Day 1 Arrival – Welcome at Lisbon or Faro Airports.
Transfer provided (4 hrs or 1 hr respectively) to Vila Real de Santo António. Vila Real is an interesting (and not touristy) old town on the banks of the Guadiana River which forms the border between Spain and Portugal.
Day 2 Vila Real de Santo António to Tavira (39km,+300m, 40% off road)
A gentle ride along the Ecovia do Litoral to Tavira, passing through the coastal resorts of Monte Gordo and Altura as well the interesting old coastal town of Cacela Velha. Through the Sapal area is a huge variety of birds. At Tavira cross a Roman bridge over the Gilão River. Overnight at Tavira, the most beautiful and typical town of Algarve.
Day 3 Tavira to Marco – (37km, +500m, 15% off road).
Flat riding along the “Ria” with amazing views! Leave the coastal region to enter typical rural inland Algarve. Pass small villages and bike along old roads and rural paths, crossing a vast area of orange trees. The smell is wonderful! You will pass close to “Pego do Inferno” where you can admire the most beautiful waterfall in the Algarve. The landscape changes to Mediterranean vegetation as the way becomes hilly.
Day 4 Marco to Alte – (52km, +1000m, 25% off road)
This is a more challenging day in the rolling hills close to the Algarve Mountains, with tremendous scenery, small villages and riding close to streams in valleys with a luxuriant Mediterranean forest. Reach the lovely hillside village of Alte, famous for its white painted houses and fresh water springs which adds a certain unique charm, to the village.
Day 5 Alte to Silves (39km, +400m, 25% off road)
Another day of cycling inland with great views all the way. Ride ancient and narrow roads through a landscape of carob and fig trees and into a large valley of cork-oak trees. Highlight of the day is a lovely ride skirting the Arade Dam that gently cruises down the valley to the historic town of Silves. Plan to arrive here in good time to explore the castle and the Moorish town.
Day 6 Silves to Lagos – (43km, +400m, 15% off road).
Leave Silves following the valley of the Odelouca River to the typical village of Odiaxere. Return to the sea and the beach at Meia Praia. Cross the Bensafrim River to reach the city of Lagos, one of the oldest towns in the Algarve with over 2,000 years of history. Parts of the crumbling wall from the 16th century still exists that protected the town from pirates, the marauding Arabs, Spanish and British fleets. Lagos is also an historic centre of the Portuguese Age of Discoveries, frequent home of Henry the Navigator, historical shipyard and, at one time, centre of the European slave trade.
Day 7 Lagos to Sagres – (50km, +800m, 15% off road)
A challenging day cycling with a few hills. The terrain changes as you approach the rugged coastline around Sagres and Cape St Vincent. Along the trails bordering the coast line to Ponta da Piedade, are fantastic views of cliffs, caves and rocks with an amazing mixture of colours. Pass through quaint little coastal villages to arrive at the edge of Europe, Cape St Vincent, the south-western most point of Continental Europe.
Arrangements end after breakfast with a transfer to Faro or Lisbon Airports (1.5 hrs and 3.5 hrs respectively)
Easy to moderate – mostly flat with a low hilly region and some valleys with short ascents. 70% of the biking is on roads and the other 30% on smooth trails. Average daily distance – 43 km
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Explore the rugged cliff lined Portuguese coastline, with its hidden coves, curiously- shaped rocks and amazing colours known as the Algarve. Starting from the Spanish border, cycle along the sea in the Natural Park of Ria Formosa, a lagoon system that extends 60 km, then turn inland into rural Algarve. Bike along old roads past typical villages and beautiful cork-oak forests in the hills of the Algarve. Discover the lovely Moorish town of Silves and its castle; Tavira, the most authentic Algarve town; and Lagos, an historic centre of the Portuguese Age of Discoveries. Take time to enjoy the beaches of fine gold sand, wonderful seafood and picturesque white-washed villages.