With 300 days of sun each year, Portugal's west coast — the Algarve — is one of the best places to head for a cycling holiday, wherever you go. Situated right in the middle of this beautiful region, however, is the Costa Vicentina Nature Park, a stunning region comprised of fantastic hills and breathtaking beaches — a sight that is bound to warm you up.
Whether you are an ambitious roadie or a leisurely touring cyclist, the Algarve offers rides for everyone. What's more, being a well-developed destination for other fans of outdoor activities, there's still plenty to do when you're not in the saddle, from horseback riding and surfing to hiking and mountain biking. This makes it the ideal destination for a week away with the family, or as the training ground for your next off-season prep.
The easiest way to arrive is to fly. Several low-cost airlines fly here from cities all over Europe, although if you're coming from further afield, Lisbon might be a good alternative. There are direct buses and internal flights from Lisbon to Faro. Once you arrive, you can get to all of the numerous cities in the region — the places that serve as our routes' starting points — within an hour in a rental car, or you can also take a public bus to save some money. Just bear in mind that there are numerous beautiful gravel roads to be found down here, so we'd recommend kitting your standard road bike out with thicker tires so you can enjoy them all.
The hub of our rides is the small coastal town of Arrifina, a wonderful alternative to the well-known destinations of package tourism. We chose this place because of its quiet and beautiful location; an area where you can really relax after a day in the saddle. To avoid the searing hear of the summer, the best time to visit is in spring or autumn — but you'll find a host of great activities to take part in whenever you come.
From the starting point in the tranquil fishing village of Arrifina you start today on a short (culinary) introductory round. First, head inland to Aljezur, a small town that has the best ice cream parlor in the area. While you enjoy the delicious ice cream, you can decide whether you want to cycle back from here to the coast or just hang out for a little while.If you drive even further, you can get to know a special feature of this area. The area around Aljezur is known for its sweet potato cultivation. For this reason, there is also the Museum Batata Doce in Rogil. There follows the theory of the delicious practice. The sweet potato cake in the attached café is a must-have on this tour. This highlight costs about 15 extra kilometers and takes you back to Aljezur, so you can just swipe this point if you want to take it easy.Back in Aljezur you should not miss the castle ruins of the Castelo de Aljezur and the great view over the whole valley. Although the way up to the ruins is quite steep, it's worth it. Now the route takes you back to the coast. In Amoreira you have a great view of the beautiful bay. Here it is advisable to take a little refreshment in the "Taberna do Gabriel II" and enjoy the view. A little further on, the equally beautiful beach of Monte Clerigo is waiting for you, before returning to Arrifina.
Fancy a challenging day in the saddle? Then this road bike tour is just right. With 172 kilometers and 2210 vertical meters, this tour is challenging, but it also has plenty of motivating highlights to offer. It starts from Arrifina in the direction of Monchique Mountains, which houses the 902 meter high Fóia the highest mountain in the Algarve. And this is the first thing on your tour menu for today. Although this tour does not lead you to the summit, you still have breathtaking views of the entire Algarve over much of the ascent and can look down on both the south and the west coast. In Monchique, some cafés line the road, so you can easily strengthen after the climb. By the way: Monchique is also a very popular destination among mountain bikers, even a city downhill race took place here.Time to enjoy, because with the following 30 kilometers long descent is a real treat on your daily menu. Next Stop: The Lands End in Sagres. The name was given to the impressive cliffs at Cape Saint Vincent, as the locals used to believe that the world was over. Today they are smarter, but the viewpoint has not lost its appeal and is rounded off by a snack called "The Last Currywurst before America". The dessert of your tour before it goes back.Freshly strengthened you start from here the way back towards Aljezur and come along beautiful beaches on the west coast. You pass through small villages like Vila do Bispo, Bordeira and Carrapateira and get a good impression of the Portuguese way of life.
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Above all, this tour has a bit of beach, a bit of town and a few fine climbs over the Algarve hills. Not too much, not too little. But wonderful.Let's start from Arrifana up to the Sierra de Monchique. Once at the top you can treat yourself to a break, here there is a small supermarket and a few bars and restaurants. Or you can start straight on the beautiful descent, which now waits for you and leads you straight to the port city of Lagos.Now you have earned a break. We recommend a lunch break in the historic center of Lagos. Because there are not only enough opportunities here, it is also really nice here. Do not miss to look at the historic city wall and make a short detour to the harbor. A view towards the beach can not hurt either, even if you with bike and Klickschuhen perhaps better not to the sandy beach.The way back leads through the Sierra do Espinhaco de Cao back towards Monchique, where you can enjoy the morning climb in the opposite direction and spit out at the end of the tour right on the sandy beach of Arrifana. Jump into the water or watch the surfers for a while.
Attention: This is not a normal road bike tour. This tour is due to the fact that you are currently in the Algarve. That beautiful area with great weather and a beautiful landscape. And with the most beautiful beaches you can imagine. Exactly dedicated to this tour. Today you are doing beach hopping.A beautiful feature of the Algarve are the striking cliffs. So expect that you do not roll comfortably in the surf, but put the last few meters going back. You will be happy to bring this sacrifice as soon as you have seen the first Hammer Beach the route leads you to.The whole tour is not 70 kilometers long and you do not have to climb a mountain. So you have enough time to take a break, enjoy the sun and take a dip in the Atlantic on every beach. Maybe you get a drink here and there at a nearby beach bar or treat yourself to an ice cream. The main thing is you do not stress. And if you find a beach so beautiful that you want to stay, just do it. You are never really far away from the starting point of the tour in Arrifana. Apropos: There, of course, your journey ends at the beautiful sandy beach and if your timing fits, you come exactly to the sunset, which shrouds the crescent-shaped bay in golden light.
The Via Algarviana is an ancient pilgrimage and has long been popular with hikers. A few years ago, Portugal recognized the potential of cycling tourism in the Algarve and started to make the Via Algarviana a cycling route. Overall, this trail is about 300 kilometers long and leads to the Spanish border after Alcoutim. Today you are content with the first part, which starts at the lighthouse of Cabo de São Vicente and leads into the hinterland of the Algarve in the wooded hills of the Serra de Monchique.This tour will show you the Algarve from its most beautiful, most natural side. The 125 kilometers are relatively demanding, plan a whole day for a quiet. About 60 kilometers you will drive on the Via Algarviana, on small country roads but also on forest and dirt roads. You will drive through dense forest of eucalyptus and cork oaks and be as close to nature as you have long been. This tour is beautiful but a bit rough. A (Gravel) wheel with slightly wider tires makes sense, a super-light race bike is not recommended.In the last third of this tour it will be exhausting again, if you pedal up the switchbacks to Marmelete. Above you reward yourself with a fantastic view and if you like with a little refreshment. The last few kilometers down to Arrifana you can really enjoy.
This tour combines your passion for cycling with the fact that you are on vacation. That's why you'll cycle today to an absolute highlight of the Algarve, a boat tour through the impressive rock caves of the Ponta da Piedade in Lagos.For this you drive a loose tour from Arrifana to Lagos, the port city on the Portuguese Algarve coast. Lagos in itself is a highlight and if you have not already, this tour is the chance to see the beautiful old town with its impressive city wall in peace and to enjoy lunch in one of the many restaurants in peace.After this nice mood you are ready for the tourist highlight of the Algarve: a boat tour that you will not forget. For about 40 minutes you drive through the caves of the cliffs and do not even know which motive you should take first.Remember to bring a bike lock with you so you can enjoy the boat trip and then continue the bike ride.
This tour is in the truest sense of the word a borderline experience. Because you follow a stretch of about 20 kilometers of the border between the regions of Algarve in the south and Alentejo in the north, which is marked by the small river Ribeira de Seixe, through whose beautiful valley you drive back towards the Atlantic coast.Before that you will once again pedal through the breathtaking hills of the Serra de Monchique and get to know the Fóia mountain from its north side. The road is wonderfully secluded and so winding that it can not be boring for that alone. After a beautiful descent you will reach the upper course of the Seixe, which you follow to Odeceixe.If you like, you can stop here again at the beautiful beach at the mouth of the river or take a look at the windmill that is so typical of the Algarve. Then we go over one or the other hill back to Arrifana.