Coast & hills
This self guided road bike holiday offers you the best that the Algarve has to offer. You will stay in quality accommodation along the superb Algarve coastline, whilst spending you days cycling up into the hills along quiet country lanes with spectacular scenery and fabulous cycling terrain. It is also suitable for non-cycling partners as they can relax on the beach as you explore the hidden gems of this beautiful region.
- Activity: Self guided road bike holiday
- Bike type: Road bike
- Duration: 7 nights, 5 days cycling
- Activity level: Intermediate/advanced
- Accommodation: 3 and 4 star hotels
- Daily average: 90 km.
- Price: From €665
Day 1 Arrival
Upon your arrival in the Algarve, we will collect you and take you to Vila Real de Santo António (VRSA), an interesting old town on the banks of the Guadiana river which forms a natural border between Portugal and Spain. Largely redeveloped after the great earthquake of 1755, VRSA was recreated on a grid system, yet still retains a character of its own. It has a relaxed atmosphere and the central square, edged with orange trees and host to an array of shops and cafés, is an ideal place to spend your first evening. Enjoy a spot of people watching as you tuck into some fresh local food and wine. This should set you in the moodbefore you set off on your trip across the Algarve.
Day 2 Cycle to Tavira (72km. 950m. elevation gain)
Starting offtowards the ancient settlement of Castro Marim, you'll enjoy the views across the river to Spain, passing marshlands and salt pans. The traditional production of salt is still an important activity in this area. Heading towards the sparkling waters of the Beliche reservoir, it won't be long before you are cycling through typical Algarvean 'lost villages', amidst the stunning mountain scenery that forms the Serra de Tavira. From here you turn south and cycle through the river valley towards the coast and the picturesque village of Cacela Velha, a tiny whitewashed village set on a hill overlooking the lagoon with a little church and the remains of a 18th century fort. You will certainly want to linger here to take in the view. Its neighbour, the beach of Fabrica is also a worthwhile diversion. Sipping coffee by the water's edge you can take in the boats dipping in the gently ebbing water and watch the locals collecting shellfish.
The route takes you back inland a little where you will enjoy some quiet country lanes, avoiding the busy roads that hug the coast, before turning south once more towards Tavira. Home to a castle, a Roman bridge and a wealth of traditional architectural styles, Tavira is built either side of the river Gilão, which creates two distinct halves of the town. Several cafés and many small restaurants make the town an easy place to stay and have relaxing wander around. The hotel overlooks the river and all that the town has to offer is within easy walking distance.
Day 3 Cycle to Faro (80km. 1040m. elevation gains)
Leaving Tavira's main square, you will follow the river north into the Barrocal region, referred to as 'the orchard of the Algarve' with its many colourful spring flowers and fruit trees, and whitewashed houses with laced chimneys. from here you will make your way to São Brás de Alportel, a typical Algarvean working town, still the hub for the region's cork industry. This is the beginning of the Caldeirão mountain range, which forms a significant border between the Algarve and the Alentejo. Passing through the quaint village of Alportel, you will enjoy a challenging, fairly long, but with moderate gradient ascent to Barranco do Velho following the famous national road N2. You may feel the need for a quick break and a snack at the very traditional and well established Tia Bia restaurant.
Your journey back to the coast will take you on a fabulous descent through pine and cork oak forest and more sleepy hillside villages before you reach the interesting town of Estoi, with its imposing baroque palace. It is just a few minutes up from the main square, recently renovated into an upmarket Pousada hotel. The gardens are a real attraction and Close by is also a complex of Algarve's best kept Roman ruins, dating back to 2nd century AD. Here you can view ancient columns, a large temple and several mosaics that were once part of the properties bathhouse. Taking a few moments in Estoi you can also appreciate the beutiful church square and several laid back cafés in the area in which to enjoy a light refreshment and some quiet reflection before you head back down to the coast and the regional centre of Faro.
Whilst it is the capital city of the Algarve, the central area of faro is really quite compact. An impressive archway leads into the old town, called Vila a Dentro, where you will discover cobbled streets with interesting shops and cafés. An impressive square lined with orange trees is home to a small cathedral. It was built on the site of a former mosque and merits a visit to see the beautifil tiles and gilt carved wood inside. There is a pedestrianised area with lots of boutique shops and traditional Portuguese restaurants. You can have a nightcap on the edge of the small marina, where you can watch the world go by in what is an extremely laid back city.
Day 4 Cycle to Armação de Pêra (101km. 1430m. elevation gain)
Leaving the centre of Faro you will soon be onto country roads heading inland through quiet villages, small hamlets and working farmland. Before long you will approach the outskirts of Almancil, a busy working town and of service tomany of luxury resorts and golf courses in its coastal area. More interestingly, on the edge of town is the church of São Lourenço, with fine examples of the intricately hand painted tiles for which Portugal is famous, as well as an impressive golden altar. This Baroque style church is open to visitors, so it is a good idea to try and time your ride so that you van take a peek. Your next stop is Loulé, a thriving old market town known for the beautifully restored indoor market selling fresh regional produceAs you navigate your way through the rolling hills to the north of Loulé, you will want to take a quick detour to the hill-top centre of the village of Querença.. It's a short hop up to the beautiful church square, where you can enjoy some local biscuits with your morning coffee. Querença is well known for its agricultural products, just as the rather strong medronho, a sort of fruit brandy and the famous chouriço, smoked sausauge. But it's sitting outside the authentic and welcoming café, taking in the tranquil setting and beautiful backdrop and beautiful setting of the small church that we think is the real attraction here.
There is a lot more to see as you cross the valley riding on surprisingly traffic free and well surfaced roads, punctuated by small towns and villages. With sweeping country scenes to your left and right, you will pass the traditional working town of Salir after which you get great views to the sharp edged limestone rock and classified site of Rocha da Pena. Continuing along quiet ondulating roads to São Bartolomeu de Messines, a typical agricultural town, with narrow streets and yet another church as the centre piece. Her you'll make the turn south and travel through abundant citrus groves towards the bustling coastal resort of Armação de Pêra (named after a Moorish netting method to catch tuna) The pleasant sea fron promenade leads you to your hotel, overlooking the beautiful expansive beach.
Day 5 Rest day in Armação de Pêra
Today you will have a chance to take a rest from cycling. You can simply realx by the pool or on the beach. Alternatively, we have a range of excursions that you can enjoy, from historical and cultural tours, to boat trips, water sports and other outdoor activities. At the very least you should pay a visit to Nossa Senhora da Rocha (Our Lady of the Rocks) with its smaller beach, sheltered from the wind by the high cliffs, where fishermen still land with their catch. The chapel on the promontory cliff top is tiny but perfectly formed and a popular venue for weddings. Take a stroll to the end and you will not only get a glimpse inside but stunning views aloong the coast.
Day 6 Cycle to Lagos (97km. 1570m. elevation gain)
Refreshed after your day's rest, you will be ready to tackle today's challenging ride. After a brief hop along the promenade to the eastern side of town you will start climbing gradually to Alcantarilha. From here you will continue to its railway station and go along the railroad to Silves, where you will most certainly want to take a break. An enchanting town on the banks of the river Arade, Silves is steeped with history, once the Moorish capital it is home to the best-preserved castle in the Algarve. There are lots of local cafés and restaurants on the front, viewing the Roman bridge, or in the cobbled back streets, where you can have a leisurely break. Leaving Silves on the western side of town, you will make the gradual climb to Monchique, a spa town set amidst pine and oak forests and valleys with fresh water springs, From her you will follow a meandering, yet testing ascent to Foía, the highest (902m.) peak in the Monchique mountain range and the entire Algarve. It's an iconic goal that is attempted by local and pro riders alike with frequency, but most importantly, on a clear day, you get the best views across the Algarve right down to the coast.
Obviously efforts done are rewarded on the way back to the coast and there's an exhilirating descent into the southern foothills. You will head for Lagos, with its famous 4km long Meia Praia beach. It's a bustling town with lots to offer, from the modern marina and waterfront restaurants, to the lively town square and the maize of cobbled streets within the old city walls, there's plenty to explore. There's also plenty to enjoy at the traditional local restaurants, tapas bars, cafés and bakeries, plus a fair share of international options.
Day 7 Cycle to Cabo de São Vicente (86km. 1105m. elevation gain)
Your final day of cycling provides a total change of scenery as you travel inland to the Bravura reservoir before tackling the wild and windy west coast. Cutting across country you will enjoy peaceful winding roads, surrounded by farms and forests, leading you through the odd tiny hamlet before heading west towards the surfers town of Carrapateira and Vicentina natural park. Carrapateira is also village of fisherman and farmers alike. From the easily accessible Pontal de Carrapateira you can enjoy the views on the famous Bordeira beach, lagoon and sand dunes. From here you will continue south towards Sagres, along the main , yet still comparatively traffic free road from Vila do Bispo. You will be aware that you are approaching the wild western Atlantic coast as you breath in thesalty sea air and enjoy the bracing winds and natural roughness of the land and seascape thet surrounds you.
Sagres is a truly tranquil town with beautiful beaches, a picturesque harbour, a very pretty town square and stunning views. It is very popular in the summer with visitors, but all year round with fishermen and surfers because of the western Atlantic waters creating good coonditions for both activities. It is mostly known as the place where Henry the Navigator brought together great mariners, astronomers, cartographers and ship builders to build and navigate ships in the period of the Age of Discoveries. Sagres is also home to Henry's fortress which was originally built in the 15th century. Cabo de São Vicente is the south-western tip of Europe and the 6km ride along the Sagres peninsula takes you past the Fortaleza de Beliche and on to the lighthouse right at the end of the headland, where you can take your iconic 'end of the trip' photo, buy souvenirs, or have a beer. We collect you and return to your quaint hotel, set in a quiet square in the heart of Loulé. Loulé is an explorer's haven, with its narrow cobbled streets leading off the central avenida, tiny shops and hidden away bars and restaurants.
Day 8 Departure
We will transfer you from your accommodation for your journey home.
- January: €665
- February: €665
- March: €675
- April: €815
- May: €850
- June: €995
- July: €1075
- August: €1175
- September: €1125
- October: €895
- November: €665
- December: €665
- GPS tracks, maps and route suggestions
- Good quality hotels along the route
- Route assistance where necessary
- Airport transfers
- Holiday insurance - recommended
- Luggage transfer - see below
- Bike hire
- Prices are per person based upon two people sharing a double/twin bedded room.
- Discounts are available for large groups, please contact us for details
We would be happy to provide extra services:
- Luggage transfer: €210 per group
- Dedicated cycling guide: POA
- Support vehicle:POA
Bookings and enquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org
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