11 Days

Back Roads Alentejo Tour (Fall 2022)

October 9 - 19, 2022

This tour takes place in Alentejo, the Central Region of Portugal, a largely agricultural place where we will see expanses of olive trees, vineyards, citrus groves, and cork oak plantations in addition to many medieval towns with their defensive castles, churches, and plazas. We will travel along eight cycling circuits from Marvão to Évora, roughly 256 miles of largely traffic-free back roads. This is a region with its own pace and time, with echoes of past battles beyond the walled cities created by the tenacity of the people, where culture and spirituality take on a unique character.

Check out the full description below!

Tour Price $4,450
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  • Overview
  • Description
  • Itinerary

Tour Info

RATING SYSTEM: Level 3 (rating system info)


Region: Alentejo

ACCOMMODATION: 3-4 star hotels(or similar)


PRICE: $4450.00/person

Single Supplement: $1000.00

Up to $200.00 Group Discount may be available

GROUP: Minimum 10 Travelers, Maximum 16 Travelers = Full Group (Discount may apply)

AGE REQUIREMENT: 18 – 80 years old

We will be following all COVID-19 protocols/precautions and staying in accommodations certified “Clean and Safe” (issued by the Portuguese National Tourism Authority).



  • 11 days
  • 10 nights at 3 – 4 Star accommodations (or similar)
  • 10 Breakfasts at the hotel and 9 lunches on every Cycling Tour (depending on weather or location, it will be at a restaurant or a picnic);
  • 7 Snacks on tour
  • 7 Dinners
  • Alcoholic beverages not included with any tour meals, unless otherwise indicated
  • Standard Group Arrival/Departure Transfers: from Lisbon Airport to Hotel in Marvão on Day 01 and Lisbon Airport from Hotel in Évora on Day 11
  • Transfers from and to the hotel by Vans, Mini-bus or cars
  • Luggage transfers (one piece of luggage per person)
  • English-speaking Guides (entire trip)
  • 24 hour support line
  •  Guided Olive Oil Production Museum Tour
  • Visit to Traditional Pottery Workshop in Évora
  • Guided Wine-Tasting in Évora
  • Guided Walking Tour of Évora
  • 8 Cycling Tours
  • Aluminum Road Bikes
  • Bicycle Upgrade: $ 425
  • Upgrade to E-Bike $ 300
  • GPS tracks and mobile apps guide notes (“Ride with GPS” on your phone); Maps/documentation


  • Flight, train rides, museum fees, other not specified in included.


This tour takes place in Alentejo, the Central Region of Portugal, a largely agricultural place where we will see expanses of olive trees, vineyards, citrus groves and cork oak plantations in addition to many medieval towns with their defensive castles, churches and plazas. We will travel along eight cycling circuits from Marvão to Évora, roughly 256 miles of largely traffic-free back roads. This is a region with its own pace and time, with echoes of past battles beyond the walled cities created by the tenacity of the people, where culture and spirituality take on a unique character.

We will cross sections of the Serra de Mamede, a remote mountain range with a diverse geology and capricious climate, a unique endemic flora and fauna and an historic line of defensive settlements, necessitated by a hostile neighbor in times past. In 1989, 120 square miles of the Serra de Mamedes was designated a Nature Park by the EUROPARC Federation. As we descend into the Alentejan plains, we will find concentrations of megalithic stones (dolmen) that mark these places, signifying that pre-historic habitation occurred here as well.

We will visit the historic center of Évora, designated a UNESCO site in 1986, with time to explore these important cultural places. We will also visit a museum that specializes in explaining the production of olive oil, a workshop where local pottery is produced and a small studio that produces extraordinary clay figures called the Bonecos of Estremoz, the designs and production recognized in 2017 as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

We will be traveling through a region where five of Alentejo’s eight demarcated wine regions are located with world-class wines we will be sampling along our route.

The walled towns of Marvão and Monsaraz or the many ancient dolmens will recall the magic of this region. Around the hills, white-washed houses stand on small knolls, castles evoke past battles and conquests and the gardens we will pass bear witness to the Moorish influences that shaped both people and nature. Here, we will also discover lilac fields, watch unique birds and find unforgettable landscapes in the mountain, in the cork oak forests, or on the plains in the olive groves. The freedom and relaxation we will discover cycling along these lightly-traveled country roads will be a feeling that will stay with you long after our tour is over. And then it will be time to do it all over again!

Come join us on this exciting natural adventure for a unique look into the past and the present of a region that has maintained its authenticity for centuries!




Sunday, October 9, 2022

Transfer from Lisbon Airport to Marvão

We will greet you at the Lisbon Airport and transport you to the village of Marvão.

At 2828 feet, the medieval mountain top village of Marvão is one of Portugal’s most spectacular fortified towns. We are transported to a different era completely! Its greatest attraction is the unspoiled medieval atmosphere in its steep and narrow lanes with immaculately white-washed houses, leading to a magnificent 13th century castle rising from the rock. Most rewarding of all is climbing onto the walls, battlements and towers for the impressive views, and staying for the stunning sunset and evening peace of the village.

Overnight in Marvão
Meals: Lunch or Dinner, depending on arrival



Monday, October 10, 2022

Morning Transfer to Olive Oil Museum and Return to hotel in Marvão

Cycling Route 1: Warm-up Ride from Marvão | Santo António das Areias (14 mi)

We introduced you to Marvão yesterday but our journey truly begins today here. Situated on the Spanish border (hence, the brilliant, impregnable military location), it is perched on the top of a wall of granite like an eagle’s nest and built into the granite itself. It was also an important site of the Portuguese civil war in 1833 where liberals fought against Dom Miguel I’s troops (the liberals won).

Marvão still maintains its fortress-like character; one enters the village through gigantic double doors flanked by watchtowers, curtain walls and battlements. The castle that overlooks the town, dates to the late 13th century and the buttresses were remodeled in the 17th century. The views from the Castle show a vast panorama of the rugged Spanish mountains to the east, the Castelo Branco region and Serra da Estrela mountains to the north and the Serra de São Mamede in the south.

The 13th century Church of St. Mary (Igreja de Santa Maria), now houses the Tourism Office and the Municipal Museum where you will find megaliths, copies of old maps of Marvão and Roman stelae or stone monuments to the Dead.  Other churches date to the Renaissance.

We meet again for a Guided Tour of a Museum dedicated to olive oil production, which is followed by lunch with an olive oil tasting (Lunch includes Wine and Coffee). After lunch, we have the option to participate in a 14 mile warm up ride from Marvão to Santo António das Areias or a 6 mile hike from Marvão to Castelo de Vide.

Castelo de Vide, a spa town since Roman times, is sited on the green slopes of the Serra de São Mamede. One of the sources of the curative waters, the Renaissance era Village Fountain (Fonte da Vila), is located on the Plaza (Largo) Frederico Laranjo, above the maze-like Jewish Quarter (Judaria), which dates to the 13th century. A small synagogue, now a Tourism Office and museum, lies behind fine Gothic doors in a narrow, cobble-stoned alleyway.

Overnight in Marvão
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner



Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Cycling Tour 2: Marvão – Castelo de Vide – Alpalhão – Crato (28 mi)

We begin our journey from Marvão and by riding to Alter do Chão, best known as the Royal Portuguese horse breeding and riding school (Coudelaria de Alter) and stables, dating from 1748. Here, some of the beautiful pure bred Lusitania horses are raised. We will be stop in the city of Castelo de Vide for a quick coffee break. We continue riding through this rural area, rich in olive groves and Cork Oak trees.

Alentejo, Portugal is the world’s top producer of cork wine stoppers; cork grown from the evergreen cork oak (Quercus suber) has been sustainably harvested since the 1700s. With 2700 square miles under cultivation, groves throughout Alentejo produce 30 million corks per day. Cork bark is a versatile material and also used in traditional crafts, such as cork bowls, jewelry, and decorated boxes.

We also ride through Flôr da Rosa, a town known as a pottery manufacturing center that produces a round cooking bowl called the caçoila. We may also pass the Flor da Rosa Monastery, the 1356 monastery-fortress of the Order of the Knights of Malta near Crato.

Much of Crato was sacked and burned by the Spanish in 1662 but a few buildings remain rebuilt, such as the Mother Church (Igreja Matriz),found at the end of a road lined with orange trees, with its 18th century tiles (azulejos) depicting fishing, hunting and traveling scenes.

Overnight in Crato
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner



Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Cycling Tour 3: Crato – Monforte (28 mi)

Today, from Crato to Monforte, we will ride through the rolling hills of North Alentejo on roads with scarce traffic and open views. We will spend the whole day in the countryside.

Overnight in Torre de Palma
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner



Thursday, October 13, 2022

Cycling Tour 4: Monforte – Estremoz – Vila Viçosa (36 mi)

We’ll be riding the backroads today, leading us to the Serra D’Ossa Mountain Range. After a steady climb, we will enjoy the views from the top. These low traffic roads will allow us to daydream and enjoy the purple fields of flowers until lunchtime. We will also go through Borba, a town well known for specializing in wine production, an annual Wine Festival and pink and white marble production.

Estremoz, still dominated by its medieval castle, is another hill town and celebrates an annual Baroque Festival that brings its history to life! Since the 16th century, the town has been known as a pottery center, including hand-painted terracotta pottery and typical designs from royal times. The local traditional craftsmanship of historical Estremoz clay figurines, known as bonecos (painted clay dolls of saints and peasants depicted in daily tasks, such as selling eggs, roasting chestnuts or other typical activities) were recognized in 2017 as UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

 Vila Viçosa is a pretty hillside town with substantial homes built from white marble, quarried locally. Oranges and lemons are bountiful here. In 2017, this town was tentatively UNESCO-listed as a Renaissance Ducal town. In 1501, the dukes of Bragança built the lavish Ducal Palace at Vila Viçosa, which still contains original furnishings from Vila Viçosa’s prosperous royal past. The Castle in the Old Town (Vila Velha), built originally in the 13th century and remodeled in the 17th century, is still surrounded by a deep moat and provides excellent village views along the sentry path. It is also known for its artisanal pewter work and pottery, generating important local revenue.

Overnight in Vila Viçosa
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner



Friday, October 14, 2022

Cycling Tour 5: Loop Vila Viçosa (36 mi)

Enjoy your breakfast and then meet our team for another day of great cycling! Alentejo is famous for its vast plains and numerous cork trees and olive groves. Admire the beautiful landscape on this loop ride that will take us to Campo Maior, the site of a devastating gunpowder accident in 1732, which created the Capela dos Ossos (Bone Chapel) in 1766, which houses the local bones of those unfortunate people who found themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Overnight in Vila Viçosa
Meal: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner



Saturday, October 15, 2022

Cycling Tour 6: Vila Viçosa – Terena – São Pedro do Corval – Monsaraz (36 mi)

Today, we begin our cycling tour from Vila Viçosa to São Pedro do Corval, passing through several villages (Terena and Redondo) known for their unique pottery. Redondo, a village famous for its annual Festival of Paper Flowers where locals decorate the entire town in carefully hand-made paper flowers. It is also known also for its wine and another type of pottery: Roman-style water jugs, casseroles, and bowls painted with humorous folk art motifs. Along the way, we will stop at a shop where traditional pottery is created.

We will ride through Redondo and its surrounding quaint countryside of farmland and rolling hills to Monsaraz, a fortified village atop Alqueva Lake, a reservoir created from the Guardiana River. With beautiful views over the Alentejo plains and sparkling Alqueva Lake, the walled town of historic Monsaraz sits on the Spanish border. Entrance into town is through the massive medieval Porta da Vila (Door to the Village) and the main street leads up to the castle, where the views of olive trees, cork oak plantations and dancing waters are best seen. Vineyards surround the town and the heart of one of the region’s demarcated wine areas, São Pedro do Corval, is located just three miles from Monsaraz.

Overnight in Monsaraz
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner



Sunday, October 16, 2022

Cycling Route 7: Monsaraz – Redondo – São Miguel de Machede – Évora (43 mi)

We start our ride towards the village of Reguengos de Monsaraz, also an important wine center. Reguengos is the site of processions and pilgrimages during religious holidays and other religious activities. Once we leave Reguengos, we will ride on some of the quietest roads of this region, through the village of Montoito and the endless vineyards and peaceful farmland close to the city of Évora.

Before we arrive in Évora, we will take a quick break in São Miguel de Machede to visit a small studio that produces the Bonecos of Estremoz (described before). We will be able to observe the complicated process required to produce these figurines and the significance of the over 100 traditional designs captured in clay.

Our hotel in Évora will be inside the city’s fortified walls. We will have a little time to explore the city and enjoy dinner on our own.

Overnight in Évora
Breakfast, Lunch



Monday, October 17, 2022

Cycling Route 8: ÉVORA LOOP Évora – Azaruja – Igrejinha – Évora (35 mi)

Enjoy your breakfast and then meet our team for a loop ride along the back roads of Évora. It will be another day of great cycling through the outskirts of Évora, also known for quiet and almost perfect roads for cycling – it’s normal to encounter a group of local cyclists, enjoying their time and training for their particular cycling sports events.

Besides great cycling, Alentejo is a famous wine region that produces high quality wines, employing ancestral traditions related to wine and wineries and unique landscapes, so today we have scheduled a visit to one of the most famous wineries of Alentejo, which produces the limited edition wine Pera Manca. There’s still time to learn more about such a versatile product like cork.

Overnight in Évora
Breakfast, Lunch



Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Today, we explore the historic center of Évora, designated a UNESCO site in 1986 with our guide and we will experience a tour that still presents a history that spans Roman through Medieval times as a center of the arts and of learning. The Roman ruins of the Temple of Diana from the 2nd or 3rd century still stand adjacent to the 12th century Cathedral and the Museum of Évora, once a Palace of the Governors in the 16th century, composing the center around which the historic center was built. The now highly fragmented Roman inner walls around the medieval city, date to 1st century, while additional walls date from Moorish and Medieval times.

The historic center also contains a 15th century convent, now an exclusive Pousada de Portugal, a 16th century Jesuit school that is now part of the University of Évora, and a 14th century Ducal Palace with its pentagonal tower. Our tour concludes at a typical, local restaurant for lunch with local wines and then in the afternoon, a wine tasting, featuring two sparkling, two white and two red wines and regional snacks.

Overnight in Évora
Breakfast, Lunch



Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Morning Transfer from Évora to Lisbon Airport

Meal: Breakfast

At the designated time, we’ll take you to the Lisbon Airport by private car/van.