12-DAY TRIP/10 DAYS OF CYCLING
Forget winter! While most of the northern hemisphere is shivering, come and find the sun on a guided bicycle tour around the far south-west corner of Europe.
Portugal’s Algarve region is almost as far south as North Africa and can be a very pleasant place indeed to spend the winter months.
This tour takes in a mixture of the western Algarve’s inland and coastal scenery – plus a bit of the neighbouring Alentejo region.
Starting on the coast at the historic river port of Tavira, we’ll guide you on a bike tour that includes both ancient towns, wild hill country and some simply stunning coastal scenery.
Note: This is not our easiest tour as the trip involves some climbing each day and a few steep sections but there is also plenty of gentler riding – and we believe the views are well worth the effort involved!
The video clip below shows a (fairly gentle) section of road we use north of Odemira.
Scroll down to read more and see pictures from our first two tours – which followed a similar route and took place in early 2016.
You can also see what previous riders thought of this and other tours on our Reviews page. For further tour news and other information on biking in Portugal don’t forget to check out the Pedal Portugal Facebook page and blog.
“What could be better than biking from small town to town…during the winter season? Beautiful beach after beach with not a soul around. Blue skies and warm temperatures…” Louise Day, Calgary.
The next planned departure/finish dates for this tour are:
- Sorry – we don’t currently have any new dates for this particular tour.
Why this tour?
Quite simply, this is one of the best places to be in Europe if you want to escape the wintry weather further north. While there is the chance of a wet day (or two) and some chilly winds, it is also very likely you will get plenty of days of warm sunshine.
Based on several previous visits to the area at this time of year, the winter months (November to March) often provide an ideal opportunity for bicycling in the far south of Portugal, which offers some of the best winter riding anywhere in Europe.
Note: We always take our time but this is a hilly tour and riders will need to be able to cope with the climbing and ride 50-60kms on consecutive days.
From past experience, you can generally expect daytime temperatures of around 15-22°C (60-70°F), often making for very pleasant riding conditions.
In late winter/early spring everything is normally looking green, with plenty of flowers in the hedgerows and fields – and less of the crowds that flock to the Algarve in the main tourist season.
All pictures used on this page are from previous tours or are of roads/locations on the tour and taken in either January or February.
“Huw and Carolyn went out of their way to look out for everybody and their standard of care for the riders was exceptional. Nothing was too much trouble…I thoroughly recommend Pedal Portugal.” Jim Bolger, Manchester.
Where do we go?
The tour takes in some of the best scenery and most interesting places to visit in the western Algarve and south-west Alentejo – including quieter spots and beaches off the main tourist trail.
We will visit ancient towns, rural villages, wild beaches, dramatic cliffs, rugged hills and picture-postcard coves.
Our route is a revised and expanded version of our original Algarve Winter Tour – the first biking trip run by Pedal Portugal. Part of the route also overlaps with that outlined in my book ‘Cycling The Algarve‘ (published July 2015).
Although not car-free, as much of the route as possible is on quiet roads where traffic is light.
We also cross the border into the neighbouring Alentejo region in order to see a bit more of the stunning Atlantic coast and protected landscape of the Southwest Alentejo and Vicentine Natural Park.
There will be a couple of rest days during the tour – plus options for additional rides.
The planned itinerary is as follows:
- Day One (Sunday) – arrive in the ancient Moorish town of Tavira, just inland from the lagoons and beaches of the Ria Formosa Natural Park (transfers from Faro airport provided). Meet your fellow riders at our hotel with our first group meal in the evening
- Day Two – ride through fields and orange groves to the fishing village of Fuseta and then turn inland, climbing into some wilder hills, before going on a hotel in the traditional small city and market town of Loulé. 58km
- Day Three – continue via country roads up into the edge of the hills that border the Algarve, visiting the pretty village of Alte before continuing to a guesthouse in the small town of São Bartolomeu de Messines. 45km
- Day Four – continue via the historic town of Silves before turning north and climbing up to a hotel in the Monchique area. This is a fairly tough ride with one major climb but incredibly scenic. 58km
- Day Five – enjoy a rest and simply appreciate the fabulous views down to the coast, go walking in the mountains – or have a 16km ride to the summit of Foia, the highest mountain in southern Portugal
- Day Six – continue north to the small town of Odemira. Wild and remote countryside on the way down from the hills with some long descents – plus a few climbs! 58km
- Day Seven – after a couple of early climbs this is an easier day going north through wooded hills and countryside before heading out to the coast and the small resort town of Vila Nova de Milfontes, set at the mouth of a river with some wild beaches just beyond. 56km
- Day Eight – enjoy a rest day at Vila Nova and a walk on the beach.
- Day Nine – turn south along this spectacular stretch of coast, visiting the dramatic cliffs of Cabo Sardão and the seaside village of Zambujeira on the way to Odeceixe. 64km
- Day Ten – continue south, with the chance to visit a couple more beaches on our way to the popular surfers’ hangout of Sagres. 61km
- Day Eleven – our final day starts with a visit to Cabo São Vicente – the south-west tip of mainland Europe, before we turn east via more beaches and some quiet countryside to the small resort of Luz, just along the coast from the historic port and popular riverside town of Lagos. 46km
- Day Twelve (Thursday) – transfer back to Faro
*Please note: the exact itinerary and distances may change depending on accommodation availability and other factors.
- 11 nights bed and breakfast (based on two sharing a twin or double room) in a good hotel or guest house
- evening meal – typically two or three courses with house wine or beer and coffee*
- picnic lunch on main riding days (not provided on optional rides/rest days)
- support vehicle to carry luggage etc (and emergency transport)**
- transfers to and from Faro airport on Days One and Twelve if required***
- experienced guide to ride with you****
*Food: Vegetarian and other special diets are possible but need to be arranged in advance – and menu choices may be less varied. Please let us know about any dietary requirements and seek advice when booking.
**Support van: The support van will carry your luggage. It can also take passengers if a rider is unable to continue cycling following an accident, mechanical breakdown or other emergency. It is not suitable for using on a casual hop-on, hop-off basis and riders should be capable of riding the necessary distances on consecutive days.
***Transport & transfers: We can pick-up riders from Faro on Day One and offer a return transfer on Day Twelve if required. We can also advise on bus and/or rail travel for any riders travelling on other days or from/to different destinations.
****Guides: My wife and I will alternate between riding with you and driving the support vehicle.
What’s not included?
The price above does not include:
- travel to Portugal and any internal transport other than that detailed above
- insurance – you are responsible for ensuring you have all appropriate insurance
- snacks, coffees etc. and lunch on days other than on main route
- bike hire (see below)
Wherever possible, if anyone is unable to ride we will try to take them in the support vehicle. However, the support vehicle is not intended for taking passengers. If essential, we can make arrangements with a taxi or bus but any individual costs will be additional.
For cycle hire we work with Cycling Rentals, a long-established company based near Lisbon which can deliver anywhere in Portugal.
For this tour in particular we strongly recommend the company’s hybrid-style suspension touring bikes, which have disc brakes and very low gearing for steeper sections.
The 2019 prices for this tour are €195 for a suspension touring bike and €200 for a road touring bike, including delivery and collection (not including any accessories). For more details, see bike hire page.
Single rooms should also be possible but this will involve an additional supplement of around €240.
For anyone wanting additional accommodation, either before or after the tour, I can either book this for you or suggest various options but this would be an extra cost.
Supporting a worthy cause
We’re long-term supporters of the disaster relief organisation ShelterBox and donate £15 to the charity for every rider who joins this or any of our other tours.
Read what previous riders thought on our reviews page (scroll down to find comments specifically on this tour). You can also continue to the bottom of this page for more pictures from previous Algarve trips.
Places are limited so the sooner you sign up the better. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me via firstname.lastname@example.org