“Choose one of two self-guided cycling routes across the Alentéjo and Algarve regions of southern Portugal and experience six leisurely days in the saddle at no more than 60kms per day.”
Route one: Terra de Caldas | Loulé | Alte | Silves | Caldas de Monchique | Aljezur | Costa Vicentina Natural Park | Route two: Baixo-Alentéjo | Parque Natural da Ria Formosa | Sapal de Castro Marim | Alcoutim | Mertóla | Sérpa | San Lúcar in Spain | Both routes possible by electric bike |
Description of Portugal cycling holidays, self guided
Note: Both of the self guided cycle tours below can also be undertaken on an electric bike.
Tour one: Terra de Caldas
If you're thinking about self guided cycling, Portugal is a fantastic place to start. There's just such a rich variety of landscapes ranging from the coastal tracks overlooking the Atlantic to the fig, orange and almond groves to be found where the Algarve meets the Alentejo region.
Self guided cycling Portugal allows cyclists to delve deeper into the history and culture of lesser-visited areas with out of the way fishing villages and medieval towns offering all manner of authentic local produce alongside a laid back ambience and welcoming atmosphere.
Vineyards and wine cellars can be found across the countryside with market towns such as Loule providing an excellent example of traditional life as well as the perfect start point from where to cycle the peaceful inland roads towards the village of Alte with the famous fresh spring water at Fonte Grande and Fonte Pequeno, prior to heading onwards to Silves situated on the banks of the Arade River.
Self guided cycling Portugal is just as much about relaxing and absorbing the surrounding countryside as it is about putting in the pedal power with the citrus orchards and natural hot spas of Caldas de Monchique in the Algarve providing a great chance to reinvigorate tired limbs.
As this eight day tour heads way out west cyclists will find themselves overlooking the high rollers of the Atlantic as they enter Aljezur and the fantastically wild and untamed beaches of Costa Vicentina Natural Park. This is a real paradise for bird watchers and nature photographers, and any artists hoping to capture the essence of self guided bike tours Portugal should look no further for inspiration.
As this tour comes to a close you'll be treated to the sandy shoreline and clear blue grottos of southern Portugal with afternoons spent swimming, snorkelling or just lazing at the beach matched only by some superb cycling routes and grilled fish suppers at sunset.
Note: On average this self guided cycling Portugal itinerary clocks between 32 to 54kms per day with ascents taking cyclists no higher than 400 metres above sea level.
The southern half of Portugal’s Alentejo region, known as the Baixo-Alentejo, is a real joy to behold with undulating waves of golden wheat decorated with white washed towns and fortified Moorish castles.
This self guided bike tour Portugal itinerary offers the very best of the Baixo-Alentejo before heading south into the Vale do Guadiana en-route to the traditional seaside village of Cacela Velha in the Algarve, just over the border from Spain.
A blend of culture, history and naturally beautiful landscapes; with agricultural fields and sprawling wine estates providing a continually changing backdrop for cyclists.
The start of this suggested eight day tour is the sleepy hillside town of Serpa in Baixo-Alentejo where narrow white washed alleyways lead to small stores selling delicious locally made cream cheese to start your Portugal self guided cycling tour off in style.
Next stop on this Portugal self guided cycling tour is the town of Mertola where you'll be based for the next two nights in a comfortable hotel which has been built on Roman ruins and features a beautifully-designed glass floor so guests can study the archaeological site below. Roman and Moorish influences are everywhere in Mertola and the set cycling route around the town offers every opportunity to soak up the cultural heritage as well as the naturally preserved habitat for black storks and blue magpies.
Leaving the Baixo-Alentejo region, but staying within Portugal, self guided bike tours follow the River Guadiana south before reaching the town of Alcoutim in the east of the Algarve. Optional ferry rides over the river and into Spain are easily accessible from here and give cyclists a chance to stretch their legs and explore the Spanish town of Sanlucar de Guadiana, famed for its castles, palaces and locally produced sherry.
The tour then continues south where the salt plains and protected marshlands of Sapal de Castro Marim nature reserve provide bird watchers and wildlife lovers with an absolute treat for all the senses.
The final two nights of this tour will be spent in the Algarve’s picturesque coastal village of Cacela Velha which boasts some superb views over Parque Natural da Ria Formosa as well as opportunities to cycle along the Ecovia bike trail or go for a stroll along the coast.
Note: On average this self guided cycling tour of Portugal clocks between 34 to 62kms per day with a few mild ascents taking cyclists no higher than 200 metres above sea level.
Hello. If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. Rosy & team.
This cycling holiday in Portugal can be arranged at any time to suit your requirements although we do not recommend trips in August due to high temperatures
Responsible tourism: Portugal cycling holidays, self guided
Cycling is an ideal way to explore the countryside without damaging the environment. Through our range of Portugal cycling holidays we support the following Portuguese National Parks: Reserva Natural do Sapal, Parque Natural do Sudoeste Alentejano e Costa Vicentina, Parque Natural da Ria Formosa, Parque Natural do Vale do Guadiana.
On our Portugal cycling holidays we encourage guests to visit their information & exhibition centres, keep to the recommended paths, take nothing but photographs and leave nothing but footprints.
We always use local services and accommodation such as small hotels and wherever possible “turismo no espaço rural” which offer rural accommodation run by local families. On these Portugal cycling holidays we work exclusively with small local businesses and use locally owned restaurants. In this way we help to conserve a rural lifestyle and contribute to the overall sustainable development of the region.
We encourage our guests to be environmentally aware and act in a proper, responsible manner at all times. Information, tips and recommendations on the life and customs of the local people are given to all clients on the Portugal cycling holidays.
As much as we can our office recycles waste and we use recycled products whenever possible.
Reviews of Portugal cycling holidays, self guided
You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the holidays.
I am reborn! Simply the best holiday I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
It was OK
A bit disappointing really
Reviewed on 20 Sep 2016 by Mel Watson
Everything was great. The accommodation and the recommendations for restaurants was outstanding. Read full review
Reviewed on 29 Sep 2016 by Jane Finegan
The whole cycling trip was memorable as we got to see the real Algarve with its variety of landscapes - from mountains inland to the west and south coast - often away from the tourist hot spots. Read full review
Cycling through the countryside is a wonderful way to reduce your environmental impact while at the same time maximizing your experience with local flora and fauna. Everyone we encountered was so friendly and helpful.
We found the directions to be explicit and easy to follow and appreciated the many routes that took us off the beaten path.Read full review
Reviewed on 23 Oct 2014 by Alan Spencer
Very good. I would, and already have, recommended Responsible Travel to people. Knowing that having a very enjoyable experience supports local communities makes it so much better. Thanks once again.Read full review
Reviewed on 23 Jun 2014 by bob sagor
We had a great time. All six of us enjoyed the rides, and think the perspective we enjoyed from the seat of a bike was special. Read full review
Reviewed on 17 Jun 2014 by Guri Roald
The whole week was very memorable as it was so varied. Burt has put a lot of thought into this holiday and has made it very personal. We really liked the various options of rides that were given for each of the days (pending fitness, weather, mood etc...Read full review
Reviewed on 06 Jun 2013 by Liz Martin
Top notch...Cycling through orange groves in the sunshine and stopping to feast on big juicy oranges was the most memorable part.... Fantastic scents from the forests of warm eucalyptus will always remind us of Portugal.Read full review
Reviewed on 15 Mar 2012 by Jane Wills
The range of beautiful places that you visit - cycling through gorgeous countryside with orange trees all along the way, stunning beaches, pretty villages, interesting towns and bright blue skies every day.
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Reviewed on 03 Jan 2012 by Tim Rudkins
We enjoyed the riding through the hills and the extra trip out to the lighthouse and westernmost part of Portugal. Terrific!Read full review
Reviewed on 13 Nov 2012 by Tom Meyer
The best part of the trip was following the route maps through the beautiful Portugal countryside. We had a chance to explore areas we would never have found on our own!. Wonderful trip in all aspects!Read full review
Reviewed on 07 Jun 2012 by Agnes Deloyer
Cycling through the beautiful countryside of Portugal and spending it with 5 awesome friends was the most memorable part of the holidayRead full review
Reviewed on 16 Sep 2011 by Sasha Hannah
10 out of 10. Bert was incredibly detailed, set up a great cycling route, gave great, detailed advice regarding accommodation, each area we visited, restaurants and was efficient and friendly in dealing with all enquiries.
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Reviewed on 15 Sep 2010 by Kevin Keating
4.5 Stars---Bert knows what he's doing and understands the concept of mixing a bicycle trip with the opportunity to explore Southern Portugal --Have Fun...The trip was a pure and delightful adventure - The route was challenging in places and yet it was balanced overall.Read full review
Reviewed on 18 Oct 2010 by Clare Davis
The most memorable part of the holiday were cycling through beautiful countryside with the roads to ourselvesRead full review
Reviewed on 23 Sep 2010 by Derek Campbell
The Portuguese Countryside is breathtaking and the scenery from a bike was wonderful. It was such a privilege to see this side of the country.... of the beaten track and generally unseen by the tourist. Absolutely loved the challenge of riding each day in the hills.Read full review
Reviewed on 12 May 2010 by Mark Lowenstine
What we found most memorable was the sense of history to be found in the ancient, cobblestoned, fortified old towns. So much of the tour was through beautiful, pastoral countryside, with cork trees, olive groves, wild flowers and sweet-smelling citrus blossoms. Read full review
Reviewed on 28 Oct 2009 by Mary Jane Ferrill
One of the best ideas I've ever had!! It is evident that Bert is very concerned with the safety, well being, and satisfaction of his clients. I would highly recommend this holiday. Read full review
Reviewed on 14 Oct 2009 by Barbara Lamplugh
Superb. Bert's organisation made everything work smoothly. You would certainly not find such thoughtfulness and individual attention in a larger outfit.Read full review
Reviewed on 13 May 2009 by Bob Addison
Most memorable? Eating barbecued sardines with new potatoes and salad at an unsophisticated cafe miles from anywhere as the waitress told us that the potatoes and lettuce had come from her garden. Read full review
Reviewed on 19 Sep 2008 by Jayne Fahy
The routes were excellent, directions were detailed and easy to follow so no fear of getting lost, and the people we met along the way were great. Read full review
Reviewed on 27 May 2008 by Andrew Stewart
Virtually every mile of the carefully chosen, completely safe Algarve biking route offered scenic pleasure - from countless orange, lemon and olive groves early in the week, to mountain vistas and dramatic seacoast rides later in the week, with brilliant spring flowers lining every mile each day. Read full review
Reviewed on 02 Jul 2007 by Vittorio Piccioni
The highlight was cycling from Carrapateira to Lagos, beautiful beaches and orange trees.Read full review
Reviewed on 12 Nov 2006 by Michael Libman
The holiday was great - the organization of the biking was impeccable, and the lodging was well chosen and very pleasant. The best part was travelling beautiful scenic roads with essentially no traffic. Read full review
Reviewed on 04 Oct 2006 by Philippa Little
Experiencing the tranquillity of the Portuguese countryside was so refreshing – I recharged my batteries.Read full review
Reviewed on 07 Jul 2006 by Susan White
The most memorable part of our cycling trip was definitely discovering the seaside town of Carrapateira. Staying with such friendly hosts and sleeping at night with the sound of crashing waves was just beautiful.Read full review