Forget the winter blues! Come and escape the cold on a 9-day guided bicycle tour around the south-west tip of Portugal.
My wife and I will be taking small groups (maximum 10 people) on a ride around one of the prettiest and quietest parts of the Iberian Peninsula – and you’re very welcome to come along.
Starting in the historic port of Lagos, we’ll guide you on a bike tour that includes both historic towns, wild hill country and some simply stunning coastal scenery around part of the route outlined in my book ‘Cycling The Algarve‘ (published July 2015).
Scroll down to read more and see pictures from the first two tours – which 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.
Planned 2017 departure/finish dates for this tour are:
- December: Sunday December 3rd – Wednesday 13th Dec
Why the winter?
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 autumn the crowds are gone but the sun is often still around – and the sea is at its warmest.
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 were 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.
We will be following part of the route 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 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 several opportunities for rest days during the tour – plus options for additional rides.
Beginning and ending in Lagos, where we stay in a hotel close to the river and on the edge of the old town, the planned itinerary is as follows:
- Day One (Sunday) – arrive in Lagos (transfers from Faro airport provided) and meet your fellow riders at our hotel with our first group meal in the evening
- Day Two – ride from Lagos to the region’s ancient Islamic capital of Silves taking either a gentle 44km ride on quiet roads
- Day Three – ride into the countryside and through orange groves around Silves (40-55km options) or take a rest day and explore the historic town and castle
- Day Four – ride from Silves to a boutique guest house set in cork oak trees near the hill town of Monchique. A short and fairly tough but incredibly scenic 42km ride
- Day Five – we stay in the Monchique area and have various options, including a 16km ride to the summit of Foia, the highest mountain in the Algarve, walks in the mountains or just relaxing and enjoying the fabulous views down to the coast
- Day Six – ride from Monchique to Zambujeira do Mar on the Alentejo coast – 54km. Wild and remote countryside on the way down from the hills with lots of descending and one nasty 2km hill to climb!
- Day Seven – ride out along more of the spectacular coast to the dramatic cliffs of Cabo Sardão and the beach at Almograve (42km), or have a rest day in this small seaside village with its pretty cove
- Day Eight (Sunday) – ride from Zambujeira to the former river port of Aljezur (50km) with a chance to visit some more gorgeous and unspoilt beaches
- Day Nine – ride from Aljezur to Sagres (61km). More spectacular scenery including a visit to Cabo São Vicente – the south-western tip of Europe
- Day Ten – ride from Sagres back to Lagos (50km). Our final day with opportunities to visit yet more gorgeous beaches and some quiet countryside and villages
- Day Eleven (Wednesday) – 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.
- 10 nights bed and breakfast (based on two people sharing a twin or double room) in a good hotel or guest house
- evening meal – typically three courses with house wine or beer and coffee**
- support vehicle to carry luggage etc (and emergency transport)
- transfers to and from Faro airport on Days One and Eleven 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.
***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
- lunches*, snacks, coffees etc.
- bike hire (see below)
*We will organise a picnic lunch on most normal riding days for anyone who wants one. These cost €3.50 per person.
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 that is based near Lisbon but can deliver anywhere in Portugal. The exact cost will vary depending on the type of bike, any accessories required and the number of people hiring. However, the cost for a road touring bike/hybrid suspension touring bike will be around €160-200 for the duration of the tour.
Single rooms should also be possible but this will involve an additional supplement of around €200 (exact price will depend on numbers).
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 in future we’ll be donating £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