Luís Simões, travel sketcher around the world
EuroVelo 1 – Northern Portugal
The EuroVelo 1 – Northern Portugal is an easy to intermediate tour that will be an enjoyable weekend for everyone, regardless of confidence or experience. The trip starts from Caminha and covers the coastal regions of Minho, taking you through villages like Viana do Castelo, Apúlia, and Vila de Conde, and finishes at Porto.
The EuroVelo 1 – Northern Portugal is a cycling route that is part of the EuroVelo Atlantic Coast which is a long-distance cycling route that runs along the Atlantic coast of Europe, passing through several countries including Portugal. But before we go dive into the tour, let’s get to know more about The EuroVelo Atlantic Coast briefly.
The EuroVelo Atlantic Coast
The EuroVelo Atlantic Coast Route is a long-distance cycling route that runs along the Atlantic coast of Europe, including Portugal. This route, also known as EV1, runs for over 4,500 kilometers, beginning in the north of Scotland and ending in Caminha, Portugal.
In Portugal, the route runs from north to south, starting at the Spanish border near Vila Nova de Cerveira and ending in Vila Real Santo Antonio in the Algarve region. It passes through several historic towns and villages, including Porto, Aveiro, and Lisbon, as well as beautiful natural landscapes such as the Ria Formosa Natural Park, the Serra de Sintra, Arrabida Natural Park, and the Costa Vicentina Natural Park.
The route is primarily on dedicated bike paths and quiet roads and is suitable for experienced and adventurous cyclists. It offers a unique opportunity to explore the country’s history, culture, and natural beauty.
The EuroVelo Atlantic Coast Route is part of the EuroVelo network of long-distance cycling routes, which covers the whole of Europe and is promoted by the European Cyclists’ Federation.
The EuroVelo 1 – Northern Portugal
As named, the EuroVelo 1 – Northern Portugal is a bike tour along the north of Portugal’s Atlantic coast. It is a scenic and adventurous journey that takes you through breathtaking landscapes and charming coastal towns of its region. The trip starts from the historic town of Caminha and covers the coastal area of Minho, taking you through vibrant cities like Viana do Castelo and Povoa de Varzim, and finishes at Porto.
Biking along the northern Atlantic coast of Portugal is a rewarding experience for seasoned cyclists. The terrain is pretty flat, and the route barely leaves the urban perimeter that you can enjoy the venture.
However, the roads can also be narrow and winding, so cyclists should be cautious of oncoming traffic and be prepared to navigate the terrain safely. Additionally, the weather conditions along the coast can be unpredictable, with strong winds and rain common, so you should be prepared for changes in weather and pack accordingly.
Despite these challenges, the stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean and the rugged coastline, along with the local culture and cuisine, make the northern Atlantic coast of Portugal a worthwhile destination for you.
How to get there
The EuroVelo 1 – Northern Portugal isn’t a loop tour. Yet, it can be done perfectly in a reverse way. However, southward is recommended than the other way around as the strong wind mostly comes from the north.
Getting to the starting point of this trip is quite simple. The easiest way from Lisbon or Porto is by train to Caminha. Check here for more about the rules for the transport of bikes on trains in Portugal.
Nevertheless, it also depends on where you are coming from. If you come by bus, bear in mind, the rule to bring a bicycle on a bus varies, depending on each company.
If you decide to start this tour from Porto, you can extend the adventure through Minho Ecotrail, which creates 187 kilometers (116 miles), a week of exploration.
The sections we mentioned below are our suggestions. The tour is adaptable, depending on your needs: timetable, interest, and fitness level. For instance, we would do it easily in 3 to 5 days as Luís would like to sketch each region with time.
Caminha to Apúlia
Caminha is a small, picturesque town that is our starting point of The EuroVelo 1 – Northern Portugal tour. With its beautiful beaches, charming fishing ports, and historic architecture, this region is a worthy destination for whom love the combination of natural beauty and cultural heritage. This place is surrounded by stunning countryside, including rolling hills and verdant forests, making it an ideal point for disembarking this journey.
On this first day, you will ride for 56 kilometers (depending on where you stay), through Viana do Castelo and Esposende, until Apúlia village. You will face a mix of flat and hilly sections. You can expect to cycle along coastal roads, cross over bridges, and pass through villages and towns.
The route is mostly flat and easy-going but there are some hills to contend with along the way, particularly as you near Viana do Castelo and before Esposende.
Apúlia to Porto
The terrain from Apúlia to Porto along the EuroVelo 1 – Northern Portugal tour is predominantly flat with a few occasional gentle hills. The route takes you along the coastline and provides views of the Atlantic Ocean, sandy beaches, and picturesque fishing villages. The road conditions are generally well-maintained, with some sections on dedicated bike paths and others on quiet roads. Overall, it is a relatively easy and comfortable bike ride with beautiful scenery, making it a popular destination for cyclists.
In this second section, also the last part of the trip, you will cycle approximately 57 kilometers (depending on where you stay). And the finish line is Porto, which is one of the oldest cities in Portugal and has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its well-preserved historical center.
Porto is a place where history and modernity come together, with its medieval architecture, world-renowned port wine, and bustling nightlife. The city is situated along the Douro River and boasts stunning views, especially from the Ribeira neighborhood. It is a lively hub of culture and creativity, making it a must-visit for anyone who appreciates good wine, delicious food, and a rich history.
Overall, The EuroVelo 1 – Northern Portugal tour offers a unique mix of stunning natural beauty, cultural heritage, and historic charm, making it a must-visit destination for any bike enthusiast.
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- Exploring the rugged coastline and scenic beaches of the Costa Verde.
- Discovering the charming and historic villages of Viana do Castelo, Caminha Povoa de Varzim, etc.
- Pedaling through the picturesque countryside of Minho and discovering its unique traditions and customs.
- Enjoying the unique architecture, culture and cuisine of the famous city of Porto, including the famous port wine cellars and Ribeira, the historic center.