A six day, self-guided holiday cycling in Algarve, exploring an array of land and seascapes, including Ria Formosa Natural Park the Rivers Gilão and Guadiana, the latter taking you into Andalucía. Cycle through traditional coastal villages such as Fuzeta or Tavira and to superb beaches of Isla Christina or Barril. This cycling holiday dips in and out of the coast, giving a chance to explore inland orange and lemon groves, but also traditional coastal whitewashed towns. Stay in two different hotels, giving you plenty of time to explore the Algarve’s best kept secrets. E-bikes also available.
- Tavira Island
- Cycle to Andalucía by crossing the Guadiana
- Ria Formosa Natural Park
- Beaches of Barril and Isla Christina
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Day 1: Arrival in Tavira
Arrive at Faro airport and transfer to your accommodation in Tavira (40mins). Depending on the flight schedule, you may have time to explore this gorgeous Algarve town, known for its ornate facades, traditional doors, windows and roofs, and idyllic beaches. Option to take a boat to the island of Tavira, with its beautiful long beach.
Day 2: Circular route along Gilão river | 25km
In the morning, collect your bike at the rental office in the centre of Tavira, where your first ride starts. Cycle along the banks of the River Gilão on a small road that crosses orange, lemon and carob groves. Take a break at the ‘well of hell’, a deep basin created by a waterfall and a sub-tropical paradise. The route then heads inland through the villages of Santo Estevão, Santa Luzia as well as Barril beach. Overnight in Tavira
Day 3: Circular route to Fuzeta | 28km
Before starting your day of cycling, do some shopping in Tavira to buy fresh and local products for a picnic. The route for today takes you along coastal paths and salt flats, through Ria Formosa Natural Park, through orchards and pine forests towards Fuzeta, a small fishing harbour on a sandy bank at the edge of a turquoise lagoon. The return to Tavira is along small inland roads past farms, gardens and orchards, and through Moncarapacho village. Overnight in Tavira
Day 4: Tavira to Vila Real de Santo António | 40km
Ride along the coastline via the ecovia, a comfortable and well maintained cycle path. Today’s route leads to Cacela Velha, a village standing proud on a rocky outcrop overlooking the lagoons and sandbanks of Ria Formosa Natural Park. The ecovia leads to Castro Marim, a town protected by two fortresses, one medieval and the other from the 18th century. Follow the River Guadiana which forms a natural border river with Spain, to arrive at Vila Real de Santo António. Opposite, on the other side of the river, is the small Andalucían town of Ayamonte. Overnight in Vila Real de Santo António.
Day 5: Ayamonte | 26km
A small ferry boat (regular crossings – 15mins) takes you and your bike to Ayamonte, in Andalucía. So close and so different from its Portuguese neighbour, this excursion into Spain gives you a chance to see the differences between the two regions and countries. From the Ramblas of Ayamonte, a cycle path leads to Isla Christina, a peninsula famous for its long beaches. After returning by boat to Vila Real de Santo António, take the path through a large coastal pine forest. Back at the hotel, meet our rental agent at 18.00 to return the bikes (this can be also postponed to the next morning), then enjoy your final night in Vila Real de Santo António.
Day 6: Departure
After breakfast, transfer to Faro airport and departure.
What to expect
Accommodation on this tour includes small family-run hotels. They have been carefully selected based on a variety of criteria including their location, warm hospitality, fine local food or commitment to responsible tourism. All rooms have en-suite or private bathrooms.
Click to view default hotels
- Hotel Princesa do Gilao in Tavira: Overlooking the Gilão River, this relaxed hotel with a classic Portuguese whitewashed facade is a few minutes walk from the medieval Castle of Tavira and 7km from the sand dunes at Barril beach. Port Nova train station is also nearby. Simple air-conditioned rooms with marble floors and modest furnishings, free wifi, flat-screen TVs, some have balconies and river views.
- Hotel Apolo in Vila Real de Santo António: this hotel has an outdoor pool and rooms with balconies and free wifi, and is located in central Vila Real de Santo António. The Guadiana River, marking the border with Spain, is a 5mins walk away. All rooms have air conditioning and colourful décor. The private bathroom comes with a hairdryer and bidet. Free wifi is available.
*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.
Click to view upgraded hotels
- Sao Paulo Boutique Hotel in Tavira: this hotel has an outdoor swimming pool, bar, shared lounge, garden and sun terrace. All rooms come with air conditioning, fridge, minibar, kettle, shower, hairdryer and wardrobe. All rooms include a private bathroom, safety deposit box and free wifi.
- Pousada Vila Real de Santo António: Located in the historic city centre, the hotel has a spacious lobby, and three swimming pools, one of them on the rooftop and another surrounded by the Pousada’s garden. The hotel rooms are modern, comfortable and equipped with a TV, air conditioning and free wifi.
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 overnight.
Difficulty and terrain
The daily distances are up to 40km, mostly on off-road paths with little or no traffic around. Keep in mind that occasionally there are short but steep climbs that 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 year round. Keep in mind that the months of July and August can be very warm, and the chances for rainfall are much higher between November and March. The best time for cycling in Algarve are between March to June or September until the end of October. The flexibility of self-guided holidays means there are no fixed dates, and you can start your trip on any date.
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By train or bus
- Transfer from Faro airport is included.
- Arrival at Lisbon: A shuttle can take you from Lisbon airport to Lisbon-Sete Rios station, where you can take a direct bus to Tavira. There are also trains from Lisbon to Tavira with a change in Faro. You can also take a train from Lisbon to Faro and have a private transfer from Faro to Tavira.
- Departure from Vila Real to Lisbon: there are regular buses with Rede Expressos (5h). Or we can drive you to Faro and you continue by train to Lisbon.
- For more information, visit rede-expressos and cp.pt or use the Omio planner above.
- 5 nights at comfortable accommodations, rooms with en-suite bath
- 5 breakfasts
- Luggage transport on day 4 (one piece up to 20kg per person)
- Transfer from Faro airport to Tavira on day 1 and from Vila Real to Faro airport on day 6
- Welcome meeting and bike fitting at 9.00 on day 2 at the bike centre
- Detailed maps and route descriptions delivered during the welcome meeting
- 24/7 phone assistance by our local office/representative
- Airfare and connecting land transfers from other airports
- Lunches, dinners, drinks and snacks
- Bike rental
- 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 and supplements
- If you’re travelling in a group, a supplement applies to group members who would like to have a room of their own
- This holiday is available for solo travellers; a supplement will be charged as accommodation and luggage transfer costs are not shared (we never mix and match – solo travellers will be accommodated in single rooms)
- Hybrid bike or e-bike rental for four days
- Extra nights along the trail are bookable upon request
- Upgrade hotels with a supplement – on request
We offer hybrid bikes: TREK VERVE, 27 speeds, disc brakes. e-bikes are also available: BE-Veloo women or men frame, 7 speeds, equipped with a battery with a range from 60 to 130km (depending on usage and weight), a low frame, puncture-proof tyres and hydraulic brakes. The bikes are equipped with a helmet, mobile phone holder, pump, bike computer, one front bag, two side bags, one lock per bike, one inner tube per bike (you should know how to change an inner tube on your own), one repair kit (for two bikes), water bottle support holder.