• Discover
  • Route planner
  • Features

The breaking waves – cycle along the Atlantic coast of Portugal

Angela Pulliero

The breaking waves – cycle along the Atlantic coast of Portugal

Bike Touring Collection by Angela Pulliero



58:23 h

593 mi

27,900 ft

This journey was born out of love for the ocean and Portugal, a country I had called home for many years. In the summer of 2022, I returned with Flavio, my partner, for a bicycle trip that would allow me to say goodbye to places and people I loved very much. When planning this itinerary, I was moved by feelings of ‘saudade’ (akin to nostalgia, in Portuguese) and wanted to leave plenty of time to explore corners of Portugal I had never seen before.

The result is an adventure that crosses Portugal from north to south; from Valença, on the border with Galicia, to the Algarve. The route stays close to the ocean and follows the Eurovelo 1, but makes a diversion to the country’s rural hinterland, following the course of the River Lima. It then includes a small piece of the Portuguese Camino de Santiago, before returning to the ocean at Porto. If you decide to embark on this adventure, you can expect wonderfully-varied landscapes: long sandy beaches that are even deserted in the height of summer, high cliffs; fishing villages where centuries-old traditions are maintained; imposing rivers; enchanting natural parks, such as Arrábida and Costa Vicentina; and beautiful cities, including Porto, Aveiro and Lisbon.

Our recorded itinerary ended in Odeceixe. However, in this Collection, I add the stretch to Sagres, which I rode on another bike trip in 2020. Buses to Lisbon stop in Sagres. The complete Collection has another change from my originally recorded Tours: after leaving Sines, Eurovelo 1 takes you along a stretch of motorway (A26-1), which seemed a bit too dangerous to us. I, therefore, preferred to offer you the alternative that passes through Santiago do Cacém and Cercal do Alentejo, which is proposed on the Rota Vicentina site, where there is a track that connects Lisbon to Faro. This allows you to visit the typical landscapes of the Alentejo.

For this trip, we used a monstercross and a renovated 1990s mountain bike. We equipped both bikes with a rear rack and side bags. Undecided on which tyres to use, we opted for treaded tyres, which were perfect for the first few days but too much for the long stretches on asphalt. All-purpose tyres with a smooth middle section and some side gussets would have been perfect.

We almost always slept in campsites. There are many in Portugal and they are usually spartan, but clean and cheap. We had a camping cooker with us and alternated our pastas with dishes from the Portuguese tascas, small family-run restaurants where portions are generous and prices are low. After all, Lusitanian gastronomy is not to be neglected. I recommend the cod dishes, prepared in many different ways; the fresh grilled fish, which is usually sea bream, sea bass or sardines; the clams and prawns a la bulhão pato (in a very garlicky sauce); and the local cheeses and wines.

If you like the idea of immersing yourself in Portuguese culture, pedalling along the ocean and maybe doing some surfing, the Portuguese climate allows for year-round cycling. Summer, except for a few very hot days, is tempered by its proximity to the ocean and the same can be said for winter, which is never too cold. Bear in mind, however, that the oceanic climate can mean sudden changes in weather and heavy rainfall, especially in spring and autumn. These lands are also constantly buffeted by the wind, which can blow with great force on some days. There is often ‘Nortada’, a northerly wind, so I advise against following the route in the opposite direction to that recommended here.

To reach the starting point, return from the arrival point or skip some stages, you can count on the Rede Expresso buses: rede-expressos.pt/en

It’s possible to load your bicycle in the luggage compartment of the buses, as long as it’s packed. We dismantled the two wheels, lowered the saddle, secured the handlebars with clamps and put everything in two 120-litre bags.

In the Tour descriptions, you find the story of the trip and some practical information to help you organise yours. Boa viagem!

On The Map


Do it yourself

Ready to get going? Create and customize your own version of this adventure using the full Tour below as a template.

Viaggio in Portogallo da Valença a Sagres

627 mi

26,550 ft

26,575 ft

Last updated: February 21, 2023

Tours & Highlights

  • Stage 1: Valença to Caminha – cycle along the Atlantic coast of Portugal

    20.9 mi
    9.5 mph
    725 ft
    825 ft

    We arrived in Valença in the late afternoon, after spending about six hours on the bus that connects Lisbon to Monção. We therefore planned a short stop, just long enough to reach the ocean and pitch the tent with the last hours of light.


    Valença was the first surprise of the trip. The historic center

    translated byView Original

    by Angela Pulliero

  • 06:15
    55.7 mi
    8.9 mph
    2,925 ft
    2,775 ft

    Once out of the tent we found ourselves again enveloped in a thick fog coming from the ocean, which however made the view of the long beach of Caminha even more impressive. The sea was unusually calm and the turquoise water stretched as far as the eye could see. It has always thrilled me to observe the

    translated byView Original

    by Angela Pulliero

  • Sign Up To Discover Places Like This

    Get recommendations on the best single tracks, peaks, & plenty of other exciting outdoor places.

  • 05:25
    49.1 mi
    9.1 mph
    3,325 ft
    3,400 ft

    Through cultivated fields, forests and small, almost uninhabited country villages we continued our Portuguese Camino de Santiago in reverse to Porto. We have crossed the path of many male and female pilgrims, whose passage has become important for the economy of these areas.


    We realized that we were close

    translated byView Original

    by Angela Pulliero

  • 03:21
    36.7 mi
    10.9 mph
    1,025 ft
    1,075 ft

    Leaving the checkerboard city of Espinho, we entered a unique natural environment, the Barrinha of Esmoriz. It is a lagoon of almost 400 hectares which offers shelter to numerous local fauna species and migratory birds. A system of long wooden walkways allows you to cross it while enjoying the view of

    translated byView Original

    by Angela Pulliero

  • 03:39
    37.5 mi
    10.3 mph
    750 ft
    775 ft

    This was the day we broke the record for tent dismantling times and probably speed on two wheels as well. In fact, we had decided to go and visit Aveiro and wanted to take the last ferry before the two-hour break between one ride and another.

    If you want a less traumatic awakening, I advise you to organize

    translated byView Original

    by Angela Pulliero

  • 06:12
    70.6 mi
    11.4 mph
    2,300 ft
    2,225 ft

    The sixth stage was the longest of our itinerary, because we wanted to get as close as possible to the point where we would meet some friends from Lisbon the next day. It was also among the most impressive.


    As soon as we left the seaside resort of Praia de Mira we took a road in the middle of the Atlantic

    translated byView Original

    by Angela Pulliero

  • 01:04
    12.8 mi
    12.0 mph
    325 ft
    275 ft

    Instead, this was the shortest stage of the trip, just about twenty kilometers to meet our friends, catch a few waves on a surfboard, have dinner with friends and celebrate Irene's birthday.


    The route coincided with a long straight stretch on a cycle path parallel to the Estrada Atlântica. So far we have

    translated byView Original

    by Angela Pulliero

  • 01:48
    17.7 mi
    9.9 mph
    950 ft
    850 ft

    The eighth stage was also short. This time because the goal was to reach Nazaré, where a friend of ours who had arrived from Italy, Alessandro, would have joined us to continue the journey with us.


    We therefore arrived early at the destination and after setting up the tent we went to rest in Praia do

    translated byView Original

    by Angela Pulliero

  • 03:42
    33.7 mi
    9.1 mph
    1,975 ft
    2,175 ft

    From this moment on, the three of us continued, with Alessandro full of enthusiasm for the start of his first bike trip.


    From Nazaré begins a beautiful climb that leads to the crest of a hill. From here, the view of Nazaré and its southern coast is breathtaking. The road always follows the coast line

    translated byView Original

    by Angela Pulliero

  • 06:09
    58.2 mi
    9.5 mph
    3,700 ft
    3,575 ft

    Reluctantly leaving the paradisiacal Lagoon of Óbidos, we cycled along a series of dirt roads, passing through very artificial resorts a short distance from the huts where life in the fields seems to have remained unchanged for centuries.


    We have thus arrived in Peniche, another well-known destination

    translated byView Original

    by Angela Pulliero

  • 03:52
    45.7 mi
    11.8 mph
    3,150 ft
    3,500 ft

    The tiredness had started to be felt and on the day of the eleventh stage I forgot to start recording as soon as I got on the saddle. In fact, this Tour lacks the first kilometers from the Ericeira campsite. In any case, there are no alternatives to the state road and you can find the complete path above

    translated byView Original

    by Angela Pulliero

  • 04:33
    42.7 mi
    9.4 mph
    2,950 ft
    2,925 ft

    The twelfth stage was perhaps the toughest. If we had found cold weather in the North, going south we felt the weather conditions change drastically. That day the air was hot.


    We took the ferryboat and cycled along the cycle path that leads to Caparica and then onto dirt roads and forest tracks. Alessandro

    translated byView Original

    by Angela Pulliero

  • 03:10
    39.8 mi
    12.5 mph
    1,325 ft
    1,225 ft

    Having dismantled the tent at high speed, we ran to Setúbal to take the ferryboat (atlanticferries.pt/en/) which takes us to the Troia peninsula, a thin strip of land that separates the sea from the river estuary sad. During the crossing it is not uncommon to spot dolphins, which live here permanently

    translated byView Original

    by Angela Pulliero

  • 03:18
    40.1 mi
    12.2 mph
    1,450 ft
    1,375 ft

    We left the Santo André Lagoon with the idea of returning when we need a relaxed vacation. Around the lagoon there is a vast natural park where you can take long walks among dunes, pine forests and beaches.


    After passing Sines, with its overbearing industrial area, we followed the Eurovelo 1 route, which

    translated byView Original

    by Angela Pulliero

  • 03:44
    31.3 mi
    8.4 mph
    1,000 ft
    975 ft

    On the last day of the trip we were again enveloped in fog, just like the first. It was funny and we joked about it for a long time, because the first part of the fifteenth stage is among the most scenic of the entire itinerary. Only that the visibility was very poor!


    In Cavaleiro we stopped to visit

    translated byView Original

    by Angela Pulliero

Like this Collection?



Collection Stats

  • Tours
  • Distance
    593 mi
  • Duration
    58:23 h
  • Elevation
    27,900 ft

You Might Also Like

The world's most epic cycling roads

Bike Touring Collection by komoot

Bike Touring along Portugal's Atlantic Coast from Lisbon to Porto

Bike Touring Collection by Hannah

Ancient monuments and wild moorland — Land's End Trail

Hiking Collection by Kit P

Magnificent high valleys in Graubünden - the Blogger Hike Challenge 2019

Hiking Collection by MySwitzerland