Cycling in Portugal guide

Given that nearly all Portugal cycling holidays are tailor made and designed so that you can get yourself from A to B, it shows how well set up this wonderful country is for pedal pushers. A to B being somewhat accurate, as the Algarve and Alentejo are the most popular regions for cycling, and well, there is always a beach at the end of the trail, it would seem.
Cycle to the border town of Alcoutim, jump on a quick ferry across the river to Spain and take a zipline back. Now that’s what I call free movement of people in Europe.
Life is definitely a beach in Portugal. Especially if you follow its magnificent Ecovia do Litoral Cycling trail, which is littoral loveliness for over 200km along its southern coast all the way to the Spanish border. This Algarve coast is not too taxing either, although there are a few stretches through the foothills of the Algarve Mountains that will make you earn your views and vinho. Northern Portugal cycling is also superb and, particularly outside of the peak summer months when you will have the coastal paths around Porto or Peneda-Gerês National Park all to yourself.

Read more in our Portugal cycling holidays travel guide.

Is cycling in Portugal for you?

Go cycling in Portugal if…

… you are looking for all-year-round cycling, and with plenty of sunshine. Southern Portugal boasts 300 days of sunshine a year and relatively little rain. … you enjoy independent cycling, as most of our holidays are self guided, with your luggage transported for you. There are guided family holidays in the north of the country, however. Most holidays are also B&B only, leaving you freedom to budget for other meals accordingly. … a linear coastal route, dipping in and out of bays and lagoons, is your idea of heaven. The Algarve has it covered, with the Ecovia do Litoral Trail. On your bike, all inclusive resorts – we bring our guests pedalling through the real Algarve. … you want tranquil, rural cycling with wonderful accommodation. From traditional ‘quinta’ houses to five star hotels, Portugal is not short of wonderful places to stay. And to suit all budgets too.

Don’t go cycling in Portugal if...

… you want the Tour de France. Most cycling holidays in Portugal take a leisurely pace, usually no more than about 60km per day. There are a lot of beaches and magnificent restaurants to enjoy along the way. … you don’t like exploring off the beaten track. Apart from some resorts and over-manicured golf courses, Portugal is off the beaten track-tastic. … you want flashy restaurants and champagne on tap. Portugal is very passionate about cuisine, but not posey about it. From fish to fine wine, pork to pastries, you will never go hungry. The fresh fish in Fuseta and Olhao, in particular, is unforgettable. … you want to cycle in July and August. Most cycling companies don’t really recommend it, as it gets seriously hot and also the popular routes such as the Algarve are often more crowded. The shoulder seasons are sublime though. In fact all other months are perfect for cycling.
Travel Team
If you'd like to chat about Portugal cycling or need help finding a holiday to suit you we're very happy to help.

Best time to go cycling in Portugal

The best time to see the wintering flamingos in the stunning Ria Formosa Park is Aug-Mar, when there are over 2,000 of them. Flamboyant indeed.
With some regions boasting 300 days of sunshine a year, there are few bad times to go cycling in Portugal except when the temperatures are soaring of course, which is during July and August. Inland Alentejo, for example, can hit 40°C during these months, although the coasts do get a cooling breeze. Flowers come into blossom as early as February, particularly in Alentejo and the Algarve, as you cycle through wafts of almond blossom. This superb climate means that cycling holidays for families are a great option for half terms too; especially October, when the sea is still warm.
Written by Catherine Mack
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