Lisbon to the Algarve road bike tour
Encounter open roads, tree lined avenues and quiet country lanes, as you make your way from Lisbon, the imposing and captivating capital city of Portugal, to the ever popular and stunning region of the Algarve. The Lisbon to the Algarve road bike tour, for the most part, hugs the Atlantic coast, providing varied and spectacular scenery every single day. As well as some exhilirating riding, you will get to experience first hand the many unique characteristics of the most south westerly corner of Europe.
- Activity: Self guided road bike holiday
- Bike type: Road bike
- Duration: 7 nights, 6 days cycling
- Activity level: Intermediate to advanced
- Accommodation: 3 and 4 star hotels
- Daily average: 60 km.
- Price: From €855
Day 1 Arrival in Lisbon
Upon your arrival in Lisbon, we will meet you and take you to your hotel in Sesimbra, just south of Lisbon. Sesimbra ia a pretty seaside resort, set in the sheltering foothills of the Arrábida mountain range. Its pristine beaches and rugged cliffs provide the perfect backdrop to enjoy the freshly cooked seafood for which it is famous.
Day 2 Cycle to Setúbal (43km. 540m. elevation gain)
Setting out from the spectacular Cabo de Espichel, a dramatic headland and home to an impressive convent, lighthouse and sets of dinosaur footprints, most of today's ride is along the limestobe cliffs within the Arrábida natural park, overlooking the crystal clear waters of the Setúbal bay and the Troia Península with its fine white sandy beaches. The beach village of Portinho makes an excellent location for deserved lunch. Your destination for the night is Setúbal, a thriving port town, with a quaint old quarter where you can while a way the hours on one of the beautiful squares, whilst you sample the local delicacy, choco frito (fried cuttlefish). Or take a leasurely boat trip up the estuary where you can spot all kinds of birds on the saltmarshes. The bay of Setúbal is also home to a colony of bottlenose dolphins as well as the museum for the local poet Bocage. Plenty to see and do in this interesting town.
Day 3 Cycle to Santiago de Cacém (62km. 580m. elevation gain)
After breakfast you will take the ferry across the bay to the Troia peninsular, so keep an eye out for those dolphins. The peninsula is a long low-lying sand bank which makes a nice flat ride to start the day. You could stop at the beginning at the Roman ruins, once a major fish-salting factory, or at Carrasqueira, an old fishing community where you can still see the traditional reed houses and narrow fishing boats moored on the mud flats nearby. Most participants are eager to start the ride for the long stretch in direction of the Alentejo region, bringing them after 20 kms to the lovely town of Comporta, or a bit further to the charming village of Melides, a good lunch option.
From here the landscape begins to change and so do the roads. You will enjoy some good up and downs as you head inland amidst cork oak forest and moors abundant with pine. You will stay in the provincial town of Santiago de Cacém, with an imposing Moorish castle and interesting pilgrm history connecting and relating to both Cabo de São Vicente and Santiago de Compostela.
Day 4 Cycle to Vilanova de Milfontes (62km. 500m. elevation gain)
Today's ride takes you back to the Atlantic coast. But first you will spend the day cycling along very quiet roads and through sleepy villages that are surrounded by undulating countryside and forests of cork oak. You may wish to take a break in Cercal do Alentejo, a typical Alentejo town, rich in traditional architecture. You can explore its historical centre via a network of narrow streets and alleys, sampling local products such as the goat & sheep cheeses and observing local crafts.
At the picturesque village of São Luis, you will clearly turn in western direction in search of the Atlantic and the popular seaside town Vilanova de Milfontes. Very popular with Portuguese tourists, it's a lively and welcoming town overlooking the Mira river on its way from Odemira to the ocean. The town is beautifully traditional and the myriad of cobbled streets are perfect for exploring at your leisure.
Day 5 Cycle to Aljezur (75km. 650m. elevation gain)
This is a longer day's riding and it's packed full of fabulous sights as you cycle through the scenic Vicentina natural park. Some possible detours might include Praia de Almograve, widely considered one of the west coast's most outstanding beaches, or the Cabo de Sardão lighthouse, where you can look down on the storks that nest on the rocks below besides trying out the sevaral ocean view points. Entrada de Barca is a very interesting natural fishing port en route just before Zambujeira do Mar. Notice the fisherman's shacks before riding down, not to mention the well known fresh fish restaurant. O Sacas. Reaching Zambujeira do Mar you'll be tempted to linger in the pretty white washed village perched at the top of a giant overlooking a a wide rocky bay and marvelous beach. Continuing along the unspoilt coast line, don't forget to take in the sounds of the crashing waves and breathe in some of the freshest air in Europe!
Also worthy of a pause in your journey is Odeceixe, a sleepy town, but the coastal part of the village, a bit further overlooks beautifully the estuary of the river Seixe, which straddles the borders between the Alentejo and the Algarve. As you leave Odeceixe you are not only crossing over into the Algarve, but into the land of sweet potato of which Aljezur is deemed the 'capital'. The best tasting varieties are produced thanks to idealland and weather conditions and the sea air. Probably the best place to sample it cooked in one of a few traditional methods, for example the local octopus, olive oil and garlic recipe.
Day 6 Cycle to Monchique (54km. 1290m. elevation gain)
Today is clearly the most difficult in terms of elevation, as your route takes you to the highest point in the Algarve, Foía. It's a renowned climb that is undertaken by local and pro riders during races and training sessions. Heading out of Aljezur you will embark on a steep ascent until the tiny hamlet of Pedascas, where you will begin to appreciate your efforts as you enjoy the first views south across the Algarve. The riding becomes a bit easier and road mor ondulating towards Marmelete, where there are a couple of cafés that are accustomed to serve caffeine and sugar in various forms to cyclists in need.
From Marmelete you will take the less travelled, but spectacular road to the northern side of the Monchique mountain range for an alternative approach of the Foía ascent. After taking the iconic photo with the soutrhern Atlantic coast far beneath you, you will take and enjoy the classic descent on the smoothly paved south side to the town of Monchique. Your hotel now is situated outside the village of Monchique. You will need to roll down the mountain a few kms to arrive at Caldas de Monchique, a comfortable spa resort with amidst natural springs.
Day 7 Cycle to Albufaira (76km. 780m. elevation gain)
Despite heading from the mountain to the sea, today's route is not all downhill. Riding the recommended option you will take a lovely detour to the sleepy hilltop village of Alferce. There's a little more climbing to do on the west side pf the 2nd highest Algarvean peak Picota before a wonderful winding descent passing the Odelouca reservoir. The mostly quiet and smooth roads will lead you through unspoilt countryside to the picturesque town of Silves, once the Moorish capital for the Algarve. Silves is steeped with history. It is an enchanting town on the banks of the Rio Arade and home to the best preserved castle in the Algarve. It is a good place for a break. Either from the central terraces viewing the Roman bridge, or a short hop up to the castle will bring you to a pleasant square with shadow and an excellent café, popular with locals and visitors alike.
Your toughest climbs are behind you as you make your way to through the traditional agricultural town of Algoz and the small town of Guia, birthplace to the recipe of the famous frango assado, or chicken piri-piri. Guia is full to bursting with many establishments that claim to serve the best of this simple but very tasty local dish you can enjoy just before the final leg of your cycling journey. The last few kilometres take you past the well-known vineyard Adega do Cantor, established by Guia resident Sir Cliff Richard. These rolling hills will be your last image of the Algarve countryside as you are arriving at the coast and final destination for a night in the popular, but ever charming seaside town Albufeira.
Day 8 Departure
We will transfer you from your hotel to Faro Airport or, if you are returning via Lisbon, to a local train station for your journey home.
- January: €855
- February: €855
- March: €895
- April: €995
- May: €1025
- June: €1145
- July: €1205
- August: €1225
- September: €1185
- October: €1005
- November: €865
- December: €865
- Airport/train transfers to your first and from your last hotel
- Garmin with route loaded, route maps and recommendations
- Good quality hotel and B&B accommodations
- Holiday insurance - recommended
- Ferry fare between Setúbal and Troia
- Luggage transfer - see below
- Bike hire
- Prices are per person, based upon two people sharing a twin/double bedded room
- Discounts are available for large groups, please contact us for details
We would be happy to provide extra services:
- Luggage transfer: €340 per group
- Support vehicle: POA
- Dedicated cycling guide: POA