Algarve Coast of Treasures
Discover a world of pirate coves and peregrines, pink flamingos and mighty fortresses on a pedal east from the land of Europe’s most prized sunset, via jewels in the Algarve crown, Tavira and Cacela Velha, to the ancient castle country of Castro Marim near the Spanish border. Set out on the Algarve’s ‘Ecovia do Litoral’ coast path for a cycling adventure by golden sandy stretches and crystal lagoon waters, laden with Baroque city gems and daring castle defences, chic marinas and colourful fishing harbours. Seven precious, bird-filled natural parks line up for exploration along the gentle route, including the rocky Sagres peninsular, Vilamoura’s reedbeds, the famous Ria Formosa estuary and the saltmarshes of Vila Real de Santo António, so be sure to pop the binoculars in the panniers. Who knows, you may even spot a whale or dolphin off the tourist resort of Albufeira on this treasure-rich coast. Read More
Bed & Breakfast
8 Days, 7 Nights
Jan - Nov
Grade 2 (Easy)
Cycling is the natural way to explore the Algarve’s wonderful collection of wildlife habitats and enjoy its impressive array of coast and castle vistas. This gentle Algarve cycling adventure reveals the hidden Algarve and mostly gives its commercialised holiday hotspots a nice wide berth. You’ll find a few hilly encounters along the way, but nothing too dramatic and, thanks to the route direction, you’ll experience them at gentler gradients and with the prevailing wind to your back. The majority of the tour enjoys flat terrain mainly along the ‘Ecovia do Litoral’ path, mixing tarmacked beachside proms with rural tracks and urban lanes. A scenic journey taking in rocky headlands and sunset heaven, Cape St Vincent, via stylish resorts and historic Tavira, heaths and coastal pine forests, around estuaries and lagoons towards the salt pans, windmills, ancient lands and impressive panoramas at Castro Marim and Vila Real de Santo António where there is an opportunity to take the ferry across the Guardiana River estuary to Spain.
Day 1 Arrive & explore
Arrive in Portugal. On this tour, a transfer from Faro airport to your first hotel in Sagres is included in the package price. Please see ‘detailed pricing / dates’ and ‘what’s included in the price’ for full details. When you arrive in Sagres, you’re almost the end of the world on the tip of Portugal and home to the great 15th century fortress built by Portuguese prince Henry the Navigator, the prince credited with starting Europe’s golden age of exploration into Africa, Asia and the Americas. Take a stroll down to the lower fishing port and remains of Baleeira Fort, attacked by English ‘pirate’ Sir Francis Drake in 1587, or maybe even take an evening trip out to catch the iconic sunset at Cabo São Vicente (Cape St Vincent).
Overnight in Sagres.
Day 2 Beacons of the past & a birdwatcher’s paradise
Take to two wheels to head west a while along the Costa do Vicentina to the historic rocky outcrops of Cabo São Vicente (Cape St Vincent). Its 100m high cliffs were the European landmark for explorers returning from those earliest voyages of discovery and are an unrivalled haven for migrating birds. Visit the church built on the foundations of Henry the Navigator’s original church site and admire the Atlantic Ocean views around the iconic lighthouse, before heading northwards inland to Vila do Bispo and the beautiful Chapel of São António at Raposeira. Finally it’s time to head east and drop back for some serious coast-hugging as you cycle from village to village to the bustling resort of Lagos, once the historic hub of Prince Henry’s great Golden Age.
Overnight is in Lagos.
Miles 31 Kms 50
Day 3 Around the Ria de Alvor to Portimão
Rivers, streams and more rivers – just look at a map, the Algarve coast is riddled with waterways like one enormous delta. Time to leave the coast briefly today then, to discover the charming villages and ‘inland’ fishing ports around the Ribeira de Odiáxero as you skirt the Ria de Alvor. You’ll soon be back to the Atlantic breezes and white sands at Praia da Rocha before another turn inland up the Arade River basin to the Algarve’s second largest city, Portimão. Head down to admire the cliff coast from the old town and castle Santa Catarina sitting high above the coast road.
Overnight in Portimão.
Miles 19 Kms 31
Day 4 Lagoons & lush Algarve pastures
Leave the harbours full of bobbing boats today for the fertile fields and rich pastures which edge local lagoons at Lagoa and Salgados, the salt-water stretch and eminent natural park where and you’re sure to still see some fishing going on, if only from the herons. There are great viewpoints at Siera da Rocha and Armação de Péra, but the dabbling avocets backed by a landscape which combines everything from dunes, reeds, rushes, to verdant meadows simply steal the show. Finally leave your feathered friends and the Ecovia behind as you roost up back on the coast at popular Algarve resort town Albufeira with its busy marina.
Overnight in Albufeira.
Miles 28 Kms 46
Day 5 A fishy & fruity little Algarve number
Push your pedals right close to the coast and get a taste too for the Mediterranean orchards of this wonderful fertile area. Around Vilamoura, the reed beds and artificial lagoons are another nature reserve, home to purple heron, little bittern and marsh harriers, but you’re sure to find plenty of other local characters in the fish, fruit and vegetable market at nearby Quarteira. Figs, almonds, carob, beans and citrus fruits are just as likely to be on the menu as that famous Algarve fish stew – Calderiada – if you can resist the barbecued skewers of fish and fruits of the fields specials of course. At Quartiera, you’ll cycle right beside the beach a while before weaving around a resort or two to reach the Algarve’s biggest fish – its capital city, Faro.
Miles 30 Kms 49
Day 6 Ferry nice indeed – Barrier islands & the Ria Formosa natural park
Bustling capital Faro and nearby Olhão on the Ria Formosa estuary are magically edged by a continuous scoop of islands, home to some stunning beaches and unusual coastal vistas. Fancy taking the ferry to explore Ihla do Farol or Ihla da Armona a while? Or maybe just head out via Olhão port to the fishing village of Fuzeta and the resort of Pedras D’el Rei where a mini train shuttles sun-worshippers to Barril Beach. Portugal’s third largest wetland area stretches from Olhão all the way to Santa Luzia and beyond the historic town of Tavira – a land of marshes, salt flats, dunes, channels, mudbanks and pools, and an impressive haven for thousands of waterfowl throughout the year. Why not take a boat trip and enjoy an even closer look?
Miles 26 Kms 42
Day 7 Tavira, tunafish, fortresses & flamingos
With elegant mansions, its classic Roman bridge and thirty-two churches, Tavira is full of historic interest and style. Like many castles along the coast, its fortifications were intended to protect the local fleets and along this eastern Algarve area, the tuna fishermen in particular. Pedal out today to explore some of the Algarve’s most ancient lands, a region marked by Phoenician, Roman, Greek and Carthaginian settlers, stopping off at hugely historic Cacela Velha, Manta Rota Beach before exploring the maritime pine forests around Monte Gordo and the Sapal natural park with its impressive saltpans around Vila Real de Santo António and Castro Marim. From Santo António, there’s an option to return to Tavira by train to enjoy a little more time in the area rather than head back by bike. So why not let the train take the strain use your energy to climb Castro Marim’s castle walls, or maybe stop for that photo opportunity by its windmill? Perhaps those extra moments could be spent with your binoculars by the flamingos and spoonbills? Or why not take the ferry across the Guardiana River after all to enjoy that must-have encounter with Spain?
Overnight in Tavira.
Miles 21-42 Kms 34-68
Day 8 Depart after breakfast
Depart after breakfast following your final night in Tavira or go for one last stroll along the Rio Gilão and Roman Bridge perhaps?
Extra nights can be booked in Tavira on a bed and breakfast basis after the tour to allow more time to enjoy the sunshine coast and its beautiful beaches.
Dates & PricesDownload Prices
For tour start days/dates, seasons and all prices, please click on the PRICES button above
Ensuite accommodation as described with buffet/continental breakfast (prices based on two adults sharing). If half-board is booked, dinner each night (7 dinners). If upgraded room is booked, this will normally have a seaview or overlook the courtyard garden
Luggage transfer between hotels
Taxi transfers from Faro airport or station to Sagres and Tavira to the airport or station at holiday end
Hire of hybrid bicycle and ancillary equipment single pannier (pump, basic tools, spare inner tube & puncture repair equipment shared between 2) & water bottle
Local assistance on call (although puncture repair is excluded)
Information pack with detailed joining instructions and daily route overviews sent out approximately 2 weeks before departure so you can plan ahead and look forward to your cycling adventure
Detailed route notes and maps with marked routes provided on arrival, 1 per room
GPS and odometer (1 per party, extra units can be hired at additional cost)
Please note that the price EXCLUDES
Costs of getting to and from the tour area
Selected 4 star hotels in Sagres, Lagos, Portimao, Albufeira, Faro and Tavira (2 nights).
We are pleased to discuss details on request.
Useful websites, travel information and tips to help you plan your journey to and from the country and location of your holiday.
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