Who is Terracotta Journeys?
Eva came to Portugal in 1993 from the San Francisco Bay Area and immediately became interested in sharing the Southwestern European lifestyle – its white-washed castle towns, cafes, cuisine and beaches – with her friends and family. For many years she did so informally for foreign visitors and friends living in Portugal temporarily.
After more than ten years of experience, she and her husband Pedro Martins – a Portuguese who attended university in Connecticut, USA and who worked for many years as a tourism consultant – decided it was time to launch a distinct active travel company, and so Terracotta Journeys was born in 2007. The spirit and manner in which Eva and Pedro show their country has never changed and they still treat all of their guests travellers as visiting friends, because they know that a personal touch provides the best travel experience. Our multi-lingual guides are all locals and not flown in from abroad. It is this authenticity which makes our trips truly memorable.
Jorge Costa joined Terracotta Journeys as a partner to further enrich the project. He contributes many valuable years of experience as a trip leader and tour developer for cycling tours for other American cycling tour companies. He also holds a university degree in tourism and is fluent in English, Portuguese, Spanish and Italian. Together the complementary members of our team work hard together to give you the most remarkable bicycling or walking trip possible.
Why Choose Terracotta Journeys for your walking or bike tour?
No tour company can develop and deliver excellent bike tours and walking tours in all parts of the world. By focusing on Spain, Portugal and Southern France we make sure that our tours are the best.
Read about our Experienced multilingual trip leaders here
Read about the routes
Read about accommodations
Read about the food and wine
Focused & Dedicated
We are a small company and want to keep it that way, so you can always talk directly with us, the owners. Having personally developed our tours, we remain involved whether by guiding or assisting with them. Following each tour we evaluate our routes, hotels and restaurants to make sure you are getting the best possible experience. You can be certain that we will do everything to ensure you return to Terracotta for future trips, as well as recommend Terracotta to your friends. Finally, geographically, our tours are focused in regions we are more knowledgeable about than larger tour companies.
Safety above all
Although we choose our routes having safety as a priority, we actively plan and rehearse for all possible incidents and accidents (we have never had a real one) and our trip leaders always know the fastest way to the local hospital or a doctor. In addition, all of our trips include insurance for our customers to cover treatment in case of accident or disease. Also, all Terracotta Journeys tours have at least one guide (often more) certified by the European Reference Centre for First Aid Education. We require the use of a helmet whenever on a bike. Moreover, we recommend the use of sunglasses and cycle gloves, in bicycle tours. On most tours there is a mobile phone for every two guests.
Fully certified (license # 44/2008)
Terracotta Journeys is fully certified as an active tourism company by the Portuguese Tourism Bureau and complies with all regulations for security and quality standards, insurance requirements and sustainability, according to local law to operate in Portugal and in Europe.
You will have full use of high-quality, reliable Trek 7.3 FX aluminium frame hybrid bikes with m. bike gears and GPS, chosen for their suitability for the roads in Spain and Portugal. You are welcome to bring your own pedals – which we will quickly install before the trip starts – or to use our standard flat pedals or pedals with toe baskets.
Ride at your own pace without losing the way. Not only will you have a detailed map and description of the route, but also an easy to use gps device programmed with route directions. No need to stop at crossroads to find your way. If you get tired or want to avoid riding a steeper hill, you can always hop on the support van, that constantly accompanies the bikers. For bike trips with six or more guests we always provide a guide on bike as well. And, for more extreme bikers, we (whenever possible) add an extra loop. On walking tours there is always a guide walking with the group.
Your family is welcome. Bring your kids along. We have fun activities for all, such as your first family surfing lesson, or some safe river kayaking. Contact us for details.
How do we at Terracotta Journeys support the environment and local communities?
At Terracotta Journeys we are keen defenders of a long term vision of sustainability for our planet; to become a healthier and cleaner one. By offering high quality bicycle and walking trips we strive to encourage our guests and others, the use of non-polluting (and fun) forms of travel back at home. We also work with local authorities to improve tracks, information, comfort and safety for cyclists and pedestrians.
For our tour picnics, whenever possible we include locally grown fruits, regional cheeses and other products, since they are fresher, tastier and do not require long-distance transportation. In our office we do our best to reduce our waste: we send information electronically, recycle our paper, use energy efficient lamps, save water and electricity as much as possible, keep warm via exercise, wearing extra clothes and using less heating. And we compost our kitchen scraps. We also try to minimize the use of throw away plastics, batteries and other polluting and energy consuming materials.
By leading our tours through rural communities we hope to bring local villages both economic wealth and support. We also donate a part of our profits to important local projects such as the esteemed L.P.N. (Nature Protection League), in Iberia. Presently, we are supporting the L.P.N. project to save the Iberic Tower Falcon (falco naumanni) from extinction.
Terracotta Journeys – Officially Licensed Tour Operator (#44/2008)