Eurovelo 1 is an established long-distance cycling route that stretches across Europe. It comprises of an epic 11,000km spanning many countries and hugely contrasting terrains. The Portuguese section covers the whole width of the Algarve and heads up the West Coast to Lisbon and beyond.  Algarve Bike Holidays is proud to be a part of this fantastic venture and this self-guided holiday allows you to embrace some of the best of the Eurovelo 1 that is right on our doorstep.  The route between Vila Real de Santo António and Sagres is also part of the Ecovia do Litoral, a cycle route that covers a distance of 214 kilometres, mostly hugging the coast. You will enjoy stunning sea views and a fair share of historical monuments along the way. It takes you along cycle routes, dirt tracks and paved roads with little traffic. Each day brings a new experience and, as this is a self-guided holiday, you are your own boss, so you can go at your own pace and explore as much as you like.

Activity: Self guided touring holiday
Bike type: Touring bike (optional e-bike)
Duration: 10 nights 9 days cycling
Activity Level: Experienced
Accommodation: 3 star and 4 star hotels
Daily Average: 54km
Price: From €1995


Day 1 Arrival at Vila Real de Santo António

Upon your arrival in the Algarve, we will collect you and take you to Vila Real de Santo António (VRSA), an interesting old town on the banks of the Guadiana River, which forms a natural border between Portugal and Spain.

Largely redeveloped after the great earthquake of 1755, VRSA was recreated on a grid system, yet still retains a character of its own. It has a relaxed atmosphere and the central square, edged with orange trees and host to an array of shops and cafes, is an ideal place to spend your first evening; enjoy a spot of people watching as you tuck into some fresh local food and wine. This should get you in the mood before you set off on your Eurovelo 1 trip.

Day 2  Cycle to Olhão: (60km/390m elevation gain)

Your first day’s cycling takes you through a number of seaside towns, all with their own special characteristics. The first of these is Monte Gordo, a resort that has been popular since the 70s. Next comes a pleasantly sleepy town, Manta Rota. It’s worth a quick stop to look at the unspoilt beach, but if you can hold out a little longer continue to Caçela Velha, a tiny whitewashed village set on a hill overlooking the lagoon with a little church and the remains of an 18th century fort. It’s neighbour, Fabrica, is also a worthwhile diversion; sipping coffee by the water’s edge, you can take in the boats dipping in the gently ebbing water and watch locals collecting shellfish.

From here you’ll enjoy a relaxing ride along dirt tracks and quiet roads, through the picturesque fishing village of Cabanas, before passing by the salt flats into Tavira, home to a castle and an old Roman bridge. After a fairly gentle route along the coast, through the quaint seaside village of Santa Luzia, famous for octopus fishing, you will continue to Pedras del Rei, where you may spot the little train that takes sunbathers to the beach of Barril and the old tuna fishing village.

Your next stop is Fuseta, where several fish restaurants with outdoor charcoal grills offer excellent views across the water. The last stretch of today’s ride is in the Ria Formosa Natural Park, amidst a maze of lagoons, channels, salt marshes and islands. Your final destination is Olhão, still the hub of the fishing industry, but with a charming old town, renowned for its Moorish style architecture. It’s the perfect place to sample local specialities at local prices.

Day 3 Cycle to Albufeira: (56km/413m elevation gain)

Your second day takes you through the regional capital of Faro.  An impressive archway leads into the old town, where you will discover cobbled streets, with interesting shops and cafés. An imposing square lined with orange trees is home to a small cathedral; it was built on the site of a mosque and is worth a visit to see the beautiful tiles and gilt carved wood inside.

Leaving the centre of Faro you are soon heading towards the airport and Praia de Faro. Despite being close to the airport, you are treated to some pretty spectacular scenery and can often see Flamingos. You head along the dykes towards the exclusive golf resorts of Quinta do Lago and Vale do Lobo with their manicured golf courses amidst pine forest and luxury houses . A short ride further takes you towards the beach, where you ride through a little pine forest along the cliff tops with views over the sand and surf. Passing along the sea front of Quarteira, one of the original tourist resorts of the Algarve, you continue to Vilamoura, with its marina full of luxury yachts and a good selection of cafes, bars and restaurants.

From Vilamoura you travel along easy dirt tracks beside Falesia (meaning cliffs in Portuguese) beach towards Olhos de Àgua and then onwards, through mainly quiet roads, towards Albufeira. Despite its reputation as the busiest resort in the Algarve, Albufeira Old Town still retains the essence of the village it once was, with narrow cobbled streets winding up and around the hillsides and typical single storey houses lining the roadside. Your hotel is conveniently located to explore the town and beach (a perfect place to recover from your day’s cycling).

Day 4 Cycle to Lagos: (68km/537m elevation gain)

Leaving Albufeira you are afforded some interesting views of the coast and the candy coloured Marina, before you head on towards the boardwalks of Salgados. These purpose-built walkways take you across the lagoon, a protected nature reserve, where you should see many species of birds, plus maybe a few turtles if you have some leftover crumbs to throw to them!

A short ride further on takes you down towards Armação de Pêra (named after a Moorish fishing boat). The pleasant pedestrianised area along the sea front overlooks the lovely beach close to the middle of the town.

From here you will travel inland towards the town of Lagoa, a traditional rural town that is set in an agricultural and wine-producing area, whose centrepiece is a dominating church and pretty town square. After your mid morning coffee you will follow quiet tracks to the old fishing village of Ferragudo, overlooking the estuary. You cross the river and cycle along the riverside towards the resort town of Praia da Rocha on the southern tip of Portimão.

Further along the coast you come to Alvor, one of the quieter resorts, but growing in popularity. Alvor’s buildings are still mainly low-rise and the charm of the old town still remains, with the narrow cobbled streets leading down to the riverfront, where you can relax for a while and watch the fishing boats. From here you will need to head inland briefly (unless you can find a friendly boatman!) to negotiate around the estuary and back down through country lanes to the 4km long Meia Praia beach and on towards Lagos. It’s a bustling town with lots to offer; from the modern marina and waterfront restaurants, to the lively town square and the maze of cobbled streets.

Day 5 Cycle to Cabo de São Vicente: (47km/616m elevation gain)

This day’s riding has some spectacular scenery along the way, but with that almost inevitably comes more hills, as you hug the coastline between Lagos and the rugged cliffs of Sagres. But on a positive note you can enjoy the refreshing sea air and will have opportunities to take a break in some very pretty coastal towns and villages. Luz, for example, is a sprawling seaside town with a long promenade, often host to local market stalls and artists displaying their work. Just a little West are the tiny villages of Burgau and Salema, both of which exude a specific charm that attracts day visitors throughout the year.

The next stage of your ride today will take you along some quiet back-roads and tracks towards Vila de Bispo, where you will join the final leg that transports you across a dramatic, weather beaten landscape towards Sagres. Sagres is a tranquil town with beautiful beaches, a picturesque harbour, a pretty town square and stunning views. It is popular in summer with visitors, but all year round with fishermen and surfers because of the western Atlantic waters creating such good waves for surfing. It is mostly known as the place where Henry the Navigator brought together great mariners, astronomers, ship-builders and cartographers to build and navigate great ships in the period of the Age of Discoveries. Sagres is also home to Henry’s fortress, which was originally built in the 15th century.

Further along from the fort, is the headland, Cabo de São Vincente (“Cape St. Vincent”). There is a lovely lighthouse (claimed to be one of Europe’s most powerful lighthouses) and the views from the point are simply breathtaking. It is the end of continental Europe and also of the first stage of your Eurovelo 1 cycling tour!

Day 6 Cycle to Aljezur: (54 km/750m elevation gain)

Today’s ride brings with it some of the most dramatic scenery; with the wild, rugged coastline on your left and the windswept plains on your right. This exciting combination can make for a few bracing hours on the bike, but with the totally unspoilt landscape and the sea air filling your lungs, you are likely to feel a sense of invigoration as you take on the next stage of the Eurovelo 1, the West Coast of Portugal.

The road leads you towards the laid back surfer’s town of Carrapateira. If you have the energy, we suggest a diversion to take in the Fisherman’s trail; a well cycle-able loop of about 12 kms. It’s a place of great beauty and home to some fantastic fresh fish restaurants, where you can fuel up before you make your way steadily towards your stay for tonight, Aljezur. Surprisingly deemed the “sweet potato capital”, it’s said that in Aljezur they produce the best tasting varieties because of the weather conditions and the sea air. So it’s probably the best place to sample it cooked in one of a few traditional methods.

Day 7 Cycle to Zambujeira do Mar: (44km/460m elevation gain)

You are now well into your trip and you may have begun to appreciate a change in your surroundings as you distance yourself from the popular Southern Algarve coast. The natural beauty all around you makes it easy to forget that you are cycling a section of the Eurovelo 1 and a main arterial road up the West Coast of Portugal.

There are a few places en route for you to grab a tasty local snack, including the Museu da Batata Doce (yes, there really is a sweet potato museum), just north of Rogil. And if you can hold out a little longer a worthy lunch stop is Odeceixe, a sleepy town perched on a hill, overlooking the estuary of the river Seixe, that straddles the borders between the Algarve and the Alentejo. It is home to one of  the 7 elected Portugal’s most wonderful beaches, so if you have the time and inclination it is worth a quick visit. As you leave Odeceixe you are also officially leaving the Algarve behind you as you enter into the rolling planes of the Alentejo region.

Reaching Zambujeira do Mar, you can’t help but be charmed by the pretty, whitewashed village perched at the top of a giant cliff overlooking a wide, sandy bay. It is a fishing village with less than a thousand permanent residents, although this population swells during the summer months as tourists flock to see its many beautiful and natural attractions, as well as the world-famous Sudoeste Festival that takes place every August just 7kms outside the centre.

Day 8 Cycle to Vila Nova de Milfontes: (38km/200m elevation gain)

This is a relatively short day in terms of kilometres, but it’s packed full with opportunities to detour and enjoy some fabulous sights as you cycle through the scenic Vicentina Natural Park.

Some of your day’s highlights might include: Cabo Sardão Lighthouse, where you can actually look down on the storks that nest on the rocks leading down to the beach; Entrada da Barca, which is a natural fishing port that gives you a sense of how the force of the Atlantic Ocean continues to shape the Alentejo coast, and the Praia do Almograve, widely considered to be one of the West Coast’s most outstanding beaches, dotted with rock pools full of marine life.

Your destination for tonight is the popular seaside town, Vilanova de Milfontes. Very popular with Portuguese tourists, it’s a lively and welcoming town overlooking the Mira River. It’s beautifully traditional and the myriad of cobbled streets are perfect for exploring at your leisure.

Day 9 Cycle to Santiago de Cacém: (58km/450m elevation gain)

Today is not without its challenges as you head further inland through mountainous terrain that opens out to beautiful rocky outcrops. It is also a day of contrasts. Leaving the dramatic Atlantic Coast behind you for a day, the Eurovelo 1 will transport you back in time as you continue your ride along very quiet roads and through sleepy villages that are surrounded by undulating, unspoilt countryside and forests of cork oak.

You may wish to take a break in Cercal, a typical Alentejo small town, rich in traditional architecture. You can explore its historical centre via a network of narrow streets and alleys, sampling local products and enjoying the traditional arts and crafts.

The second half of your ride will undoubtedly awaken your senses as you cycle alongside  olive groves, orchards and open farmland dotted with small ponds and streams. Here, if you are lucky, you may even catch sight of the local breeds of Black Pig as they forage for the acorns that give their meat its incomparable taste and unique fragrance. .

You will stay in the bustling provincial town of Santiago de Cacém, with an imposing Moorish castle and an interesting history. Here there is an (almost) obligatory climb up to the church overlooking town, which allows you to take one of the trip’s iconic photos.

Day 10 Cycle to Setubal: (62km/580 m elevation gain)

Today will not disappoint as you make your way steadily through more natural parkland towards your last section of the EuroVelo 1 Atlantic Coast Route.

Your last stop in the Alentejo region is the lovely town of Comporta, one of the region’s most “hip” resorts. If you’re feeling brave you might like to sample their local speciality, a Blueberry Caipirosca (a vodka based cocktail that hails from Brazil). But you have a way to go so it may be wise to refrain! Plus there is still plenty to capture your imagination as you approach the renowned Troia Peninsular. A worthwhile diversion before you embark on the 20km peninsula ride is Carrasqueira, an old fishing community where you can still see traditional reed houses and narrow fishing boats moored on the mud flats nearby.

The peninsula itself is a low-lying sandbank, so it’s a nice flat ride to end the day (and the trip). It’s worth stopping for a moment to take in the Roman ruins, once a major fish-salting factory and a sizeable discovery. Your leisurely ride continues almost 20kms, flanked by sand dunes and rice fields. Once in Troia, you will take the ferry across the bay to your final destination, Setúbal. It is a thriving port town, with a quaint old quarter where you can while away the hours on one of the beautiful squares, whilst you sample the local delicacy, chocos fritos (fried cuttlefish). Or take a leisurely boat trip up the Setúbal Bay Estuary where you can spot all kinds of birds on the saltmarshes. This Natural Reserve is also home to a colony of bottlenose dolphins. So there is plenty to see and do in and around the town on your last night.

Alternatively we can arrange to transfer you for your journey home.

You may like to spend a couple of days in Lisbon, to explore this city full of surprises. You will not be disappointed. Lisbon is a picture postcard city; it has succeeded in retaining its old-fashioned charm, whilst at the same time offering an eclectic feast of modern and historical architecture and cultural attractions. There is literally something for everyone.

Additionally, this tour can be reversed to begin in Setubal and end on the Portugal/Spain border.  Please ask for more details.








  • Quality bike and equipment hire. Options for upgrade to E-Bike.
  • Detailed maps and route suggestions
  • Good quality hotels/apartments along the route
  • Route assistance where necessary
  • Airport Transfers
  • Luggage Transfer.


  • Flights
  • Holiday insurance – recommended.

  • Prices are per person, based upon two people sharing a twin/double bedded room.
  • Discounts are available for large groups, please contact us for details.
  • We also offer options for daily route extensions.

This tour is designed and priced as a “self guided” holiday as this is how we can provide the best value for money for our clients. We can also provide the services of a guide and/or a support vehicle. Please contact us for further details and prices.