Gravel Explorer: Cycling the Algarve

Algarve bicycle tours
  • Length 7 days
  • From USD$2995
  • Style/Level Gravel Explorer 2.5
  • Countries Portugal
  • Begin/End Vila Real de Santo António / Lagos

A paved and dirt bicycling adventure through the southernmost coastal region of Portugal, the Algarve. You will begin in Vila Real de Santo António as you pedal towards the lively, small city of Lagos, with an expansive marina filled with gorgeous yachts, numerous restaurants to choose from and a bustling shopping area. Along the way you will cycle past ocher cliffs, citrus groves, sleepy beach towns and experience the warm culture of the Algarve. Ride through valleys filled with dense cushions of Mediterranean vegetation defined by their rocky surroundings, and along clear water streams. Explore the Natural Park of Ria Formosa, a lagoon system that extends over 60 km (37 miles) of the coastline and is home to hundreds of bird species. Discover the lovely Moorish town of Silves and the cliff site of Ponta da Piedade in Lagos. Join us to cycle under sunny skies, and over a variety of paved and dirt terrain as you explore sandy shores as far as the eyes can see, soaring cliffs, whitewashed fishing villages, and a true taste of the warm Mediterranean culture.

Learn more about what is included and what to expect on your Gravel Explorer tour at the Gravel Explorer Tour Style page at this link.


  • Ria Formosa – a wild Paradise, old cities, typical villages, beautiful beaches of Algarve, rural roads, Lagos and its beautiful cliffs and picture perfect views, Moorish-style architecture, Mediterranean nature and ocean landscapes


Keep in mind

We work hard to maintain consistency across all of our tours, but some trips have unique differences. Here are some things to keep in mind about this tour.

This tour spends time on and off paved roads so support van and aid may not always be readily available. You will have the option to pedal with a guide or pedal on your own, but please be aware that if you are cycling on your own we recommend you are comfortable cycling in remote areas. Learn more about what is included and what to expect on your Gravel Explorer tour at the Gravel Explorer Tour Style page at this link.

Date Price Private room fee Note
Oct 9-15, 2024 USD$2695 USD$450 Sold out – wait list available
Apr 2-8, 2025 USD$2995 USD$450 Book Now and Save $200, per person.
Apr 21-27, 2025 USD$2995 USD$450 Book Now and Save $200, per person.
Oct 14-20, 2025 USD$2995 USD$450 Book Now and Save $200, per person.
Nov 19-25, 2025 USD$2995 USD$450 Book Now and Save $200, per person.
DateOct 9-15, 2024
Private room feeUSD$450
NoteSold out – wait list available
DateApr 2-8, 2025
Private room feeUSD$450
NoteBook Now and Save $200, per person.
DateApr 21-27, 2025
Private room feeUSD$450
NoteBook Now and Save $200, per person.
DateOct 14-20, 2025
Private room feeUSD$450
NoteBook Now and Save $200, per person.
DateNov 19-25, 2025
Private room feeUSD$450
NoteBook Now and Save $200, per person.

Download Itinerary

We’ll send you a link to a full day by day tour itinerary that can be downloaded and printed so you can review all the details online and offline. This packet also includes details about what to expect on tour and arrival and departure details.
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  • Total distance 225 km (140 miles)
  • Average daily distance 46 km (28 miles)
  • Tour style Gravel Explorer
  • Tour level 2.5

Highlights: Start on the border between Spain and Portugal

Welcome to the Algarve and Vila Real de Santo António! The Romans, Phoenicians, and Moors have all left their mark on this ancient city with evidence of a Stone Age settlement dating to 5,000 B.C., although many of the historic buildings were destroyed in the massive 1755 earthquake. The nearby Reserva Natural do Sapal saltpans and marshland make for a unique ecological habitat particularly attractive to flamingos and other water birds. The vast white-sand beaches attract people from far and wide to come, play and relax in this calm and invitingly warm section of the Atlantic Ocean. The Spanish village of Ayamonte just across the river is known for its salt industry and fishing community offering an intriguing mix of modern and medieval ripe for your exploration. We’ll fit bikes and do a test ride this afternoon before a mouthwatering dinner of local specialties together.

Meals : Dinner
Lodging : Hotel Apolo

Highlights: Bird Watching and Medieval Tavira

The ride to Tavira will take you through salt marshes, orchards, and you might even spot your first cork trees. Once in Tavira, we recommend taking some time to explore the architectural heritage which reflects Roman, Arab and Christian influences. Enjoy a relaxing day strolling cobbled streets, and check out some of the 22 churches in this town layered with Portuguese history. (If you only have time for one, visit the church of Santa Maria do Castelo, which was built in the 13th century on the site of what was probably one of the largest Moorish mosques in the Algarve.)

***The October 9, 2024 departure will stay at the Residencial Mares.

Meals : Breakfast, Dinner
Lodging : Vila Galé Tavira , Residencial Mares

Highlights: Ria Formosa, The fruits of Algarve

Today’s ride from Tavira along the incredible Ria Formosa is one of the most beautiful natural parks in Portugal. This is an absolute paradise for birdwatchers and part of the Natura 2000 Network. Breathtaking coastal views will be another of many highlights today. As you approach the destination, you will cycle inland and ride past orchards and typical villages of the region. Keep your eyes (and nose!) peeled for vast areas of orange trees along the way. Our destination is São Brás de Alportel, which was once the biggest cork producing center in Portugal.

Meals : Breakfast, Dinner
Lodging : Hotel Rocha da Gralheira

Highlights: Algarve Mountains and Alte

Today’s ride is challenging and well worth the effort as the scenery is even more breathtaking than the climbs as you cycle north through rolling hills close to the Algarve mountain range. A mixture of roads and trails will take you through lush green fields. The cycling is fresh with Mediterranean flora and fauna that will invigorate both your lungs and spirit. Our destination is the lovely hillside village of Alte, which is famous for its artisans, whitewashed houses and freshwater springs. The presence of water year-round in an otherwise arid region adds to the unique charm of this town.

Meals : Breakfast
Lodging : Alte Traditions Guest House

Highlights: Cork tree forests, Silves

Today you’ll cycle along dirt roads and paths winding through green valleys as you head towards Arade Dam. This has to be a contender for one of the most beautiful rides ever. You’ll wind your way along a reservoir and then enter a forest of cork-oak trees, and then gently cruise down the valley towards your destination, Silves. This town has a fascinating history as it was the former capital of the Kingdom of the Algarve. Take a stroll and explore the Silves castle and the Moorish architectural sites. Road Surface: 80% gravel, 20% paved.

Meals : Breakfast
Lodging : Silves History Guest House

Highlights: Beaches, Lagos

Today’s ride is rewarded with great views of the Atlantic! The journey continues along the Odelouca River, enjoy this rural area and typical Portuguese villages like Odiáxere which you’ll pass along the way. The path leads you to the Atlantic Ocean and an incredible beach wrapped around one of Europe’s largest bays. This golden-sand beach is called “Meia Praia” (which translates to “half beach”), funny enough because it’s actually one of the longest beaches of the Algarve and is renowned for its spaciousness and tranquility. After enjoying the coast, you will cycle to our final destination, the cosmopolitan city of Lagos. We’ll have a special dinner tonight to celebrate our journey. Road Surface: 35% gravel, 65% paved.

Meals : Breakfast, Dinner
Lodging : Tivoli Lagos

Highlights: Lagos

Lagos is well-connected to Faro, Lisbon, or other destinations so take an extra day or two to explore. The Ponta de Piedade cliffs and lighthouse are certainly worth a visit and the city has a variety of wonderful restaurants to tempt you. Whatever you decide enjoy!

Meals : Breakfast

Visit our Tour Level page to learn more about terrain levels and how we determine day and tour levels.

Pre-trip planning checklist

Portugal travel planning page

  • All the different aspects of the countryside we experienced. From small villages, to hills and open fields and orchards, to forests, beaches and everything in between. Also loved the fact that we could go at our own pace and stop when and where we wanted

    Christine B., Fort Collins, CO – April 2023
  • I loved being out on dirt roads & rarely seeing a car or other people. Picking an orange & eating it while standing in the shade of the orange grove. Swimming in the ocean & reservoir – bikes shorts & all. Meeting new people

    Maureen R., Carobndale, CO – April 2023
  • Incredible experience, challenging and a great way to travel across southern Portugal. It was exciting to ride through the countryside, especially off-road – gives a totally different perspective. Each town or village was unique, food was great, views were spectacular. Not to mention, the tour guides are awesome!

    Maureen C., Jupiter, FL – April 2023