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BIKE TOURS: SELF-GUIDED OR GUIDED? WHICH TOUR TYPE IS BEST FOR YOU?

Whether you’re day dreaming about your next bike tour or already on the planning stages of one, this is an important choice to make. So make sure you fully enjoy your next Portugal Bike Tour, ridden the right way, both for you and for your group of friends or family, by making an informed choice between a self-guided or a guided bike tour.

To help you decide which tour type is best for you and your group, below you will find our quick Q&A that lets you know what to expect and what you’ll find in each one.

Self-guided or Guided? What distinguishes these 2 options?

The main difference between the two is that in the guided option you get more service - on a guided tour, you will have guides supporting you in permanence, from start to end of your tour. Our guides will pick you up from your hotel or airport, on the first day and accompany you throughout the tour, making sure to book all restaurants and experiences along the way, supporting you on a van during the rides, providing hydration, nutrition, mechanical support, sharing their knowledge of the region and making sure you don't miss out on the best experiences during your holidays, adapting it to your group of family. They'll only leave you when dropping you off at the airport, or your hotel, on the last day of the tour.

In the self-guided option you’ll be a lot more independent although not completely unaccompanied. You’ll also have a guide meeting you at your hotel, or the airport, that transfers you to the start of the tour, sets up the bikes, shows you how to navigate our pre-loaded tracks in the GPS and gives you a detailed briefing about the whole tour, but he or she won’t be physically accompanying you during your Portugal Bike Tour, nor giving you support locally, only via our smartphone app or cellphone.

How does a self-guided tour work? Is it for me?

portugal bike tour self guided duo yellow plains

Our typical self-guided tour will start with a guide picking you up at your hotel or at the airport and transferring you to the starting location of your tour.

Once you arrive we’ll give you a detailed briefing of your tour as well as a route-book that has the description of the rides, general tips, suggestions of restaurants, places to see, useful contacts and bike shop locations. Our App will also have all of that plus a navigation functionality you can use on your own smartphone.

Then we’ll proceed to setup the bicycle you’ll be using in this tour so that it’s fitted to your size and preference.

From then on you’ll be the master of your holiday, making your own schedule, riding at your own pace, stopping as many times and places as you want to and overall making your vacation as you fell like. As the daily luggage transfer is included between the hotels of the tour, the one thing you’ll really have to do is to ride your bike from one hotel to the other.

Self-guided - This is the type of tour for you if:

  • You’re accustomed to ride in small groups without any support and preferably you’ve already shared the roads and trails with the persons you’re riding the tour with;
  • You know how to navigate the daily routes using a GPS or your smartphone (your guide can teach you how to do it during the briefing, too);
  • You know how to change a flat tyre as well as to fix minor mechanical issues your bike may have along the route (we’ll also list the available bike shops along the route, in case of more complex bike problems);
  • You appreciate riding independently and like to make your own schedule;
  • You know that having to ride every day between the hotels of the tour means that you’ll have to ride the distance, regardless of the meteorological conditions or if you feel very tired halfway (we can arrange for unscheduled transfers too but they are subject to availability, additional costs and waiting times, though);

You’ll be independent but not without support as we’ll also hand you a local cell phone so that you can reach us in case of an emergency or unpredictable situation, or you can pinpoint exactly where you are on our smartphone app.

portugal bike tours self guided couple

Here's a list of what’s included in your self-guided tour:

- Transfer from the tour starting airport or city hotel to the beginning of the tour and return to the tour ending airport or city hotel;
- All the nights in charm, historic, rural and beach hotels, in the selected category and room occupancy, with breakfast included;
- Rental of the corresponding tour recommended bicycles, helmet, spare tube and multi-tool kit;
- Garmin GPS for daily navigation;
- Access to Live Love Ride’s smartphone app, so you can navigate the routes and explore restaurants, museums and sightseeing along the tour;
- Luggage transfer between hotels, everyday;
- Detailed briefing and route-book provided pre-tour;
- Liability and personal accidents insurance in case of an accident while riding;
- Local cell phone for contact with your travel agent;

And what is the optional "Ride Along Guide"?

The Ride Along Guide is an optional supplement we created for the groups riding self-guided tours that feel more comfortable if they have a local guide riding with them in every tour ride. It's a great option for those groups that don't need or don't want to have a support van but enjoy the presence of someone local and expert who accompanies the group at their own pace during the rides, is able to explain you all about the regions you visit, give you tips and suggestions along the daily route on what to see and visit, tell you about restaurant options and make reservations. They are also overall problem solvers, making sure your tour runs fluidly and you don't get lost in translation. It's also an economical way of experiencing an almost guided tour as the Ride Along Guide price is split between all the members of the group.

And what about a guided tour, is it better?

portugal bike tours guided support bike setup
Yes, it is a more complete experience. In our guided tours you’ll have all of the perks we include in our self-guided tours plus the permanent support of our local guides extraordinaire during the whole tour. Your tour will be more expensive because of the addition of the guide and the support van but they will come with a couple of great privileges, especially if you are travelling solo or a small group, as if you join one of our scheduled guided tours, you'll find that it's a great way to get to know a new country or region and meet new people who also happen to like to ride their bikes.

How does a guided tour work? Is it for me?

Our guides will accompany you throughout the whole trip, giving you historical insights about the regions you visit, the details of the rides, telling you about and booking all the best restaurants, letting you know about the regional specialties really worth trying and all the great Portuguese wines on the menu.

They will support you during the all the rides, have snacks and drinks ready in the van when it’s time to refill your water bottles and grab some nutritious snack, energy bar or fresh fruits to continue the day’s ride. They'll provide mechanical assistance throughout  your holidays.

They’ll also be taking you to all the special little places and lookout points only they know and that you wouldn’t be able to find on your own, and making sure to fulfill any specific want and needs of your group, making your tour more adaptable and custom fir for your group.

Our guides are also great human beings with a lot of life experience, often lived in many countries around the world, shared experiences in very different cultures and have great stories to tell.

Guided - This is the type of tour for you if:

  • You like to have someone there to support you during your rides, handing you cold water bottles, snacks and taking you to all those special places along the way;
  • You feel comfortable to know that if you get too tired you can always hop on the van and get a ride to the hotel;
  • You enjoy to be accompanied by someone with local knowledge, able to talk to you about the historic background of the places you visit, giving you suggestions about which monuments to visit, booking restaurants and explain you all about the food and the local wines;
  • You prefer to have someone who takes care of all the logistics regarding luggage transfers, bikes and booking of restaurants and local attractions;
  • You don’t mind having a more structured schedule, essential to the organisation of a group tour;

portugal bike tours cycling guided

Here's a list of what’s included in your guided tour:

- Transfer from the tour starting airport or city hotel to the beginning of the tour and return to the tour ending airport or city hotel;
- All the nights in charm, historic, rural and beach hotels, in the selected category and room occupancy, with breakfast included;
- Rental of the corresponding tour recommended bicycles, helmet, spare tube and multi-tool kit;
- Garmin GPS for daily navigation;
- Access to Live Love Ride’s smartphone app, so you can navigate the routes and explore restaurants, museums and sightseeing along the tour;
- Luggage transfer between hotels, everyday;
- Detailed briefing and route-book provided pre-tour;
- Liability and personal accidents Insurance;
- Guide accompanying the group, driving the support van, providing daily guided cycling tours, restaurant reservations and booking of local experiences;
- Sports nutrition and hydration, snacks, fresh fruits and drinks during our rides;

portugal bike tours guided river douro group relax views

And what about your "Premium Tours"?

Our Premium Tours are our all in guided tours that include one or more guides riding with the group, depending on the group size. We have a ratio of 1 riding guide per every 6 riding guests. These guides will be riding with you during all the rides of the tour, enabling you to have an even deeper local experience, letting you know about your surroundings, keeping the group together during the ride and helping you out whenever you need.
Besides the ride along guide, Premium Tours also include an upgrade to all the Premium hotels of each tour, usually 5 star hotels with great amenities, enabling you to relax at the end of the rides in great comfort and with privileged views in spectacular locations. To complete the package we include one full cycling kit with a Scicon travel bag to all the participants and at least 3 visits to local wineries, monuments or local attractions. These vary according to the tour and can be visits to a medieval cathedral or castle,  an historian commented city or museum tour, a visit to a winery with a comprehensive wine tasting or an evening river cruise, along with small perks and surprises throughout the tour.

Are your Private Guided Tours more expensive?

No, they are the same price as our standard scheduled guided tours. As long as your group has a minimum of 4 riders, we can organize a bike tour at the same price as our standard scheduled guided tours. Custom guided or self-guided tours are the ones that might have a higher price.

OK, great, I already know my preferred tour type!

If you already know what you want, then we suggest you to check all our Portugal Bike Tours to know where we ride and to choose your preferred bike tour and date.

I’m still unsure which tour type to choose…

If you’re still undecided about the type of tour to choose from you can contact us at (ridewithus @ liveloveride.pt) and we’ll gladly answer all your questions and will suggest you the best tour for you according to your cycling ability, your preferred location and dates.

portugal bike tours guided evora group monuments visit

Want more info?

Check our blog where you can read our complete Cycling Portugal Guide and don't forget to visit our website, Live Love Ride - Portugal Bike Tours.

Make sure to contact us at ridewithus (@) liveloveride.pt - we'd love to hear from you!

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European Offices

Live Love Ride
Avenida Infante D. Henrique, 311
1950-421
Lisbon - Portugal

Monday to Friday
09AM to 06PM
Telephone: 00351 217 590 365
Email: ridewithus @ liveloveride.pt 

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