On the trails of the Algarve on mountain bike

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Tour

MTB cycling holidays

Duration

8 days

Distance

241Km

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Self-guided

The beauty of this package is in the freedom it offers: without a guide, you are free to decide the timing, pace, and stops of your journey. Travel freely, travel your way!
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4/5 Medium-Easy

Moderate-Difficult, between 50 and 100 kilometers per day with an elevation gain between 700 and 1300 meters.

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Linear

The starting point is different from the ending point, with overnight stays in different hotels and daily stages.

Description

Day 1: Vila Real de Santo António
On your arrival in Algarve, a private transfer will take you from your arrival airport to Vila Real de Santo António, a fascinating old town overlooking the shores of the Guadiana River, the natural border between Spain and Portugal. Developed mainly in the period following the Lisbon earthquake of 1755, it is characterized by a checkerboard urban layout. Thanks to the relaxed atmosphere, the beautiful central square surrounded by orange trees and a wide choice of shops and cafes, Vila Real de Santo António is the ideal place to spend your first evening. Enjoy the evening walk while tasting good local food and wine. This should put you in the right mood to tackle your trip to discover the Algarve.

Day 2: Vila Real de Santo António – Santa Catarina de Fonte do Bispo (51 km; +842 m)
A beautiful start to the day will take you cycling through fragrant pine forests on sandy trails, where your only encounters will be with joggers engaged in daily training and other cyclists like you. After a while, heading north, you will find yourself immersed in a vast unspoiled countryside. The gravel tracks may represent a challenge, but you will be amply rewarded by the breathtaking views you can admire while crossing small villages and river beds. At this point of the day, you will have reached the heart of the most authentic Algarve. Then heading south, your itinerary will cross the scenic National Forest, where you can enjoy the scent and pleasant shade of eucalyptus trees. Coming out of the forest, you will pass by the Pego do Inferno, a wonderful waterfall with a natural pool below, known to locals as the secret waterfall, the perfect place for a refreshing stop. From here you will start cycling west, towards the final destination of the day: a beautifully restored boutique hotel surrounded by 18 hectares of farmland. The hotel is located on the hills just outside Santa Catarina, a modest town known for the famous terracotta tiles produced here even today following the traditional method, which includes the use of the variegated local lands, similar to clay. The itinerary passes right in front of these dusty-looking factories. One last climb will take you directly to the hotel, where you can relax in the heated outdoor pool or sauna, before enjoying the specialties offered by the extensive restaurant menu.

Day 3: Santa Catarina de Fonte do Bispo – Salir (54 km; +936 m)
After a rich breakfast accompanied by the fresh juice of oranges grown directly by the hotel, you will start cycling south on pleasantly undulating paths from which you can enjoy a wonderful view of the coast, passing through ancient farms and picturesque villages. You will thus experience the most authentic countryside that few have the opportunity to see. Passing by an unexpected bowling ground, you will then travel some remote rocky trails that will gradually lead you to a wider dirt road and to a beautiful valley near the ancient town of São Bras de Alportel, where you will find one of the best-preserved Roman roads in the area. You can take a small detour and enter the city to see the beautiful central square. In a short time, you will reach the nearby village of Alportel, where we suggest a stop at the village café, which serves delicious homemade cakes. Once you've regained your strength, you will descend towards a beautiful sunlit Algarve valley dotted with large oaks and grazing animals. At the end of the valley, you will find Fonte Felipe, an ancient well with a pump still in operation, from where you will take a shaded trail that cuts through a small gorge towards the main road. From here it is possible to make a small detour to reach Querença, a small village located on the top of the hill with the beautiful church square and a very welcoming café. Alternatively, you can continue on your itinerary which passes from Fonte Benemola, where you can see water bubbling from the ground all year round. Once you cross the stream and take the trail, the route goes up towards the hills in the direction of Salir, with its characteristic aqueduct tower. It is quite a long climb, but once at the top you will be rewarded by the magnificent view and you will certainly have time to refresh yourself before venturing to discover the city and the local specialties.

Day 4: Salir – São Bartolomeu de Messines (46 km; +767 m)
Your awakening will be on the hill, away from the crowded tourist destinations on the coast. The route will immediately lead you to face a constant climb, but the scenery around you will offer a natural distraction. After passing a farm and an abandoned school (unfortunately there are many scattered in the Algarve countryside), you will start heading north along dirt roads towards Malhão. The climb that will take you to the top of the hill, where you will surprisingly find a Tibetan monastery, is considered a challenging challenge in the famous Tour of the Algarve (Volta ao Algarve): only 2.5 km long, the steepest section reaches a gradient of 20%. The bravest will find plenty to chew on! Alternatively, you can decide to head west and cross a much flatter valley along trails that will lead you to the remote village of Aguas Frias de Baixo. A café and a traditional store are the center of this small settlement, famous for the production of Medronho, the local fruit brandy. In autumn months, it's sometimes possible to see farmers collecting the wild strawberry tree berries used in the production of this alcoholic beverage. The itinerary then continues along the wide valley for several kilometers, giving you the opportunity to experience the extreme tranquility of this beautiful region. Passing through a small eucalyptus forest and some farmland, the last stretch of today's itinerary will take you along the railway line to São Bartolomeu de Messines, a small but busy market town, where you can mingle with the locals and taste good local food and wine at very reasonable prices.

Day 5: São Bartolomeu de Messines
After three days spent in the saddle of your bike, it's time to give yourself a day of well-deserved rest. São Bartolomeu de Messines plays a fundamental role within the Algarve agricultural community and its main charm derives from the fact that it is not a tourist resort. In town there are several cafes and restaurants where you can taste regional products and a traditional covered market open practically every day of the year. You will stay downtown in a facility run by locals who will be happy to suggest activities and main attractions. In addition, for those who want to continue cycling, just outside the city there are some of the most scenic dams (barragem), which you can circumnavigate at a slow pace; we have included a ring circuit of about 32 km and just over 500 meters in altitude that follows the contours of the hill around the Barragem do Funcho and passes over the Barragem do Arade to finally return to São Bartolomeu de Messines.

Day 6: São Bartolomeu de Messines – Nave Redonda (43 km; +708 m)
Crossing the Algarve-Lisbon railway line, you will find yourself cycling on a quiet road through the rolling countryside for a couple of kilometers. From here you will cross a bridge and continue on dirt trails that surround the dam. You will pass by a partially submerged school, once the hub of this declining community. The day will then continue without major challenges among the eucalyptus trees, up to the climb that will take you to the city of São Marco da Serra, one of the few possible coffee breaks in the day, towards the inland. Departing north-west, you will initially follow the railway line to continue through rolling countryside. Here you will travel winding country roads with tiny abandoned farms scattered on the hills until you reach the rural guesthouse that will host you for the night. Located on top of a hill overlooking the village and the valley, it is an oasis of peace where you can relax enjoying the beautiful garden or outdoor pool, before heading to one of the restaurants at the end of the road.

Day 7: Nave Redonda – Odeceixe: (47 km; +689 m)
The last bike stage will take you to the spectacular west coast of Portugal. You will cycle through even more remote countryside, dotted with farms and eucalyptus forests. Today's route will offer you an unforgettable cycling adventure, giving you the opportunity to truly immerse yourself in the natural beauty and serenity of the region allowing you to discover the authenticity of the places. As you approach the coast, you will pedal on a stretch of the famous Rota Vicentina, a historic route that is the backbone of another of our famous mountain bike tours. The sandy tracks and the salty air will announce your arrival at the sea. The pretty town of Odeceixe, with its white houses and old windmill, also marks the border between Alentejo and Algarve. At Praia de Odeceixe, a few kilometers further down the road, you will find a bar and restaurant overlooking the beautiful Atlantic beach. The perfect end to your tour in Algarve!

Day 8: Odeceixe
After breakfast, private transfer from your accommodation to the airport/bus station and end of services.
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✅ What is included in the trip?

  • Travel/Medical Insurance 24/24
  • Overnight stay and breakfast
  • Luggage transfer
  • Local telephone assistance 7/7
  • Detailed description and maps of the itinerary
  • GPS or navigation APP
  • Transfer to/from the airport/bus station

❌ What is not included?

  • Transfers not listed as "Included"
  • City tax
  • Tips
  • Journey to/from the starting point of the tour
  • Meals and drinks not listed as "Included"
  • Bike rental
  • Extras
  • Entrance fees, ferries and anything not listed as "Included"
  • Welcome briefing

💸 Cancellation fees

  • Time Range
  • Full refund
  • More 29 days of departure
  • 75%
  • From 13 to 29 days before departure
  • 50%
  • Up to 7 days before departure
  • Not refundable

On the trails of the Algarve on mountain bike

  • To pedal along the banks of the Guadiana River, on the border between Spain and Portugal
  • To cool off at Pego do Inferno, the secret waterfall, as the Portuguese call it, with a natural swimming pool below
  • To delve into the most authentic Algarve, away from tourist routes, pedalling along country paths between villages and natural springs, like the Fonte Benemola, immersed in lush vegetation
  • To mingle with the locals seated at a café in the São Bartolomeu de Messines square tasting , after the delicious local dishes, a drop of Medronho
  • To cycle along a stretch of the Rota Vicentina, the spectacular route that follows one of the most scenic stretches of coast in the world
  • To reach the border between the Alentejo and the Algarve and end the trip with an ocean view at Praia de Odeceixe
  • To treat yourself to a tour of Portugal on mountain bike from the hinterland of the Algarve to the Atlantic Ocean

🙋 Frequently asked questions

  • Can I bring my own bike?

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  • What kind of assistance will I have during the trip?

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  • How do I know if a tour is within my capabilities?

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  • What is the cost of renting bicycles?

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  • Are rented bikes equipped with accessories like lights or bags?

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Algarve Bike Holidays

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Starting from 895per person

stariicon4.9/5on15 reviews
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How many of you will there be?

Adults

Minimum participant number: 2

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Tour operator with Europe Assistance RC Insurance 4249713 - Registered with the Guarantee Fund with A.I.A.V. Associazione Italiana Agenti di Viaggio trough IL SALVAGENTE s.c. a r.l.. All rights reserved.

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