Tour of Spain and Portugal Sept 2021

15 to 29 September 2021, 15 days / 14 nights

Also offering an optional Madrid Vuelta extension.

RIDE Holidays invites you to experience the very best of Portugal with a taste of Spain. We start in Madrid and finish in the very south of Portugal. Some of you will arrive in Madrid early and catch the final stage of the Vuelta. We've arranged a V.I.P experience which you won't forget. Dean will be there along with some of our Spanish team to make sure things go smoothly. Like all RH trips there will be a variety of rides to choose from on a daily basis. As well as a separate plan (and vehicle) for Team Macchiato. (non-riding Bring your own or hire - your choice. In fact, for this trip we can even offer a mixture of e-bikes and road. Cyclists - yes, you will be tested. In fact, our first decent day on the bike includes two rather large hills that feature regularly on the Vuelta a Espana. Don't worry, we'll always have support vehicles around us. Sit back and relax… it's about the food, the wine and a spot of coffee. The cycling will be epic but I can assure you - this won't be a weight loss program. See you in Madrid.

Spain & Portugal 2021 Tour Itinerary

Vuelta extension (optional) Saturday 11 to Wednesday 15 September 2021 (optional)

The exact itinerary will be confirmed once we have an indication on how many people want to arrive early. We'll pick you up at the airport on the Saturday and transfer you to our central Madrid accommodation - your home for the next 4 nights. Sunday morning we've arranged a walking tour which will include all the local markets as well as some compulsory tapas hopping. A great start to your time in Spain. This afternoon we make our way to the Vuelta finish line. Our V.I.P bus is parked in a perfect spot - all aboard…. Would you like a drink madam? Who knows - maybe George Bennett will be racing for line honors. Monday is a free day. Some of you will check out Santiago Bernabeu Stadium while others just wander the shopping plaza's. Tomorrow we've arranged a day trip to Toledo and there's also an option of a easy 3hr city cycling tour. NZD2200.00 per person (based on 10 people) including 4 nights' accommodation, all breakfasts, 2 dinners, V.I.P Vuelta, walking tour of Madrid and day tour to Toledo.

Itinerary for Madrid to the Algarve

DAY 1 - Wednesday 15 September 2021 - Madrid, Spain

We will be available to collect you from either Madrid Airport (12 noon) or your central city hotel. It's only a short 1hr drive to the outskirts of Segovia where we will set up the bikes in the beautiful settings and grounds of the Royal Palace of Rio Frío. It is a short ride today to test the bikes in preparation for a classic and historic Vuelta route tomorrow through the Sierra de Guadarrama mountains! The ride finishes with a group photo under the towering aqueduct in the town centre. Team Macchiato will visit the iconic 18th Century San Ildefonso Palace and Museum.

/ Meals: Dinner included
/ Today's Ride: 35km cycling (400m elevation gain)
/ Accommodation: Segovia (Spain)

DAY 2 - Thursday 16 September 2021 - Pedraza / Sepulveda (Spain)

Now you are in the land of Castile & Leon where 1st Century Roman aqueducts and medieval walled towns dominate the landscape. Traditionally the Sierra de Guadarrama mountain range plays host to the penultimate stages of La Vuelta. Climbs, such as, Navafria, Cotos & Navacerrada are written in Vuelta folklore. When you arrive at the Navacerrada ski station (1800m) you are cycling in the altitude training base for Spanish pro outfit Movistar.

There will be ride options for all levels but the one thing for certain is everyone (including our non-cyclists) will finish in Pedraza. This medieval walled town is in excellent condition and the old plaza is the perfect place for a long Spanish lunch. (and possibly a snooze)

For Team Mac our morning program includes a 3hr guided walking tour of Segovia (1st Century Roman Aqueduct, Alcazar fortress, La Muralla (ramparts) and the Jewish Quarter) before a 40min van transfer to meet up with the rest of the group for lunch in Pedraza.

/ Meals: Breakfast & Restaurant Lunch included
/ Today's Ride: 50km or 100km cycling (1650m elevation gain)
/ Accommodation: Segovia (Spain)

DAY 3 - Friday 17 September 2021 - Avila (Spain)

There is a 1hr van transfer this morning to UNESCO Avila which is a beautifully conserved medieval walled city. Avila most recently hosted the Stage 19 finish for the 2015 La Vuelta pro race and today you can ride a scenic loop to the south of the city. The main challenge for the day will be the 8km climb ´Alto de Navalmoral´ (1500m elevation) which at an average grade of 5% is actually very achievable! All that follows is 20km through to the hotel which is located in the heart of the old centre (casco antiguo)!

Team Mac will have plenty of time to wander and explore the inner charm of this walled city! We've booked a local guide. Or, you can simply watch some suffering on the hills. Look out for hill climbers like Mark Grahame to dominate today.

/ Meals: Breakfast included
/ Today's Ride: 40km & 80km cycling (1250m elevation gain)
/ Accommodation: Avila (Spain)

DAY 4 - Saturday 18 September 2021 - El Escorial Monastery (Spain)

This morning we ride from the hotel in search of the royal monastery in nearby San Lorenzo el Escorial. Here cyclists and Team Mac alike will marvel at this architectural masterpiece which dates back to the late 16th Century and king Felipe II. Before arriving to 'El Escorial' our cyclists will enjoy an undulating ride including two small categorized climbs and a wonderful winding descent through dense pine forest. Team Mac will have plenty of time to visit the monastery which also includes a royal palace, church, pantheon, library and school. If you are keen walkers there is also an excellent short walk to a wonderful lookout point above the monastery!

Tonight you will taste test a traditional Castile & Leon dinner. This region is famous for its ´asado´ cuisine (roasted possum) and fine steaks.

/ Meals: Breakfast & Dinner included
/ Today's Ride: 50km & 80km cycling (1050m elevation gain)
/ Accommodation: Avila (Spain)

DAY 5 - Sunday 19 September 2021 - Jimenez de Jamuz (Spain)

Today begins with a 2hr transfer to the small town Jimenez de Jamuz. This town has received international recognition thanks to the 'El Capricho' restaurant which many rate as home to the world's best steak. Our table is reserved so now all you need to do is work on your appetite! Sunday lunch in Spain is late (around 3pm) so cyclists will have time for a late morning ride through the fields of Castile y Leon.

While team Mac, you will have time to visit an acclaimed pottery exhibition and demonstration. The red clays from the Jimenez de Jamuz township are so famous that the great Spanish architect Antonio Gaudi even requested this material for some of his finest works!

/ Meals: Breakfast & Restaurant Lunch included
/ Today's Ride: 40km & 70km cycling (1550m elevation gain)
/ Accommodation: Puebla de Sanabria (Spain)

DAY 6 - Monday 20 September 2021 - Lago de Sanabria

Only a stone's throw away from our accommodation is the largest glacial lake of the Iberian Peninsula - Lago de Sanabria. The region provides photographers and nature lovers with many picture perfect opportunities of small lakes, varied vegetation and canyons. Cyclists will be able to ride out to the lake and take in the expansive views before following some final kilometres from the 2016 La Vuelta a España race. In 2016 the Puebla de Sanabria township hosted the Stage 7 finish of La Vuelta!

There are also many activities for team Mac to choose from. Would you like a 2-3hr guided walk through the national park or perhaps some time on the water (kayak or solar powered eco-boat ride)?

During the late afternoon there will be time to stroll through the medieval old town and admire the impressive facades and balconies before reaching the 15th Century castle and enjoying its spectacular views. From the tallest tower one can truly appreciate the importance of this castle and its strategic position on the edge of the Portugese border.

/ Meals: Breakfast & Dinner included
/ Today's Ride: 45km & 90km cycling (1250m elevation gain)
/ Accommodation: Puebla de Sanabria (Portugal)

DAY 7 - Tuesday 21 September 2021 - Duoro Wine Region

After 6 consecutive days on the bikes it is now time to rest-up and enjoy everything that the Douro Wine Region has to offer! The Douro Valley could as easily be called the enchanted valley, such is the beauty and magic that its landscapes offer. The Douro was even the world's first demarcated wine region established way back in 1756!

You will get to know this cultural landscape, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site this morning on a guided river cruise. During this tour you will meander along the Douro River in an old rabelo boat (wooden Portuguese vessels that carried the wine casks from the quintas (wine estates) where it is produced to the mouth of river) before the various dams that made the river navigable were built. And yes we will enjoy some lunch and wine during what will be a very pleasant journey.

/ Meals: Breakfast & Wine Tastings included
/ Today's Ride: Cycling Rest Day
/ Accommodation: Duoro (Portugal)

DAY 8 - Wednesday 22 September 2021 - N222 Road (Portugal)

The cycling action today sees you in the Douro Valley which could easily be called the enchanted valley such is the beauty and magic of its mountain terraced vineyards. Our cyclists will ride the heart of the Duoro following the N222 which in 2015 was voted the World's Best Road. The road follows the course of the Duoro River providing many exceptional vantage points along the way.

Team Mac - something special. We've arranged for you to join a wine making class in one of our favourite quintas (wine estates)! You will even handpick your own grapes before helping us start production for the first bottles of our Ride Holidays wine collection. What shall we call our wine? Theresa can decide that….

Now that we are all in the heart of the Douro Wine Region what else is there to do but feast on a gourmet dinner and a glass or two of the local product!

Terraced vineyards which practically climb straight up the vertical slopes stretching up from the river will now be well and truly etched into your minds!

/ Meals: Breakfast & Dinner included
/ Today's Ride: 40km or 85km cycling (1300m elevation gain)
/ Accommodation: Duoro (Portugal)

DAY 9 - Thursday 23 September 2021 - Coimbra

Team Mac will drive out of the 'Duoro' and directly onto historic Coimbra (2hr drive) where they will enjoy a guided walking tour. Coimbra is a small city with Portugal's oldest university in the country. The university is found precisely where Portugal's first kings had taken up residence centuries before, and the city's monasteries have tombs for these rulers. To get an excellent perspective of the city you can scale the 180 steps in the 16th-century tower at the highest point of the university.

Another site of interest is the Arco de Almedina gate which was part of the solid medieval wall rebuilt in the 11th Century by the Arab conqueror Almansor. It is the only surviving gate from the three that once led into the citadel. It now marks the entrance into the old part of Coimbra and is a good spot for a rest and a beer or wine!

Our eager cyclists follow the mountains that head directly south out of the Duoro region. Every April the Sierra de Montemuro mountains are home to the Montemuro Gran Fondo organised by Trek bicycles. The region is often referred to as the magical mountains and the 5 to 8km climbs provide excellent cycling conditions on very quiet roads.

/ Meals: Breakfast included
/ Today's Ride: 50km or 100km cycling (900m elevation gain)
/ Accommodation: Coimbra (Portugal)

DAY 10 - Friday 24 September 2021 - Lisbon (Portugal)

Cyclists today have the chance to cycle down the west coast catching glimpses of the Atlantic Ocean before arriving to the UNESCO township of Sintra. Sintra with its exotic Pena Palace and gardens is the perfect place for a guided visit.

Team Mac will explore the palace which is one of Portugal's finest tourist attractions and a grand example of 19th Century Romanticism architecture. Standing on top of the hill the castle will take you back to places that could well be from a fairytale! Sintra is only a short drive to Lisbon.

To round out the day you will enjoy a typical Fado singing show and dinner in the heart of the Alfama district!

/ Meals: Breakfast & Dinner included
/ Today's Ride: 50km or 85km cycling
/ Accommodation: Lisbon (Portugal)

DAY 11 - Saturday 25 September 2021 - Rest Day in Lisbon (Portugal)

This morning there will be time to catch up on some sleep before a mid-morning guided walking tour of Lisbon. Lisbon is set against the ever-present backdrop of the Atlantic Ocean. This sun-filled city lives in a Latin fairytale of timeworn manners and traditions. Just check out the century-old wooden trams and iron funiculars that still lurch and rumble their way through narrow cobbled stone streets.

Lisbon, like Rome, was built across seven hills means nearly every street affords immensely satisfying views over the city as it slips down towards the Tajo River. The guided walking tour visits important cathedrals, plazas and the escalators which transport the cities inhabitants up and down this hilly city.

This afternoon, why not take a visit to the Torre de Belem (also be sure to sample their custard tarts). Also, why not jump on the 28 Tourist Tram for a rattling loop ride around Lisbon. One of the most interesting elevators in the city centre is 'Ascensor da Bica' which you can ride up to Barrio Alto (High District).

If all of this action is making you thirsty you can stop at a street stand to taste-test Ginginha (local liquor) - it is even drunk in a chocolate cup!

/ Meals: Breakfast included
/ Today's Ride: Rest Day
/ Accommodation: Lisbon (Portugal)

DAY 12 - Sunday 26 September 2021 - Evora (Portugal)

Evora is the next stop on your journey through Portugal. The streets resemble an open-air museum with the Roman temple and baths, medieval walls and ornate plazas. It is no wonder the Portuguese kings from the 15th Century selected Evora as their place of residence. A guided walking tour through this UNESCO site is a must for the team Mac.

Today's guided cycling route heads east from Lisbon and follows flat terrain through peaceful countryside all the way through to Evora. This is the perfect route to put some solid kilometres into the legs. The arrival to Evora and the grand plaza 'Praca do Giraldo' will be deserving of a celebratory beer or wine!

/ Meals: Breakfast & Dinner included
/ Today's Ride: 70km & 110km cycling
/ Accommodation: Evora (Portugal)

DAY 13 - Monday 27 September 2021 - Monsaraz (Portugal)

The small town of Monsaraz offers jaw-dropping contrasts. Perched up on a small rise the views down to the never-ending waters of Lago Alqueva will be sure to amaze. Lake Alqueva is the biggest reservoir in Western Europe and is a favourite destination for nautical lovers. In New Zealand there is Lake Taupo but here in Portugal we have prepared a fantastic route circumnavigating this vast waterbody.

As for team Mac let's explore Monsaraz, the sensation of grand battles and impenetrable fortresses will be on their mind. The narrow streets and white washed buildings mean Monsaraz is the most beautiful town in the Alentejo region. Walking up to one of the high terraces overlooking the lake might just be one of your best ever coffee stops to date!

/ Meals: Breakfast included
/ Today's Ride: Max. 100km cycling (800m elevation gain)
/ Accommodation: Evora (Portugal)

DAY 14 - Tuesday 28 September 2021 - Algarve (Portugal)

After a couple of days following spectacular interior landscapes today your Portugal adventure finishes in Algarve on the Atlantic coastline. Team Mac will have extra time today to look around the beachside towns and perhaps pick up some of the last souvenir shopping!

Cyclists on the other hand will be dreaming of a northerly wind to push them on their final ride south to the famous Algarve coastline.

As the group re-joins it will be a great chance over dinner to reflect on what a journey it has been taking in some of the best sights of both Spain and Portugal!

/ Meals: Breakfast & Dinner included
/ Today's Ride: 50km or 85km cycling (1450m elevation gain)
/ Accommodation: Algarve (Portugal)

DAY 15 - Wednesday 29 September 2021 - Farewell

All good things have to come to an end…. Or do they? Following breakfast you have three choices. 1, stay where you are and relax. 2, we can drive you (2 hours) to Sevilla or 3, stay in the van a bit further (2 extra hours) and we'll take you all the way to Cordoba. Both cities are fascinating tourist destinations and also connected by fast train to major centres such as Malaga and Madrid. There are also good connections to other interesting places, such as, Granada (Alhambra fortress and palace) and Ronda with its old town perched above the spectacular Tajo gorge! Let us know what you want to do and we'll arrange it.

/ Meals: Breakfast included

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Tour Inclusions

  • 15 nights' accommodation using quality 3&4* hotels
  • All breakfasts, 4 lunches and 7 dinners
  • All food and drinks while cycling
  • Wine making school in Duoro incl for Team Mac. If cyclists join then the cost is 75 euro.
  • Team Mac - private guided walking tours of Segovia, El Escorial & Salamanca
  • 5 to 6 staff depending on final numbers
  • Tips included for all staff
  • Airport to airport private transport
  • Souvenir booklet, itinerary included
  • RIDE Holidays cycling jersey
  • Multiple ride options daily
  • GPS assistance & physical maps
  • 10 week training program

The Price Excludes

  • Airfares and extra accommodation
  • Travel Insurance - compulsory!
  • Meals, alcohol not indicated in itinerary
  • One of the guides is also a Massage therapist - costs apply

Tour Cost (per person - NZD)

$8,295.00 NZD per person
$1,650.00 NZD Single room supplement
$700.00 NZD Bike hire (conventional or electric)

$200.00 extra if you would like both conventional and electric. You can then swap and change.

$2200.00 NZD for the optional 4 night Vuelta package.

The initial deposit of $750.00 is 100% refundable up until 1 year prior to departure (September 2020). At which stage you will need to pay an additional NZD1250.00 deposit. From 01 September 2020 all deposits are non-refundable. The balance is due 90 days prior to departure.

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