Bike tour heaven in Lagos, Algarve
The Portuguese city of Lagos is known for its beaches, Age of Discovery History, food and sea-life. However, it’s also a fantastic place for a bike tour and cycling in general!
But before we delve into that, let’s learn a bit about the cycling history of Portugal. The whole country is amazingly suited for cyclists, having an old history with cycling, that dates back to 1927, the year where the “Tour of Portugal” started.
A big part of the population stops to see this competition, and it’s no wonder that the second most popular national cycling event is the “Tour of the Algarve”.
The Algarve is the most southern region of the country, with an average of 300 sunny days per year. Besides, it boasts many kilometres of back roads, that entail scenic routes on mountainous terrain, gorgeous costal paths, as well as old roads that sinuously lead you from small town to small town.
Our government has made a considerable effort to develop multi-journey bike routes.
Check the Rota Vicentina, composed of 340 Km across the Algarve and Alentejo regions, for example. You’ll be able to experience the west coast and beauty of the Vincentine Coast National Park.
There’s also the Via Algarviana, essentially 300 Km connecting the Algarve from East to West. And did I mention the Ecovia do Litoral? This one is 214 Km long, also from East to West, but following a coastal route. I could go on forever with all the other smaller routes, but I don’t want to bore you, so I’ll let you explore on your own and be wondered.
With all this natural beauty and infrastructure, we have put together some fantastic tours around Lagos. But I have to warn you, we did not design our cycling experiences for the hard-core mountain bikers or road cycling warriors.
We also love to share our culture, and find that leisurely rides on beach-cruisers allow for a less intense and a relaxed opportunity to learn about history and culture, taste good wines and have great food! That’s why we crafted low paced, immersive bike tours designed for comfort and enjoyment!
This the original bike tour we forged for our small company. It covers all the essentials of Lagos in a slow-paced half-day experience. You start near the famous Ponta da Piedade cliffs, where you get to see dramatic sea-views and hidden coves. All of this while riding along bike paths in a beautiful natural setting, to the soundtrack of the ocean and cries of seagulls.
You then reach the old town and learn about the (sometimes grim) Age of Discovery history of Lagos. All while cruising by cobbled stone streets and checking local landmarks like the old slave market, castle and fortress.
The morning is topped with a visit to the local fish, spices and vegetable market.
You’ll join in the lively buzz, to the sound of fishmongers announcing the freshest catch of the day. You’ll be enveloped by the fragrance of spices, taste local fruits, honey and other delicacies.
Finally, you can choose to share a unique meal at a local fishermen restaurant. A never-ending portion of freshly caught fish cooked in charcoal, and accompanied by green wine, sides, desserts, coffee and spirits. 😊
Even if you don’t know much about Portugal, I’m sure you are aware we make pretty good wine! Our region is rich in boutique wineries, all small scale and high-quality operations. After cycling with friends to enjoy informal tastings, we decided to take guests too!
We start this ride in the countryside, just outside Lagos, at a small place called Bensafrim. This is one of those typical charming Portuguese towns surrounded by rolling hills, with a vibrant farming community, and centuries old architecture.
After cruising through the narrow-cobbled streets, you’ll quickly get to bucolic open fields. Here, one gets to enjoy the calmness of pasture lands, and the grazing cattle, while feeling a soothing breeze originated in the close-by ocean.
When the season is right, we get to stop and relish the local almonds, as a wide diversity of fruits directly from the surrounding trees.
Eventually, we reach a small organic winery. This is the moment we say farewell to our bikes and start indulging ourselves.
A visit to its small facilities, and an informative guided session ensues, topped at last by several tastings of wine, crafted with love. These are expertly paired with local delicacies, selected to enhance the best each wine has to offer.
We provide transportation in the end of the experience, so you can be safe and savour freely.
This is the ultimate beach-cruising experience! Cruisers fitted, briefing given, and we’re on our way from Lagos old town to the longest beach in Lagos. You get to cycle in the marina on the way out, following a bike path that leads you along the beach to a secluded location.
Here, away from civilization, you’ll be surprised by a magnificent estuary. The setting is superb, since you can see the highest mountains of the region to the north, and an azure water lagoon at your feet. As the weather tends to be on the hot side, we’ll cross a sandbar and hop straight to the beach for a refreshing swim, and to have some refreshments. We even bring some parasols, so we can relax for about an hour.
But this is a Bike & Oysters tour, right? Once we are all cooled off and happy, we ride to a small facility by the lagoon we mentioned before. We are greeted with a broad smile by our oyster’s specialist, Rui. He masterfully takes us through his facilities, highlighting the oyster farm, placed in the lagoon, and sharing in every step of the farming process.
Rui is a natural host, so we’ll taste the fresh oysters in style. White wine is provided, as well as several sauces. All of this with a unique view over mountains, lagoon and ocean. By the time our feast of senses comes to an end, we usually start enjoying a cool breeze. It’s the perfect moment to get back to Lagos, this time following a beautiful countryside route through green pastures and farms.
Sagres is known as “the end of the world”, a place of naval legends and epic stories. This is where the famous Henry the Navigator, mastermind, explorer, leader and usher of the Atlantic Slave trade laid the foundations for the Age of Discovery.
Located at the most southwestern point in continental Europe, one can’t avoid a feeling of smallness and wonder in Sagres. The atmosphere is electric. Its high limestone cliffs, dramatic views, hidden coves and the raw power of the Atlantic Ocean, are a frequent reminder of how insignificant you are.
Add some impressive cliff fortresses, beautiful back roads and great fresh seafood, and you get the recipe for an epic full-day bike trip!
This ride starts in the heart of the Vincentine coast National Park, a dream place for birdwatchers, surfers and hikers.
After an easy start through tarmac and dirt roads, one gets to a hidden beach facing west. Here, you’ll feel the chilled ocean breeze, the scent of salt dancing in your nostrils, and the refreshing Atlantic water cooling your feet.
Once fully in focus with nature and our surroundings, we hop back on our bikes and ride towards Saint Vincent’s Cape. This will mean maximum exposure, as you’ll have ocean views to the West, North and South, with the local lighthouse calling us in the distance.
Besides being a perfect spot for a photo op, you’ll also learn a bit more about Saint Vincent’s legend and how it relates to the local history. After that, you’ll be cruising towards the old town of Sagres, with a strategic stop at a local fishermen restaurant. It will be time to focus on your palate with a generous meal of the freshest catch of the day. There will be drinks, starters, desserts and coffee too.
Subsequently, a really slow ride ensues. Destination, the Fortress of Sagres! You’ll get to ride your bike inside this massive structure; a mix of centuries old man-made walls and of timeless escarpments. From here, we’ll get to the center of town, explore tiny paths incrusted near the precipices, and cruise by the fishing port.
This trip will come full circle after a final ride through nature, concluding at a near-by white sand beach.