Costa de Prata: Silver sand beaches and an ocean breeze
Porto-Furadouro-Aveiro-Praia de Mira-Figueira da Foz-Coimbra
Porto and Coimbra, a relaxing and easy cycle tour along the Silver Coast (Costa de Prata) that connects these two beautiful Portuguese towns. The Silver Coast is a stretch of land between the river Douro in Vila Nova de Gaia and Torres Vedras in the district of Lisbon. It is bathed by the refreshing water of the Atlantic Ocean and named in this way because of the silver sand beaches. You cycle leisurely from coastal town to coastal town with always stunning views of the ocean.
The tour starts in the originally mercantile city of Porto and now mostly well known for its excellent Porto wines. Visit the delightful old town centre surrounded by medieval town walls, take a stroll through the cobbled alleys of the Ribeira district and taste some Porto wine combined with fresh fish in one of the many cosy restaurants.
Cycling along quiet lanes and country roads, always accompanied by a breathtaking coastline with endless beaches. You pass through tiny towns such as Furadouro, Praia de Mira and Figueira da Foz, national forests and coastal cities all worth a visit.
The tour ends in COIMBRA the “city of knowledge“, famous for its noble university, built on a hilltop. Visit the university’s highlight, the baroque King João’s Library (Biblioteca Joanina). The town has many Arab influences a lively fish market, many historical monuments and of course you should listen to the folk music Coimbra’s Fado in one of the many clubs.
The daily program of the 7-day tour
Individual arrival at Porto, a picturesque old town located along the Douro River estuary. The town has a colourful harbour and is one of the oldest European cities. It is vibrant and fascinating. The old town centre is a world heritage site of UNESCO and there is a lot to visit. Not to miss is of course the Ribeira district with the narrow gobbled streets and colourful houses. In addition, the gothic Saõ Francisco church and the baroque Clericos church worth to visit.
Today starts your first ride along the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. Leaving your hotel the route crosses the centre of Porto. Leaving the town over the famous Don Luis I bridge you enter on the otherside of the Douro River the city of Vila Nova de Gaia, where are many cellars (locally known as “caves”) where port wine is stored and aged. The town is founded during Roman Times under the name Cale and was important because of its harbour Porto Cale (Porto). Interesting is the Gaia Biological Park with many species of animals and plants and the House-Museum of the sculptor Teixeira Lopes. The route passes the chapel of Senhor da Pedra (Chapel of the Lord of Stone) located in Miramar Beach and built on a small promontory. Take a break in Espinho to enjoy a fish lunch or the 17 km long beach. The tasty bread-cake of Ovar is inviting your to make another break. Being Ovar a fishing ground can still taste the famous stews of fish or eels. Before arriving to Furadouro you will pass the famous Chapel of the Steps, which is classified as a National Interest Monument.
Overnight stay with breakfast in Furadouro
Distance: 47 km / 29 mi
Today you will cycle towards the city of Aveiro. You can choose the shorter or longer option. During the stage, you will pass through several fishing villages. For the sure worth, a visit to the village of Torreira with the brightly coloured boats often to be seen taking to the sea. Torreira has maintained its traditional fishing roots that help to preserve some of the wonderful regional gastronomic specialties including the most characteristic dishes such as eel, served either pickled or as a caldeirada, a fish stew cooked in copper dishes. Continuing your way see the famous natural reserve of S. Jacinto. The reserve is located at the southernmost tip of the line of sand dunes separating the northern branch of the Ria de Aveiro from the Atlantic Ocean. It is a coastal area with a beach backed by both shifting and fixed sand dunes, maritime pine woods, and freshwater ponds. Arrive, finally, at the famous city of Aveiro, known as the little Venice of Portugal. Its old town has been built in an Art Nouveau architecture style. It also has a canal that you can ride in a gondola on similar to Venice! You can also go on a combined tour where you get a boat cruise and a walking tour.
Overnight stay with breakfast in Aveiro
Distance: 45 km / 28 mi or 62 km / 38 mi
After few kilometers from the start of the stage, the first surprise of the day. Down the coast road heading southwards, there is Ílhavo, formerly called Illabum which is believed to have been originally settled by the Greeks. Right by Ílhavo, there is the Vista Alegre Factory that for 170 years has been producing world famous porcelain. Continuing, you can observe the fantastic scenery of the famous Costa Nova do Prado with its line of wooden huts painted in brightly coloured stripes alternating with white. Built by fishermen as shelters and equipment stores, the huts have now been converted into rather characteristic holiday homes. At the end of the stage, the town of Praia de Mira with its wonderful beaches. Don’t miss the visit to the Praia da Mira Chapel. Built in 1843 on the seafront, it is one of the living examples of the wooden construction that, thanks to the religious devotion and affection of the fishermen, maintains its original design and location.
Overnight stay with breakfast in Praia de Mira
Distance: 50 km / 31 mi
Today you will start cycling to the hidden and beautiful Barrinha lagoon, within the Mata Nacional protected area. Despite the proximity to the sea, the Barrinha Lagoon, framed by trees and sand dunes, is a freshwater lake, fed continuously by a small stream. The stage follows to the a large pine forest inserted in the dunes, where the aroma of the trees combines with the sea breeze until reaching the Serra da Boa Viagem mountain area. From there, the backdrop to the picturesque beaches in addition to stunning views out over the coastline from the Miradouro da Vela. Coming finally to Figueira da Foz. The official name alludes to the geographical position of the city, which stands at the mouth of the Mondego River. The town is also known as “Rainha das Praias”, “Queen of the beaches” because of its immense beach, probably the widest in all of Europe.
Overnight stay in with breakfast in Figueira da Foz
Distance: 57 km / 35 mi
In this stage you’ll move away from the coast following the course of the Mondego river renowned for its purity and transparency. Going up the course of the river, you’ll arrive at
Montemor-o-velho castle. This castle built strategically on a hilltop, is the largest fortification on the River Mondego and also one of the largest castles in Portugal. The route continues towards the charming Coimbra with its nostalgic fado atmosphere. Coimbra was the capital of Portugal during the middle Ages, then transformed in the Renaissance period into a place of knowledge because of its University. There are several routes that you can follow to discover more about this interesting city. We suggest to visit both the Upper Town and the Lower Town.
Overnight stay with breakfast in Coimbra
Distance: 59 km / 37 mi
After breakfast ends your tour along the Portuguese Silver Coast
Impressions the Silver Coast
Easy and flat routes, with only one climb on the 5th day for about 4 km. You cycle
65 % along bike lanes, 20% along smooth dirt roads and sometimes through the agriculture fields and 5 % is cycling along paved roads with low traffic.
All distances are approximate. Due to circumstances beyond control, such as weather conditions or provisions issued by local authorities, the itinerary may be subject to some changes before and/or during your holiday.
Daily distances: between 40 and 55 km / 24,9–34,2 mi
Total km: about 240km / 150 miles
Group dates 2023: 25/06 or your own group with min. 4 persons dates on request
Self-guided: 1 or more people (solo traveller on request).
START / FINISH:
Porto / Coimbra