Bike Trips in Galicia

Galicia (Spain) and the Minho (Portugal) Bike Trips

On this page, you will find...

...the itinerary followed by all of our trips visiting Galicia...
...prices and departure dates for our one-week Celtic Spain trip...
...and links to our longer trips visiting Galicia.


Our Spanish routes, in the Basque Country and in Galicia, have in common the exploration of some of Europe’s wildest, least developed corners, a “Latin” pace, a profound culinary & cultural link with the ocean, temperate climates (the Atlantic generally keeps things pleasingly cool, even in summer), and lush, green scenery.

But where the Basque ride is an exercise in sleep-deprivation, the seclusion in which to write your novel might well be found in Galicia — at least until you get to Santiago.  Our route along the banks of the wild and beautiful Miño River wanders through the sleepiest places we know, on its way to one of the most awake.

The Celts held out best where they were too far away to be bothered, and Galicia fits the bill. You’d think you were in Ireland, except that Gaelic tunes have Spanish words.  And there are beaches and sun and viño ribeiro in place of rocks and rain and Guinness.

Villages are miles apart, stores are the living rooms of people’s houses, vegetable carts are hauled by burros, and a cup of the local wine is a fraction of a euro.  Grape vines cover everything that isn’t forest, including most of the houses, and some of the people.

Kale and green peas go with monkfish and salmon trout, wild rivers and undiscovered country go with your biking, all in a land so distant that Spanish is a foreign language.

The ride comes out to the Atlantic at the twin fortress towns of Tuy and Valença, on opposite sides of the Spanish / Portuguese border.  We end the cycle with two beautiful days along the ocean.  An optional stop is suggested in the pearl of Galicia, Santiago de Compostela, one of Europe’s most beautiful cities (included if you are travelling on “Southern Cross”). ¡Buen viaje!




 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


The following trips visit Galicia:

Atlantic Coasting (3 weeks)
Visits France (Loire Valley, Basque Country), & Spain (Basque Country and Galicia)

Green Spain (2 weeks)
Visits the Basque Country followed by Galicia

Celtic Spain follows this itinerary exclusively.
Departure dates and prices are in the “Facts & Figures” table, below.




Our Cycle Trips

Overview Map
of the places we stage trips


Departure Calendar
of our scheduled trips


Trips by Length / Title


 
 
 
 
 
or...
Short Trips from Paris
 

What's Included
...
...in the Trip Cost


Additional Services...
...which you can add to your trip.


Other Trips We Offer

 
Day-by-Day Itinerary:  Galicia and the Minho
Day of the Week
Description
Typical distances, in km
Sunday
TRAIN to MONFORTE from various locations
Our trip officially assembles on Sunday evening, in Monforte de Lemos, in time for dinner.  If you are arriving from the Basque Country, you will catch a morning train in Bilbao.  Otherwise, you will likely take a daylight train from Madrid or Barcelona. 

You may alternatively choose to travel by Sunday overnight “Hotel Train,” with a bed on board, arriving only on Monday morning.  Details of access possibilities are offered in our Access Package description.

Monforte is an interesting provincial capital, with the accent on “provincial.”   Climb up to the old castle for a view of your lush surroundings, then hang out on on the town’s main street and watch the girl go by.

Half Baggage
Monday
GORGES of the RIO SIL
Stock up on gummy bears, and set out, passing through the city, huddled in the protective shadow of its castle.  Admire the attendant bustle... you will see nothing like it for the rest of the day.

Our route crosses a plain, gradually climbing through sleepy villages to a perch high above the Rio Sil.  We then plunge into the gorge carved out by the water course, hopefully on our bikes.  We reach the river bed in San Esteban, whose station café serves a mean grilled octopus.  The existance of a station café in San Esteban is something of a curiosity:  one train a day stops here....

Now follow the Sil’s banks to its confluence with the Miño, and the Miño's to Ourense.  Ourense is one of Galicia's most important cities, but in many ways it seems as if time has left it aside.  Celebrate your arrival with tapas in the old town.


Half Baggage
60 k
Tuesday
The UPPER MIÑO
A lazy morning to explore Ourense.  Recover from from yesterday’s exertions, last night’s tapas, the flight, grad school, or whatever else you have to recover from.  Sip fresh orange juice in the park café, fiddle with your new bike, explore the fortified cathedral and the granite town surrounding it.  Visit Ourense's Roman baths, which compare favorably with your hotel's plumming.  That's a joke.  We hope.

In the afternoon
, we glide down the river road, Ourense's pretty Roman bridge at our backs, and leave town along the Miño's south bank.  The ride is a short one, to allow us to reach Ribadavia in plenty of time for an evening paseo.  The terraced vineyards of Galicia's best known wines appear on the banks soon after Ourense, and will stay with us tomorrow, as well.

Ribadavia is another pretty granite town... check out the wine bars on the central square, or the touching old synagogue, which dates from back before Spain went off the deep end, religiously speaking.
35 k
Wednesday
ALVARINHO COUNTRY
A challenging day, despite the modest distance.  We pedal along the river, past picturesque towns and trellised vineyards.  The valley is wilder than it was yesterday, and the villages more isolated.  You'll have ample opportunity to appreciate it from all angles, as the road climbs in and out.

After a time, the river becomes the border between Spain and Portugal, and we cross into the latter to arrive at the spa town of Melgaço home to a fortress that dominates the valley. 

This is the epicenter of the Alvarinho grape's growing district (as it is spelled in Portuguese).  Visit the
Solar, a cooperative showroom where you can taste the produce of the surrounding vineyards.  Or climb the signature castle tower for a view over all you have cycled.
40 k
Thursday
TERRACED VINEYARDS of VIÑO RIBEIRO and VINHO VERDE
The first part of today is spent on the Portuguese side of the river.  The Minho is revered by the Portuguese in tale and song for its lush beauty.  Also for its vinho verde (“green wine”).  This slightly sparkling, low alcohol elixir is the region's most important agricultural product, and the valley has the unmistakable cosseted quality of good vineyards the world over.

In the pretty spa town of Monção, admire the church, whose Manueline architecture and gorgeous tile work rival for your attention.  Other distractions are the river views, grilled chicken, and old people on the town square who editorialize on the topic of your helmets.

Cross to Spain, and into Tui, whose fortified cathedral is famous across Europe.  Check out the
jamoneria (ham shop) across the way, and sample the elusive pato negro (black-footed pig).

Finally, across the river once more, back to Portugal, and to the town of Valença.  We are particularly fond of the architectural contrast between the fortress towns of Valença and Tui, which face each other across this border. Valença’s old town is a giant linen market, which is helpful, if you need to buy new towels, or something.

Half Baggage
40 k
Friday
ATLANTIC FORTRESSES
Out to the Atlantic at last:  we reach the beach at the Portuguese town of Caminha.  This part of the world was colonized by the Romans, and the villages which line our route are dotted with reminders of their long-ago occupation.

Sangria by the beach before a little ferry boat takes us back to Spain, and to the tip of Cabo Santa Tecla.  This final outpost of Galicia, facing the Atlantic, has a satisfyingly wind-swept feel to it, and is home to a large colony of tasty crustaceans.  Night in A Guarda, with dinner down on the port.
45 k
Saturday
ALONG the COAST to VIGO
A last beautiful riding day along the rocky Altantic coast.  Stop for a shellfish extravaganza in any of the myriad restaurants that look out on the water.  Bayona was the first “old Europe” town to hear of the “new World,” when one of Columbus’ ships arrived there at the end of its odyssey.  Finally, into Vigo via some of Spain’s most beautiful beaches.  Trade your bike for a train ticket, and prepare to enter a new phase in life.

Those completing their trips in Vigo will bid us “farewell” at the Vigo station, at the end of a full biking day.  Hotel Trains are available to Madrid or Barcelona, evening connections to Porto.

Train to SANTIAGO de COMPOSTELA
Optional, see Access Package.  Included in trip D, Southern Cross, and in trip H, Atlantic Coasting.

Those who have elected our Santiago add-on, or who are on trips spanning 3 or more weeks, will continue to Santiago by train on Saturday (60 minutes) for a night there.  Ongoing travel should be scheduled for Sunday.

Half Baggage
55 k
Sunday
SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA
Optional, included in Southern Cross and Atlantic Coasting.

Sunday is yours to explore the pearl of Galicia, a pilgrimage destination since the 11th century. The Cathedral is spectacular, the old quarter and its twisty streets are equally interesting, and the evening animation is, well, like the rest of Spain.…

Those completing their trips in Santiago may have elected to depart via overnight train to Madrid or Barcelona on Sunday night, or may stay one more night before leaving by plane or daylight train on Monday for Madrid, Lisbon, Barcelona or Paris.

Half Baggage


Celtic Spain — Facts & Figures
2017 Dates
Baggage Services Offered**
(optional)
Difficulty of the Ride
Sept. 24 - 30
$1,850 US
$2,395 C
1,495 €
Daily, Half
Moderate

No vicious distances, but “real” hills pop up from time to time.  Easy-to-use but infrequent back-ups.  The first day’s ride from Monforte to Orense is probably the hardest.   But the second day is an easy, “recovery day.”  Or you may lessen your exertion on the first day with the judicious use of a local train.

We particularly recommend ...

... that you tack on a one-day extension to Santiago de Compostela, one of Spain’s most beautiful cities.  In that case you would program your ongoing travel for Sunday.  P
lease see the post-trip Access Package for the (reasonable) cost of this add-on day, not included in the base trip price.

* Prices in $ and € do not include precisely the same things.   Click here for details.


Prices of Optional Extras (links lead to explanations)
Currency
$ prices include
the bike.
See here for information on bringing your own.
** At least 4 riders must subscribe to a given baggage service for it to operate.  The services listed are those currently offered on the departure in question.  Services which appear in bold already have at least 3 subscribers (so, one more would ensure their operation).
Daily
Half
$US
$398
$198
$275
$C
$498
$250
$350
€uros
370€
180€
250€
198€

Reaching & Leaving Your Trip:  General Information on Access Packages
Specific information on reaching your trip’s start in... Monforte
Specific information on departing from your trip’s end... Vigo / Santiago de Compostela