bridge and taste the traditional fish soup. Pass through the Bouçã and Castelo de Bode dams and, before arriving at the final destination, visit the São Paulo Mountain Range, a place of Moorish legends and some Visigothic graves.
Known as the Mythical Templar Land, Dorne is a small village right on top of a lovely peninsula, which on the very top has the famous Templar Tower of Dornes, the pentagonal defensive tower. This architectural feat is unique in Portugal and helped the Grand Masters of the enigmatic Order of the Templars make it a strategic point of riverside defence.
Overnight in Dornes.
Day 06
MTB Route 5: Dornes - Penedo Furado / Matagosa (75 km)
You´ll continue to cycle around areas where the Romans have been - where they extracted gold from the river waters and built the first buildings;  you will follow forest paths and see magnificent water mirrors. Watch out for the small windmills that follow most of the route and the Six Bridges of Palhais, taste the “Tigeladas” and “Achigã” fish at lunch, and look for the typical basketry of this region.
Overnight in Matagosa.
Day 07
MTB Route 6: Matagosa - Constância (51 km)
On this day you will cycle through a rocky massif whose unique characteristics make the landscape an authentic paradise, offering a set of small waterfalls. This is an excellent route to observe the flora and birdlife that enrich the region.
After crossing plantations of pine trees, fruit trees such as fig and cherry trees, vineyards and fields of cultivation, but before arriving at the final destination, visit the Live Science Center of  Constância.
Overnight in Constância.
Day 08
Private Transfer from Constância to Lisboa/Porto Airport (optional).
End of services.
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Dates & Prices

Price per person: on request  |  Min. 2 participants

More Information


7 nights with breakfast on selected accommodations
Virtual Briefing
Transfer from Manteigas to Covão d'Ametade on day 2
GPS tracks (using the app "Ride with GPS" on your phone)
Personal Accident Insurance 
24 hours Support line

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 Manteigas (so you get the train from Lisboa to Covilhã): on request
Transfer from Guarda to Manteigas (so you get the train from Porto to Covilhã): on request
Transfer from Lisboa Airport to Manteigas: on request
Transfer from Porto Airport to Manteigas: on request
MBT Bike rental: on request
Luggage transfers hotel-to-hotel: on request
E-Bike rental: on request
Package of 7 dinners: 175€/person
Helmet (rental): 20 €/person
Helmet (purchase): 90 €/person
Gel pad for the saddle: 1,5€/day
GPS device rental: 50€
Powerbank rental: 15€

*For more information about lodgings please contact us!


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