27 independent reviews for Cycling holiday in Portugal, self guided

Reviews for Cycling holiday in Portugal, self guided

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review 9 Jun 2017

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The 50k ride down from Monchique to the coast.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Go for electric bikes.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Cycling is good.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Excellent all round.

review 22 May 2017

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Probably Duas Quintas outside Silves,

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Emphasise the rural nature of inland Algarve

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Difficult to say. Main expenditure was meals and drinks. No obvious impact on environment.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Very happy with the care and attention provide by local company in Portugal. Bert Smegman was excellent and very detailed in his planning. Would highly recommend him to others.

review 13 May 2017

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Cycling and staying in areas that I normally wouldnt as a tourist see or visit. The cycle takes you through rural areas of Portugal which are relatively untouched by tourism. Some of the accomodation was idyllic.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Its a great holiday if you are looking for a good mix of cycling as well as relaxing. Miles per day can be adjusted to suit, and arent overly long,the route itself isnt overly taxing and the bikes Bert provides are comfotable with sufficient gearing to get up all the moderate climbs.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Absolutely, we ate and drank in a lot of local cafes etc that probably only get visits from foreigners once in a blue moon.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Great holiday if your looking for a good mix of cycling, relaxing and sight seeing of some of Portugals untouched areas.

review 10 Oct 2016

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

a) Getting to know some of the beautiful countryside and small towns of the Algarve; b) Bert's exceptional service.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

a) Enjoy every minute! b) If you are concerned about climbing some hills with a regular bicycle, choose an e-bike. For clarification: Even if I am in my sixties, I did not have any problems riding a regular bike. These bicycles are very suited to ride in this kind of terrain.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Visiting small towns and staying in smaller, very well selected hotels benefits undoubtedly the local economy. Travelling by bicycle provides for environmentally friendly transportation.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Beautiful memories. I can only recommend this tour.

review 28 Jun 2016

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The quiet rural roads and passing through little villages on the way. Views are spectacular too.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

My husband had not done a lot of cycling and took his own gel seat cover to put over existing bike seat and found this to be great. I am a cyclist and was fine with exisiting seat that was on bike .

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Absolutely. We stopped in the little tiny cafes and some of the fruit stores and spent our money in these towns that were away from the tourist areas. We were on bikes. No air pollution just the sound of us breathing hard up some of the hills and yahoos going down the other side.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

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

review 20 Jun 2016

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Excellent choice of locations and accommodation, varied cycle routes, well serviced reliable bikes, it was all extremely well planned by Bert, who met us and explained it all so well.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Expect to be surprised at the lovely choice of accommodation, the friendly staff and beautiful countryside, close to nature, combines both rural aspects and towns,small villages with wonderful architecture. So much to view,- you will want to keep stopping to have a look.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Probably helps the smaller cafes, resturants , we did cycling trip so had frequent stops to eat/drink.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Really impressed with Bert's choice of routes, places to stay, standard of bikes and his over all helpfulness from the time of booking until we left. This is a great way to see Portugal, meet the people and delight in the countryside. 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.

review 1 Apr 2016

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Bicycling up Foia into the clouds and shivering in sub-zero clouds, then back down to a relatively balmy ride to the beach over a couple of hours. Then surfing at Praia Amado.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Take your time. Trust Bert.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Benefitted the local economy, yes, and through small, generally very well run locally owned hotels and restaurants. The environment not so much, since we flew from Canada to Portugal and, though we biked, our luggage was driven for us from one waypoint to the next. (Very nice that was though.)

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Great, very well organized, good maps, well-considered route. Bert was very pleasant, helpful, honest and totally reliable. We ran into a couple of minor mechanical problems with a couple of the bikes and he met us promptly with a replacement bike in one instance and a replacement part in the other. One of our party had to leave a day early and, though we had not thought about it, anticipated it or asked about it, Bert handed him a refund on the day he left us.

review 3 Nov 2016

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

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

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Book or bring your own bikes, as the bikes we hired through the holiday were exceptionally heavy.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Good holiday.

Read the operator's response here:

Thank you for your feedback which we will of course consider. As you are probably aware there is always a bit of a trade-off between weight and comfort when it comes to tour bikes. On balance we have opted for what we feel are the most appropriate bikes for our tours. The feedback we have had about them in the past has always been very positive and this is why we are encouraged that we have found the right balance. However, we appreciate that everyone's experience is different and so as mentioned, we will take your comments into consideration. Our guests are always welcome to enquire about the bikes so that there will be no unexpected surprises. We hope you feel this adequately responds to your comment. Kind regards, Bert Smeman.

review 5 Dec 2015

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

It was all just wonderful. Great weather, great food, great scenery, great accommodation. The organising of it was first class. Did the Terra de Caldas tour.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

If you go late on in the year make sure you have warm clothes - days start a little chilly and the temperature drops around 3pm. Also, if you are a slow cyclist either start out early or take a torch - actually, a torch is useful for staggering back from the local restaurants in the evening!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes, we stopped at many local cafes to re-fuel.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Fantastic

review 25 May 2015

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The spectacular locations of the accommodation which had been organised

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Book it! I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this holiday as we enjoyed the whole experience from start to finish.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

I feel that local people will benefit from this holiday as we spent money in only in local establishments so it should be circulated locally. Enabling cyclists to visit and enjoy this beautiful countryside should encourage conservation and maintenance of the environment.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

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 Bert provided was great which meant that the holiday met our needs perfectly without any worry at all.

review 16 Sep 2015

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Cycling along country roads alongside ripening pomegranates, grapes and quince and not having to worry about where we were going to stay. Part of each days adventure was the surprise factor of our next abode which never disappointed.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

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

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

One of the best things was that there were only local people and produce

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

First class

review 9 Jul 2014

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The Portugese landscape is as mild and friendly as its people. Bert is an excellent organizer and the accomodations he had booked for us all had lots of charm, swimming pools and excellent food.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

We found that this trip suits adults and children alike because one has a choice between a longer (ca. 50 km) or a shorter (ca. 30 km) ride nearly every day. One can also choose not to bicycle and rather stay at the swimming pool instead two of the days.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

yes

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

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

review 27 Jun 2014

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Just having the opportunity to enjoy the wonderful countryside at our own pace. We were able to stop and take photos when we wanted and felt like we were seeing a part of the country which often goes unnoticed. The accommodation in Querenca and Monte De Cima was something else as well. We were expecting rustic, what we got were luxurious idylls, perfect to recharge our batteries after the time on the road.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Prepare to put on weight! We though that six days of cycling would have us shedding the pounds, but the food we sampled (the Alte Hotel apart) was wonderful and plentiful, especially the breakfasts. As for the cycling, the first day was a little bit of a shock to the system, but my partner, who was carrying an injury and had little cycling experience, managed to get through the whole week fairly comfortably.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Obviously the car transferring our belongings had an environmental impact. However, by biking through unspoilt villages we were free to choose when and where we wanted to stop, spending our money at small community ventures and hopefully benefitting the local community. And, many of the stays were at family-run villas.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

The fact that we were immediately scanning the website for similar holidays says how much we enjoyed it. Add to that the number of people who have asked us for links to the site after hearing of our experiences and you can see that our enthusiasm for the holiday was infectious.

review 7 May 2014

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Riding through the countryside with all the spring flowers and trees in full bloom and the captivating orange blossom scent in the air! All the little villages/towns with lots of character and very friendly people. Delicious seafood and large selection of local desserts ( personal favourite -pasteis de nata and carob cake) Portuguese people are so nice and helpful! The whole trip was very well organised, with clear cycling instructions and baggage being transferred smoothly. We loved the freedom of doing a self- guided trip as a couple in the beautiful countryside.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Check the weather forecast and prepare well. It did rain on 3 out of the 8 days in the Sunny Algarve. We were well equipped and didn't mind cycling through the rain, in fact we loved it as we live in the desert :) Some of the rural accommodations ( Querenca and Monte de Cima) can take only cash and no card payments, so make sure you carry enough if you choose to dine there( highly recommended by the way!) We were pleasantly surprised to find out English is widely spoken. Took us a while to get used to the set lunch and late dinner opening hours of restaurants. Carry small snacks in case you miss lunch or don't want to eat dinner late. Bert gives excellent recommendations for restaurants and places to visit. If you like seafood, try the one in Silves. If you can, book an extra day in Lagos at the end of the trip- lots to see and do!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Definitely

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Fantastic! I have already recommended it to friends.

review 11 Oct 2013

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

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.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Go for it! Bert is really well organized and the trip is really well laid out. The directions are spot on and he has wonderful accommodations lined up.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

I would say it benefited the local people because we ate at local restaurants and we stayed at local Bed and breakfast establishments.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

On a scale of one to ten I'd say eleven.

review 27 Jun 2013

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

We had a very relaxing and enjoyable holiday, cycling along the country lanes and through small villages in the Algarve. 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. The food was typical Portuguese, simple, and delicious.The maps and routes we were provided with were easy to follow, and well planned out. We cycled about 3-4 hours each day at a leisurely pace.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

The area was more hilly than we expected. Cyclists need to be reasonably fit to enjoy the experience, however the bikes were excellent - well maintained, light, and plenty of gears to make the hills a breeze! We enjoyed staying at different places, and the bag transfer worked really well. We were in the very capable hands of Bert, who provided us with a friendly and efficient service that ensured the holiday went well.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Cycling down small country roads,and through quiet rural villages reduced the impact on the environment, compared to other types of transport. We bought food and drinks from village shops and bars which would have been a small help to the local economies.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Really enjoyed our first experience of a cycling holiday. Will definitely do it again. Thank you to Bert for making it so easy and stress free!

review 18 Feb 2013

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

My partner asks me this question everyday of our vacations together. Itís difficult to narrow it down to one thing. I will say that seeing the Portuguese countryside on bicycle was a definite highlight.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Bring your clothes and camera and just enjoy the scenery, the food and culture. Our tour went off without a "hitch"!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Certainly. we traveled from town to town by bike. Out luggage traveled by taxi. We did very little to contribute to pollution or traffic congestion.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

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

review 15 Apr 2010

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Just being alone with my husband, experiencing life on a bicycle. Free to roam and explore on our own time without having any worries concerning our night's lodging. No time constraints at all.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Learn a little of the language. You really travel some back roads which is absolutely wonderful, exhilarating and breathtaking, but each person understands directions differently, so it did help us immensely to be able to converse with the locals.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Of course, we left nothing behind and our travel dollars benefited the little local businesses which had to help the economy.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Wonderful! We would do it all over again. We have taken such wonderful memories and pictures and we will continue to travel with these in our minds throughout the rest of our lives.

review 20 Oct 2009

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

We had the most fabulous weather. The first place we stayed, Quinta dos Valedos, was a really great start to the holiday, as Marie-Jose and Sergei are French Portuguese, and introduced us to many culinary specialities of the region, including carob and arbutus berry schnapps! It was right in the heart of the Algarve countryside, very unspoilt, and had a lovely pool. We also enjoyed the personal touch from Bert, the 'tour operator' and the wonderful views from our hotel bedrooms on other nights. Our trips to the coast were also memorable, as they visited smaller, more out of the way places.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

There are hills, but the bikes are well geared, and neither of us had to get off! If you are susceptible to being bitten, don't forget to bring your anti midge cream and use the mosquito nets at night! The second trip to the coast is the one to take your beach wear to - there is a lovely peaceful bay in a little harbour where the water is shallow, and should be warmer than the ocean. There is also a wonderful beach further on, with beach bars for refreshments. If you are in Silves on Thursday, there is Fado music at a cafe on the river front, or at the weekend you might be lucky to find other live music at the Cafe Ingles.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

For the first 2 nights, all the produce was home made and most ingredients locally sourced, and we felt this was very beneficial for the local economy. The hotels had dual flush loos, although the one at Alte was not working properly. Some places didn't have waste bin liners, so less plastic. We were able to eat out in the town at Silves and chose local dishes.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Brilliant!

review 25 Jul 2009

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Being able to breathe the fresh air and feel the sunshine on our skin as we cycled through the countryside, through small villages, along the coastline, and up into the hills. Peace and quiet, and feeling like the holiday added to our health, rather than just sitting around eating too much as people so often do on holiday. Being able to relax and cruise along at our own pace was lovely.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

We cycled together as a family - with a seven year old and an 18 month old both joining us, sitting on seats on the backs of our bikes. We are not "fitness freaks" but found the cycling pleasant and fairly easy. Bert helped us avoid the hardest section by driving us uphill on the third day, which was a great idea, as it looked like a very long climb otherwise! Bring lots of sunscreen, as the sky is always blue. Remember that the shops/restaurants will likely be closed between lunch and 7pm, and on Sundays it may be hard to find anywhere to stop and eat. Take snacks with you if you have children, and lots of water.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Yes. We stayed in mostly small, local places, and we cycled everywhere, so no fossil fuels burned!

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Excellent. Bert was fabulous, and very helpful. We had great information provided before we arrived, with frequent updates as to what was happening with the planning of the trip. When we got there, we were picked up and taken to our first hotel. Bert had arranged to rent bike seats for our children. The bikes were in great condition, and the routes very clearly described so we never got lost. It was early July so it was very warm but not too hot, and a cooling breeze was blowing most days. The accommodations were excellent - varied and friendly, not impersonal hotel-type places. And very comfortable. The riding was more challenging (i.e. hilly) than the previous cycling holiday we have done (on the Danube in Austria, where there we NO hills), but it was still easy enough to be fun rather than exhausting. Bert was very concerned about our welfare (and the safety of the children) and did all he could to ensure it all ran smoothly, which it did. Each day we only cycled about 30km, which isn't that far. And we stayed in each hotel for 2 nights, meaning we could have taken every 2nd day off from cycling if we were too tired (but we never needed too, even though I hadn't done that much exercise since our baby was born). All in all, we had a great time. We'd recommend this to anyone (either with or without children). As long as you aren't a completely unfit couch-potato, you'll cope fine and you'll really enjoy it - returning feeling refreshed and like you've done your body a favour with this holiday. I would give this 4.5 stars. We travel a LOT so it would be almost impossible to be better than all of our other holidays (which is what is says next to the 5 star rating). But if you're considering this type of holiday, or you want to go to Portugal, then this would be a great choice!

review 21 Apr 2009

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

I decided to spend a few days over Easter cycling through the Algarve and did so on my own. Bert, the man behind the tour company, did a great job in giving me honest advice and counsel over the phone and was a reassuring presence. The price when booking as a single is slightly higher than normal (hotel and bed & breakfast places being geared towards double occupancy), the instructions handed out were very reassuring and clear and I did not get lost despite my bad sense of orientation. The social life in the evening was rather calm (do not expect anything organised) but perfectly friendly and nice. I had a great time and feel in better shape, and the smell of orange blossom is still in my nose.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Take light walking shoes, e.g. sport's sandals, so you can walk (including pushing the bike) when you do not want to sit on the saddle any longer.

review 13 Oct 2008

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Cycling through the Eucalyptus trees in the hills and the citrus fruit groves in the low lands. Also really nice having a day at the coast to get some beach time in! Moving on every day gives a real sense of travelling and getting to see the most possible. Bert (the organiser) was very helpful and accommodating.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Oct is a really good time of year to go. The roads are nice and quiet and the temperature is perfect.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

The smaller local hotels benefited.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Very good. Thoroughly good way to see Portugal off the tourist trail.

review 14 Jun 2008

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Overall very pleasant and well organised. No particular part stood out. Bert had extra cycling options for experienced cyclists on racer bikes.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

It is suitable for families, rather easy for people in good physical condition. Most hotels/guest houses good and food very good in general.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Yes.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

It fully met our expectations. We will visit Portugal in the future again Iím sure to cycle and see more of the country.

review 23 Oct 2008

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Cycling through the orange groves.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

If coming from UK consider how hot it might be cycling midday. It was hot in October.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Benefited the smaller places we stayed at.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Enjoyable holiday. The distances were just about right as it gave us time to look at things, take photos etc. We found it hillier than we thought, but just pushed the bikes up the hills.

review 11 Apr 2007

The trip we made was absolutely beyond our expectations, the planning was excellent as well as the smooth day by day cycling experience, the accommodations were simple but very comfortable, clean & with a warm and efficient service. In terms of relation between cost and value we are totally satisfied with what we got. We have recommended this experience to friends and relatives, it's completely worth it time and money wise, although (because of the physical effort) not suitable or likable for everyone. We should point out that our word about this experience has created quite a lot of curiosity & interest. This holiday was different from any we have had in the past, with a pace & rhythm of its own, a remarkable gathering of friends with what we believe is a positive impact on local people and its environment, definitively local people have benefited from this type of tourism. The tips we could give people interested in repeating this experience concerns only the athletic preparation (before the trip) that could make the cycling easier and more enjoyable. We rate our trip a 5 star holiday. We take the opportunity to thank again the warm, well organized and professional intervention by Bert (the guy that was hired to make all the arrangements needed for this wonderful experience to happen).

review 7 Oct 2007

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Curiously arriving at the next accommodation place and being served gorgeous food every night.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Try to cycle in the morning on hot days.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Two of the four accommodation places were with locals and in one of the hotels we had tickets for food in local restaurants. Lunch was not included and taken en route.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Very good. A 30 km a day mostly easy cycle ride and lots of relaxing at the pool with a good book. Bert transported our luggage and wrote us a little note regularly. He and our hosts told us lots about the country and its people.

review 21 Aug 2007

The trip was wonderful even though we made it as difficult as possible for Mr. Smeeman to organize the tour by giving him almost no time (about a week) to do it and choosing the height of the tourist season in the Algarve. The accommodations were very good, the bicycles absolutely top drawer and the daily descriptions and route guides were very accurate. We didn't miss a turnoff, country lane or a signpost. Mr. Smeeman was always on time, personally saw to it that our bags were at the hotels and always had the answers to our questions and an encouraging word. All in all, two very satisfied customers. We're looking forward to our next trip using Responsible Travel.

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