Lisbon to World’s End
From Lisbon, one of the oldest cities in Europe, to World’s End - the very tip of Portugal - enjoy an Atlantic Coast cycle tour that’s simply packed with superlative experiences. For scenic cycling and spectacular wildlife-watching, Portugal’s south-west coast is up there amongst the finest thanks to Alentejo’s outstanding Arrábida natural park and first class vineyards; the rocky Vicentina Coast natural park, and Sagres peninsular - home to sunset heaven, Cabo São Vicente. Take in the flavours of Lisbon’s Golden Age. Sample tasty ‘Pasteis de Belém’, by the mighty Jérónimus Monastery. Pedal riverside, coastal and hinterland paths through rocky landscapes with rich rewards around almost every turn. Buff up your binoculars and prepare to spot rare nesting white storks, sea eagles and marine otters; bottlenose dolphins and lizards as well as everything including Moorish castles and megaliths. From stylish Costa Caprica to the wild cork oak country around historic Setúbal and beyond to Aljezur and the Algarve’s tip, the terrain makes this one of our more challenging cycle tours, but we’ve designed things so that it’s the wildlife and panoramas rather than the pedalling which take your breath away. It’s so worth it – enjoy! Read More
Bed & Breakfast
10 Days, 9 Nights
Jan - Nov
Grade 3 (Moderate)
Superb scenic cycling that’s full of discoveries from the vibrant Golden Age city of Lisbon with its Moorish Alfama district, wide plazas and attractive hill-climbing trams to the wildest sandy coves and rocky cliffs of the Sagres peninsular. For the best views and flora, fauna and wildlife encounters, this is a cycle tour that heads up rocky hill and down lush valleys, that leaves tarmacked paths at times for wilder tracks through the Sado region, Arrábida hills, Alentejo vineyards and Vicentina cliff coast. To keep things on the gentler side, we have included overnights in Sesimbra and Sant André to help you along the more rugged parts of the route. Our PLS8 tour covers the same route in fewer overnights and is suited to more experienced cyclists with good levels of fitness who like to crank things up a bit!
Day 1 Arrive & explore
Arrive in Lisbon and its only natural to take to the top of one of its seven hills to get a proper glimpse of this, one of the world’s oldest towns. Head up through the Moorish Alfama district -the old wooden trams here will oblige! – to Castel São Jorge perhaps for fine views and a good introduction to the city’s history through its permanent exhibition. If you’re more of an Eifel Tower type, then the 1902 Carma lift at the end of Rua de Santa Justa could deliver the views you’re looking for. Monumental must-sees include the Padrão dos Descobrimento, celebrating Portugal’s great explorers of the Golden Age, the Christo Rei (just think Rio on a smaller scale), impressive nobles on horseback (Praça da Figueira) and newest of all, the Vasco da Gama bridge, officially the longest in Europe. In the evening relax in the bar-filled cobbled lanes of the Bairro Alto or wander like a ‘Lisboeta’ local along the banks of the Tejo (Tagus) river.
Day 2 Monasteries & Moor
The vibrant area of Lisbon along the Tejo is a great place to start the day’s cycling. The riverside Parque das Nações and the capital’s most iconic square – Praça do Commércio – museums, cafés, monuments and all sorts line up along the way to Lisbon’s mighty monastic attraction at Belém. Built on the wealth of the Golden Age of Portuguese exploration, the Jérónimus Monastery with its cloister courtyard garden is lavish and made to impress. As with so much of the architecture along Portugal’s southwest coast, the adjacent jettying Tower of Belém seems both Moorish and medieval at the same time. There’s a ferry to catch across the Rio Tejo for fantastic Lisbon views en-route to Trafaria and the Costa da Caparica coast, but first be sure to take a café break to enjoy a famous local sweet delicacy in situ – the Pasteis de Belém, a delicious egg custard tart.
Overnight in the resort of Costa da Caparica.
Miles 13 Kms 21
Day 3 Where the ‘Lisboetas’ go…
The Costa Caparica at the mouth of the Tejo is, as its name suggests, a highly prized coast. No surprise then that it’s popular with the inhabitants of Lisbon, for relaxing on its beaches, enjoying the Atlantic coast surfing or getting down to some serious seafood suppers. Backed with pine forests and characterful beach shacks, it’s a refreshing change from city life and nature is never far away with the Serra da Arrábida Natural Park right on its doorstep. Beautiful beaches and stunning vistas are the order of the day, but the coast has a history of fossil finds too with the wild exposed headland of Cabo Espichel being home to two sets of dinosaur footprints as well as a unique church and lighthouse. The Arrábida hills are popular with the locals for hiking, renowned for their own special micro-climate that is more akin to the ‘maquis’ scrublands of the Dalmatian Coast. As well as lush vegetation, wildlife abounds including many types of reptiles, amphibians and unusual birds. Your route leads to the lovely small scale resort of Semimbra Bay, where there are classic views of the red rocky cliffs from the battlements of Castelo de Sesimbra and plenty of ‘marisqueira’ restaurants to choose from.
Overnight in Sesimbra.
Miles 25 Kms 40
Day 4 What a corker!
Time to explore more of the Arrábida Natural Park on the north shore of the Sado River and engage with the Arrábida hills. Here, it’s the vegetation – including impressive cork oaks – and views which really steal the show, so expect glimpses of blue ocean offset by the bright lush greens. You’ll want to explore the amazing beaches of Portinho da Arrábida and Figueirinha before you finally pedal to the thriving port of Setúbal on the ‘Stork estuary’ of the Sado River, home to one of the most prestigious fishmarkets in the world.
Overnight in Setúbal.
Miles 18 Kms 29
Day 5 Bottlenoses & beaches
Few ferry boat trips are quite like the one you’ll experience today – as you set out across the Sado Estuary Natural Reserve to admire the flocks of storks (spring/ summer), you may be accompanied by the resident population of bottlenose dolphins. As well as rice fields, the estuary is home to over 250 species of birds, so be sure to have those binoculars in the panniers. Landing on the Troia peninsular, it’s soon time to coast along a while as the landscape relaxes into the gentle plains of the Alentejo – a land of white-washed villages and robust castles, home to crystal waters and officially some of Portugal’s very best beaches. Fishing has historically been a key industry in the area, so don’t miss a chance detour to see the charming old wooden fishing wharves at Carrasqueira. The affluent ‘planned’ city of Santo André (Santiago do Cacém) is your final destination for the day.
Overnight in Santo André.
Miles 34 Kms 55
Day 6 From Santo André to Sines – ancient & modern
If you like history and good food, you’ll love the wide range of en-route offerings which you’ll find in Alentejo, that ‘land beyond the Tagus’. So what to explore today? Visigoth churches, Roman remains, prehistoric engravings and mighty megaliths perhaps? Or what about a taste of sheep’s cheese, black pork, salt cod, asparagus, wild mushrooms – or those delicious Alentejo wines owed to the industry of 16th century Jesuits . After a great day nibbling at all sorts of local attractions, the old fishing town of Sines – birthplace of the great explorer Vasco da Gama – has to be an appropriate catch as a place to stay. You’ll find the great man’s statue standing proudly by the walls of his castle.
Overnight in Sines.
Miles 13 Kms 21
Day 7 A coastline like no other …
Time to cycle and start to explore the Southwest and Costa Vicentina Natural Park which reaches all the way down into the Algarve and has a reputation as the finest preserved stretch of coastline in Europe. With its fantastic flora and fauna, the park’s a real hit with botanists and zoologists – a landscape marked by steep cliffs, plenty of surf and rocky coves – so be prepared for amazing Atlantic Ocean views, beautiful beaches and delightful fishing harbours. This is one of the last places in Europe where otters exist in a marine habitat and the only place in the world where white storks build their nests on seashore outcrops. Impressed? Don’t forget to keep your eyes peeled for the rare eagles too! Vila Nova de Mil Fontes is your overnight destination, but even that can have an extra treat to end the day – the sunset at Portinho do Canal.
Overnight Vila Nova de Mil Fontes.
Miles 26 Kms 41
Day 8 Arriving in the Algarve
A second day of exploration in the Costa Vicentina Natural Park, revealing more fascinating species, awesome vistas and lofty cliffs topped with sandy dune systems and unique flora around the Ribeira de Aljezur estuary and Amoreira beach. Again, the secluded coves and Atlantic views are a feast for the eyes, but culinary feasts and real food for thought await at the historic coastal village of Aljezur. Renowned for its sweet potato festival, local restaurants offer plenty of hearty fare here, but sea bream, gilthead bream and sea bass feature prominently on the menu. Founded by the Moors in the 10th century, the town spreads across the hillside, dominated by its massive twin-towered castle. Climbing the walls to look back at the hills you have conquered on your travels is a great feeling. Don’t miss the superb collection of museums and churches featuring some very fine sacred art around the town though too.
Miles 44 Kms 71
Day 9 And finally… journey to the end of the world
Pedal out from Aljezur, down the Costa Vicentina to the area perhaps most associated with the Portuguese prince behind Europe’s golden age of exploration into Africa, Asia and the Americas – Henry the Navigator. Historically the rocky outcrops of Cabo São Vicente (Cape St Vincent) with their 100m high cliffs were the European landmark which signified home for those determined explorers returning, ships fully laden with treasures procured on those earliest voyages of discovery. Today, like so much of the Costa Vicentina, it’s an unrivalled haven for sea- and shore-birds as well as birds of prey. Be sure to visit the site of Henry’s original church site at ‘the Cape’ and admire the lighthouse provided by a local bishop to help the safe passage of local fishermen. The fortified port of Sagres is your last stop – but an evening trip back to the Cape to catch a sunset which sets the world on fire has to be a magically natural finale to such an awesome superlative cycle ride.
Overnight in Sagres.
Miles 21-42 Kms 34-68
Day 10 Depart after breakfast
Depart after breakfast following your final night in Sagres.
Extra nights can be booked in Lisbon and Sagres on a bed and breakfast basis after the tour to allow more time to enjoy the sunshine coast and its beautiful beaches. Alternatively, why not continue east, hugging the Algarve coast all the way to the Spanish border? For details, see our cycle tour PLSV8 .
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 (9 dinners). If upgraded room is booked, this will normally have a seaview or overlook the garden
Luggage transfer between hotels
Taxi transfers Lisbon airport to hotel & Sagres to Faro 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 people)
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 Lisbon, Costa da Caprica, Sesimbra, Sines, Santo André, Aljezur and Sagres; 3 star hotels in Setubal and Vila Nova de Mil Fontes.
Half board option available.
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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