Challenging Hill Ride

Availability: Friday am
Bike type: Road Bike
Duration: 4-5 hours
Activity Level: Challenging
Distance: c. 80 km
Price: €60 per person

The Algarve is mostly known for it’s traffic-free, undulating, open roads that transverse beautiful, unspoilt countryside. But it’s also home to a couple of serious hills for those who are looking to push themselves that bit further, or who want to add some hard-core training to their schedule.

Both hills are included in the renowned Volta ao Algarve circuit, so if you want to follow in the tracks of the professionals then they are not to be missed. They are, however, quite different in character and therefore offer completely contrasting experiences.


Book this tour now


Fantastic morning Ride. Enquired late into holiday about challenging ride on a Friday. Excellent communication via phone and email meant I could burn off some of the all inclusive I’d accrued over the week. Picked up and dropped off at hotel (which was really helpful) and despite my height (6’6”) was able to hire a well maintained carbon bike at short notice. Marco (our excellent, and very fit, guide) drove us out of Albufeira to better roads with less traffic and guided us on a fantastic route. It is challenging and the climbs are long, but not overly steep (compared to my local rides in the north York moors anyway) and the cafe stop at the stop is beautiful. Would definitely recommend, but will stress it is not for your average recreational cyclist.
PhilHowMac (August 2019)

Superb half day on the bike – hill climb to Foia

The Friday Challenge Ride was superb, the climb to Foia (highest point of the Algarve) was tough in parts, but so so rewarding. Marcos was a great guide and his local knowledge and advise enabled me to concentrate on the ride, with Marcos updating me on the gradients, water stops etc. as the ride unfolded. I found the lower sections the toughest as the ramps are steeper, but as you gained height the temperature cooled slightly and the gradients eased. So my advice would be don’t panic if after just a few miles you think you may not be able to make it! If it was easy it would’nt be half as much fun! Coming from the UK it was great to be able to experience the final 9km continous climb from Monchique to the summit. The view from the summit was spectacular and there was ample opportunity explore, rest up, drink in the views and enjoy a reasonably priced coffee and ice cream from the highest point on the Algarve. A 40 minute continous descent was the icing on the cake, although there are alternative routes down which do involve some climbing if the group so wishes.

I cant fault the service provided by Algarve Bike Holidays, in sourcing a very nice flat barred road bike with flat pedals, their relaxed and friendly communications before the ride and the superb services, encouragement and local knowledge of Marcos.
If you are looking for a day away from the beach and you are a keen cyclist I cant recommend this day out highly enough. Great value and brilliantly organised
Garry B (August 2019)
I did the intermediate ride earlier in the week as a chance to stretch my legs over a holiday and enjoyed it so much that I then booked onto the more challenging ride on Friday, which to be fair was slightly more suited to my riding style as I love hill climbing. It was a great route with some great elevation for a relatively low KM; this, as you can imagine lead to some amazing scenery around every corner and a hell of a refreshing downhill to finish. Marco our guide was an absolute pleasure to ride with, he knew the area like that back of his hand, was great conversation throughout, was kind enough to share his Strava info with me (mins wasn’t working), managed different abilities of riders well, and kept a good pace. If you are on holiday in the Algarve and fancy a day out seeing some inland scenery in addition to the beautiful beaches this is a must. I’ll be back next year.
Jethro H (September 2018)
If you enjoy cycling and are going to Portugal you must look this company up. From first contact with Paul, arranging pick ups and tours with Angie and having the pleasure of the Amazing Marco the tour guide, I cannot fault their service and attention to detail! Thanks all at Algarve Bike Tours for making my great holiday- brilliant !!
Paul Gidlow (August 2018)
Had Marc Gomes as guide, along with another Britt we headed out for a four hour ride. The riding was superb – lovely smooth roads and very quiet – Marc was a great guide very informative and great at encouraging me to carry on to the top! 1390m of ascent we were greeted with the usual cloud and howling wind but a great sense of achievement! A great day out and looking forward to another trip with Marc next week!
Palmer 1995 (April 2018)
Went on Monchique mountain trip which was just great. Beforehand all our enquiries had been promptly and helpfully responded to. On the day, we were picked up and brought back to our hotel in Vilamoura, sorted out with quality bike etc and all we had to worry about was the actual riding! Our guide (Mark) was excellent as he piloted us with timely advice through a route that was mostly traffic lite and just the right balance between challenging and enjoyable. Unbelievable scenery and the feeling of smug self-satisfaction at top of Mount Foia made the 35 minute climb up it worthwhile!! Visit the area every year but you wouldn’t even contemplate doing this without going with someone who knew the roads – now can’t wait to do it again.
Rory T (September 2017)
My husband and i booked onto the monchique mountain ride. The booking process was easy and all my emails promptly responded to. Bikes were chosen for us based on details we emailed across including helmets and the specific pedals we required for our shoes. The bikes were in fantastic working order and of high spec. water bottles and water were provided. Our tour was lead by the Bionic Mark who very kindly kept dropping back to me trailing at the end of the pack and encouraging me on! The course is marked as advanced-and it blinking well is!! The views as we went along were amazing and the summit was awesome !!! possibly the best bit though was the cake and coffee stop on the way down!!!! thanks guys- so enjoyed our morning out! 
Imogen and Galen (September 2017)
Awesome experience! Great email communication from Paul gave me confidence so I joined the Monchique/Foia ride with our excellent guide Marc Gomes. The ride to the highest point in the Algarve is challenging but definitely worth it. The bike was a great quality carbon Scott CR1 with 105, in perfect condition. Marc is an great ride leader, keeping the group together but making it possible for stronger riders to ‘push on’ a bit on the climbs. He knows the best climbs and cafe stops! Great experience and I highly recommend Algarve bike holidays as a way to cycle safely whilst having fun and be challenged as much as you want. (Try to out sprint Marc at your peril)
Alex Lemon (August 2017)



We have a variety of routes and these can be adapted to suit the group; they can be tackled at a more frenetic pace or you can adopt a more comfortable, leisurely momentum. Either way, here is a flavour of what you can expect on one of our Challenging Hill Rides.

Foía is the highest point of the Monchique mountain range and known locally as the ‘roof of the Algarve’. We are able to start this ride from a number of different starting points and this can make a substantial difference to the length and difficulty, so it’s always best to discuss this with your guide before you go. Whichever option you take, though, the climb to the finish line is around 9 kilometers with an average gradient of 6,2 per cent. The first kilometer of the climb is the steepest with an average gradient of 9,6 per cent. It’s a long, steady hill that allows you to get into your own rhythm and pace as you make your way up to the top, which stands at 902m. Along the way you can enjoy superb mountain scenery with views stretching for miles. With the climb under your belt there’s an obligatory and rewarding water/coffee stop at the Foía summit. Don’t forget your cameras!

Malhão is a completely different proposition. At only 2.5km long, you could easily assume this is the lighter of the two challenges. But don’t be fooled by the shortness of the climb. What it lacks in distance it makes up for in gradient, with the steepest section reaching a respectable 20%. It’s relentless and you will need to become acquainted with your lower gears on this ascent. But it provides you with a great sense of achievement and it’s a perfect training route for those who are looking to improve their hill climbing techniques. Unlike with Foia, there really is only one way up Malhão, but in order to reach it you get to cycle some of the best roads in the region.

Times for these trips can obviously vary, but we aim to complete either in approximately 4 to 5 hours.




€60 per person for quality aluminium framed road bike

€70 per person for quality carbon fibre framed road bike


  • Quality Aluminium framed road bike (optional upgrade to a carbon fibre framed bike)
  • Cycling mainly on smooth & quiet tarmac roads
  • Transfer from your accommodation in the central Algarve region
  • Cafe stop
  • Insurance. 


  • Water, sun screen and energy gel/bar, which we recommend that you bring along.