"Saudade" is in the air. A word that can't really be translated, it roughly means 'longing',' wanderlust' and 'world-weariness' — all wrapped up in two beautiful syllables. The best way to understand what it means is to experience it, however. Something you can only do here. So, while you ride for hours along the steep coast, let your gaze wander over the infinitely wide ocean and feel the salty breeze on your face — and say hello to saudade.
Portugal, the former world empire of seafarers, was long spared from tourism, except for golf and beach holidaymakers in the Algarve. This allowed the country to preserve its original culture. Only a few years ago, many tourists seem to have discovered the "little brother of Spain" for themselves.
In order to escape over tourism, Portugal relies on sustainable individual tourism. The cycle path network along the EuroVelo 1 cycle path is currently being extended and a long-distance hiking path system has been created in the National Park of Southwest Alentejo and the Costa Vicentina. These two long-distance routes are often part of your journey along Portugal's Atlantic coast from Lisbon to the Algarve.
In this Collection, we have split the journey from the capital to the Spanish border into ten stages, for which a certain level of fitness and cycling experience is required. And while not all paths are paved, you will experience nature and the Atlantic coast in full splendor.
You start the journey in the lively capital Lisbon and leave it with a ferry to the south. There is still a lot going on on the Setúbal Peninsula, but the further you leave Lisbon behind you, the more lonely the streets and especially the beaches will become, like rocky cliffs against which the surf whips, your constant companion.
The Alentejo coastline is popular with surfers, but it is also a paradise for cyclists who love solitary expanses of breathtaking nature and climbs. You have reached the Algarve at the most southwestern point of Europe's mainland, the Cabo de São Vicente. The narrow coastal strip in the south of the country offers you a well-developed tourist infrastructure and in the meantime some considerable cycle paths, some of which lead through the middle of the nature reserve of the lagoons and salt flats, until you reach the Spanish border after almost 400 miles (600 kilometers).
Lisbon can be easily reached by plane. From the destination Vila Real de Santo António you can take the train to Faro airport or even back to Lisbon. Thanks to the Atlantic Ocean, the climate along the coast is oceanic-Mediterranean, so it doesn't get extremely hot in summer and it doesn't freeze in winter. As many hotels are booked up during the high season and tend to close when it gets quiet, you should book your accommodation in advance.
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Endless open spaces, every now and then a homestead, here a few cork oaks, as a few pines, ... So you can describe the Alentejo very well. It accounts for one-third of Portugal's area, but is inhabited by only seven percent of the population. The first 30 kilometers you are alone with your bike, so take enough water with you.
You left the Alentejo and continue cycling in the Algarve. Not least, you notice that it is getting hilly again.Since the northwest, unlike the south of the Algarve, is less well developed, please always remember to replenish your water reserves and pack a bar or fruit in good time.Ascents, fantastic views, descents and dream beaches alternate constantly, but the scenery is so breathtaking that you will not be bored.
From Lagos you drive around a large, very scenic lagoon, which you cross shortly before the fishing village of Alvor on small paths. To experience the fertile area even more intensively and watch the game of ebb and flow, you can make a detour to the estuary in the west of Alvor.The path will take you past one of the Algarve's most famous beaches, Praia da Rocha, to the lively port city of Portimão.
The coast on the eastern Algarve is no longer characterized by high rocks from here but of interesting wetlands and lagoons. This also means that no high gradients are more in front of you.The first few kilometers are only slightly hilly. Little bays, lagoons and harbors are always your way to Faro. Especially beautiful are the wetlands around Quarteira, which are surrounded by pine forests.
The final stage of your journey along the Portuguese Atlantic coast is dedicated to the natural park of the Ria Formosa lagoon. You can see how the different currents of the tides and the estuaries formed the landscapes.You drive large parts of the stage on so-called EcoVias. These are natural bike paths on leveled pistes leading through the middle of nature.