Trans Algarve Mini Break
Activity: Self-guided road bike holiday
Bike Type: Road bike (optional e-bike)
Duration: 4 nights, 3 days cycling
Activity Level: Intermediate
Accommodation: Quality rural hotels
Daily Average: c. 90km
Price: From €640
This self-guided road bike tour does not hold back as it takes you from the North Eastern Border of the Algarve, right across to the most South Western tip. It is three days of contrasting scenery including rivers, valleys and mountains. Each day brings with it new challenges and each night you get to relax in charming places where you can sample life at a local Portuguese pace.
Trans Algarve Mini Break
Day 1 Transfer to Alcoutim
We will transfer you in the afternoon from the Central Algarve to your hotel in Alcoutim, where you will spend the night before you embark on your Trans Algarve trip. Alcoutim is a beautiful town with a rich history and an impressive castle that overlooks the river, surrounded by typical white houses on narrow streets that reflect the traditional way of life. Dinner will bring with it the opportunity to sample local dishes, including fresh fish from the river or the home-reared smoked ham and sausages.
Day 2 Alcoutim – Loulé (95km, 1270m elevation gain)
The route from Alcoutim to Barranco de Velho is one of two halves. The first stage consists of long, straight, often tree-lined stretches, with gently undulating hills. Then you start to meander around the Caldeirão mountain range, which forms a significant border between the Algarve and the Alentejo and presents a dramatic backdrop, as well as some challenging ascents. You will pass right alongside wind turbines that cast long shadows over the road as they supply essential energy to the region.
Arriving in Barranco de Velho, you may enjoy a quick break in the very traditional and long-established café “Tia Bia”. They have a large outdoor space and are a popular stop off point for cyclists and ramblers.
From here you will make your way down, through the quaint village of Alportel, to São Bras de Alportel – a typical Algarvian working town, which used to be the hub of the cork industry.
Your destination for today is Loulé, a thriving old market town known for the beautifully restored in-door market, selling fresh regional produce. You will be staying in a quaint hotel, set in a quiet square in the heart of Loulé, an explorer’s haven, with narrow cobbled streets leading off the central Avenida, tiny shops and hidden away bars and restaurants.
Day 3 Loulé – Monchique (88km/1135m elevation gain)
As you navigate your way through the rolling hills to the north of Loulé, you may take a quick detour to the hill-top village of Querença. It’s a short hop up to the beautiful church square, where you can enjoy some local biscuits with your first coffee. Querença is well known for its agricultural products, such as the rather strong “medronho” (a sort of fruit brandy) and the famous “chouriço” (smoked sausage). You will need to tear yourselves away but there is a lot more to see as you cross the valley heading West.
With sweeping country scenes to your left and right, this road leads you past the traditional working town of Salir and on to the charming village of Alte, famous for its white painted houses and fresh water springs. There is another beautiful church in the centre of the village, surrounded by cafes and craft shops, selling locally produced goods and not forgetting the village donkey (though he most certainly is not for sale!)
From here you cycle quiet, undulating roads to Messines, a typical agricultural town, and then you enter lush green valleys, with tiny hamlets and farmsteads amidst an abundance of thick vegetation.
You will continue across country to Silves, an enchanting town on the banks of the Rio Arade. Silves is steeped with history; once the Moorish capital it is home to the best-preserved castle in the Algarve. There are lots of local cafés and restaurants on the front or in the cobbled backstreets, where you can take a break.
Leaving Silves on the Western side of town, you will make a gradual climb towards Monchique, a spa town set amidst pine forests and valleys with freshwater springs. Neighbouring Caldas de Monchique is your home for the night, with their traditional thermal baths, where you can rest your aching legs as you enjoy some rather special spa treatments.
Day 4 Monchique – Cabo de São Vicente (85km/1350m elevation gain)
Today kicks off with a bang as you follow one of several meandering, yet testing ascents to Foia, the highest peak in the Monchique mountain range. It’s an iconic goal that is attempted by local and pro riders alike and, on a clear day, you get the best views across the Algarve right down to the coast.
When you have taken your fill of panoramic photos you will embark on a steep descent back through Monchique and on to a valley that hugs the foothills towards Marmelete before completing a long descent to Aljezur. You mustn’t forget to raise your head from time to time and take in the spectacular views as you come down the mountain!
As you reach Aljezur you are officially cycling the West Coast of Portugal and the long, undulating road is ideal for getting some decent kilometres under your belt before a possible refreshment stop at Carrapateira. From the easily accessible peninsula at Pontal da Carrapateira (a circuit of around 5km), you can enjoy your first dramatic views of the cliffs and crags dropping to the Atlantic and, on a clear day, you should see the Sagres lighthouse in the distance (your final destination).
From here you will continue South towards Sagres, along the main (yet still comparatively traffic-free) road from Vila do Bispo. You will know you are close to the wild Atlantic Coast as you breathe in the salty sea air and enjoy the bracing winds and natural roughness of the land and seascape that surrounds you. Sagres 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.
Cabo de São Vincente, sometimes referred to as the “edge of the world” is the South Western tip of Europe and the 5km ride along the Sagres peninsula takes you past the Fortaleza do Beliche and on to the lighthouse right at the end of the headland, where you can take your iconic ‘end of trip’ photo and buy souvenirs from the tenacious stallholders, before we transfer you back to a hotel in the Central Algarve for your last night’s stay.
Prices are per person, based upon two people sharing a twin/double bedded room.
Single room accommodation subject to availability, please specify if preferred .
- Transfer between the Central Algarve and Alcoutim on Day 1
- Transfer back to the Central Algarve from Cabo de São Vicente on Day 4
- Luggage Transfer
- 4 nights b&b stay in quality guesthouse or hotel based on 2 persons sharing a twin room.
- Flights to and from the Algarve
- Lunches and evening meals
- Road bike rental is available at €29 per day for three days
- Helmets and SPD pedals. You can hire at a small fee, but we suggest you bring your own
- Personal accident insurance, which we strongly recommend you take out.