Cycling Algarve Coast
8 days / 7 nights | Self guided bike tours | Cape St. Vicente (Sagres) – Vila Real St. Antonio
This great route runs along the Algarve coast line, allowing you to visit many of the coastal towns and cities in the Algarve and also trace various paths of nature. It features mostly flat terrain with an average of one / two medium ascents per day. With an average of 40 km per day, easily crossed.
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266 km / 157 miles | Level 2 – From 1 to 4
Day 1: Arrival at Faro airport transfer (optional ) to Sagres.
Optional transfer rom Faro airport, or from another location of your choice, to the hotel in Sagres, where you will start your cycling holiday. The meaning of this village for world history is tremendous, witnessed by a wealth of historical events, stories and tales. The ruins of the 16th century Baleeira Fort, the magnificent fortress and the Mareta beach are some of the highlights to explore in the village. (Extra nights available before departure to Lagos).
Day 2: Cape St. Vicente to Lagos (Cycling 51 km / 31 miles)
Start your day by exploring Sagres, one of the most important areas in the Algarve accordingly with its exceptionally rich heritage. The starting point is next to the lighthouse at Cape St. Vincent - the most southwestern point of Portugal and Continental Europe. Enjoy the views to the ocean and to the cliffs that rise almost vertically from the Atlantic to a height of 75 meters. Cycling along quiet roads, enjoy the passage through Vila do Bispo to visit its 18th century Mother Church and through Raposeira to visit its 16th century Mother Church, taking a break in one of the traditional cafés, while chatting with the local people. Cycling towards the coast on secondary roads, the landscape is over green fields by the gentle hills, with a common presence of pine trees. Upon arriving at the coast, you are greeted with a resounding landscape over the ocean. In Salema, a fishing village, you can enjoy a refreshing swim while watching the traditional arts of fishing of this village. It is to highlight the passage through the Boca do Rio, not only by all the Lusitanian-Roman ruins that can be witnessed here, but also by the magnificent scenery that gives us, the beach in the valley between two hills. Quiet paths and roads with little movement with some elevations mark the route to the destination. At Burgau beach, also known as the Portuguese Santorini, the traditional fishing gear such as Alcatruz, gillnet or the hook device can be observed. Take advantage of the passage on Praia da Luz to visit the Church of Luz de Lagos, the ruins of the Roman baths and to make sure that the ocean is refreshing for a swim. Cycling on a bike path surrounded by views of the sea and the cliffs, you will find Ponta da Piedade. We recommend that you take some time to explore this magnificent natural monument. Cycling along the Bensafrim stream you will reach the city centre of Lagos.
Day 3: Lagos to Portimão to Albufeira (Cycling 30 km / 20 miles)
Start your day exploring Lagos, a city that played a key role in the Age of Portuguese Discoveries, as many of these vessels left from here. The Parish Church of Santa Maria, the Church of Santo António, the Bandeira Fort and the Municipal Market are some highlights to explore in the city. Cycling along a bike path and quiet paths you will reach Meia Praia, where you can enjoy a refreshing swim. Between roads and paths with little movement you will cycle along an aquaculture area. When the tide is low, you can see countless shellfish gatherers collecting bivalves such as clams and cockles. Take advantage of the passage through Odiáxere to visit its 16th century Mother Church. The route to Alvor is traced by a road with movement, often accompanied by storks in their nests. In Alvor, visit the Morabito de São Pedro, the Municipal Market and cycle through the typical narrow streets, where we recommend a break for a drink or a good lunch in a typical Algarve restaurant with fresh fish. The Alvor estuary is a highlight and offers extraordinary views. Enjoy the passage through Praia do Vau and its landscaped environment flanked by smooth cliffs and irregular rock formations. Cycling along the coast with fantastic views over the ocean, you will reach Praia da Rocha, where you can relax the rest of the day.
Day 4: Portimão to Albufeira (Cycling 54 km / 31 miles)
The beginning of the stage is marked by a bicycle path along the bank of the Arade River. Visit the Portimão Museum and discover the city's strong connection to fishing culture. Next to the river Arade we find the village of Ferragudo and we immediately feel its fishing environment through fishing boats by the river and by the fishermen on the sidewalk preparing their fishing nets and fishing traps. We recommend a visit to the Church of Ferragudo where you have a fantastic view over the mouth of the River Arade and the city of Portimão. The stage is mainly marked by secondary roads and quiet paths, where olive, cypress, orange, pine, fig and cork oak vegetation predominates. In Lagoa, we suggest a visit to the Mother Church and to take a break to taste traditional Portuguese pastries, especially the Florados from Lagoa. We recommend a visit to the promontory of Senhora da Rocha, a place that was a cult for Visigoths and Muslims, which has a fantastic view over the ocean and also a 16th century chapel. Cycling through Armação de Pêra enjoy not only its cultural heritage but also a good offer of beaches: Vale do Olival, Armação de Pêra or Pescadores. It is to highlight the passage across the Salgados lagoon, a favourable place for bird watching. In Albufeira, cycling through its winding streets, explore the various “hidden” viewpoints between the white houses, contemplate the Portuguese sidewalk in the downtown and enjoy the fishing gastronomy that the city offers.
Day 5: Albufeira to Faro (Cycling 51 km / 30 miles)
Day full of adventure and nature. Cycling along a road with some movement through the surrounding area of Albufeira, you have the opportunity to visit the fishing village of Olhos de Água where you can observe a spring of fresh water at the beach sand. Cycling along secondary roads and quiet paths, the landscape is mostly surrounded by pine, olive, cork, palm and some carob trees. Enjoy the passage on the Falésia beach, on the Vilamoura beach or on one of the beaches of Quarteira to feel the water of the ocean. In Vilamoura we recommend a visit to the ruins of the Roman villa and a break at the largest marina in the country, where you can observe an extraordinary diversity of boats. In the typical fishing town of Quarteira, visit the fish and regional products market and cycle through the pine forests around the small lagoon of Foz do Almargem, with fantastic views to the ocean and to the small cliffs. It is to highlight the passage through luxury resort of Quinta do Lago which presents you with the Natural Park of Ria Formosa, one of the seven natural wonders of Portugal. Here you can see several species of birds such as Flamingo, Western swamphen, Azure-winged magpie and many more. We suggest a visit to Praia de Faro, a fishing village where the inhabitants keep alive ancient traditions. Here, you not only have extraordinary views over the ocean and dunes, but also privileged views over the Algarve mountains. Next to the natural park, cycling through paths with little movement, you reach the marina in the city centre of Faro, where the end of the stage is marked.
Day 6: Faro to Tavira (Cycling 44 km / 26 miles)
Start your day exploring the capital of the Algarve. The village arch and the cathedral are some of the highlights that can be seen in the famous "old town" of Faro, which is partially surrounded by the walls built by the Moors. The route to Olhão is partly traced by a road with movement and by a path along the Ria Formosa Natural Park and the saltpans, with views of the Deserta, Farol, Culatra and Armona islands. Visit this typical Algarve town and explore its fishing traditions. We recommend visiting the well-frequented Mercado Municipal and the marina, where you can see the replica of the boat Caíque do Bom Sucesso. Cycling near the fishing port gives you a unique contact with fishing traditions and arts, as well as with local fishermen. The route to Tavira is cycled by roads with little movement between small towns and quiet paths next to the Ria Formosa Natural Park, where the landscape is marked mainly by the presence of olive trees, pines, fig trees and cactus. In the fishing village of Fuseta, observe the architecture of the white houses with roof terraces and enjoy an excellent view over the Ria Formosa while taking a refreshing swim on its beach. The route guides you through the Fuseta saltpans - a place where you can observe several species of birds in their natural habitat such as Flamingo, Pied avocet, Black-winged stilt and many others. Observe small historical landmarks such as the Tower of Aires, some Norias and the two-thousand-year-old Olive tree. In Santa Luzia we suggest visiting Barril beach where you can find the well-known Anchor Cemetery, which were used in the past in the practice of tuna fishing. Enjoy a good meal of typical Algarve cuisine, here best known for making octopus dishes. The end of the stage is marked on the Roman bridge, in the city centre of Tavira.
Day 7: Tavira to Vila Real St. António (Cycling 69 km / 36 miles)
Start your day exploring Tavira, one of the most beautiful and typical cities in the Algarve. Its beautiful castle, the Church of Misericórdia and the Camera Obscura are some of the highlights of the city. Starting at the Roman bridge, the stage leads us to Cabanas de Tavira, where we cycle along the Ria Formosa Natural Park, a 60 km long lagoon system. The route is mostly cycled by secondary roads and quiet paths, where you can observe and visit some strategic defensive points on the Algarve coast. Passing through Cacela Velha it is impossible to stop feeling its Islamic culture. Visit its Mother Church built on a primitive medieval building, the Cacela Fortress - where in the same place was once a Moorish castle and observe the fantastic view over the coast. Cycling along the coast you have the opportunity to enjoy a refreshing swim at Manta Rota beach, at Altura beach, at Praia Verde beach, at Cabeço beach, at Monte Gordo beach or at Santo António beach. The path through the pine forest next to Monte Gordo beach and through the National Forest of the Dunes of Vila Real de Santo António until the Guadiana River, where the natural border is marked between Portugal and Spain, is a great highlight of the day. Cycling along the Portuguese bank of the Guadiana River, the stage guides us through the city of Enlightenment - Vila Real de Santo António. Visit the Marquês de Pombal square, the city parish and the market of regional products spread through these streets. The stay is again in Tavira, so you can choose to return by train or cycle. Although we recommend to cycle the full stage, in Vila Real de Santo António and in Castro Marim you have the possibility to return to Tavira by train. The way to Castro Marim is marked through cycle tracks until the Ravelin of Santo António, where you’ve exceptional views all around. We recommend visiting its Mother Church and its Castle, where you have not only a fantastic history but also extraordinary views. The route back is traced by secondary roads between small villages, farmlands (orange, lemon, persimmons) and vineyards, with some views over the ocean. The end of the stage is biked along the east bank of the river Gilão to the city center.
Departure or stay for extra days.
Please note: All cycling distances stated above are approximate only.