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Cycling in South Portugal: Alentejo and Algarve

Cycling in South Portugal: Alentejo and Algarve

Overview

Alentejo and Algarve are known as the pearls of southern Portugal because of their beautiful beaches, whitewashed villages and great local cuisine. On top of that, their amazing coastal roads make them perfect for a leisurely cycling holiday. On this self guided cycling tour, you will pedal from Odeceixe to Cabo Sao Vicente, the most south-western point of Portugal and Continental Europe. Most of the cycling is on dirt roads, taking you through charming authentic villages, flowered fields, beautiful cliffs and wild beaches. The daily distances are short enough so that you have time to fully enjoy the sites and landscapes along the way as well as the local food and wine.

  • Follow Portugal’s coastline from the Alentejo into the Algarve
  • Pedal your way along dirt roads, gravel tracks and tarmac lanes with little or no traffic
  • Discover coastal landscapes, with unspoilt beaches, rolling dunes and dramatic cliffs
  • Enjoy the quietness of the Portuguese hinterland, with pasture grounds, expansive woods  and authentic villages
  • Enjoy charming accommodation, all of them with swimming pools

Click to view map

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Odeceixe

You arrive on your own in the town of Odeceixe, located on the River Seixe, on the border with the province of Alentejo (in case you rent a bike from us, a transfer from Faro Airport is also included). You will stay in one of Odeceixe’s authentic houses, situated near the windmill and the historic village centre. 

Day 2: Circular Route through Carvalhal & Zambujeira | 33 – 40 km

During the first day of cycling, you will have plenty of time to explore the area, enjoying a beautiful tour past the beaches of Odeceixe, Carvalhal and Zambujeira, crossing a plateau with greenhouses and farmed fields along the way. We recommend having lunch at the welcoming fishing village of Zambujeira.

  • Accommodation: Casas do Moinho or similar
  • Cycling for the day: 32.9 – 40 km, 500 – 585 m ascent (max. of 100 m ascent at a time)

Day 3: Odeceixe – Aljezur | 23 – 31 km

Today your first ride takes you inland on gravel tracks along the banks of the Odeceixe River, passing farms and an open holm oak wood. After 5.5 km you do a short ascent of 125 m, then follow quiet tarmac roads through a rural area toward the coast. Along the way, you cycle through two villages (Maria Vinagre and Rogil) with shops and bakeries. Then you ride downhill on a sandy track to Amoreira beach, a great place to spend the afternoon before pedalling the last 7 km to Aljezur. Your hotel is a modern aparthotel with a swimming pool in the newer sector of Aljezur. The nicest restaurants are just a 10-minute walk away, in the old town beneath the medieval castle.

  • Accommodation: Vicentina Aparthotel or similar
  • Cycling for the day: 30.8 km, 475 m ascent (1 steep ascent of 125 m)
  • Cycling for the day with a shortcut between Odeceixe and Maria Viangre: 23.3 km, 300 m ascent

Day 4: Aljezur – Pedralva | 30 – 41 km

Today’s route starts with a steep ascent to the remains of the Aljezur Castle. You can opt to do an additional loop via the beaches of Monte Clérigo and Arrifana or cycle directly south to Carrapateira through shady pine forests. Both routes come together again at a clifftop lookout, with views of the Costa Vicentina. After descending through the dunes of Bordeira you reach the village of Carrapateira, with several shops and restaurants along the way. Then you cycle another 10 km through a peaceful rural valley, from Vilarinho to Pedralva, where you will stay for the next three nights in one of the twenty carefully renovated houses.

  • Accommodation: Aldeia da Pedralva or similar
  • Cycling for the day: 29.3  – 41 km, 500 – 775 m ascent (max. of 150 m ascent at a time)

Day 5: Circular Route from Pedralva | 21 – 23 km

Today you cycle a short route that starts with a descent through rural scenery to the village of Carrapateira, a pleasant place where tourists, surfers and fishermen congregate on the central square. There is also an interesting ethnographic museum to visit, Museo do Mar e da Terra. Then you do a tour along the spectacular coast of Carrapateira, where you can visit 2 different beaches. In the summer you can also take a surfing lesson at Praia do Amado. On the way back, you follow sandy tracks through the hills. There is one steep ascent, but you have extra time and can walk with your bike a bit if needed. The alternative route follows a tarmac road and is nearly as steep and one kilometre longer.

  • Accommodation: Aldeia da Pedralva or similar
  • Cycling for the day: 21 – 23.3 km, 335m ascent/descent

Day 6: Pedralva – Vila do Obispo – Sagres | 36 km

Your destination on the last day of cycling is Cape Sao Vicente, Portugal’s southwesternmost tip. First, you ascend along stony gravel tracks through pine and eucalyptus forests, passing a modern wind farm on your way to the town of Vila do Bispo. Then you do a flat stretch across the plain, cycling toward the cape where you can enjoy some refreshment at the café below the lighthouse. On the last 6 km, you will admire spectacular cliffs as you continue to Sagres. You’ll have enough time to visit one of several beautiful beaches along the way before you meet the bike rental company representative at 4 p.m. They will load your bike on the trailer and drive you back to Pedralva.

  • Accommodation: Aldeia da Pedralva or similar
  • Cycling for the day: 35.8 km, 255m ascent (the steepest ascent of 100 m is at the start)

Day 7: Departure

After breakfast your arrangement comes to an end. A few extra days in Pedralva are highly recommended.

What to Expect

Accommodation

Accommodation is in small family-run hotels and cosy B&Bs, all having a swimming pool available for the guests. All the accommodations on this trip have been carefully selected for their location, atmosphere and unique services. All rooms are en-suite.

Click to view our default hotels for this trip

  • Casas do Moinho in Odeceixe: These houses are located in a typical Portuguese hamlet, neat the beautiful windmill of  Odeceixe. They are fully equipped with all the amenities to provide the guests with a great experience; staying at a traditional town into direct contact with the local daily life.
  • Vicentina Aparthotel in Aljezur: Located in the border between the old quarter of Aljezur and its modern part. Apartments with 1 bedroom, quaint studios or fully equipped double bedrooms with a warm atmosphere, family-run and quite personalized management. 
  • Aldeia da Pedralva in Pedralva: A local cooperative decided some years ago to rebuild half of the houses in Pedralva and reconvert them into beautiful accommodations, charming and with their own personality. It also has a bar/ restaurant and a swimming pool. A great place to stay and relax! 

*Hotels are subject to availability. In case a particular hotel is fully booked for your desired dates, we will replace it with a hotel of equal or higher value and quality level. We will provide exact accommodation details to you upon booking confirmation.

Meals

All breakfasts are included in the programme. When no restaurant location is available en route lunches and snacks should either be bought from local shops or you can pre-order a packed lunch at your hotel. Dinner is available either from the restaurant in your accommodation or from the restaurants in the town where you stay for overnight.

Difficulty & terrain

The daily distances are up to 40 km, going mostly on off-road paths with little or no traffic around. Have in mind that occasionally there are some short but steep climbs, which cannot be avoided, still, you can overcome them by pushing the bike for a short time (read more about difficulty grades). There are options for extensions, so the tour is suitable for both beginner and intermediate cyclists. Renting an E-bike is possible as well, which will make the tour accessible to anyone. We will provide you with detailed road notes and maps, and you can call our 24/7 local assistance phone number anytime. More detailed info on route navigation will be included in your holiday information pack.

When to go

The tour can be booked at any time of the year, still have in mind that the month of July and August can be very warm, and the chances for rainfall are much higher from November till March. The most enjoyable seasons for cycling in Portugal are from March to June and from September till the end of October.

Getting there

FCO up-to-date travel advice

Click to view travel options

By plane

Our recommended airport for this tour is Faro (FAO).

By train or bus
  • Arrival from Faro Airport to Odeceixe (if you are not renting a bike from is in which case we offer a complimentary arrival transfer): You can take a bus from Faro airport to Lagos (EVA transport line 83), where you can get on a direct bus of either REDE Expressos or EVA Transporte to Odeceixe (approx 3hr.15min in total).
  • EVA Transporte line 79 runs at least 3 or 4 times per day between Lagos and Odeceixe. 
  • REDE Expressos line 27801 between Lagos and Odeceixe runs 2 times a day.
  • Arrival from Lisbon Airport to Odeceixe: A shuttle can take you from Lisbon airport to Lisbon-Sete Rios station, where you can get on a bus to Odeceixe (3 hrs 20 min).
  • Departure from Pedralva to Faro Airport: First, take a taxi to Crossroad Barâo de Sâo Miguel; then bus to Lagos (or directly to Lagos), then take line 83 to Lagos airport.
  • Departure from Pedralva to Lisbon airport: Taxi to the bus stop at Crossroad Barâo de Sâo Miguel; then bus to Lagos then Lagos-Lisbon Siete Rios and metro or bus to the airport.
  • For more information, visit www.eva-bus.com, www.rede-expressos.pt or use the Omio planner above.

Inclusions

Included

  • 6 nights at comfortable charming accommodations, rooms with en-suite bath
  • All breakfasts
  • Luggage transport on days 3 and 4
  • Transfer from Faro airport to Odeceixe on Day 1 (only with rental bikes)
  • Detailed maps and route descriptions in digital format
  • Transfer from Sagres to Pedralva on day 6
  • 24/7 phone assistance by our local office/representative

Excluded

  • Airfare and connecting land transfers
  • Lunches, dinners, drinks and snacks
  • Travel insurance (required – get a quote online)
  • Personal expenses
  • Local tourist taxes and entry fees (payable on-site)
  • Any items not specifically mentioned as included in the programme

Options, extras & supplements

  • Single room supplement applies to members of a group who require a single room
  • This holiday is available for solo travellers; as costs are not shared, there is a solo traveller supplement to the standard price.
  • Bike or E-bike rental
  • Extra nights along the trail are bookable upon request
  • Airport transfers can be booked in addition

Bike rental

We offer hard-tail mountains bikes, which are most suitable for this tour, as well as E-bikes. Each rental includes front and saddlebag. Helmets and water bottles are not included for hygienic reasons, so best is to bring your own. 

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