2020 Explorer: Cycling the Algarve

  • Length 8 days
  • From USD$2695
  • Style/Level Explorer 2.5
  • Countries Portugal
  • Begin/End Shuttle from Lisbon to Tavira / Shuttle from Sagres to Lisbon

A paved and dirt bicycling adventure through the southernmost coastal region of Portugal, the Algarve. You will begin in Tavira as you pedal towards Cabo de São Vicente, also known as the end of the world. 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 or 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 Explorer tour at the Explorer Tour Style page.

Highlights

  • Ria Formosa – a wild Paradise, old cities, typical villages, beautiful beaches of Algarve and Lagos, Cape S. Vicente – once known as “the end of the world”, Moorish-style architecture, Mediterranean nature and ocean landscapes

Includes

  • 8 days, 7 nights accommodation, meals as noted in itinerary, GPS with tracks, support vehicle and 2 bilingual tour leaders, transfer to and from Lisbon

  • All Explorer tour inclusions

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.

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


Date Price Private room fee Note

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  • Total distance 255 km (158 miles)
  • Average daily distance 52 km (32 miles)
  • Tour style Explorer
  • Tour level 2.5

Highlights:  Test ride, birds of Tavira, Medieval Tavira castle

Welcome to Portugal! We’ll pick you up at our meeting point before shuttling together to Tavira. 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 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.) We’ll celebrate the beginning of our adventure with a special dinner tonight.

Meals : Dinner
Lodging : Vila Galé Tavira

Highlights: Ria Formosa, orange groves

After a delicious breakfast start today’s journey in Tavira and ride along the incredible Ria Formosa, 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 on today’s ride. As you approach the town of Olhão, you will cycle inland and ride past lush fields and typical villages of the region. Keep your eyes (and nose!) peeled for vast areas of orange trees along the way. Road Surface: 50% gravel, 50% paved.

Meals : Breakfast, Dinner

Highlights: São Brás de Alportel

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. Along the way, visit the town of São Brás de Alportel, which was once the biggest cork producing centers in Portugal. 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 whitewashed houses and freshwater springs. The presence of water year-round in an otherwise arid region adds to the unique charm of this village. Road Surface: 40% gravel, 60% paved.

Meals : Breakfast

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: Historic Lagos, Ponta de Piedade cliffs

One of the oldest towns in the Algarve, Lagos is a historic center of the Portuguese age of discoveries and frequent home of Henry the Navigator. Lagos was home to a historic shipyard and at one point in history, the center of the European slave trade. Save some time to walk around downtown and enjoy a meal in one of the cities wonderful restaurants. We’ll also suggest a walk to the beautiful Ponta de Piedade cliffs and it’s picturesque lighthouse. This headland just south of town is home to some of the most iconic sandstone cliffs off the coast and on a clear day you’ll have views of Carvoeiro to the east and Sagres to the west.

Meals : Breakfast

Highlights: Sagres – “the-end-of the world”, Cabo de São Vicente

Today you will follow some beautiful trails along the coastline to Ponta da Piedade. The route then heads west and passes through stunning scenery and quaint coastal villages to Sagres. Upon your arrival in Sagres you will be greeted with cliffs and rocks featuring an amazing array of colors. Sagres, ” the end of the world” not only has dramatic coastal scenery there is also a fascinating nautical past as you’ll see at the Sagres Fortress. Continue a short distance to the edge of Europe, Cabo de São Vicente – the south-westernmost point of continental Europe. Road Surface: 20% gravel, 80% paved.

Meals : Breakfast, Dinner
Lodging : Baleeira Hotel

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.



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