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Waterways of the Minho

Riverside meanderings in northern Portugal
 
Enjoy gentle riverside cycling and some of Portugal's oldest and most picturesque towns on this self-guided, hotel-to-hotel holiday. While your luggage is transferred, you follow the ecovia walking and cycling path alongside the rivers Vez and Lima through the Lima Valley, Portugal's greenest corner.
Waterways of the Minho. 6 nights
Waterways of the Minho. 6 nights
 

Holiday information

 

A cycling holiday in the Minho

Tucked beneath the border with Galicia in the far north-west of Portugal and fed by the waters of the rivers Minho and Lima, this is arguably the most picturesque corner of the country. While its hillsides are coated in rich maritime pine, its meadows are grazed by long-horned cattle and braided by the vines that produce the region's famous vinho verde.
This leisurely journey traces the course of the rivers Vez and Lima as they languidly thread their way through the Lima Valley, beginning in the delightful waterfront town of Arcos de Valdevez, and continuing westwards to meet the Atlantic Ocean at Viana do Castelo. Along the way, you cycle through Portugal's oldest town – the incomparable Ponte de Lima – and uncover myriad treasures: from the ancient bridges that span the waters to the birdlife that fishes from the banks. At journey's end, a gentle coastal ride north to the Spanish border bestows its own reward – mile upon mile of soft, golden sands.
 

Book with confidence

Our flexible booking arrangements, commitment to safety and financial protection mean that you can book with confidence, despite the travel restrictions in place currently.

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Gallery
 

Itinerary

The key to Inntravel holidays is flexibility. You can start on the day of your choice, and are free to add extra nights.
  • The average maximum daytime temperatures and monthly rainfall relate to the nearest weather station and are intended as a guide only.
    Average temperatures and rainfall
      Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
    °C 12 13 15 18 20 23 26 26 24 20 15 13
    mm 166 157 119 104 90 48 16 23 66 132 161 170
  • Arrival in Arcos de Valdevez
    Night 1: at Hotel Ribeira Collection (where you spend two nights).
    As your first night’s accommodation is on the day of travel, Day 1 is your first day of cycling.
  • Around Arcos de Valdevez: 22km
    This morning, your bikes are delivered to your hotel from where an easy, out-and-back ride along the banks of the River Vez, the Lima's main tributary, takes you north to the medieval bridge at Vilela. As you pedal along the ecovia, part of a network of riverside paths that will lead you all the way to Viana do Castelo later in the week, be sure to soak in the beautiful riverside scenery: look closely and you may glimpse some of the Vez’s bountiful trout; and take a break to dip your feet in the river’s cooling waters.

    The route isn’t long, giving you plenty of time to explore Arcos de Valdevez and its vibrant riverside culture on your return.
    Around Arcos de Valdevez: 22km
    Cycle along the 'ecovia'
  • Arcos de Valdevez to Ponte de Lima: 26km
    Heading south along the ecovia, today’s route follows the course of the River Vez almost to its end before diverting through the pretty village of Ponte de Barca with its 15th-century bridge, from where you join the River Lima westwards on its journey to the sea. Riverside picnic areas and a proliferation of birdlife populate this, the most picturesque section of the ecovia as you continue into Ponte de Lima, Portugal's oldest town with its magnificent Roman bridge, its multiple gardens and museums and its lively shopping and restaurant scene. A final tranquil section through vineyards and hamlets brings you to Quinta da Agra, a beautifully converted farm set just outside the town with enticing views across the mellow Correlhã countryside, where you stay for two nights.
    Arcos de Valdevez to Ponte de Lima: 26km
    Pause for a picnic en route to Ponte de Lima
  • Around Ponte de Lima: 25km
    A short ride takes you back into Ponte de Lima this morning where you cross the Roman bridge and follow quiet back lanes westwards through tiny hamlets to reach the protected wetlands of Lagoas de Bertiandos. Securing your bikes at the Visitor Centre, you follow the boardwalks that meander around the lakes and though the wetlands, stopping at hides to observe the wide variety of birdlife. Back in the saddle, you then cycle south to join the ecovia that follows the right bank of the Lima back to beautiful Ponte de Lima, which you have ample time to explore. You may like to take the opportunity to browse the many restaurant menus and decide where you would like to dine later tonight, when a pre-arranged taxi will return you into town for your evening meal.
    Around Ponte de Lima: 25km
    Across the Roman bridge
  • Ponte de Lima to Viana do Castelo: 27km
    Today’s route begins with a pleasant ride along tranquil country lanes to the river, where you re-join the ecovia and continue your journey westwards. Enjoying beautiful views and passing through the tiny medieval hamlet of Passagem with its riverside picnic area – a perfect spot for a mid-morning break – you begin to notice a difference in the river as it opens out to embrace the sea. Staying beside the water all the way to the outskirts of Viana do Castelo, you catch a small ferry which transports both you and your bikes across the wide mouth of the Lima to the town promenade. From here, it's just a short distance to your final two-night base, Casa Melo Alvim.
    Ponte de Lima to Viana do Castelo: 27km
    Cycle beside the river
  • Around Viana do Castelo: 29km
    Your final ride sees you joining the splendid Ecovia Litoral Norte which hugs the ocean northwards all the way to the Spanish border. You'll want to make sure you bring your swimwear for this day's cycling, which passes directly alongside some of Portugal's most alluring beaches and through small coastal resorts peppered with seaside cafés. Your destination is Caminha – a pretty little border town situated on the banks of the Minho – which itself offers a good choice of restaurants. These cluster around the attractive central plaza and provide the ideal setting for a relaxed lunch before you return south on the afternoon train.

    Once back in Viana do Castelo, we highly recommend taking a cable car up to Santuario de Santa Luzia – the mountain-top church which towers above the town. The views over the estuary are spectacular, and provide an impressive finale to your exploration of this picturesque corner of Portugal.
     
    Around Viana do Castelo: 29km
    Coastal cycling
 

Accommodation

Stay in a riverside hotel, a rural guesthouse and a 16th-century mansion.
 

Extend your stay

 
Prices & travel options
All prices are in £ sterling (GBP). If you'd like to see what they equate to in your currency, use the converter. For general information on pricing, see the 'your holiday price explained' page.
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  • 6 nights: 01 April 2021 - 14 July 2021 & 25 August 2021 - 31 October 2021

    Start any day | End by latest date(s) shown above

    Starting Price Single room
    1 - 11 Apr 2021 £670 £335
    12 - 30 Apr 2021 £645 £320
    1 - 21 May 2021 £670 £335
    22 May - 8 Jul 2021 £695 £350
    25 Aug - 4 Sep 2021 £740 £390
    5 - 30 Sep 2021 £695 £350
    1 - 25 Oct 2021 £670 £335
    3rd & 4th person discount -£10
    Single traveller supplement £10

    Includes accommodation, meals, bike hire, luggage transfers and any other services integral to the holiday as described, plus cycling notes and maps, but no travel from the UK, nor any connecting travel from the airport unless stated below.

    Electric bikes available: add £75 per person

    Book your flights through us and we'll find the best route and times to suit you. Please contact us to find out more about our flight booking service. We can also book connecting travel - see below.

  • Room upgrades (£ per person per night)

    Hotel Ribeira Collection, Arcos de Valdevez
    Panoramic: 01 Apr - 14 Jul 2021 £26
    Panoramic: 25 Aug - 31 Oct 2021 £26
    Casa Melo Alvim, Viana do Castelo
    Deluxe: 01 Apr - 05 Apr 2021 £20
    Deluxe: 06 Apr - 14 Jul 2021 £15
    Deluxe: 25 Aug - 31 Aug 2021 £20
    Deluxe: 01 Sep - 31 Oct 2021 £15
  • RECOMMENDED AIRPORT(S):
    Porto

    Travelling from the UK

    Travelling from outside the UK

    If you are flying from outside Europe,  we recommend flying via Porto or Lisbon. To discuss onward connecting travel to the start of your holiday, please contact us.

    Outward route Airline
    Aberdeen - Porto (via Amsterdam Schiphol) KLM 
    Aberdeen - Porto (via Paris CDG) Air France,  KLM 
    Outward route Airline
    Birmingham - Porto Ryanair 
    Outward route Airline
    Bristol - Porto easyJet 
    Outward route Airline
    Edinburgh - Porto Ryanair 
    Outward route Airline
    Liverpool - Porto Ryanair 
    Outward route Airline
    Gatwick - Porto British Airways,  easyJet,  TAP Air Portugal 
    Outward route Airline
    Heathrow - Porto TAP Air Portugal 
    Outward route Airline
    Luton - Porto easyJet,  Wizz Air 
    Outward route Airline
    Stansted - Porto Ryanair 
    Outward route Airline
    Manchester - Porto easyJet,  Ryanair 
    Manchester - Porto (via Brussels) Brussels Airlines 
    Manchester - Porto (via Frankfurt) Lufthansa 
    Manchester - Porto (via Lisbon) TAP Air Portugal 
    Outward route Airline
    Newcastle - Porto (via Amsterdam Schiphol) KLM 
    Newcastle - Porto (via Brussels) Brussels Airlines 
    Newcastle - Porto (via Paris CDG) KLM 
    Outward route Airline
    Norwich - Porto (via Amsterdam Schiphol) KLM 
    Travelling from outside the UK

    If you are flying from outside Europe,  we recommend flying via Porto or Lisbon. To discuss onward connecting travel to the start of your holiday, please contact us.

    This list of flight options should be used as a guide only, and you should check each airline’s website for current routes, frequency and schedules. Not all flights operate daily, and may not run for the entire season. You should also heed the latest flight arrival time and earliest flight departure time stated in the connecting travel section, as it may not be possible to arrange connecting travel outside these times. Please do not book your flights until we have confirmed your accommodation to you. Alternatively, our expert reservations team will be happy to offer advice and to make flight bookings for you. We charge £35 per person for our flight booking service (£60 for India and Nepal). Your flights are then covered by our package-booking conditions, which give you greater protection in the event of delay or cancellation, as well as providing ATOL cover.

  • Prices below are based on 2 people travelling together. If you are travelling solo or as a party of 3 or more and our arrangements include a taxi, please contact us for prices; additional passengers often pay less.

    Unless otherwise stated, connecting travel by rail or bus tends to be from the city centre station, rather than from its airport, and connections between the two should be paid for locally.

    Connecting travel options - flying via Porto

    Outward route Price per person Latest flight
    arrival time
    direct taxi Porto airport to hotel (1h10) £48 flexible
    coach Porto airport to Arcos de Valdevez (1h50) £12 1600 (1430 Sat-Sun)
    Homeward route Price per person Earliest flight
    departure time
    direct taxi hotel to Porto airport (0h45) £42 flexible
    coach Viana do Castelo to Porto airport (0h45) £10 1200 (1715 Sat-Sun)
    rail Viana do Castelo to Porto Campanhã (1h15-2h) pay locally flexible
What is included
  • 6 nights
  • 1 dinner
    6 breakfasts
    1 picnic
  • luggage transported
  • route notes and maps
  • high-quality bicycle
 
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FAQs

If you have any questions relating to this or any other Inntravel holiday, our friendly travel experts will be happy to help.
  • We sincerely hope that your holiday experience will be as enjoyable as it would have been before the pandemic – cycling holidays are ideal in these times of social distancing, and we’re not operating holidays if the key highlights can no longer be delivered – but, naturally, there will be some changes to ensure your and other people’s safety.
    Your holiday experience: what to expect >
    Safety measures being taken by hoteliers & others >
  • Our chosen bike rental shop will provide you with a bike with 21 gears; a waterproof map case on handlebars; pannier/saddlebag; pump; puncture repair kit; and a lock.
  • While we would always recommend that you take your own well-fitting helmet, they can be hired locally for a small fee. Please let us know at the time of booking if you would like to hire a helmet.
  • Yes, we will provide GPX tracks for this holiday prior to departure so that you can follow your route on your smartphone or dedicated GPS device if you wish. (We also provide maps and our tried-and-tested route notes.)
  • We’ll send you route notes and maps 2-3 weeks before your holiday. The route notes not only contain directions to get from hotel to hotel, but also include practical information about places of interest and eateries along each route, plus cultural information about the area. On mornings when you are moving between hotels, you leave your luggage in reception as you leave, and it will be transferred ahead to your next accommodation so that all you need to take with you are a camera, sun cream, drinks, food and waterproofs.
  • Bike insurance is not included in the price of our cycling holidays, and unfortunately we can't supply such insurance. Some general travel insurance policies can or do provide cover for rented bikes, so it's worth seeing if your policy is one of these. The most important thing is to ensure that you take good care of your bike (you are responsible for damage to or loss of it while it is hired to you), always being careful to lock it up, ideally to an immovable object, and removing all easy-to-steal accessories whenever you leave it unattended.
  • We can book a wide range of airlines and routes from the UK. As well as being more convenient for you to book all elements of your holiday together, it also means that we’ll accept liability for your travel arrangements, so if things go wrong, such as the airline going bust, we’ll make suitable alternative arrangements for you. For Europe, there’s a £35 booking fee per person (£15 for children aged 2-11). For India and Nepal, the booking fee is £60 per person. More information on flights >
  • We can’t book flights that originate outside the UK, but if you wanted to book your own flights to London (or elsewhere in the UK), we can make all onward travel arrangements (including flights) from there. Alternatively, if you are booking your own flights to an airport in continental Europe that’s appropriate for your holiday, we can book onward rail travel and/or taxis. More information about how we can tailor holidays for customers outside the UK >
  • Since our holidays are self-guided, we recommend calling us for a chat about your plans before making a booking, especially if it’s the first time you’ve booked with us.
    The price panel shows the supplement for a single room and also the single traveller charge (this covers (luggage) transfers and other costs which are usually shared between two people).
  • Once you’ve decided on your exact itinerary (our travel experts will be happy to offer advice), you need to provide us with your party’s details, either by phone or via our booking form. At this point we also ask you to pay a deposit so that we can secure a room for you immediately on confirming availability with the hotel(s). If it turns out that we can’t secure the accommodation for the holiday you’ve requested, or offer an acceptable alternative, we’ll refund your deposit promptly and in full. After booking your accommodation and other key elements, we'll then book your travel (or you can do so if you’re making your own arrangements) and send you a Booking Confirmation and Invoice.

    More information about the booking process >
    Information about accommodation, general practicalities and more >
    Booking conditions >
  • Yes, it’s something we insist on, even for holidays in the UK. The vast majority of holidays go smoothly, but when things go wrong, it can be expensive to put them right. Buying a new pair of walking boots after your suitcase is stolen mightn’t seem so bad, but the bill for being airlifted down from a mountain with a broken leg or flown home while still recovering from an illness or accident can cost tens of thousands of pounds.

    You don’t have to take out our recommended travel insurance policy (if you live outside the UK you’ll definitely need to make your own arrangements, as the policy is only for UK residents), but you do need to make sure that you’re covered for medical emergencies – including falling ill with Covid-19 while on holiday – and repatriation. We also recommend that you are covered for other eventualities, such as cancellation and loss of luggage and passports.

    We'll ask you for the details of your policy (insurer, policy number and medical emergency phone number) so that we can help out if the worst happens while you are on holiday. It's up to you, though, to check that your policy covers the activities you'll be doing on holiday and that it is adequate for your own individual needs; we don't check alternative policies.
  • It is your responsibility to ensure you are in possession of the correct travel documents, with the correct validity. If you’re a UK citizen, you need a full British passport to travel to Portugal, Madeira and the Azores, but not a visa. If you are a citizen of another country, you’ll need to check requirements with the national embassy or your own consulate.

    Current information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice for UK citizens can be found through the Travel Health Pro website. You must make sure you have adequate insurance cover for illness, accidents and repatriation (see the insurance question). You should also apply for a Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) if your EHIC has expired (if you have a still-valid EHIC, you can use this until it expires).
  • The official language is Portuguese. The currency is the Euro. Portuguese time is the same as GMT/UTC. It uses Daylight Saving Time, so in summer is on the same time as BST.
  • If you are planning to take a holiday after 1 January 2021, visit www.gov.uk/visit-europe-1-january-2021.

    At Inntravel we work in close partnership with our hoteliers, taxi drivers and other local suppliers to provide our self-guided holidays directly to you. We are entirely confident that you will continue to receive the usual warm welcome from them, regardless of what is happening in the European political sphere.
  • The UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) provides up-to-date, country-by-country travel advice, as well as information on security, local laws, passports and visas for UK citizens.
    If you live outside the UK, see our essential travel information page for a list of relevant websites.
Last fetch time is : 1/27/2021 3:22:46 AM