TEN DAYS CYCLING – €1,420
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.
My wife and I will be leading small groups (maximum 10 people) on a ride taking in some of the countryside and gorgeous coastal scenery in the western Algarve – plus a bit of the neighbouring Alentejo region.
Starting in a small resort near Faro, we’ll guide you on a bike tour that includes both historic towns, wild hill country and some simply stunning coastal scenery.
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:
- February 2019: Sunday 17th – Thursday 28th
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 Algarve 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 some of the terrain is fairly hilly and riders will need to be able to 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 and gorgeous, with plenty of spring flowers in the hedgerows and fields, plus there’ll be none of the crowds that flock to the Algarve in the summer.
Another advantage of coming out of the main season is that accommodation prices are quite a bit lower than in other months.
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 – plus quieter spots and hidden beaches that are way 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 Algarve Winter Tour, which was the first biking trip run by Pedal Portugal. Part of the route overlaps with that outlined in my book ‘Cycling The Algarve‘ (published July 2015).
Although not car-free, around 90% of the route is on quiet lanes and back roads where traffic is extremely 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 small beach resort of Quarteira (transfers from Faro airport provided) and meet your fellow riders at our hotel with our first group meal in the evening
- Day Two – ride inland to the foot of the hills that run the width of the Algarve, staying in the pretty village of Alte. 38km
- Day Three – follow little back roads along the edge of the hills, past tiny villages and farms to stay in a rural tourism property near São Bartolomeu de Messines. 46km
- Day Four – ride to a boutique guest house set in cork oak trees near the hill town of Monchique. This is a fairly tough but incredibly scenic ride. 53km
- Day Five – enjoy a rest day and 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 – ride from Monchique to the small town of Odemira. Wild and remote countryside on the way down from the hills with some long descents – and one nasty 2km climb! 60km
- Day Seven – 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. 42km
- Day Eight – enjoy a rest day at Vila Nova or go for a morning ride up the coast to the north.
- Day Nine – turn south along this spectacular stretch of coast, visiting the dramatic cliffs of Cabo Sardão and the small seaside village of Zambujeira on the way to Odeceixe – which has it’s own dramatic beach. 58km
- Day Ten – continue south, with the chance to visit a couple more beaches on our way to the popular surfers’ hangout of Sagres. 57km
- 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 Lagos, a historic port and popular riverside resort. 62km
- Day Twelve (Thursday) – transfer back to Faro
Coffee and cake stops will also be an important part of the day!
*Please note: the exact itinerary may change depending on accommodation availability and other similar 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****
*Price: The price in euros will not change. However, as a UK-based operator, payment will be taken in sterling based on the exchange rate at the time.
**Food: Portugal is not great for vegetarians or anyone with special dietary requirements. I will try my best to make suitable arrangements but few Portuguese restaurants have vegetarian options. Please let us know about any dietary requirements and seek advice before 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.
****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 I will try to take them in the support vehicle. However, the support vehicle is not intended for taking passengers. If essential, I can make arrangements with a taxi or bus but any individual costs will be additional.
Cycle hire – road or hybrid bike – can be arranged but will cost extra. We work with Cycling Rentals, a company based near Lisbon which can deliver anywhere in Portugal.
Hiring a road touring or suspension touring bike for this tour will cost €185, including delivery and collection (not including any accessories). Prices of any other bicycle models will be confirmed at the time of booking. 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’ve both been long-term supporters of the disaster relief organisation ShelterBox and we donate £15 to the charity for every rider who joins this or any of our other tours.
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