Cycling holiday in Portugal, self guided

“Seven day, tailor made, hotel to hotel cycling holiday, taking an east to west route along the Algarve coast, but pedalling through inland rural idylls too. With luggage transferred.”


Silves | Alte | Monte de Cima | Foothills of Monchique Mountains | Quiet Algarve beaches | Alvor Estuary | Lagos

Description of Cycling holiday in Portugal, self guided

Spend seven days exploring the Algarve, both coast and inland, by bike. Or, if you prefer, this trip is also now available using an electric bike. This is a point-to-point cycling holiday, staying in small, local hotels and cycling along quiet back roads lined by orange trees and cork oaks, passing through pretty villages, with plenty of time out of the saddle, too, to explore, swim and relax. Daily cycling distances are moderate, with a choice of a longer 50km route or a shorter, 30km route each day, and the opportunity to spend whole days by the pool, too, if you’d like a break from cycling.

The starting point for this enjoyable and hugely varied tour is the picturesque village of Querença, 12 km north of Loulé. The ‘O Autêntico’ route you’ll be following starts very close to the hotel. Some people choose to stay here for two nights as it’s a great place for familiarising yourself with the rhythm of life in rural Algarve. The owners are very proud of their accommodation and there is a beautifully located swimming pool and an excellent kitchen.

From here, cycle to Alte via a handful of small villages very typical of the south of Portugal: Nave do Barão, Espargal and Benafim. Alte is particularly pretty and famous for its excellent spring water, which draws Portuguese people from far and wide. The hotel in Alte is very comfortable and has an authentic Portuguese character and atmosphere.

The tour heads on in the direction of Silves, a lovely old town on the banks of the River Arade, towered over by a large castle. Breathe in the most unpolluted air in Europe as you cycle along quiet country roads, stopping to have a refreshing swim in the Barragem do Funcho or the Barragem do Arade. Silves was once one of the most bustling centres of the Arab-Iberian world, acquiring culture, poetry, architecture and agricultural techniques from the Moors who lived here and spreading them through the Algarve. You will spend two nights here in Silves, so there’s lots of time to soak up the atmosphere, get to know the town and enjoy its wonderful food. Café d´Inglès, next to the cathedral, has a fantastic ambience and the fish restaurant Marisqueira Rui is also excellent. Both are highly recommended.

Your next base is Monte de Cima, in the beautiful foothills of the Monchique mountains. Stay in a delightful rustic accommodation with just five double rooms, all ensuite. Relax around the pool, tuck into the delicious food the owner prepares on the lovely terrace, sip a glass of wine and watch the moon come up.

Finally, you have a choice for your last accommodation, between Lagos and Salema. Lagos is one of the Algarve’s most attractive and historic towns, with 16th-century walls enclosing the old town’s pretty, cobbled streets and churches. Here, you can stay in a comfortable hotel in the centre of town. Salema is a small coastal village with a charming, easygoing atmosphere. The accommodation here is a small bed and breakfast, just a minute from the beach.

The cycling on this trip is graded moderate to intermediate. There are some climbs although none of the routes take you above 250 meters. The accommodations in Querença, Alte, Silves, Monte de Cima and Lagos all have private swimming pools. In Salema, our bed and breakfast is located 150m from the beach. You can start this tour on any date you wish, but it’s not a good idea to plan your holiday for August, as the temperature in the Algarve is too high for comfortable cycling.

Travel Team

If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. The Travel Team.

01273 823 700 Calling from outside the UK?

Departure information

This trip can be arranged at any time to suit your requirements although we do not recommend trips in August due to high temperatures
Our top tip:
Many of the accommodations provide dinner. But good to have cash, as most don’t have card facilities.
Trip type:
Tailor made.
Activity level:
Moderate, averaging 40 km/day.
Small rural hotels with pools.
Accommodation, luggage & airport transfers, back up service. Note: bike hire extra.
Breakfasts included. Portugal is a hugely underrated foodie destination - you won't go hungry.
Solo travellers welcome. Surcharge for single room.

Responsible tourism

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we screen every trip so you can travel knowing your holiday will help support conservation and local people.

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.

30 Reviews of Cycling holiday in Portugal, self guided

4.5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed on 20 Sep 2020 by

Lovely holiday exploring the less visited parts of inland Algarve and the west coast Read full review

Reviewed on 11 Jun 2019 by

The fun of biking in Portugal and the beautiful and unspoilt countryside were memorable Read full review

Reviewed on 04 Jun 2019 by

This holiday met and surpassed our expectations. It was successful on all levels. Read full review

Reviewed on 25 Apr 2019 by

The trip allowed us to get away from the more touristic areas and experience 'real' Portugal. This included coming across a village celebration in a large picnic area by the road we were travelling on where there was music, dancing and food. Read full review

Reviewed on 28 Oct 2019 by

4**** Read full review

Reviewed on 08 Oct 2019 by

The most memorable part of the holiday was the detail oriented instructions to get from one village to another, challenging climbs rewarded by descents. Read full review

Reviewed on 18 Oct 2018 by

This was one of the most memorable holidays we have ever taken. We had a fantastic time, and would highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys an active holiday, and who loves to explore new places. Read full review

Reviewed on 12 Jul 2018 by

Perfectly organized trip, from the route, to the bikes, the recommendations, all was good! Read full review

Reviewed on 14 Nov 2017 by

Cycling through fantastic countryside on quiet roads, orange groves, hill passes, really getting a chance to take it all in. The accommodation was also superb! Read full review

Reviewed on 11 Oct 2017 by

Cycling through quiet villages and back roads. Lovely places to stay especially Casa do Palmeiro. Read full review

Reviewed on 26 Jun 2017 by

The highlight was the first day of our cycling experience. Meeting Bert our host and having him explain our itinerary and routes. Getting on our bikes for the first time. Read full review

Reviewed on 09 Jun 2017 by

The 50k ride down from Monchique to the coast was the most memorable. Read full review

Reviewed on 03 Oct 2017 by

Arriving at our hotels, particularly the really rural ones, although they were all good. Read full review

Reviewed on 22 May 2017 by

Probably Duas Quintas outside Silves was the highlight. Read full review

Reviewed on 13 May 2017 by

Great holiday if your looking for a good mix of cycling, relaxing and sight seeing of some of Portugal's untouched areas. Read full review

Reviewed on 10 Oct 2016 by

Beautiful memories. I can only recommend this tour. Read full review

Reviewed on 28 Jun 2016 by

It was fantastic and would recommend it. June was a great month as the weather was stable and sunny everyday. Read full review

Reviewed on 20 Jun 2016 by

The west coast is breath taking and feels unspoilt. I would really recommend this holiday, it is so well co-ordinated to appeal to lots of different tastes. Read full review

Reviewed on 01 Apr 2016 by

Great, very well organized, good maps, well-considered route. Read full review

Reviewed on 03 Nov 2016 by

Arriving in Lagos, a beautiful town on a lovely sunny day. Read full review

Reviewed on 05 Dec 2015 by

It was all just wonderful. Great weather, great food, great scenery, great accommodation. The organising of it was first class. Read full review

Reviewed on 14 Oct 2015 by

Having the opportunity to cycle through the beautiful countryside and villages and looking forward to our next accommodation in spectacular locations. The first place we stayed in Querenca was a great start to the holiday. Read full review

Reviewed on 25 May 2015 by

10 out of 10. We could not fault any part of the holiday. The rides were routed through beautiful landscapes, visiting interesting villages and all felt very safe. The accommodation was clean, friendly and in wonderful locations. The personal service provided was great which meant that the holiday met our needs perfectly without any worry at all. Read full review

Reviewed on 16 Sep 2015 by

Do it! it's great fun and a wonderful sense of achievement reaching the destination. The organiser was always available although thankfully we didn't need him as his instructions were spot on. Read full review

Reviewed on 09 Jul 2014 by

Fantastic! Recommend it to everyone from 8 to 80 years old who love to bike Read full review

Reviewed on 27 Jun 2014 by

Enjoying the wonderful countryside at our own pace and the accommodation were the best parts of the holiday. We were expecting rustic, what we got were luxurious idylls, perfect to recharge our batteries after the time on the road. Read full review

Reviewed on 07 May 2014 by

Fantastic! I have already recommended it to friends. We loved the freedom of doing a self- guided trip as a couple in the beautiful countryside. Read full review

Reviewed on 11 Oct 2013 by

On a scale of one to ten I'd say eleven....The route that Bert had chosen for us was wonderful. We rode our bikes through Olive groves, orange groves, down dirt roads and through small towns and bigger towns. The variety was wonderful. Read full review

Reviewed on 27 Jun 2013 by

The most memorable part of the holiday was staying in the small casa's, tucked away from the main tourist area's. They were absolutely delightful, and we were so well looked after by the owners Read full review

Reviewed on 18 Feb 2013 by

Excellent. bikes perfect, directions easy to understand. Hotel and restaurant suggests selected with care. Thanks! Read full review

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