INITIAL BIKE LODGING CITY - ÉVORA
Links: Évora video, plus Hotel video and website
M'ar de Ar Aqueduto Hotel & Spa (2 nights - Superior Room with balcony. Inclusions: breakfast, wifi, laundry on-request Amenities: Spa, 3 restaurants) This 5-star boutique hotel, located in the historic center of Évora, adapted the 16th century Palace of Sepúlveda with contemporary architecture and design, but preserving a magnificent chapel and many other special designs elements. The hotel offers an inviting spa, plus many other amenities such as a pool, a gym, bar, and Mediterranean restaurant.
- Th., Sep 16, Évora: Our Live, Love, Ride (LLR) biking tour guides will transfer us 1.5 hours to our hotel in Évora and provide a bike tour overview and bike fitting. You may have the remainder of the day at leisure. However, our guides highly recommend the included ~3hr walking tour of Évora with a historian. Évora's well-preserved old town centre, which is still partially enclosed by medieval walls, has many monuments dating from various historical periods, including a Roman Temple. Évora has the distinction of being an UNESCO World Heritage site. Alternatively, or perhaps in addition, after the walking tour you can visit Adega da Cartuxa winery for a winery tour and tasting. (Lunch and Dinner at leisure)
- F., Sep 17, Loop Ride (28 miles) or Day at Leisure: After a hearty breakfast at our hotel, we will bike to the fortified village of Arraiolos to get to know its castle and textile traditions. Then we'll let the wine flow with a fantastic stop at Herdade da Fitapreta wine estate for lunch and a wine tasting. No worries about riding after a wine tasting, we'll only have a flat 3 miles ride to go! Perhaps end your day at the inspiring Convento do Espinheiro, a convent artistically converted into a luxury resort, which during the 15th and 16th century was frequented by the Portuguese monarchs. The resort, which is only 11 miles outside city center, feels like you’ve time traveled when you step inside. While visiting we'll enjoy an olive oil tasting, tour of their stunning chapel and grounds, followed by an amazing dinner. (Dinner at leisure or Optional Group Dinner)
SECOND BIKE LODGING CITY - MONSARAZ
Links: Monsaraz video, plus Hotel video and website
São Lourenço do Barrocal Hotel & Spa (2 nights - 2 bdrm Yard Cottage or 2 bdrm Barn Cottage. Inclusions: farm-to-table breakfast, full kitchen, living room, 2 bedroom suites each with ensuite bathroom, outdoor patio overlooking reflecting pool, wifi. Amenities: spa, outdoor pools, 2 restaurants, many for-fee workshops/excursions) Family owned for over 200 years, this former 'Herdade' (homestead estate) was lovingly re-imagined and redesigned into a remarkable hotel of understated luxury with an award-wining spa The estate is surrounded by vast acreage of ancient oaks, olive groves, vineyards, and situated in one of only 13 dark sky reserves in the world. Stargazing will be second to none.
- S., Sep 18, Ride to Monsaraz (42 miles): Enjoy breakfast and check-out of our Évora hotel. Start off the ride on some of the quietest roads of this region through Montoito village and endless vineyards and farmland. We will ride to Herdade do Esporão, one of the iconic wine and olive oil producers in Alentejo. At Herdade do Esporão, we will learn how their wines and olive oils are produced, from grape/olive to bottle, and then enjoy a light lunch and a wine tasting. Relax at our hotel for the rest of the day and take advantage of the pool, or perhaps for a fee you'd enjoy the spa, a horseback riding lesson, pottery, a pilates class or more. In the evening, we should all look up and take time to gaze at the stars in this dark sky reserve. (Dinner at leisure in hotel)
- S., Sep 19, Monsaraz Loop ride (~20 miles) or Day at Leisure: After enjoying a delicious farm-to-table breakfast, it may be hard to leave our fantastic lodging. But if you want to you'll have the option for a shorter loop tour. After some R&R at the hotel, or perhaps the whole day, you may opt to take a late afternoon hike to the top of Monsaraz village to enjoy the sunset and fantastic views including the largest man-made lake in Europe! Afterward, we'll enjoy an exceptional traditional Portuguese group dinner at Sabores de Monsaraz to taste the local gastronomy. (Dinner at leisure in hotel or in Monsarez)
Imagined in order to celebrate the quality of the Portuguese marble, Alentejo Marmoris Hotel & Spa acknowledges itself as a true museum, dedicated to this noble ornamental stone - exclusive - distinctive - luxurious. Located at Vila Viçosa’s monumental center, the heart of the marble region, it's perfectly situated so we can continue to explore Alentejo’s rich cultural heritage and top-quality wines and food.
Vila Viçosa is known as the "Princess of the Alentejo". Although small, it is one of the most precious and charming jewels of the Alentejo, a "village-museum". The name Vila Viçosa is due to the fertility of the soil and the charms of its territory.
- M., Sep 20, Ride to Vila Viçosa (33miles): Breakfast and check-out of our hotel. Start the ride toward Vila Viçosa, and ride along the Alqueva marble quarries until we reach Vila Viçosa’s quaint center. We'll have the afternoon at leisure to explore Vila Viçosa and our new hotel. Our guides recommend dinner at Gadanha Mercearia & Restaurant in Estremoz. The critics rave that this foodie-loving spot brilliantly merges traditional local products with contemporary touches, and dessert is not to be missed! (Lunch and Dinner at leisure or Optional Group Dinner)
- T., Sep 21, Loop Ride (33miles) or Day at Leisure: Breakfast at our hotel. Choose a day at your leisure or enjoy our last day of cycling. If you choose to cycle, we start riding toward the quaint village of Borba, alongside additional beautifully vibrant marble quarries, until we reach the fortified city of Estremoz. In Estremoz, our last winery, Dona Maria vineyards, will be exceptional not only for lunch and wine tasting, but also its palace-like home with its interior rich in tiles from the 18th Century and marble of the region. Ride back to Vila Viçosa by the backroads, or by climbing to Serra D’Ossa, a beautiful Sierra with some great climbs and descents. It’s our last hurrah, so are we up for the climbs? We hear a 'heck ya' from all those with e-bikes! (Dinner at leisure)
ALGARVE SOUTHERN COAST - FARO
Links: Algarve video, plus Hotel video and website
Club Med Da Balais & Spa (3 nights - Superior Seaview or Superior Room. Inclusions: all-inclusive- all food and beverages (including house wine & spirits alcohol), wifi, pools, many on-site land and water activities, evening entertainment, taxes & tips, two restaurants, five bars. Additional charge for spa services, all excursions and laundry)
The Club Med Da Balaia resort is located 18 miles from Faro, Algarve's capital, on Portugal’s southern coast. The moment you arrive, you'll feel worlds away from the historic Alentejo region. We'll be gazing at the two red cliffs jutting out into the brilliantly blue Atlantic Ocean. Club Med's prime location affords it to have stairway access to the beach, which is an exclusive amenity even many top coastal resorts can't offer. The bedrooms, tennis courts and main pool form the heart of this all-inclusive resort. Then the Zen pool is camouflaged by pine trees with a stunning view of the flying trapeze and the blond beach of Maria Luísa. All-inclusive means you can easily imbibe and regain any pounds lost from cycling; it is vacation after all!
- W., Sep 22, Transfer to Algarve Southern Coast: Enjoy breakfast and say good-bye to our bikes and barrels adventures in Alentejo, and say hello to our well deserved beach adventures awaiting us as we transfer to the southern coast. We will have full access to the resort, and the all-inclusive amenities as soon as we arrive. (Lunch and dinner at leisure)
- Th., Sep 23, At Leisure: Enjoy a full day, your way! Perhaps try some of the many on-site amenities and/or go on a water or land excursion; do whatever will make this a perfect day! (All meals included but at leisure)
- F., Sep 24, At Leisure: Put yesterday on rinse and repeat, and serve up another day your way! But it is our last night, so we'll have an optional group sunset outing followed by dinner off-property. (All meals included but at leisure, optional group dinner)
- S., Sep 25, Departure Day: Unless you're fortunate enough to stay and play in the region, we'll transfer to the airport for our returning flights to the U.S. with many amazing memories and new friends.