Cycling holidays in the Algarve are on the rise: the combination of low traffic roads and beautifully warm climate has cyclists wanting to know more.

In this series of articles, we share the Algarve’s best cycling routes in three different areas of the region:

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

We’ve teamed up with two local cycling tours operators to share four cycling routes around Tavira and the eastern Algarve that are must-dos for anyone planning a cycling holiday in this part of the Algarve.

Read on!

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

Tavira warm-up ride

Distance: 72 km
Total climbing: 720 m
Highlight: Cacela Velha and inland views over the coast
Suitable bike: Road bike

Marco from BikeSul says “This route makes a wonderful, relatively easy introduction to cycling around Tavira. You start by riding east towards Spain, passing Cacela Velha which is one of the picture-postcard villages of the Algarve. It’s a small village from Moorish times where the street signs are still in Arabic. The traditional houses vie for attention with the impressive church and fort. It’s also very close to the beach and at low tide you can walk to the beach.

From here there’s a gentle climb inland to Pisa Barro, passing the famous Monte Rei golf course. You then descend down through the forest of “Mata Nacional da Conceição” (sadly burnt due to wildfires in 2021) and the Curral de Boeiros area.

After Malhada do Peres you climb up and get fantastic views of the mountains and down to Tavira. From here there are a few hills (but nothing too hard) and the traditional village of Santo Estevão, as you return to Tavira.”

Hills of the Serra do Sotavento

Distance: 89 km
Total climbing: 1,110 m
Highlight: Riding between the two lakes for serene, quiet roads with fantastic views
Suitable bike: Road bike

Marco from BikeSul says “This beautiful route starts by heading inland up a long gentle 5% average climb to Portela da Corcha. There are some fantastic views from the top of the climb, with panoramas of mountain and sea.

From here, you’re on back roads, winding through the Serra do Sotavento, to Cabeça Gorda and Casas. There’s then a short but steep climb; after that it’s mostly downhill. The section with Barragem de Odeleite reservoir on one side and Barragem de Beliche reservoir on the other is particularly beautiful. In the distance you’ll be able to make out Spain as you’re very close to the border here.

From here it is downhill to the village of Junqueira. A hill marks the way to Castro Marim, an important historical city where the castle and fort are worth a visit, before you return to Tavira.”

Gilão River and villages

Distance: 130 km
Total climbing: 1,800 m
Highlight: Gilão River and quiet villages
Suitable bike: Road bike

Cristina from MegaSport Travel says “This route takes cyclists through the hills around Tavira. It offers exceptional views of the Gilão River, the historical city of Tavira and ancient fishing villages.”

Tour of the eastern Algarve

Distance: 143 km
Total climbing: 1,690 m
Highlight: A long route that encapsulates the best bits of the eastern Algarve
Suitable bike: Road bike

Marco from BikeSul says “You head out along the coastline – it’s early on in your ride but if you want, consider a diversion to lovely Cacelo Velha (see Tavira warm-up ride above).

From Castro Marim you head north to Odeleite, climbing ever upwards to Montinho where you get a great view down to the reservoir. You continue up through the traditional mountain villages of Furnazinhas and Soudes. At Soudes the road is lined with unusual sculptures. There are some fantastic views over the Tavira mountains as you come to the typical village of Cachopo.

You then descend to Barranco do Velho and São Brás de Alportel before returning to Tavira via the EN 270, on a rolling road.”

 

A huge thank you to Marco and Cristina 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!

Looking for other routes in the Algarve?

A reminder about our articles sharing

Have you ridden in the Algarve? Tell us about your experiences in the comments below.

 

Cristina Dias from Megasport Travel says “Megasport is a tour operator for cycling and walking tours in Portugal. We’ve been operating in Portugal since 1993.

Megasport are supporters of environmentally sustainability practices, and are specialists in organising guided and self-guided tours for  individuals, groups, family holidays and tailor-made experiences.

With great knowledge of the region, we can offer bicycles, accommodation, transfers, daily luggage transfers, road books, GPS route files and travel documentation. Our cycling programs are designed to provide customers with memorable and joyful moments of relaxation, adventure or sports during their holidays.

In addition, we offer daily bicycle rental services and daily guided cycle tours with delivery and collection at the site.”

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.

Last Reviewed: 04 November 2002

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