Cycle Touring in Portugal


Cycle Touring in Portugal
A relatively small country in the extreme south-west of Europe, Portugal is off the beaten track and often overlooked by cyclists. However this very much stands in Portugal's favour. With a population of just over 10 million there are plenty of open spaces and get-away-from-it all places - with some exceptions. During the summer, the Algarve in particular, sees a big influx of tourists and the large cities of Lisbon and Porto have many of the usual big city cycling issues.
 
Portugal has quite a varied landscape with the terrain ranging from plains in the south and along parts of the Atlantic Coast, to rocky shores, beaches and mountains.
 

The Algarve - the southern coast

This region is undoubtedly best known to tourists and contains some stunning scenery and amazing beaches. However this popularity means that much of the Algarve isn't suitable for bikes due to the high traffic that comes with mass development. Fortunately away from the coastal strip, and especially in the western Algarve, life is much more peaceful with traditional country towns and quiet lanes and roads.
 
As well as being extremely busy summer in the Algarve is very hot with temperatures regularly over 30oC. Out of season is therefore the best time for cycling - even winter.
 
  Portugal regions map

The Alentejo

The large province to the north of the Algarve is the Alentejo, which consists mainly of rolling plains and is the bread basket of Portugal. Cheese, sausages, smoked ham and of course wine make the Alentejo justifiably world famous as an attraction.
 
Summers are hot and winters mild but wet. Although gentle hills predominate, the Alentejo stretches from the Atlantic Ocean to the high country in the west along the Spanish border. Some of the worlds largest cork forests are found here along with historic villages and towns such as the regional capital, UNESCO listed Évora with it's magnificent Roman remains. Évora is also somewhat of a cycling crossroads with the Algarve to the south, Lisbon to the west and mountain trails to the east and north.
 

Lisbon and the Central Coast

Portugal's capital is not the most bicycle friendly city, certainly in comparison with (often) bike loving Europe. However it is full of history and culture and is a wonderful place to experience Portuguese life. Our advice is to use a good guide to show you around the best bike routes.
 
Close by are the easily accessible natural parks of Sintra (north-west) and Arrábida (south) which offer a great alternative to cycling in the city - particularly for mountain biking.  The central coast of Estremadura has cliffs and beaches on the wild Atlantic coast and, together with inland Ribatejo, has some great riding but is more limited than southern or northern Portugal.
 

The Mid-north and Estrela Mountains

North of the Tagus River are the mountainous Beira provinces with a rocky coastline, upland plains and craggy peaks leading to the Serra da Estrela along the Spanish border. It is this range of mountains that offers the best cycling of the region. A string of medieval castles, fortresses, churches and towns in relatively quiet areas, along with stunning and remote landscapes, make the area very popular with cyclists. Springtime is a great time to visit with purple heather in full bloom soon after the winter snows have cleared. The traditional and restored schist villages are unique to the region and the Skyroad Granfondo is quickly becoming one of the best ways to see this country.
 
Prehistoric rock art and cave paintings are also found extending the historic credentials of Upper and Lower Beira from Palaeolithic times, through to the Romans, Visigoths and Moors, and on to modern Portugal following several decades of dictatorship.
 

Northern Portugal - the Douro Valley and Minho region

The gateway to the north is Porto, probably best known as the home of Port wine and the second city of Portugal. The historic centre is UNESCO listed and the city is an amazing blend of styles and cultures from more than 2,000 years of settlement. Like Lisbon it is not particularly bike friendly but a good guide can show you an awesome tour of the city.
 
Porto sits at the mouth of the Douro River that extends into Spain. The valley contains some of the top wineries in the country - undoubtedly a major factor in making this region the most popular for bike tours! Olive and orange trees line the valley with untouched landscapes making for some spectacular cycling. In fact the whole Alto Douro region is on the UNESCO heritage list.
 
The north-east corner of Portugal is the Minho region which is often considered a microcosm of the whole country having a bit of everything. The Costa Verde (green coast) has some great easy riding but the rest of the region is quite hilly and full of history and culture as the birthplace of Portugal. Magnificent mountains, ancient archaeological sites, wonderful vineyards (Vinho Verde anyone?) and remote villages make this a great area to tour.
 

Madeira and the Azores

These Atlantic outposts offer surprisingly good cycling opportunities and have fantastic climates making them suitable all year round - although July and August can be very hot. Madeira is the top of an undersea volcano and is very rocky and hilly so is most suitable for climbing and training rides although easier options are available.
 
North-west of Madeira are the Azores, also volcanic but much more suitable for cycling. It is an excellent destination for nature lovers and water sports enthusiasts - and with nine islands island-hopping is a great option.
 
Check out below, some of the awesome cycle tours available from dozens of operators.
For more information on cycle touring in Portugal I recommend pedalportugal.com.

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283 Result(s) found

Portugal Natural Algarve Bike Trip

0 Reviews
7 Day(s)
Easy
Guided

Portugal Bike Tours are warm weather, beautiful blue skies, amazing scenery and quiet cycling roads waiting to be explored. Our Natural Algarve bike trip allows you to experience life at a slower more relaxed pace and immerse yourself in the authe ...

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Othello stage 2 - Spain and Portugal

0 Reviews
21 Day(s)
Mod/Advanced
1511 Km
Guided

We ride the Sierra Nevada - visiting Las Alpujarras - the white washed villages which dot the lower southern slopes before taking on (optional of course!) the Pico Veleta - Europe’s highest road! After hitting the hills we roll to Granada an ...

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Othello - Marrakesh to Porto

0 Reviews
34 Day(s)
Mod/Advanced
2449 Km
Guided

True adventure! Pedalling the epic Atlas Mountains, exploring the colours of the Moroccan souks (markets) in Marrakesh and Fes and rolling into UNESCO listed historic walled towns such as Aït Benhaddou (header image - imagine arriving by bike ...

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Womens Cycling Training Camps Portugal

0 Reviews
7 Day(s)
Moderate
450 Km
avg 75 Km
Guided

Challenge yourself with a quality week of cycling training at the perfect pace.  Between October to May the varied terrain and fantastic weather make this Europe’s secret cycling destination for anyone looking for uninterrupted superb c ...

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Women Only Bike Trips Portugal

0 Reviews
7 Day(s)
Moderate
400 Km
avg 67 Km
Guided

Women can ride with all the experience and knowledge of men! Well, the women at Practice Bicycle believe this to be the case. Share and enjoy this experience for yourself with your next ladies cycling adventure on our Portugal Women bike trips.
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Algarve Cycling Training Camp

0 Reviews
7 Day(s)
Mod/Advanced
Guided

With its excellent weather conditions and a network of varied, traffic-free roads, the Algarve in Portugal is the ideal destination for training and quality rides over the winter / spring.  With a menu of Endurance rides and climbing routes a ...

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Algarve Cycling Day Tours Portugal

0 Reviews
1 Day(s)
Easy/Moderate
Guided

Are you an experienced cyclist looking for quality riding in perfect temperatures this winter? Are you the adventurous holiday maker who would love to jump on a bike and see a little bit more of the ‘Alluring Algarve’ without getting l ...

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2021 Volta ao Algarve Bike Race Tour

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6 Day(s)
Mod/Advanced
Guided

This superb race in the sun the Volta ao Algarve as become an important early season race for the best professional cyclists in the world. Visiting Portugal with quality race viewing and spectacular race routes make it an event not to be missed.  ...

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Amazing Alentejo. Ride Across Portugal.

0 Reviews
7 Day(s)
Moderate
258 Km
avg 52 Km
Guided

Bike Portugal’s many quiet routes in the Alentejo region as well as the cosmopolitan vibe of Lisbon. Pamper yourself in the most special collection of hotels, both luxurious and historic and with daily cycle routes designed to treat you too. ...

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Porto to Lisbon - Picturesque rides from traditional Porto to romantic Lisbon

0 Reviews
8 Day(s)
Moderate
Self-guided

Start with Porto, one of Europe’s most beautiful cities and a Unesco World Heritage Property. Learn about Port Wine, the beverage and the associated culinary experience. Enjoy the refreshing scent of the pines and the eucalyptus trees under ...

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Porto to Coimbra - Culture, World Heritage and fishing villages

0 Reviews
7 Day(s)
Easy
Self-guided

Start your tour where Portugal has its own name born, Porto, classified as Unesco World Heritage Property. Learn about Port Wine, the beverage and the associated culinary dimension of its own. Taste, smell, meet and bask in the sun as you cycle ge ...

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Minho and Porto - Verdant Portugal: from the mountains to the sea

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8 Day(s)
Moderate
Self-guided

Starting high in the mountains area, you will literally cycle down to the Atlantic Ocean stretching before you as far as you can see. This land is also blessed by the Minho, Lima and Douro rivers, each of which will accompany you at one stage or a ...

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Douro Valley - Wine, nature and traditions in a World Heritage region

0 Reviews
7 Day(s)
Easy
Self-guided

The bicycle tour begins at the easternmost end of the Douro River in the majestic gorge with its more than 200 metres-high cliffs that serve as the border between Portugal and Spain.  Cycle across the highland plateau through the Internationa ...

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Camino de Santiago - Pilgrim's way from Porto to Santiago de Compostela

0 Reviews
8 Day(s)
Mod/Advanced
360 Km
avg 60 Km
Self-guided

Possibly because you are so aware that this has been a pilgrim’s route for centuries. So many have travelled along these tracks, spurred by a great devotion. It is a route that impresses all who follow it with it challenges, delights, and li ...

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Atlantic Coast- Along golden sandy beaches and fishing villages

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8 Day(s)
Easy
Self-guided

A boost to both body and mind. As you cycle southwards from the Galician coastal region in the north, the beauty of continuously changing views over the vast Atlantic will impress itself on your mind and soul. Taste both Galician and Portuguese se ...

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Jewels and Treasures along the Silver Coast

0 Reviews
7 Day(s)
Easy
221 Km
avg 44 Km
Self-guided

This week-long bike tour on Portugal’s west coast weaves a tale of two cities -- and all the seaside villages, natural landscapes, and cultural heritage in between!

The itinerary starts in Porto, a vibrant urban ...

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Lisbon and its Coast

0 Reviews
6 Day(s)
Moderate
273 Km
avg 68 Km
Self-guided

No visit to Lisbon can really be complete without a tour of its coast as well, and this bike trip combines both in a 5-day exploration through pretty towns and seaside villages, lovely open countryside, and stunning stretches of cliffs a ...

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Wine and Gastronomy along the Douro Valley

0 Reviews
7 Day(s)
Moderate
211 Km
avg 42 Km
Self-guided

Situated just 100 kilometers (62 miles) west to the city of Porto, Portugal’s Douro Valley is most famous for its venerable wine-making tradition and production of sweet Port wines. And while the rivers in the region do not qu ...

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Douro Bike Tour

0 Reviews
7 Day(s)
Mod/Advanced
211 Km
avg 53 Km
Guided

Bike tour along the valley of the Douro River in northern Portugal, sampling Vintage Ports, fine wines, peppery olive oils and spectacular scenery. So spectacular, in fact, that the whole valley was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site. This elegant ...

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Alentejo Bike Tour

0 Reviews
8 Day(s)
Easy/Moderate
291 Km
avg 58 Km
Guided

Our Alentejo bike tour has you cycling past castles under dazzling blue skies, rolling through fields of wildflowers, olive and cork trees. This delightful bike tour celebrates the Alentejo wine region, an area of Portugal that many consider to be th ...

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