Cycling in the Algarve

Cycling in the Algarve can be quite a challenge; but a rewarding one. 

Please visit Tomás Metcalfes site he is a professional cyclist and have literally cycled 150 000km mostly in the Algarve -that's more than three times round the world.  Tomás offers coaching and training camps, his web site features all the latest news on cycling in the Algarve.

On Hob's Blog, Ian Hobson has five cycle rides of moderate distance that may be of interest to cyclists visiting the Western Algarve (Lagoa, Portimao, Lagos, Carvoeiro, etc.). With his permission I reproduce a couple here:

From the Blog:

A few points before I start:

    Beware dogs - the more remote location, the worse.

    Beware maps - roads change a lot - conversion from track to road for example, plus new buildings in towns and motorways. Even new maps were not accurate. Our Rough Guide map - while good for bikers because of the material used and detail had many quite serious errors.

    Beware wind. It's almost always windy in the Algarve, and it's often head on against you. You may find distances that you normally cover at home harder to achieve because of this (and the up-down nature of landscape especially around the coast).

    Beware cobbled streets. The streets of many towns are pretty unsuitable for cycling unless you have good suspension. But it is easy to walk your bikes or lock them up and walk alone.

Coastal route from Carvoeiro to Alvor via Ferragudo and Portimao (51 km. / 32 miles).
This was just a simple acclimatisation route from our base meandering around trying to follow coastal routes where possible. Alvor is very pretty - especially at night, and Ferragudo is also a nice town. There are plenty of places to stop. In Portimao it is possible to follow a cycle lane along the river parallel to the road. It is too hard to describe our exact route, but it is easy to follow a map including these places. While having a drink in Alvor (during the Portugal-Iran World cup game!) we met Frank who was interested in our bikes. He runs a company called Outdoor Tours which does cycling trips, bike rental, nature walks, canoeing and other adventure pursuits across the Algarve. Frank's staff come from across Europe (he himself is Dutch). He is creating a booklet of 15 different bicycle routes available to his clients. We had hoped to join in on one trip, but for a variety of reasons couldn't get to do this. If you're looking to rent a bike for a day or more, or to have some guided (or even supported) tours, check out Frank's site before you leave.

Carvoeiro to Silves to San Bartolomeu de Messines to Armacao de Pera and coast route back (74 km. / 46 miles).
Silves is a pretty town indeed with plenty to see (serious cobbled streets though). There is currently a lot of restoration work going on, but the setting, castle, cathedral, central square etc are all nice to see. We had trouble navigating out of Carvoeiro due to some new road building (and other roads shut), so this route should really be about 42 miles. We went on a quiet road out of Estombar closer to the river. After Silves we headed on the main road (124) towards Sao Bartolomeu de Messines. This is a quiet road of good quality with some nice views lined with citrus groves. The next town wasn't too special but was ok (but a bit quiet on a Sunday lunchtime). We then headed South on a quiet road towards Algoz, then towards Pera and Armacao de Pera. We then cut back onto the 269-1 but trying to follow a coastal route (we made a few mistakes here). The village of Benagil is very pretty but with a very steep descent and climb out.

Ian Hobson

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