Othello – Marrakesh to Porto

OTHELLO - MARRAKESH TO PORTO CYCLING TOUR OVERVIEW

 

From the exotic to the exceptional through Morocco, Spain and Portugal. This unique Odyssey is a cultural exploration from history's east to west.

Cycling out of the souks of Marrakech we head through the Oasis of Ouirgane Valley before climbing over the Atlas mountains towards the spectacular UNESCO listed Ait Ben Haddou. We then hit the old caravan route between Marrakesh and the unforgettable Draa Valley. We roll over the Tizi n'Tinififft pass (yes spelled correctly!) with amazing views back towards the snow covered Atlas mountains before descending to Agdz and on to Zagora where we swap bikes for camels (or 4wd!) and head into the Sahara! We spend a night out in the desert, in luxury of course, in a historic Riad before pacing (camels don't trot!) across the Dunes to Merzouga. Then we pedal north through the Tafilat and Ziz valleys which are lined with Palm groves to Erfoud and on to Midelt and Ifrane where the environment is so different you could swear you were in Switzerland! Our Moroccan Stage finishes in UNESCO World Heritage listed Fes. People either fall in love with the Medina (which is also the world's biggest car free urban zone) or recoil in horror at the overload to one's senses! We love it - enthralling, historic, immensely vibrant and a perfect place to end the stage.

To continue our Odyssey into Spain on Stage 2 we train from Fes to the Mediterranean coast and cross by boat, just as the Moorish invaders did just over 1300 years ago into then Iberia. We land in Andalucia - the very best region in Spain for historic, atmospheric and passion! We ride the Sierra Nevada - visiting Las Alpujarras - the white washed villages which dot the lower southern slopes before taking on (optional of course!) the Pico Veleta -Europe’s highest road! After hitting the hills we roll to Granada and Cordoba for exceptional history and Moorish architecture in the Alhambra and La Mezquita. Then we head North West into Extremadura, the Spaniard's Spain where we roll through olive and orange groves into quiet beautiful ancient villages - ideal cycling! The Portuguese border comes all too soon but more fantastic terrain is still to come...

Our Portuguese journey starts in Alentejo, a region full of castles, monasteries, palaces, Roman and medieval ruins. With its rolling topography and views, every rise is a cyclists delight. Our first destination in Portugal was one of its first defenses against Spain in medieval times - Monsaraz, a charming hilltop fortress now surrounded by vines which make some of Portugal's best wine! Then we roll to UNESCO listed Evora, the capital of the region with a wealth of history from the stunning Roman Temple of Diana to the Igreja de São Francisco - its splendid Gothic cathedral. We then head north into the Parque Natural da Serra de São Mamede where the beauty of medieval Marvao greets us. From Parque to Parque we head to the Parque Natural da Serra de São Mamede where one of the challenges of the tour awaits - Torre, Portugal's highest road and a beautiful 19km climb (@ 6%). Our finale is the Duoro Valley and we roll all the way down it marveling at the views, wineries and climbs! It is refined beauty at its best which contrasts perfectly with the Atlas Mountains and Desert where we started our Odyssey 4 weeks ago!

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Leader and Designer – Bruno Ramain

One of our most popular guides, Frenchman Bruno is a veteran of the cycle touring industry. He has created and run tours in Morocco and Europe for the last 20 years and has a wealth of knowledge and love affair with all things cycling, food and wine. Touring with Bruno guests know they will be well taken care of, both on and off the bike. His attention to detail and appreciation of wines (not only guide but sommelier) makes the tours he leads adventures both on the road and culinary!

OTHELLO BIKE TOUR HIGHLIGHTS
The Journey
Stage 1- Morocco

  • Marrakesh and Fes, the royal cities of Morocco
  • Spectacular UNESCO gem the walled city of Ait Ben Haddou which rises out of the desert!
  • The Berber villages and stunning Atlas Mountains - perfect riding and exploration.
  • Unspoilt Ouirgane Valley, a plateau surrounded by striking red earth foothills, planted with olive, almond and fruit trees - a true Oasis!
  • The Tizi n’Test (2092m) - an awe-inspiring switchback filled pass which cuts through the heart of the High Atlas mountains.
  • Erg Chebbi in the Sahara desert which we traverse by camel or 4wd and desert camp before jumping back on bikes at Merzouga, gateway to Sahara.
  • The souks (markets) in every town and village including Jemaa el-Fnaa - the market place and heart of Marrakesh
  • The amazing architecture from the arches of the 12th century Koutoubia Mosque in Marrakech to the mesmerizing kaleidoscopic tiled patterns of the impressive University of Al Quaraouiyine in Fes which is also the oldest existing educational institution in the world!
  • The exceptional cuisine! Subtle spices and intriguing flavour combinations makes Moroccan food one of the best cuisines in the world.
  • The exceptional Riads we stay in throughout our Moroccan journey - exotic, luxurious and historic destinations!
Stage 2
Spain

  • The best of Andalusia - from Granada to Cordoba and the Sierra Nevada as well as one of the regions most intriguing attractions is the notion of duende, the elusive spirit that douses much of Spanish art, especially flamenco. It translates as a moment of heightened emotion that takes you out of yourself, we will find this on and off the bike in this special region.
  • Moorish Heritage in Spain - Including the spectacular hilltop fortress of the Alhambra in Granada with is beautiful backdrop of the snowy peaks of the Sierra Nevada and the Great Mosque of Córdoba -  built in 784! We will also experience the heritage at the Andalusian Arab Baths in Granada, where you will have earned and will enjoy the Water Journey with massages and historical rituals - a fantastic experience especially after riding in the Sierra Nevada!
  • Spectacular cycling in the Sierra Nevada (also Cadel Evan's training grounds) and its monster the Pico Veleta! At 3,398m (11,148 ft) it is Europe's highest paved road.
  • As well as challenge in the Sierra Nevada there are the beautiful white washed villages - Capileira, Bubión, Pampaneira and more.
  • Spain’s best kept secret - Extramadura - mysterious medieval villages, time-worn villages and beautiful mountains, forests and lakes - ideal cycling!
  • Tapas Bars and live Flamenco...after all Andalusia's is where Flamenco was born!
Portugal

  • The Alentejo region - rolling vine clad hills, white washed villages, magnificent medieval and Roman villages. The best cycling territory in the country!
  • Beautiful Evora, a UNESCO Heritage site and one of Portugal’s best preserved medieval towns which also contains some of the country's best Roman ruins, notably the spectacular Temple of Diana.
  • The magnificent M's! Monsaraz, Marvao and Marialva - stunning medieval hilltop villages - some of the most beautiful in Europe.
  • UNESCO listed Douro Valley for Wine tasting and beautiful vistas over the "socalcos" terraced vineyards, olive and orange groves.
  • Climbing 'Torre' - The Serra da Estrela is a beautiful region and the 1993m climb aptly named 'tower' is magnificent.
  • The food and wine of Alentejo! It produces half the countries wine and serves its most renown dishes and we will visit it most authentic restaurants – places which celebrate age-old recipes.
  • The Pousadas of Portugal - the term ‘Pousada’ has become synonymous with luxury hotel accommodation in beautifully restored historical buildings - perfect for our tours!
  • Porto - A magic place to finish the odyssey, this historic city has beautiful friendly people, amazing food and that x-factor which makes all its visitors fall in love with it.
2021 Tour Dates and Prices
Custom Tour - Think Outside
Tour Accommodation

Fittingly on this exotic and historic Odyssey, we stay in Riads, Castles, Paradores, pousadas and historic abodes. Here are some places you will stay at on the tour:

Riad Villa des Orangers, Marrakech
Morocco first hotel
At the foot of the Koutoubia Mosque, next to the Royal Palace and Jemaa El Fna Square, this 5* Palace Riad is a spectacular oasis!
Hotel Alhambra Palace, Granada
The oldest 5* hotel in Spain! With spectacular views across Granada, it is a fantastic location for our rest day and assault on Pico Veleta.
Convento do Espinheiros, Evora
Our first Pousada! A 15th century convent -  now luxury 5* hotel and spa. What a place to spend our rest day in Portugal!
Do you fancy a massage?
What could be better at the end of a day on the bike than a professional sports massage? When our groups reach 18 one of our Soigneurs joins the team!
Food and Wine

From the intensely rich and exquisite tagines of Morocco to the hearty paellas and seafood of Spain and onto the world renowned custard tarts of Portugal, this trip offers your taste buds a trip of a lifetime. There is no limit to the gastronomical pleasures you will encounter along the way.

Tagine, Morocco
Tagine Bike Tour
This slow cooked Maghrebi dish is named after the earthenware pot in which it is cooked. They are seen bubbling away on the street and in the top restaurants of the country - either way they are delicious!
Tapas, Spain
Tapas are more than just snacks in Andalucia. The word means, literally a lid, and originates from being just a snack, but now it is an institution and not to be missed.
Douro Valley, Portugal
Wine Tasting Bike Tour Douro Valley
It doesn't get much more sophisticated than wine tasting at Quinta da Pacheca in the Douro Valley. It is spectacular and the wine isn't bad either!

Read more about the Food and Wine of the regions we ride through

Morocco 

They say that the longer a meal takes to prepare, the better it tastes. If this is true, Moroccan food is the best in the world. Each meal takes hours to prepare and it's worth it, giving so many flavours and layers to each dish. The end result are tagines, the famous slow-cooked Moroccan stew which takes its name from the traditional clay or ceramic dish it's traditionally cooked in. Whether it be meat - usually beef or chicken - or vegetable, the tastes are exquisite. Often sweetened with prunes or apricots and always spices, they are a treat every time. There is no limit to their tagines and will just dissolve in your mouth in utter gastronomical bliss! One of the great cuisines of the world, Moroccan cooking abounds with subtle spices and intriguing flavour combinations. Think tart green olives paired with chopped preserved lemon rind stirred into a tagine of tender chicken, the surprise of rich pigeon meat pie dusted with cinnamon and icing sugar, or sardines coated with a flavourful combination of coriander, parsley, cumin and a hint of chilli. You don't have to sit down at a restaurant to get this though - some of the cheapest eats on the streets are still delightful, so be sure to go to the market or enjoy a kebab or a freshly smashed sugar cane drink at a street-side stall. Moroccan cuisine is considered one of the best in the world and you won't be disappointed. Remember to start your day with a mint tea - you will be growing herb gardens full of it when back home!

Spain 

Spain's Andalusian region has dishes which include pescaito frito (fried fish), gazpacho, Cordoban salmorejo, pringá, oxtail, jamón ibérico (Iberian ham), prepared olives, alboronía, poleá and anise. Gastronomy in Andalusia is very location-specific - everyone knows that the best strawberries and jamon come from Huelva; sardines from Malaga; tuna from Barbate; mangoes from Granada; cucumbers and tomatoes from Almeria. Wine is produced all over Andalusia, though the most famous tipples are sherry from Jerez and Malaga sweet wine. The poverty of the great majority of the people is also a significant element of Andalusian cuisine. The rich soups, stews and paellas found all over Spain today began as the staple diet of peasant communities, surviving on homegrown vegetables and meat bones stewed for hours to eke out every ounce of flavour. The distinctiveness of its cuisine is the result of a combination of the superb quality of its raw materials and great economy, resourcefulness and inventiveness in their use. The Moors designed and built the irrigation systems – the ‘huertas’ of Andalucía, creating great irrigated farms and cash crop systems that are still evident today. They introduced an array of foodstuffs and spices, making a huge impact on the Spanish diet. For example, they successfully introduced and cultivated rice and durum wheat (the basis of pasta) later exported to Italy. Oranges, lemons, aubergine, almonds, dates, peaches, apricots, quinces and, of huge significance, coffee, were all introduced by the Moors. Their impact on the culinary traditions of the region can also be seen in the number of Spanish dishes flavoured with black pepper, cumin, saffron and other exotic spices.

Pedaling into Extremadura is known for its different ways of preparing the Iberian pork and mutton. The main characteristics of the traditional dishes are its simplicity, but beautifully reflecting a generous spirit, for many of its preparations used to be cooked in large pots to share with visitors, friends, and neighbors. The resulting dishes are eaten with lovely local bread. Their cuisine is an exotic blend of Muslim, Jewish and Christian traditions that are famed for producing a certain rustic style of cooking full of authentic Spanish flavors.

Portugal 

The cooking of the Alentejo isn’t fussy, nor is it particularly lowbrow. It’s simply a showcase of the rich ingredients from a region with centuries-old culinary traditions. Fresh-baked bread, olives, wild mushrooms, asparagus, salted cod, wild boar and olive oil are the building blocks of timeless recipes.
Bread here is yummy! And, accompanies every single meal., but you will not get tired of it I guarantee you! As for desserts, many towns and villages in the Alentejo prepare delightful pastries and desserts, including versions you won’t find elsewhere. According to tradition, nuns in convents were the first to make desserts, beginning in the 15th century. Recipes were passed down from generation to generation, kept as closely guarded secrets in each nunnery. Today some of the best pastries are still made by nuns – and known far and wide as doces conventuais (convent sweets). A must try! And if you stay on in Porto afterward, please try their famous sandwich, the Francesinha. It means little French woman or simply Frenchie in Portuguese. You may ask why their most iconic sandwich in our city is named after another country.....this dish was created by Portuguese emigrants to France who encountered the French snack, the croque monsieur, and decided to take it to a whole new level, making it bigger, better and seriously more delicious! Often served with an egg on top, chips and a sauce to dip in that takes this "sandwich" to another level!

The History

The histories of Morocco, Spain and Portugal have been intertwinned for as long as modern man has occupied these fascinating countries. The Hannibalic wars of the 3rd century BCE launched our relatively modern historical knowledge of these regions. The Barca family from modern day Tunisia with their North African allies (from modern day Morocco) battled Rome, using Spain as a lauchpad (just like our Hannibal Odyssey!) to the consequent Roman occupation of all of Hispania (roughly Spain and Portugal) - Two of ancient Rome's greatest emperors, Hadrian and Trajan (1st and 2nd century AD) were actually born in Andalusia!

As the Roman Empire declined and the Visigoths of Eastern Europe conquered so much of Europe Islam rose in North Africa.In 711, King Roderick of the Visigoths was defeated by the advancing Moor army. Islamic caliphates were establihsed through most of Spain. Consequently Islamic Moorish culture blossomed across Iberia for the next 800 years (200 years longer than the Roman's lasted!). Christians from the north battled to slowly but surely push back the Moors in a process known as the "Reconquest" and in 1492 the Moors were driven out of Granada, their last European stronghold.

Medieval Spain rooted in Islamic and Christian culture is fascinating and so different from the rest of Europe.

From here Spain quickly unified and in the 16th and 17th centuries the Spanish Empire was at its height and the dominant force of Europe. However the rise of the Ottoman Empire and Protestant powers in Northern Europe started Spain's decline and in the early 19th century Napoleon occupied France and Spain struggled to recover for the rest of the century. The early 20th century brought war... WWI and WWII but Spains focus was it's own Civil War which Nationalist General Francisco Franco, leads to victory. More than 350,000 Spaniards died in the fighting, and Franco purges all remaining Republicans. Spain is left behind by the rest of Europe but in 1975 Franco dies and Spain joins Europe as we know it today.

Meanwhile in Morocco, almost at the same time as Granada falling, the Arab dynsteys begin after centuries of Berber rule. Morocco was a strong centralised Arab state for 300 years but in 1912 it became a French protectorate and 22 years of internal war followed.. Post WWII Moroccan independence was gained and since then a monarchy has ruled.

Roughly (very roughly!) Portugal followed Spain's historical journey but by the 15th century it was independent and fast becoming a dominant maritime power conquering much of the African coastline (including parts of Morocco) and beyond. Portugal then focused on the spice trade and a horrible claim to fame is that The Inquisition was formed in Prtugal in 1536. For a quick century Spain ran Portugal under a single monarch - independence was regained in 1640. From here a typical Euro maritime history path - trade, plunder whereever possible from Africa to South America, internal conflict between Monarch and Liberals and the poor generally being downtrodden and manipulated! For the last 50 years Portugal has been relatively stable but it was as recent as the 1960s that they were fighting guerilla warfare in their African colonies..

 

Othello....

the protagonist of the Shakespearean play of the same name is a general in the army of Venice.  He is a Moor, a dark-skinned man born in Africa, and has risen through the ranks of the Venetian army through hard work and success in battle.  A respected general, but less respected as a person, because of his dark skin and foreign roots.  Honest and passionate he deeply loves Desdemona, even when he kills her. Iago uses Othello's trust in him to manipulate him, and Othello stops trusting in Desdemona, and begins to rely exclusively on Iago's advice. Desdemona was Othello's passion, and when she dies, he must die soon after, especially after he learns that she was innocent.

A desperate story and a magnificent tale of the best known Moor in western history. This tour will give you an insight into so much more!

Testimonials

Sam and the Bike Odyssey team exceeded our expectations on every level. Each and every day of our first European cycle adventure delivered memories of people and places that will last a lifetime. A test of mind and body, but a rich and rewarding experience that has whet the appetite for more of the same. We’ll be back.

Michael and Louise Clifton

Without a doubt your guides (and Sam is included), are the best I’ve had on any tour, and I’ve ridden more tours than I can count across the US, Europe and South America. Great personalities and extremely helpful. Also very accommodating to personal preferences (bananas and Cokes!). This is what will keep me coming back to Odyssey tours. Also extremely important – your willingness to let riders leave whenever they want in the morning and have the bikes out and ready to ride early — before breakfast. Much appreciated.

Wayne Riley

Organising a custom tour in a foreign country where you are not fluent in the language can be intimidating as you are always trying to consider your groups individual needs and abilities, Getting to know Sam and then working with Bike Odyssey is so refreshing in that they were able to provide a very high end experience, while feeling like it was effortless on our end. The team was always working hard in the background to make sure our customised Hannibal adventure unfolded seamlessly and going by the feedback from our group and the sign up for Lionheart it’s clear they were effective.

Sam’s approach is calm and confident and the route choice as well as accommodation was memorable. I would highly recommend engaging Bike Odyssey as your choice.

Paul Traynor

Eastern Explorer Excellence!! We had such a fantastic two week custom tour with Bike Odyssey. 9 friends from Adelaide, of varying abilities, embarked on an epic 1,400kms from Görlitz on the German/Polish border, all through Poland, with a rest day in Gdańsk, ending in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania. The organisation of the trip was perfect, Max and Francesca our tour leaders could not have done more for us. Great hotels, wonderful food, and great technical help from Frannie who made us all into Hammerhead converts and experts within no time at all! No more dodgy paper maps and getting lost, Hammerheads are the way forward! Literally!

Thanks Bike Odyssey for a brilliant tour, we look forward to the next one!

Hannah Schultz

Well, what can I say other than brilliant! Hannibal 2017 was 16 days of brilliant riding, excellent accommodation and the guides were just second to none. Sam, Max and the team are committed to ensuring that you have the trip of a lifetime, to which I did. I would recommend bike odyssey as the best cycling company to take you on an adventure through Europe and beyond! Do it!!!…..you won’t regret a single minute. Thanks Sam and team for a wonderful trip!

Amanda Copp

The cycling routes, guides, food, wine and accommodation were all great. Such a memorable trip. I highly recommend bike odyssey

Sarah Armstrong

Awesome Guides, fantastic accommodation, best riding ever. If you ride a bike book a holiday with these guys, you won’t regret it.

Peter Rau

Thank you Max for being such an excellent guide during our Hannibal Tour. Your infectious enthusiasm was invaluable and the way you supported the whole group throughout each day was fabulous. I felt very safe with you as our tour leader during the first few days and appreciate your motivating and fun loving personality from the beginning to the end of the trip. And last but not least, your Spanish mints (with accompanying jingle) each morning were vital to a good start to the day.

Megan Rigney

I felt that all the guides and their contributions were extraordinary all went over and above to ensure that we were in the right place, their individual and team contributions were excellent as was their personal skill sets all were able to walk the talk with no trouble.

Martyn Smith

The guides were amazing…..excellent in fact. Particular mention has to go to Mark. He is as solid and reliable and friendly as you could ever wish for. Nothing was too much for him – even with a stinking cold towards the end, he was ever present and friendly. The image of him at the top of Col Agnel in gale force words and horizontal rain, packing bikes into the trailer will stay with me for a long time.
The other guides were all excellent and genuinely could not do enough. They made the trip very easy and all we had to do was concentrate on riding our bikes.

Pat Marshall

I was captivated from the first by the notion of historically themed epic cycling journeys, but I had no idea about the level of real support that Sam and his team was going to provide. Our journey was certainly epic in every way; the daily distances stretched me physically and we were unlucky to cop some really wet weather during the first weeks of the tour. The support really amazed me. There were days when we arrived at our destination soaked and nearly done in, but our bikes were whisked away for clean up and we were met with enthusiastic congratulations from the team and snacks and drinks for an immediate pick-me-up. This was always followed by utter relaxation in wonderful accommodation and great food. On the ride itself, the bike guides were a revelation to me. The last part of the climb to the Gotthardt was looking a bit grim until a smiling face appeared at my side and suggested a pause for a photo opportunity might just let me catch my breath. Despite being the last rider at the col who wanted to make the cold descent in the mist, companion riders and guides all encouraged me to go for it.

Dianne Batten

Despite having had a “one in a century event” as far as the amount of rainfall is concerned (there have been record floods in this part of the world), and precipitation for 5 out of the past 6 days, everyone is still in good spirits and, if anything, the sense of a group identity is stronger than ever. This in itself is a fine testament to both Sam’s organisation and the great team he has put together to support us. And the service in making sure all our bikes are cleaned up, re-lubed, and with gears tuned each morning – often in the rain – through these days of inclement weather has been magnificent. Through it all, Sam has remained totally unfazed and this has helped us all through. With the fantastically conceived historical nature of this trip, the brilliant route and wonderful accommodation as well – not to mention Sam’s excellent historical interpretations – it’s hard to imagine a more interesting, rewarding and challenging tour.

Doug Bruce

As a 65 yr old with 2 metal hips, I joined Sam’s very first Hannibal tour, with some appreciable trepidation. But any misgivings I might have entertained dissipated quickly. Stunning views, friendly and ever helpful guides, scrumptious local fare and excellent accommodation more than compensated for the fading grumblings of an initially reluctant body. By the 3rd day all fatigue was forgotten as I made friends with riders from very different backgrounds, learnt some useful lingo and soaked up sights, smells and history of a most interesting part of the World.

Bob Hofman

Sam did a faultless job running the tour from the hotels to the food, the support, the hire bikes and the incredible history of Hannibal along the way, I cannot imagine how it could have been executed any better. The guides were professional, dedicated, friendly and supportive. Their experience shone through and is their greatest asset.
I already have my next epic tour planned, and it wont be the last.

Jason Langer

The Hannibal Expedition has been the major riding highlight of my 20-year riding career. The scenery, food wine and accommodation were something I have no hesitation in recommending. For me, the greatest plus was achieving the challenge the Hannibal Expedition’s thoughtfully crafted route provides. Plenty of personal challenge, in beautiful and historic countries, with almost no traffic. What more could you ask for.

Stephen Seymour

The guides? What a team! On and off the bike the guys could not have been better. Their focus was on ensuring that everyone was safe and enjoying themselves. Nothing seemed to be too much trouble. They handled sometimes difficult situations , with grace, and good humour. And as an added bonus Mark and Dirk’s photography is simply stunning. So I’ve done 2 epic trips now, thoroughly indulged and enjoyed myself both times.

Sharon Watson

Max, Sam and Mark, what a trip! The finest food and wine from France, the best roads of Germany, Polish castles, new age Baltic states, and behind the romance of Russia. We did more than follow Napoleon’s footsteps, we opened up a new world. My life is enriched because of the 2015 Napoleon tour.

James Sulzburger

Sam, a fan​tastic tour for the adventurous with the usual epic adventure standards – well researched, great accommodation and meals and the best of guides and support. This tour has a variety of landscapes, terrain, cultures and is filled with history both ancient and modern.  There wasn’t a day when I thought I’d prefer to be somewhere else.

Kay Jacob

Sam, Max, and Mark, thanks guys, in your role as tour operators and guides your professionalism, work rate, attention to detail and commitment was second to none.

 

 

Gary Powell

Sam, your team did a magnificent job in the planning & executing of this tour – the castles, chateaux, monasteries & mansions we stayed in were amazing ( who could forget Ziggy?)!

Ruth Kerr

What an amazing holiday! You can eat and drink as much as you like and you still go home fitter and trimmer than when you left! Wait till Woman’s Weekly or Cosmo hear about this holiday! You guys’ll be booked solid till early retirement. This was undoubtedly the best long weekend of my life so far. I’ll be back next year for at the very least a full stage, if not more! My legs look forward to cashing this cheque which my hand is currently writing!

Will Wetherall

The guides on the Hannibal Expedition were excellent. They are excellent organisers, who think ahead, and are always looking to make the best possible experience for the riders, whether this be making sure the bikes are in top condition, or the picnics lunch is in “the spot”, or the evening meal is an experience to remember. The guides are happy to answer to questions on the route, and change things as weather or circumstance require. Sam’s historical knowledge and has willingness to share this knowledge really added to the trip.
I am very much looking forward to riding with them again.

Stephen Seymour

This was by far the most fun I have had on a bike. It was a pretty stern physical test for me, and thus perfect. I eyed off the van once or twice but never had to get in it. Lovely places and lovely routes that you would never find by yourself, and all fully supported.

Ted Robinson

Hannibal Barca, the wily Carthaginian General, was a fine strategist and leader. His attempt to conquer Rome by taking war elephants across the Alps was a real feat. If you wish to ride across the Alps, in fine style, without the support of war elephants, then you should sign up for this tour. They are great operators and their tour is first class.

Roddy Johnson

It is a rare thing to experience something that changes your perspective on life permanently, even more rare when that something is a choice, and not a challenge that life has forced upon you.
The Hannibal Tour did just that, it changed my perspective on life. I started the tour with very high expectations, to see the best of Europe, to make friends, to challenge myself physically. What it achieved was well beyond this. The Hannibal Tour covered some of the most extraordinary landscape I will ever see, including times when I truly was on top of the world. Meeting the physical challenge of 26 days of cycling when I have never in my life before been a cyclist has left me with an incredible belief that anything is possible in life. I have made lifelong friends from across the globe. On this tour, I felt more alive than I had since I was a kid. We all laughed hard, ate and drank like kings, and at the top of the Alps I cried with joy. And all this, from the seat of a bicycle.

Jason Langer

Sam had obviously put a lot of time and effort into researching and organising the Hannibal Epic. The detail in the planning is obvious from the start and resulted in a magnificent experience every day. The hotels, restaurants, routes, lunch stops including several picnics, coffee breaks and extras such as wine tastings and farmhouse meals were superb. An added feature of their tours is the historical aspect which was regularly explained to us in regard to our location. I feel very lucky to have found this tour and to have been able to participate as it was challenging, unforgettable and a great opportunity to meet other like minded cyclists and create new friendships. It was hard coming home after such a unique experience. Thank you Sam.

Kay Jacob

To go on a trip that has congruency with the challenge of the ride -the epic and the history, gastronomy, the culture, the landscapes and to provide such intelligent support is amazing . I loved it, felt challenged, gave myself to the whole experience and have no criticisms, just grateful for a marvellous trip.

Bernadette Redfern

The 25 days I spent on the road with Sam was the best month I have had in my life. To be able to travel through Spain, France and Italy, and to see, do, eat and enjoy so much, was a real privilege. Sam eliminates any stress that may come with such a huge undertaking. Really, all you have to do is keep pedalling and not lose control of your bike when you pinch yourself to check you are not actually dreaming.

Felix Lowe
See all our testimonials
Some Light Reading
Hamilton
This book explores Morocco's ancient storytelling tradition and the great age old tales.
Wharton
In Morocco by Edith Wharton
In the 1920's novelist Wharton travelled to Morocco post World War I. An historic travel book in more ways than one.
Tremlett
Ghosts-of-Spain-Giles Tremlett-bike tour
A fantastic read, if you have time to read just one book on Spain, this is it.
Drayson
A great factual tale of Boabdil, the last Muslim king of Granada.
Saraiva
a best seller in Portugal, yet a factual history of Portugal - it must be good!