Algarve - 7 night Independent or Guided tour

Main destination Portugal · About Adventure

Algarve - 7 night Independent or Guided tour

Main destination Portugal · about Adventure

We start this medium level cycling tour in a rugged area of the Southwest Alentejo and Costa Vicentina National Park, on the west coast. Then, we cycle along the popular south coast into the true Algarve, including very picturesque spots closer to the Spanish border!

Our days have lots of variety with visits to places such as the Fisherman’s museum, the cape of Sagres and several fortresses. The Portuguese Sea Discoveries of the 15th century are always present.Besides cycling and enjoying the amazing scenery, we invite you also to learn about the local economy. A visit to an organic farm where fruit in grown and transformed in jams, chutneys, cakes and chocolates is one of the learning highlights. The salines visit another one and, to a sweet end, a visit to a pastry factory where you will have the chance to make some cakes and taste (cooking on guided tours only)!

The beaches are beautiful, wth crystal blue waters and impressive steep cliffs in the background. You will find out that even in the touristy Algarve areas there are still hidden empty beaches.

The hotels are all nice and with a swimming pool (except for the first one). There are a couple of Pousadas included and a old hamlet, transformed in to one of a kind hamlet/hotel tourism project.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Algarve’s picturesque and lively historical centers
  • Cycling through incredible and wild scenery on the coast of the Southwest Alentejo and Costa Vicentina NP
  • Backwaters and salt mines of Ria Formosa
  • Visit to organic farm and to a local pastry factory
  • Tasty picnics served at the beach or at local restaurants
  • Very nice hotels, including a night in a convent

Day To Day Itinerary

1st day – Arrival

Arrival at Faro or Lisbon airport and transfer to Odeceixe.
If you arrive early we suggest a visit to the historic centre of Faro before the transfer to Odeceixe (if you flew to Faro).
Arrival to Odeceixe in time for a beer at the little square, and maybe to visit the windmill.
Also possible to use your bike to ride to the beach, classified as one of the seven wonder beaches of Portugal.
Dinner included in van guided and guided tours only,
Accommodation at nice guesthouse in village centre.

2nd day – The Wild Beaches

Cycling from Odeceixe to Aljezur.
Cycle along the river until the gorgeous beach of Odeceixe.
Enjoy the stunning views and the rock formations near the beach.
Then we go through farmland with some green cornfields that contrast with the yellow grass in the warm seasons and reach another wild beach.
A nice café will be a perfect place for a stop, enjoying a cool drink and a light lunch while watching the surf schools in action.
Have a swim and then cycle to the village of Aljezur, one of the last ones to be conquered to the moors.
The local artist shop and gallery deserve a visit, as well as the local museums.
If you want to do some extra kms, it is possible to ride to another beach or along a beautiful farmland valley.

Base kms: 32
Total ascent: 350 mts
Level: easy
Terrain: Secondary roads with no traffic at all. Some dirt tracks. One more adventurous descent where some people may prefer to walk, but very short and easy to walk (300m).

Optional extra kms: 4 + 20 (to ride to the extra beach)

Lunch and dinner included in van guided and guided tours only

Accommodation: Vicentina Aparthotel, 4*, with swimming pool

3rd day – From Impressive Cliffs to Charming Valleys

Cycling from Aljezur to Pedralva.

Start by conquering the Castle of Aljezur, enjoying the beautiful views over the village and its neat and tidy vegetable gardens.
Then cycle to the coast again, visiting a fortress with stunning views over the cliffs. The perfect defence setting!
From here we can see the “needle rock”, an imposing rock standing in the middle of the ocean.
We go inland again and start our dirt track adventure. First between eucalyptus, later between the wild endemic bushes and finally along a gorgeous little lake and along a valley. Completely wild, surprising and breathtaking.
Cycle to Bordeira, a lovely hamlet with a Manueline style church, and then ride along another enchanting valley until Carrapateira.
Here you will be stunned by the incredible views and rough coast line.
Cycle for a few kms along the cliffs. Take time to stop and enjoy. Picnic lunch will be served by one of these beaches (on guided tours only)
The fisherman’s museum is a visit not to be missed, with fantastic pictures of the man hanging from rocks to catch the famous local delicacy “percebes”. Learn about the lives of the people from the region that risk their lives to catch the best fish for your meal!
Riding along another green valley we reach tonight’s accommodation, a lovely hamlet where half of the houses were carefully recovered for tourism.

Base kms: 44
Total ascent: 650 mts
Level: medium
Terrain: Difficult start with some steep climbs, always on asphalt. Then dirt tracks, most of them flat or down. One technical descent (400m) where some people may prefer to walk.

Optional extra kms: 4 with 150 mts ascent

Picnic and dinner included in van guided and guided tours only

Accommodation: Aldeia da Pedralva, rural tourism, with swimming pool

4th day – Infant D. Henrique and the Sea Discoveries

Cycling from Pedralva to Sagres.

Leave Pedralva through a dirt road along the valley.
Pass just under some modern wind farms and reach the sanctuary of Guadalupe. Here learn about the interesting life of Infant D. Henrique, the sea discoveries prince.
After cycle through a couple of lovely villages to reach the wild coast again.
Have a swim at the beach and then cycle to the Cape of S. Vicente, the most SW point of Europe. From there on, only the sea discoveries and the adventures of the sea sailing!
Stop for a swim again at a fantastic beach surrounded by huge cliffs. We feel small!!!!
After visiting the Fortress of Sagres we continue to our very nice hotel with gorgeous views over the cliffs and the fortress.

Base kms: 41
Total ascent: 500 mts
Level: easy
Terrain: Good dirt tracks, mostly flat, with a couple of short climbs. Steep climb on asphalt to come back from the beach where we do our lunch (guided trip only).

Optional extra kms: 4

Picnic and dinner included in van guided and guided tours only

Accommodation: Charming “Pousada”, with swimming pool

5th day – Beach Roller Coaster!

Cycling from Sagres to Lagos.

Today the route goes along the south coastline, in and out to wild beaches.
Stop several times for swims and drinks. Enjoy!
The ocean here is warmer than in the west coast, the waters are more tranquil.
The cliffs change colour, from the black schist to the orange sandstone.
The villages are bigger, more touristic, with many cafés, restaurants and shopping opportunities.
We pass a couple of fortresses with fantastic views, and go up and down on narrow secondary roads.
The last kilometres will be on an amazing trek along the cliffs from where we can see beautiful rock islands in which erosion formed arches, caves and different shapes.
Lagos is a lively coastal city with charming architecture.
Visit the local museum, the beautiful church and enjoy the cosmopolitan atmosphere.

Base kms: 43
Total ascent: 720 mts
Level: medium but continuous!
Terrain: Start with flat dirt track with some rocks to challenge our senses. This is a real dirt track! Steep valley passage to be done walking by everyone. Steep down and steep up, too technical to ride. (but what a gorgeous views!!!). Then asphalt roller coaster, always steep up and down but always short. Maximum 80 meters each time. In the end optional flat cliff dirt track or asphalt.

Picnic included in van guided and guided tours only. Dinner not included.

Accommodation: Hotel Tivoli, 4*, with swimming pool

6th day – The Charming Villages

Cycling from Lagos to Tavira.

The day starts with a 9:30 am transfer from Lagos to Olhão. Arriving to your destination, unload the bikes and cycle to a little village famous for its pottery.

It’s a quiet and charming place.
Then cycle back to the coast and have a drink by the lagoon of the Natural Park of Ria Formosa.
Cycle along this lagoon and stop to enjoy the quietness and watch the bird life.
It’s usual to see fisherman catching clams and razors in low tide and boats arriving from a fishing day in high tide.
Tavira is probably the prettiest village of the Algarve. Its architecture is charming, the atmosphere relaxing. Save time to explore.
Here it’s a good place to buy some arts and crafts, at the local association.

Base kms: 30
Total Ascent: 220 mts
Level: easy
Terrain: Flat asphalt most of the way. Very few dirt tracks.

Picnic included in van guided and guided tours only. Dinner not included.

Accommodation: Charming “Pousada”, with swimming pool

7th day – The Local Economy

Cycling from Tavira to Vila Real de Santo António.

From Tavira we cycle along the Natural Park again, passing several beach and golf resorts that make the wonders of tourists and golfers.
Beaches here are busy and lively.
To reach then you either walk over a wood board over the river or take a little charming train or a local boat.
Between mainland and the beach there is always the lagoon.
Visit the charming Cacela-a-Velha and the views over the lagoon and then cycle inland to Castro Marim.
On the way we will visit a biological farm and learn about the fig and carob trees, and the local produces that are made from their fruits. In this farm the motto is “waste nothing”, and everything the trees give us is used.
After we visit the salines and learn about this local production.
It is time to cycle to our final destination, Vila Real de Santo António, where the second language is the Spanish! All restaurants have the menus in Spanish as this is the main tourism market.
After all, Spain it’s just across the river!
At arrival we have a last surprise!
We have the opportunity to visit a local pastry factory!
On guided groups, besides visiting, you will have the chance to make some pastries and, of course, taste them!!!!

Base kms: 37
Total Ascent: 250 mts
Level: easy
Terrain: Flat asphalt most of the way. Very few dirt tracks.

Optional extra kms: 13

Picnic and dinner included in van guided and guided tours only

Accommodation: Hotel Apolo, 3*, with swimming pool

8th day – Departure

Departure day. Transfer to Faro airport

RATING: Easy to Intermediate

Though the Algarve is mostly flat, there are several short ups and downs along the day, so you should be fit enough to handle the hills. Suitable to all cyclists with a reasonable level of fitness. Cycling is mostly on quiet back roads, with the occasional hard-pack bike path used.

AIRPORT / TRANSFERS

The nearest international airports are Lisbon and Faro. For those booking Self-guided tours, private transfers are available to/from your hotel from either airport. POA.

GUIDED v VAN-GUIDED v SELF-GUIDED

On Self guided tours you are expected to know how to fix small problems on your bike. You should be an independent traveler, used to reading maps, route instructions and manage your own time. You will bike at your rhythm and do “as you please”. From us you will get 24 hours support by phone, maps, route instructions and history notes. We will also give you suggestions of places to eat. The down sides will be not to have the support car to take you in case you get tired and not to have the company and expertise of our guides, which are like family to us and will be like family to you!

On Van guided tours the guide will be the driver. He/she will guide you from a distance. The car will be near enough so that you can see it on the junctions. The guide will stop at important or interesting places to give history explanations or tell a story. Some people call this a supported tour, though in our case it is more than that because you are actually being guided.

On Guided tours groups are accompanied by one or two cycling guides, besides a guide who takes the support car, prepares the picnics and transports your luggage. Lunches are picnic type with traditional foods from the area where we are cycling. Some times we also use local restaurants.

On van guided or guided cycling tours you can expect full service from your guides. They will do their best to make your holiday an unforgettable one.

Our guides are all Portuguese and know our region very well. They are very service minded and most of them have been working with us for many years. They are bikers themselves and love to go cycling on their holidays, so they know what you expect from them!


SELF GUIDED TOUR – SCHEDULE & PRICE

Departure Dates 2017: Daily departures possible all year.

Add $75 for departures other than a Saturday.

Deduct $350 if four or more in your party.

Price per personCAD$1650
Supplement from June 1st to July 14th$300
Supplement from September 1st to 15th$450
Single supplement

$450

Electric bike supplement$150

This tour includes:

  • accommodation with breakfast in double/twin room, including a night in a gorgeous convent, a typical village transformed into a charm hotel and a beautiful pousada built over the cliffs
  • basic tools for fixing small problems
  • luggage transfer from hotel to hotel
  • route instructions, detailed maps and history notes
  • transfer from Lagos to Olhao
  • GPS tracks
  • 24h phone support
  • tasty gastronomic surprises each day
  • personal accident insurance
  • VAT taxes

VAN-GUIDED TOUR – SCHEDULE & PRICE

Departure Dates 2017: Daily departures possible for a minimum of 2 persons.

Deduct $975 if there are 4 or more in your party.

Price per personCAD$3490
Above supplements apply

This tour includes:

  • all that is included on the self guided tour, PLUS
  • bicycle with rear bag for light cargo and helmet
  • transfer on private bus from Faro airport to Odeceixe
  • transfer on private bus from Vila Real de Santo António to Faro airport
  • support car to go along during the 6 cycling days
  • guide (who drives the van but also waits for the group at important places to tell a funny story or and interesting historical fact)
  • water and fruit for the day
  • 4 picnic lunches
  • 2 lunch at regional restaurants
  • 5 dinners with wine
  • 1 liqueur tasting
  • entrance fee at Fortress of Sagres
  • entrance fee at Municipal museum of Aljezur
  • entrance fee at Fisherman’s museum
  • 1st aid assistance
  • Cycling jersey

GUIDED TOUR – SCHEDULE & PRICE

Departure Dates 2017: Mar.25 Apr.22, May.20, Jun.24, Jul.15, Aug.19 Sep.23 Oct.21

Price per personCAD$3290
Single Supplement$450
Upgrade to electric bike$150
Any other date is possible on a PRIVATE basisPOA

This tour includes:

  • all that is included on the van-guided tour above, plus
  • guide to ride with the group (one or two, depending on group size)
Terms, conditions and restrictions apply; pricing, availability, and other details subject to change and/ or apply to US or Canadian residents. Please confirm details and booking information with your travel advisor.

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