Cycling in the Algarve
- its fun, its eco-friendly, theres no queuing at filling
stations and, what's more, it will keep your cardiovascular system in good shape.
cycling in the Algarve could be just the thing if you want a more relaxed time and to see things that youd miss if you just zipped around in a car.
There are so many advantages: the countryside is beautiful, the climate is bicycle-friendly and there are even plenty of places where you can pick up a hire bike to use during your stay.
Should your bicycling ambitions be a little less than fully-committed, there are even opportunities to join in organized activities for a day or half-day.
In fact, there are few credible excuses as to why seeing more of the Algarve on a bicycle is not for you.
Views like this make up for some of
pitfalls of cycling in Algarve
Algarve Cycling Routes
While its true that you can hop on a bike and pedal off to discover things for yourself, you can also enjoy a (partly) purpose-built cycle way that runs almost the width of the region.
Its called the Via Algarvia and was designed with walkers and cyclists in mind. Wherever you might be staying, it should be easy enough to join the route at the nearest point and enjoy the relative comfort and safety of a dedicated lane or track.
Of course, Algarve being Algarve, all of the dots arent joined up by any means, and there are stretches that are less dedicated than others, but a safe stretch is a safe stretch and it might all be made safe
. one day!
Paul Beesley of ActivityAlgarve (see Cycle Tours below) kindly
contacted me to point out that while the Via Algarvia is
not technically impossible by bike, it's better regarded
as a walker's paradise, rather than one for
Paul's Tip: A more suitable long distance cycle route is
the Ecovia do Litoral, a 214 km, coast-hugging cycle path that runs from Vila Real do San
Antonio [in the east], to Cabo de Sao Vicente [in the
west]. It is much more suitable for less experienced cyclists, as the terrain is mostly flat. You can get maps from the Algarve Digital website and most of the
route is already signposted.
Algarve Cycle Routes: This company provides neat, portable cards showing routes, distances and more. UK contact no. 01772 723318
A great idea if you want to do your own thing. Just hire a bike, check the route, and start pedalling!
Algarve Cycling - Bike Hire
There are quite a few outlets where you can hire a bicycle during an Algarve vacation. Prices vary, as does the range of available cycles, but youre guaranteed a few gears and wheels that are fairly circular so what could go wrong?
Ive included a short list of hire outlets below, but you should be able to find one fairly close, wherever you stay. Some will even deliver a bike to you for a little extra.
Listed below are some companies who will
rent you a bicycle by the hour, half day, day or even
|| 289 393 044
|| 289 802 136
|| 351 281 324
|| More of a motorbike specialist, but they do hire mountain bikes
|| 289 542 059
|| Not actually bikes but trikes for hire to explore the Portimao area
|| 918 789 192
||Cascalheira nr Quatros Estradas, Loule
||Reputedly one of the best
||289 358 379
Algarve Cycling Days and Tours
If youd rather have some expert guidance, or even just have someone else do the organizing (after all, youre on vacation, right?) then youre in luck.
There are helpful companies that arrange tours and cycling days, often in the most beautiful (and usually the safest) spots in the locale. They arrange everything, often including delivery of cycles to the start point. Your only responsibilities are to turn up and pedal the bicycle!
Depending on your state of bike-readiness, you might prefer a gentle trip on flat ground, or an exhilarating tour down from the hills to the coast. The choice is yours; just make it plain what you want and therell be a trip or tour to suit you.
Below are listed some of the companies who
provide both bikes and routes (with guides) and are pleased
to show you some of the Algarve's best spots as part of the
|| Tours and days out in the region
|| 913 226 954
|Caminhos de Natureza
|| Tours and days out in the east
|| 962 543 288
|| Tours and days out
- central belt
|| 282 969 520
|Mountain Bike Adventure
|| Tours and trips organised
|| 918 502 663
|| Tours and trips organised
|| 289 393 044
of the Algarve's capital
Algarve Cycling Safety Points
Some rural roads and tracks can be variable. Dont speed on surfaces with which youre not
familiar - and even some with which you are familiar (see
Cycling on May Day '08 - this sight
on turning a corner on a hilltop road!
Dont expect a lot of leeway or consideration from motorists. Be cautious and on your guard when on roads that might carry vehicular traffic.
The motto here is: 'Expect the unexpected'.
Almost every hamlet (and a few outlying quintas and hovels) seem to support their own roving dog pack. Some of these groups of beasts seem to treat cyclists as a break in the boredom of a hot day. Be prepared to be firm with them. Dont wave sticks, dont throw stones, keep your bike between you and them if you need to dismount. A water pistol (filled only with water) can be a persuasive tool if an animal approaches too closely. Usually if you wait, an owner or local will appear to disperse the mutts.
May Day '08 - Nev stops to try out his
'Portuguese for Dummies'
So, there you have it; my guide (so far) to Algarve
cycling, whether for an entire vacation or just a day here
and there. Don't forget to drop me a line
if you've tried it;
whether good, bad or indifferent - let everyone know...
You can stay up-to-date with Algarve
cycling and other activities and
pretty much 'everything Algarve' by subscribing to my free monthly newsletter, Algarve Beach Life News. Just click on the link below ("For
Lovers of Algarve Beach Life") or on the button at top left ("Subscribe to ABLN") -- and I'll keep you updated, every month, about what's new on the site, as it's added.
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