Lisbon itself isn’t exactly a cyclist’s paradise – lots of traffic, cobbles and hills! However, you don’t have to get far out of the city to find some decent cycling, whether the hills around Sintra or the cliffs and beaches of the Serra da Arrabida a short way to the south.
For anyone arriving in Portugal by plane, the main Portuguese airports all now have handy bike assembly areas.
Once out of the airport the metro is probably the easiest way to get around – you can take bikes although lifts and escalators may be a problem at some stations!
Bikes also go free on most public transport, including ferries across the Tejo. For more information, click here.
If you are determined to ride, there are some bike paths both in and around Lisbon – although they are not particularly well connected up and some take questionable routes.
For useful maps showing these cycle paths, take a look at Lisbon Bike Map – there are three sections, covering central Lisbon, the Sintra-Cascais area and “south of the Tagus” (more commonly known as the Tejo).
Warning: Some of these routes are more theoretical than real! For instance, the maps (taken from Open Street Map) show the Ecovia 11 route going east across the Alentejo from the Montijo ferry terminal. However, there are no signposts for this route and it includes dirt as well as paved/asphalt sections.
If cycling in or out of Lisbon, my other tip would be to ride on a Sunday morning (the earlier the better) as roads can be almost empty at this time.
Estremadura & Ribatejo
This section also covers the provinces of Estremadura and Ribatejo, which between them boast a rugged coastline home to some of the best surfing in Portugal and some wonderful historic heritage that includes the picture postcard walled village of Obidos (home to a chocolate festival) the monastery at Alcobaça, the abbey at Batalha and Tomar, which is home to the stunning Convento de Cristo.
There are also vinyards spread across rugged hillsides, the sunbaked plains of the Tejo valley and some important military history in the shape of Wellington’s Lines of Torres Vedras.
Rides are listed under the name of the nearest main town. Click on the title for further information on each ride. Maps are included with the detailed profile.
Alenquer Explorer: a long and a short route for exploring some quiet countryside and small villages just a short distance from Portugal’s capital city.
Arrabida Climb: A tough but spectacular circuit taking in one of the most beautiful sections of coastline in Portugal, again only a short distance from Lisbon.
Torres Vedras circuits: Two routes using the town of Torres Vedras as a base – a shorter circuit to the south-west and a longer one to the north-east.
As well as day rides, also take a look at the maps for touring routes that go through the region. These might also provide you with ideas and opportunities for further rides.
For the Lisbon & Central area these include:
Central Bypass: going across the north of the Estremadura and Ribatejo provinces, before crossing the Tejo and heading roughly south-east across the Alentejo to Évora.
S2N Evora to Lisbon: not necessarily the best route but one we took in 2005 to get into the centre of Lisbon.
S2N Lisbon to Peniche: a mainly coastal route from Lisbon up to the surfing resort of Peniche.