In this article we share a hand-curated selection of Albufeira’s best cycling routes.

Two of the routes have been provided to us by Jürgen Roelandts, an ex pro cyclist who bought an apartment in Albufeira at the start of his career and came back to the central Algarve for all his winter training. These are two of his favourite rides in the region.

The remaining routes are suggested by Marco Fernandes, who worked for the Portugese Cycling Federation and knows the Algarve like the back of his hand.

This article forms part of our series of articles that highlight some of the Algarve’s best cycling routes in each of:

  • The west, cycling around Lagos (here)
  • The centre, cycling around Albufeira (in this article)
  • The east, cycling around Tavira (here)

Looking for our in-depth guide to cycling the Algarve? Read this. Want our tips for where to stay? Read this. All distances are estimates.

Lagos loop

Distance: 65 km
Total climbing: 520 m
Highlight: A great warm-up ride for the Albufeira region. Carvoeiro is gorgeous.
Suitable bike: Road bike

Marco from BikeSul says “Albufeira is a busy place, especially in the summer months, so take care on your way out; until you reach Algoz you’ll probably encounter some traffic. From then on you’re in the Algarve’s wonderful Barrocal region and the roads will be much quieter.

Fontes da Matosa is a pretty cobbled village and Lagoa and Carvoeiro are also charming. Carvoeiro also has a beautiful beach; the perfect place to take a break, overlooking the sea.

At Algar de Benagil there’s a famous cave you can explore if you have time – rent a kayak, paddleboard or take a boat there. From here there’s a climb up and on to Senhora da Rocha you’ll find an excellent viewpoint over the cliffs.

From here it’s back to the more touristy areas surrounding Albufeira.”

Alte loop

Distance: 77 km
Total climbing: 1,000 m
Highlight: Orange and almond trees plus coffee in Alte
Suitable bike: Road bike

Jerom from Musette Bike is a good friend of Jürgen Roelandts and spoke to us about the route on Jürgen’s behalf. Jerom says “You head out of busy Albufeira towards Algoz. Once you’re out of the city you’ll pass many orange and citrus farms. It’s something of a rollercoaster for the first 20 kilometres or so before the main climb starts, heading up to Messines and Alte.

Alte is a gorgeous little town and an excellent place to stop for a coffee on your ride, the Germano Bike Cafe. The old village is next to a river with cascading mini waterfalls through the centre. There’s also a mountain bike race that’s held here.

On the way back to Albufeira you’ll ride through a number of seaside resorts – so there’s always the option to park up and take a dip!

This is an excellent ride if you haven’t got all day but want to get out into the beautiful landscapes the Algarve is famous for.”

Silves and Loulé loop

Distance: 103 km
Total climbing: 1,210 m
Highlight: The N124 from Silves to Salir is stunning
Suitable bike: Road bike

Marco from BikeSul says “You leave Albufeira on pretty flat terrain, through orange groves, heading west towards Alcantarilha. Alcantarilha is a gorgeous village which gives you a feel for how life in the Algarve was in the 1950s and 60s, with cobbled roads, a church and local cafés.

The road rises to Silves, a beautiful town topped off by an impressive castle that is a National Monument. The N124 is wonderfully quiet and takes you northeast to São Bartolomeu de Messines about 40 kilometres into the route. It’s up and down (but mostly up) to Alte, one of the most historical villages in the Algarve, with a fantastic bike cafe, the Germano Bike Cafe also mentioned in the Alte loop ride above.

A little further on, from Benafim you get great views of the Rocha da Pena landscape. At Salir your turn south and the rollercoaster of hills continues, amongst which the Tôr and Cruz da Assomada climbs stand out. From these you can see all the way to the coast.

From there it’s down to Loulé and back towards Boliqueime and Albufeira.”

Vilamoura loop

Distance: 122 km
Total climbing: 1,680 m
Highlight: The beautiful climb to Barranco do Velho and the Serra do Caldeirão
Suitable bike: Road bike

Marco from BikeSul says “This is a challenging route with a considerable amount of climbing through the impressive interior of the Algarve. Be prepared for the fact that the route is pretty much uphill for the first 50 kilometres. At Barranco do Velho you’re near the top of the climb and it’s a nice place to stop for a coffee.

Here you meet the Algarve’s famous N2 road, which takes you to the northernmost point of this ride at Ameixial. Just after here, the climb to Vermelhos is one to watch out for – it’s only 2.5 kilometres long but some parts reach gradients of 10%+. You then descend down to Califórnia, though are some notable “up” parts too!

Just after Tameira, you will spot that you are quite close to the famous Malhao climb – if you want you could always divert up it and conquer the Algarve’s most famous climb. After this, you head south to Benafim, the nice village of Paderne and then back towards the more busy coast.”

Monchique and Foia loop

Distance: 156 km
Total climbing: 2,372 m
Highlight: Reaching Foia, the highest point of the Algarve
Suitable bike: Road bike

As for the Albufeira-Alte route Jürgen recommended, Jerom from Musette Bike spoke to us about the route on Jürgen’s behalf. Jerom says “The route carefully winds out of Albufeira, avoiding the busiest roads. After Guia the traffic subsides and you settle into the swing of the gentle rise and fall of the terrain.

From around 20 km into the route, the road follows the railway track and you can enjoy some fast, flat riding until you approach Silves about 10 kilometres later. You’ll have spotted Silves’ mediaeval hilltop castle looms on the horizon for a good distance beforehand. It’s a popular little town with a well-known festival in summer.

You pass the Autodrome, home to Formula 1 racing, and the climbing gradually starts, taking you up the climb to Monchique and from there to the summit at Foia.

The route down is quite spectacular, through Alferce. Jurgen likes to call it the roof of the Algarve, as you’ll enjoy far-reaching views to the ocean. You pass the Odelouca dam and descend to Silves and take a different route back into Albufeira.

This is a route with a good chunk of climbing and some spectacular scenery. One not to be missed, especially if you want to tick off having cycled Monchique and Foia.”

 

A huge thank you to Jerom and Marco for sharing their expertise. We hope you enjoy exploring this area of the Algarve – let us know how you get on in the comments below!

Want to know more about cycling in the Algarve?

Don’t miss our in-depth guide to cycling in the Algarve. We share everything from where to stay, to when to come and what to bring.

Once you’ve read that, you might also like

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Marco Fernandes

Marco Fernandes has been involved in cycling for most of his life, starting as a professional racer in his youth. After he finishes his degree, he worked with the Portuguese Cycling Federation and other companies that organise events and cycling tours in Portugal. He remains one of the authorities on cycling in Algarve Portugal.

Jerom Pannier runs Musette Bike and has lived in Portugal for many years.

Jerom says “Our mission is to provide a high quality service. We have two shops, one at the exclusive Martinhal resort near Sages and one in Salema, close to Lagos.

From each shop you can hire high quality carbon and aluminium road bikes as well as e-bikes, mountain bikes, gravel bikes and kids bikes. Our prices include little extras, like helmets, pedals and access to their library of routes. Bike delivery is available (1 euro per kilometre and a 15 euro minimum) as well as guided tours.

Our multilingual team (but fear not, everyone speaks English!) love to take guests out to explore their beautiful region. Our mantra is that good service starts with a smile.”

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