As we mentioned on the main cycling page
there are lots of places to cycle in Portugal -where's the best place to go all depends on what you are interested in seeing and how fit you're feeling!
Don't forget that Portugal is only a small country. So if you have the time and want to get a taste of the country as a whole it's perfectly possible to plan a tour taking in highlights from across the regions.
On this page you can find out more about cycling in Southern, Central or Northern Portugal or on the islands of Madeira and the Azores.
Southern Portugal encompasses the Algarve and the Alentejo. The Alentejo covers a large proportion of Portugal but is mainly agricultural and there are few large towns. It is a fantastic spot for cycling with a dramatic unspoilt coastline and inland rolling farmland, ancient orchards and wide plains dotted with white-washed villages and fascinating medieval towns. As you go west its undulating hills meet a backbone of rugged mountains along the Spanish border. We currently offer self guided and guided tours in the Alentejo.
The neighbouring Algarve is world famous for its gorgeous beaches but there is much more to it. The central region is the most developed but even here the beaches and seaside towns soon give way to tranquil mediterranean landscapes and cobbled hamlets. Going west the landscape gets progressively wilder and more windswept until you reach the dramatic headland at Sagres. Going east from Faro you'll pass attractive fishing villages and traditional towns and the Ria Formosa nature reserve. This important wetland habitat of sand dunes, lagoons and islets, stretches for over 60km and has lots of tracks to explore and wildlife to spot. The Algarve's first long distance cycling route Eco-via has recently been developed (signage varies and stretches from Sagres on the west coast to Vila Real de Santo Antonio on the Spanish border. We currently offer day tours and guided or self guided cycling holidays in the Algarve.
If you're planning a cycling tour of Southern Portugal I'd recommend that you come between September and June as it gets very hot in July and August. For a good day out with friends or family how about a day's on or off-road cycling with a picnic thrown in. Possibly the best type of cycling for languid summer days is the down hill trip where you're driven to the summit of a range of hills, such as Monchique, and then free-wheel all the way down to sea level! We also have an uphill version for those who like a challenge!
Ask us about places to cycle in Portugal
Central Portugal stretches from the capital Lisbon in the South to the university town of Coimbra in the North and includes the regions traditionally known as Estremadura, Ribatejo, Beira Litoral and parts of Beira Baixa and the Alto Alentejo. It has a wealth of important historic towns and an attractive, often rocky, coastline. Inland the landscape varies greatly. Around Lisbon the land is relatively flat with coastal plains and fertile pastures until you reach the Serra da Sintra in the northwest and Serra da Arrábida in the southeast. The Ribatejo is characterized by sleepy meadows and agricultural towns and the broad River Tagus (aka Tejo) which is an important nature reserve attracting migratory birds from across the globe.
Just to the north of Lisbon you will find the silver coast with its traditional fishing villages, wide expanses of unspoilt sandy beaches, fruitful orchards and vineyards and gently rolling hills. Venturing inland into the Beira Baixa you can explore some of Portugal's most striking scenery. The landscape in the north-west of the province is dominated by the granite crags of Serra da Gardunha and the rugged peaks of Serra da Estrela which are snow capped in winter and swathed in purple heather in spring time. Travelling in the east of the region frequent views over ancient fortified towns and castles serve as an attractive, but pointed, reminder of your proximity to Spain.
Tell us about your favourite places to cycle in Portugal
Northern Portugal promises beautiful scenery, intriguing towns and hospitable people. It embraces the traditional regions of Minho, Trás os Montes, Alto Douro, Douro Litoral, Beira Alta and parts of Beira Baixa. Three expansive parks, known as Peneda Geres, Montesinho and Douro International, protect large swathes of wilderness and are home to lots of rare fauna and flora. These parks are a perfect 'get away from it all' destination and their timeless granite hamlets offer a fascinating insight into a way of life that has changed very little over the centuries. The downside for cyclists is that the region is very hilly! As well as its lush wooded valleys, vineyards, elegant manor houses and spa towns the area is also known for its starker mountain scenery. The views from the top are well worthwhile but it all depends on whether you think your legs will make it! If you prefer your route to be a bit flatter you're better off exploring the wild, windswept beauty of the northern, or 'green' coast.
Madeira and the Azores
These Atlantic islands are spectacularly beautiful and mountainous due to their volcanic origins. They offer landscapes of extraordinary and unspoilt natural beauty, tempting woodland and mountain trails, quaint villages and incredible views out to sea. They are the ideal destination for adventurous mountain bikers but will also appeal to casual cyclists as you can join a downhill trip where you are driven up the mountain first then can enjoy the views while freewheeling down. We currently offer guided day tours in the Azores and guided day tours and holidays in Madeira.
find places to cycle in Portugal
What is your favourite place to cycle in Portugal? Any recommendations or questions? We'd love to hear from you.
Find out more general information about cycling in Portugal here.
cycle in Portugal photos copyright Pedalofilo, Francois Schnell, Solares de Portugal, Azores Tourist Board