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skirting the mountains cycling route

-By: Tomas Swift-Metcalfe

Last modified: March 24, 2014

skirting the mountains cycling route spread over 5 days and six nights

The algarve is cut of from the rest off Portugal geographically by mountains to the north. By these mountains there’s a wealth of history that will surprise you, including Roman and Moorish ruins, Visigothic graves and so on. The Algarve’s unique position at the far south western tip of Europe, by the sea meant that it was basically a halfway point for ancient mariners going between northern Europe and the Mediterranean.

As such this route passes not one, but many castles and ruins. I supply some information on each site in your route book and more information (should you want it) can be found at many sites.

Moorish castle old Moorish castle at Paderne

Because the Algarve is right next to Africa, geographically, it has really incredible wildlife; Iberia acts as a sort of land bridge between the northern boreal forests and Africa and as a result we have such a wealth of interesting plants, animals and wildlife. What’s even better is that on a bike (swift and silent) you’re much more likely to get close to the wildlife without upsetting it.

I’m not an ornithologist, but know a lot of the birds and where to find them. While the plant life here is incredible, beyond arrays of colour from the flowers in spring, the bike isn’t the best platform for observing plants.

The route starts in the garrison town of Vila Real de Santo Antonio, an incredible town build after the 1755 ‘Lisbon’ earthquake to help protect the frontier. It was built of a grid system and with pre fabrication, so it was years ahead in terms of town planing. The route then ‘skirts’ the mountains passing many other beautiful and interesting towns like Tavira, Loulé, Silves and Lagos before eventually arriving at Sagres.

watermill old watermill

All these towns are unspoilt and have an interesting history, they’re a bit of the normal tourist trail. Given you’ll be staying in each one, you’ll have the opportunity to explore them well.

This route isn’t physically demanding and the bikes we provide are good. The route is 180 km in total with the longest stage being 70 km, or about 3.5 h cycling at a leisurely 20 kph.

Accommodation is nearly all tried and tested and recommended restaurants are all tested and recommended impartially. Hotels are all three or four star and very well located. Your luggage is transferred for you, so you need not worry about that. A bike is provided, but you can bring your own and a customized route book is produced for you.

The cost of this holiday, with five days cycling and six night are as follows: April though till the end of October excluding August (too busy, too hot) the price is €895,00 April, May and October, €960,00 in June and €1085,00 in July and September based on two sharing. Singles are required to pay a €200,00 surcharge. We don’t run this holiday on fixed dates, so you’re free to choose when you’d like to take it, as long as you give us four weeks notice. The prices above are based on two sharing, include all transfers, six nights accommodation, breakfast and picnic lunch. We’re here to help, so if you need any advice with flights, dates etc, or are nervous about riding a bike for so long we’re on hand.

book now by e-mailing us at

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