You'll experience a memorable montage on this seaside bike tour of Portugal: magnificent coastal seascapes, pastoral farmlands, working windmills, tiny fishing villages and historical monuments such as Henry the Navigator's Navigational School perched on a wild headland over the blue waters of the Algarve.
It's a wonderful trip with a warm & sunny holiday feel. It's not flat but more of a gently rolling landscape and the accumulated elevation gain for the whole trip is minimal.
AM transfer from Lisbon hotels / airport to the start of our trip in the historic old village of Azeitão -famous for its lovely, centuries-old, wine estates and, of course, their wines - especially the delicious moscatel dessert wine. However, it’ll be a little too early to check in so we'll go by van to the picturesque old fishing village of Sesimbra for some lunch. There are many fine restaurants on the waterfront well known for their delicious fresh fish dishes, in particular, espadarte grelhado (grilled swordfish). After lunch, we'll all pile into the van and drive up to the 13thC Sesimbra Castle with its spectacular view and little cemetery. Originally, a Moorish castle existed there but when the Moors were defeated by the Christians in the 12thC, they pulled the castle down rather then let it fall into Christian hands. Eventually rebuilt, it belonged to the warrior monk order of Santiago de Espada (St. James of the Sword). The symbol of St. James, a scallop shell & a cross with a pointed bottom, can be seen above the door of the church.
Our next stop will be to one of the finest wine estates in the country, Quinta da Bacalhoa. It is a happy combination of the beautiful palace built in 1480, exquisite formal gardens, its enormous variety of antique azulejos (tiles) and the stunning collection of art belonging to the owner / art collector, José Berardo. All of this leading us to the winery itself which produces some of the best wines in Portugal! Talk about an embarrassment of riches! After our wine sampling, we visit a small tile factory where they still hand-make the azulejos (tiles) for which Portugal is famous. Most of the tiles, made in this incredibly labor-intensive manner, are copies of old tiles. Returning to the hotel we will begin the bike fittings through out the afternoon. Tonight's accommodation: Hotel Club d'Azeitão