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Portugal

Alentejo and Algarve Coastal Explorer

Self-Guided Leisure Bike Tour

Grade

1
2
3
4
5

Duration

8 days

Prices from

$2,025 P.P.
Portugal

Alentejo and Algarve Coastal Explorer

Self-Guided Leisure Bike Tour

Grade

1
2
3
4
5

Duration

8 days

Prices from

$2,025 P.P.
BOOK NOW
This new self-guided cycling tour in Portugal takes you down to the south west corner of the country, along the Costa Vicentina – a narrow band of land stretching along the west coast of Portugal south of Lisbon all the way to the Algarve. The landscape is a unique contrast of peaceful rolling country side and rough oceans, and typical quiet southern white villages and wild green landscapes.

The tour takes you mainly along narrow countryside roads connecting Alentejo towns and villages along your route, and lead to beautiful beaches tucked in at the bottom of wild cliffs. The varied route combined with comfortable accommodation (mainly 4* with pools) and adventurous local cuisine, will enable you to discover this wild corner of Portugal and the Algarve in a new way, far-flung from the images of mass tourism so often connected with the area.
Available for Sundays departures all year round (excluding the busier summer months), this is the perfect chance to escape and explore the far South-West corner of Europe – where Christopher Columbus is said to have learned his navigation skills!
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Highlights

  • Warming up with a loop ride through the Arrábida Natural Park
  • Catching the ferry across to Troia and enjoying the quiet road along the Troia peninsula
  • Enjoying the spectacular road along the coast near Porto Covo
  • Visiting the Cabo Sardão lighthouse and enjoying the shore-line views of the wild cliffs
  • Taking a dip on isolated beaches at the bottom of spectacular cliffs
  • Discovering the city of Lagos in the Algarve, with its amazing mixture of tradition and tourism
  • Visiting Cape St Vincent, Europe’s most southwestern point and its imposing lighthouse
  • Wondering at the splendour of the high cliffs around Sagres

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Itinerary

Day 1
Arrival in Lisbon and transfer to Setubal
Non-Riding Day

On arrival, you will be met by a local representative who will transfer you to your first hotel in Setubal (a 45 minute drive), where they will handover your bikes and everything else you will need for your trip. You’ll also have the chance to ask any last-minute questions, before enjoying your first evening, exploring the city of Setubal and its interesting harbour with all the colourful traditional fishing boats. Don’t worry if you don’t get the chance to explore thoroughly, you will be staying in the same hotel for 2 nights, so your city exploration can be left for the following day.

Day 2
Loop Ride in Arrabida Natural Park
25 Miles / 40 Kms Approx
  • Meals: Breakfast
  • Ascent: 680m Approx

The Arrabida Natural Park is composed of a mountainous area right at the edge of the land north of the Sado river estuary, with dense lush greenery on the southern side of the mountains.

Today’s ride will firstly take you north along rural, sometimes gravelly, roads to the village of Azeitão, known for its traditional cheese and Moscatel wine. Make sure you stop by the winery for a taste of both, and if you need a sweet treat, ask for the traditional delicious “Torta de Azeitão”. Fully-refreshed, you then cycle on into the park itself, where the roads are a cyclists’ paradise, providing breath-taking views on almost every twist of the road. Enjoy settling into the rhythm of Portuguese cycling as you wind your way back to your hotel in Setubal.

Day 3
Setubal to Santiago do Cacém
43 Miles / 70 Kms Approx
  • Meals: Breakfast
  • Ascent: 760m Approx

Today starts with a short ferry ride across the estuary to the resort of Troia (tickets not included in holiday cost, 4.50euor p.p). On the ferry, you can look back and appreciate the scenery of the Arabida Natural Park where you rode yesterday, or you can enjoy the views towards the long peninsula beyond Troia, where today’s route will take you along a flat road in the dunes with water on both sides. This is a quieter, less-populated area, and soon you will be surrounded by pine forests as you approach Melides, a typical village of white houses with red tiled roofs and orange trees, where you can enjoy a midday stop.

The second part of the day becomes more challenging as the landscape suddenly changes and becomes more rugged, the quiet roads now bordered by cork tree forests and start to undulate sharply towards the end on the approach to our destination, the town of Santiago do Cacém. Our hotel for tonight is a lovely modern hotel, known for its cuisine and its splendid pool!

Day 4
Santiago do Cacém to Vila Nova de Milfontes
31 Miles / 50 Kms Approx
  • Meals: Breakfast
  • Ascent: 300m Approx

Today you will be making your way back to the coast and majestic ocean views! Starting with a gentle climb on a quiet twisting road, your route soon levels out through remote cork tree plantations before taking you back down to sea level and to a quiet road along the coast. This will provide you with the best riding of the day and a feast for the senses – from solitary beaches, dunes and dazzling coastal views, to farmland, flocks of sheep and grazing cows scattered across the green fields.

Take some time to enjoy a refreshment in the main square of the coastal village of Porto Covo before riding through farmland and pine trees to reach Vila Nova de Milfontes, our stop today, where you can relax at your hotel overlooking the ocean and the Mira river estuary.

Day 5
Vila Nove de Milfontes to S. Teotónio
37 Miles / 60 Kms Approx
  • Meals: Breakfast
  • Ascent: 490m Approx

Today is another relatively easy day of cycling, almost all spent riding through rural areas on straight flat roads. In the morning, you will get the chance to visit Cabo Sardão with its imposing lighthouse and stunning views of the coastline. Enjoy a lunch stop at the coastal village of Zambujeira do Mar, a typical Alentejo village with a beautiful beach nestled at the bottom of high cliffs; Time to relax and have a midday snack at the esplanade on the main village square. The final leg to get to our destination today is done on a somewhat busier road, undulating over the more rugged terrain as you move inland away from the coast. However, tonight’s stop is worth it – a modern hotel situated off the beaten track and surrounded by forests. A swim in the pool overlooking peaceful hills is just the tonic at the end of another day in the saddle.

Day 6
S. Teotónio to Lagos
42 Miles / 67 Kms Approx
  • Meals: Breakfast
  • Ascent: 1050m Approx

Today you will reach the Algarve, on the South coast of Portugal; a province offering much more than sandy beaches and resorts. The Algarve province occupies the whole of the south of the country and for many centuries was a separate kingdom under the Portuguese flag. The interior of the Algarve is a very rugged country with many hills and huge forests, and you will be crossing this rugged terrain before you can reach the coast.

Today’s ride starts more easily, with a gentle ride towards the higher ground, while the second part of the day is harder, with a few long climbs and long descents as you tackled the remote Algarvian hills. However, the hills might be made a bit easier by stopping for morning coffee and pastries in the village of Rogil, where you can stock up for the climbs ahead. As you head towards the hills, the road becomes quieter and peaceful, and you can enjoy meandering through hills and valleys in isolation until you reach the village of Odiaxere where it is time to stop and rest a bit and enjoy a snack by the central square. The toughest riding is over and it’s now time to conquer the south coast and Lagos. Lagos is a bigger town where the tradition in the narrow streets of the historic centre sits alongside the modern life of the hotels, marina, restaurants and resorts. The roads become a bit busier, but the town brings an interesting and different atmosphere from what we’ve had up to now and will freshen up our moods after what was the hardest day of the tour and just before our celebratory last day on the saddle.

Day 7
Lagos to Sagres
37 Miles / 60 Kms Approx
  • Meals: Breakfast
  • Ascent: 900m Approx

Our last riding day has a lot to offer. Purposely designed to avoid the busier areas of the touristy side of the Algarve and lead us along the nicest narrower roads to meet the “genuine” Algarve, this morning’s ride will take you north out of the city, where you can enjoy a morning coffee in the village of Barão de S. João. You’ll then head south back to the coast, where you can once again admire magnificent ocean views. There will be a few cheeky climbs as you make your way along the coast, but if the weather is kind, you could take the chance for a dip in the sea to freshen up!

The last part of our tour is more relaxed as you head towards Cape S. Vicent, the southwestern most tip of Europe. The roads to the cape are quiet and lead you through flat farmland, before you reach “the end of the world” – a special place full of history. The lighthouse is the most powerful light of the European coastline and the 60 meters high cliffs around the cape are impressive, and a mighty finish to your trip along the Costa Vicentina.

After a few celebratory drinks and pictures taken for remembrance, you will head to the village of Sagres some 7k away. Situated on the cliffs above the harbour in the centre of the village, your final hotel will reward your achievements with incredible views south over the immense Atlantic.

Day 8
Departure from Sagres - Transfer to Faro airport
Non-Riding Day
  • Meals: Breakfast

After an excellent breakfast, it’s time to say goodbye to Sagres and make our way to Faro airport for our return flights.

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The Cycling

Terrain

This route has some flat sections, but some are more hilly, particularly towards the end as your enter the Algarve, where some of the hills become steep.

The majority (around 70%) of riding is on quiet roads with hardly any traffic, but as the route approaches some of the busier beaches and the city of Lagos, roads become busier and you will encounter more traffic. There are 3 short sections of hard packed gravel roads.

Hybrid bikes are our recommendation for this tour, but road bikes with 28 mm wide tyres can also tackle the short sections of off road or rougher tarmac. Electric bikes are also available for hire (subject to availability).

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Leisure Cycling Grade

1
2
3
4
5
Grade 3-4 : Moderate/ Active

Aspects of both our grade 3 and 4 trips

Suitable for the leisure cyclist who rides frequently, and who’s comfortable with some moderately challenging climbs

Some of the terrain may vary, potentially including sections of uneven or unpaved ground

Our grading guidelines have been carefully created based on our many years of cycling experience, as well as customer feedback from our trips. Of course, if you're still struggling to figure out where you fit on the scale, do feel free to give us a quick call and we'll be more than happy to help!

For more information about our grading system click here.

Is this suitable for you?

Trips that are graded as a 3-4, will have aspects of both our grade 3 and 4 trips. These tours are suitable for those who keep themselves relatively fit and maybe enjoy an afternoon out on the bikes at the weekend. Your preference may be for flatter terrain, but you don’t mind tackling some hills, the occasional steep climb and some varying terrain (forest tracks, gravel paths etc.). It might be however that on some days the distances will be longer than a standard grade 3 trip, or some of the climbs may be quite challenging. You may also require some previous experience of tackling some uneven / unpaved ground to comfortably and safely ride certain sections of the route.

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Dates & Prices

2021 Sunday departures available from (and inclusive of) the 03 Jan to the 30 Jun and 16 Sep to the 12 Dec.

No departures available from the 01 Jul to the 15 Sep.

Choose your date
Start Date
End Date
Duration
Price p.p.
Start Date
Return Date
--/--/----
Duration
8 days
Price
$2,025.00

Whats Included Tick

A) Hotel accommodation (shared twin / double en suite rooms)

B) Meals as per the itinerary (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)

C) Local representative (with welcome meeting)

D) Detailed route notes, maps and GPS

E) Luggage transfers

F) Airport transfer on scheduled arrival day from Lisbon airport (LIS)

G) Airport transfer on scheduled departure day to Faro airport (FAO)

What's not Included Cross

A) Bike hire (available if required)

B) Flights and charges for travelling with your bike (if applicable)

C) Single room (available if required)

D) Travel insurance

E) Meals not stated in the itinerary

F) Personal clothing and equipment

G) Personal expenditure (souvenirs, bar bills, hotel facilities etc)

H) Entrance fees to museums and other attractions en route

I) Airport transfers on days other than the scheduled arrival / departure days

J) Ferry ticket across the estuary to the resort of Troia -Day 3(4.50 euros p.p)

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The Essentials

Travel Options

Airport transfers are included in the cost of your holiday.

For this tour we ask that you fly into Lisbon airport (LIS) and back from Faro airport (FAO). Please arrive between 10:00 and 16:00 and depart between 12:30 and 19:30. Departures from Lisbon are also possible. In this case please do not book flights with a departure earlier than 14:00.

Most flights from North America require overnight travel, and a stop over in an intermediary airport, with Norwegian combining with another airline being a common combination for this trip.

Please note that flying from North America may involve multiple travel days.

Please check with Skedaddle before making any travel arrangements. Please note – If you make travel arrangements that fall outside of the above time windows there may be an additional charge for your transfers.

Accommodation

Accommodation (shared twin or double rooms) will usually be en suite in 4 star hotels. The hotels on the route are modern and most have pool facilities.

Bike Hire

If you don’t own a suitable bike or would prefer to avoid bringing your own we have bikes available to hire. These bikes are typically KTM hybrid bikes with semi slick tyres and 28” wheels. Hire bikes in Portugal will have a crossbar frame as standard, but size small bikes will have a step-through frame. If you do decide to hire we can include a helmet and all necessary spares for the trip. Please request helmets when making your booking.

Hire bikes also come with pannier racks, 1 pannier bag, emergency repair kit including spare inner tubes, bike pump, a bottle holder and bike lock. The tours are all guided by GPS, and the hire bikes have GPS support brackets. All bikes have flat pedals, but clip-in-pedals can be fitted on arrival, if you’d like to bring your own. You are also welcome to bring your own saddle, if you prefer.

We also have electric bikes available on request, should you wish. Please note, on our electric bikes in Portugal it is not possible to fit panniers or a water bottle holder, and so we’d recommend bringing a rucksack to store daily essentials.

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