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Route:

Route Characteristics:

Route Profile: Medium Overall terrain is on well paved roads and some dirt roads as well with short to medium inclines each day.

Distance:  250 km

Travel Season: Self-Guided: Departures Saturdays from January 8 – December 17, 2022
Guided: Departures May 28; June 25; September 24 and October 22, 2022
Private Guided tours can be arranged on other dates for an additional fee

Accommodation:

Variety of charm hotels, some built in castles, convents or palaces

We start cycling in a wild rugged area of the Southwest Alentejo and Costa Vicentina National Park, on the west coast. Then, we cycle along the popular south coast, the true Algarve, including very picturesque spots closer to the Spanish border! Our days have lots of variety with visits to places such as the Fisherman’s museum, the cape of Sagres and several fortresses. The Portuguese Sea Discoveries of the 15th century are always present. Besides cycling and enjoying the amazing scenery, we invite you also to learn about the local economy. One of the learning highlights is a visit to an organic farm where its fruit is transformed in jams, chutneys, cakes, and chocolates. The salines visit is another one and, to a sweet end, a visit to a pastry factory where you will have the chance to learn to bake some cakes and in the end taste them (cooking on van guided and guided tours only)! The beaches are beautiful, on the first days with fun waves and impressive steep cliffs on the background while the last days offer us quiet and crystal blue waters.  You will find out that even in the more touristy Algarve areas there are still hidden away empty beaches.

Itineraries

Day 1

Arrival in Portugal

Arrival at Faro or Lisbon airport and transfer to Odeceixe. Briefing of your Portugal cycling tour. If you arrive early we suggest a visit to the historic centre of Faro before the transfer to Odeceixe (if you flew to Faro). Arrival to Odeceixe in time for a beer at the little square, and maybe to visit the windmill. Also possible to use your bike to ride to the beach, classified as one of the seven wonder beaches of Portugal

Day 2

The Wild Beaches 32 km + 350 m

Cycle along the river until you reach the gorgeous beach of Odeceixe. Enjoy the stunning views and the rock formations near the beach. Then we go through farmland with some green cornfields that contrast with the yellow grass in the warm seasons and reach another wild beach. A nice café will be a perfect place for a stop, enjoying a cool drink and a light lunch while watching the surf schools in action. Have a swim and then cycle to the village of Aljezur, one of the last ones to be conquered to the moors. The local artist shop and gallery deserve a visit, as well as the local museums. If you want to do some extra kilometers, it is possible to ride to another beach or along a beautiful farmland valley.

Day 3

From Impressive Cliffs to Charming Valleys 44 km + 650 m

Start by conquering the Castle of Aljezur, enjoying the beautiful views over the village and its neat and tidy vegetable gardens. Then cycle to the coast again, visiting a fortress with stunning views over the cliffs. The perfect defense setting! From here we can see the “needle rock”, an imposing rock standing in the middle of the ocean. We go inland again and start our dirt track adventure. First between eucalyptus, later between the wild endemic bushes and finally along a gorgeous little lake and along a valley. Completely wild, surprising and breathtaking. Cycle to Bordeira, a lovely hamlet with a Manueline style church, and then ride along with another enchanting valley until Carrapateira. Here you will be stunned by the incredible views and rough coastline. Cycle for a few kilometers along the cliffs. Take time to stop and enjoy. Picnic lunch will be served by one of these beaches (on guided tours only). The fisherman’s museum is a visit not to be missed, with fantastic pictures of the man hanging from rocks to catch the famous local delicacy “percebes“. Learn about the lives of the people from the region that risk their lives to catch the best fish for your meal! Riding along another green valley we reach tonight’s accommodation, a lovely hamlet where half of the houses were carefully recovered for tourism.

Day 4

Infant D. Henrique and the Sea Discoveries 41 km + 500 m

Leave Pedralva via a dirt road along the valley. Pass under some modern wind farms and reach the sanctuary of Guadalupe. Here we learn about the interesting life of Infant D. Henrique, the sea discoveries prince. After we cycle through a couple of lovely villages to reach the wild coast again. Have a swim at the beach and then cycle to the Cape of S. Vicente, the most south western point of Europe. Stop for a swim again at a fantastic beach surrounded by huge cliffs. We feel small!!!! After visiting the Fortress of Sagres we continue to our very nice hotel with gorgeous views over the cliffs and the fortress. These visits make our Portugal bike tours special

Day 5

Beach Roller Coaster! 43 km + 720 m

Today the route goes along the southern coastline, in and out to wild beaches. Stop several times for swims and drinks. Enjoy! The ocean here is warmer than on the west coast, the waters are quieter. The cliffs change colour, from the black schist to the orange sandstone. The villages are bigger, more touristic, with many cafés, restaurants and shopping opportunities. We pass a couple of fortresses with fantastic views and go up and down on narrow secondary roads. The last kilometers will be on an amazing trek along the cliffs from where we can see beautiful rock islands in which erosion formed arches, caves and different shapes. Lagos is a lively coastal city with charming architecture, perfect for a stop in our Algarve bike tour. Visit the local museum, the beautiful church and enjoy the cosmopolitan atmosphere.

Day 6

The Charming Villages 30 km + 220 m

The day starts with a 9:30 am transfer from Lagos to Olhão. Arriving at your destination, unload the bikes and cycle to a little village famous for its pottery. It’s a quiet and charming place. Then cycle back to the coast and have a drink by the lagoon of the Natural Park of Ria Formosa. Cycle along this lagoon and stop to enjoy the quietness and watch the bird life. It’s usual to see fisherman catching clams and razors in low tide and boats arriving from a fishing day in high tide. Tavira is probably the prettiest village of the Algarve. Its architecture is charming, the atmosphere relaxing. Save time to explore. This is a good place to buy some arts and crafts, at the local association.

Day 7

The Local Economy 37 km + 250 m

From Tavira we cycle along the Natural Park again, passing several beach and golf resorts that make the wonders of tourists and golfers. Beaches here are busy and lively. To reach them you either walk over a wood board over the river or take a little charming train or a local boat. Between the mainland and the beach, there is always the lagoon. Visit the charming Cacela-a-Velha and the views over the lagoon and then cycle inland to Castro Marim. On the way, we will visit a biological farm and learn about the fig and carob trees, and the local products that are made from their fruits. In this farm the motto is “waste nothing”, and everything the trees give us is used. After we visit the salt lakes and learn about this local production. Here you may immerse yourself in a wonderful outdoor salt-mud SPA experience! It is time to cycle to our final destination, Vila Real de Santo António, where the second language is Spanish! All restaurants have menus in Spanish as this is the main tourism market. After all, Spain it’s just across the river! At arrival, we have a last surprise! We have the opportunity to visit a local pastry factory! On guided groups, besides visiting, you will have the chance to make some pastries and, of course, taste them!!!!

Day 8

Departure

Transfer to Faro airport

Prices

    Included:

    Self-Guided:

    • 7 nights’ accommodation with breakfast in double/twin room
    • Basic tools for fixing small problems
    • Luggage transfer
    • Maps, route instructions and history notes
    • Transfer from Lagos to Olhão
    • 24 hour phone support
    • Souvenir
    • Personal accident insurance
    • VAT tax

    Guided Tour:

    On Guided tours groups are accompanied by one or two cycling guides, besides a guide who takes the support car, prepares the picnics and transports your luggage. Lunches are picnic type with traditional foods from the area where we are cycling. Sometimes we also use local restaurants.

    • All that is included on the van-guided
    • Guide to ride with the group (one or two, depending on group size)

    Van Guided:

    On Van guided tours the guide will be the driver. He/she will guide you from a distance. The car will be near enough so that you can see it on the junctions. The guide will stop at important or interesting places to give history explanations or tell a story. Some people call this a supported tour, though in our case it is more than that because you are actually being guided.

    • All that is included on the self-guided
    • Faro airport transfer
    • Support car with guide
    • Bicycle, helmet, back rack and pannier or similar
    • Water and fruit
    • 4 picnic lunches
    • 2 lunches at regional restaurants
    • 5 dinners with wine
    • 1 liqueur tasting
    • Entrance fee at Fortress of Sagres
    • Entrance fee at Municipal museum of Aljezur
    • Entrance fee at Fisherman's museum
    • First aid assistance
    • Cycling jersey

    Not Included:

    • Insurance for bikes – not available in Portugal
    • Trip cancellation/interruption insurance
    • Personal expenses

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