A great bike holiday in one of Europe’s sunniest regions and along one of its most beautiful coasts.
The west coast of Portugal, from Lisbon to Sagres, is an extremely beautiful part of the coastline. First you travel by bus from Lisbon to Setubal. You cross the estuary of the Sado river by ferry and then set off on your bike! You cycle for 30 km along a long, sandy beach and through rice fields as far as Sines, the birthplace of the famous explorer Vasco da Gama. This is where the Costa Vicentina nature reserve begins with its rugged sea cliffs, falling steeply into the sea and its countless sandy beaches and bays, mostly unfrequented and all astoundingly beautiful. You keep to the coast the whole way to the very end, the Cabo de São Vicente, the most southwesterly point of europe. You can spend your last evening and the next day up until your departure time exploring Sagres, one of the world’s best short-stay destinations. Your return transfer will be by car to Tunes and by train to Lisbon (about three and a half hours).
TOUR PROFILE: You will ride on asphalted or natural roads with little traffic. In the high season (mid June to mid September) there may be a greater volume of traffic. It is also possible to do this tour in the opposite direction.
You will be picked up at Lisbon airport and transferred directly to your accomodation (inclusive). Alternatively, you can book instead of the direct transfer a journey which will take you through the Arrabida nature reserve and along the beautiful coast to Setúbal (45€). From there you will begin your bicycle tour the next morning.
A ferry takes you across the Sado river estuary and then you cycle along a white sandy beach with crystal-clear wate ras far as the rice fields, which make this area so beautiful. Just as these fields begin you have the opportunity to visit a small museum dedicated to the cultivation and harvesting of rice. A small freshwater lake, idyllically situated very close to the sea at melide, is very inviting for a dip. You cycle through the Lagoas de Santo Andre nature reserve, an area of lagoons and dunes with a great number of wading birds, including storks and flamingos, and then you will reach your accomodation.
Soon after the start of today’s ride you will reach Sines. This town, rich in history, is built on a steep hill right by the Atlantic Ocean. In its centre there is a fortress, standing on one of Portugal’s most beautiful viewpoints. Once you leave Sines you come to the beginning of the Costa de Vicentina nature reserve. Rocky cliffs and small sandy bays are now striking features of the landscape. You cycle through the small fishing port of Port Côvo and past the ruins of a fortress built in the 17th century as a defence against pirates. Far out at see you will see the “Ilha do Pessegueiro“ island on which there is another fortress, built for the same purpose. You cycle onwards through countryside typical of the Alentejo region with its large, flat fields and areas of cork oaks and pinewoods. You will then reach Vila Nova de Milfontes, a picturesque place situated on the wide Mira river just where it flows into the sea.
Your first destination today is the Sentinela do Cabo Sardão lighthouse which stands on the edge of a very impressive cliff. The greatest surprise here ist hat a colony of great white storks has established itself here, nesting on rocks. This section of coastline is recognised as the only place in the world where storks nest on sea stacks and in fact have become established here and can be observed all the year round. You cycle on through the pretty village of Zambujeira de mar, situated high above the cliffs and where the attractive village “square“ is in fact round! After this you pass through unspoilt, agricultural countryside before reaching the river Seixe and the village of Odeceixe which features attractive, whitewashed and red roofed houses and is situated above one of the most beautiful sandy bays of the whole tour on the wide river estuary.
Today’s route takes you through a landscape of vast fields. Wild herbs grow here which together with the wild flowers, grasses and eucalyptus groves, fill the air with a wonderful fragrance. In the spring this area is an absolute sea of flowers with swathes of green pasture land, deep red carpets of flowers and almond trees in blossom. You cross the Rio Aljezur river to reach the town of the same name. You go through the Old Town and over the castle mound and on to Carrapateira which stands on a hill amidst extensive dunes and is reached by means of a truly beautiful cycle ride along the cliffs with marvellous views over the deep blue Atlantic and down to two sandy bays.
You cycle through attractive, evergreen shrub land, known in Portugal as the macchia and come to two beautiful bays. A steep path leads first to the Praia Barriga beach, which you may well have all to yourself, and then continues over a hill to the Praia da Cordama beach. Both bays have a backdrop of high, rugged cliffs. In fact at low tide you can ride your bike along the sand from one beach to the next- that saves you cycling over the hill! Your route continues across a steppe- like high plateau and brings you to the most southwesterly point of europe, the Cabo de São Vicente, where the lighthouse stands on top of the high cliffs. Finally, a beautiful coast road will bring you to Sagres, a place full of myths and legends. This is where the marine school was founded and where Portugal’s best seafarers were educated and went on to explore the world’s great oceans. The town onf Sagres is situated on a promontory at the end of which you will find the fortress, a large building that has been carefully renovated.
On your last day we will take you by car to Tunes train station and you will catch the intercity train to Lisbon. Sit back and enjoy your train journey through the Alentejo. Dotted across the landscape you will see cork oaks and olive trees which have stood the test of time. Huge fields disappear past your window, cornfields wave in the breeze, cows and sheep graze in the meadows, these are all features of this beautiful landscape. Here and there you will see farms and vineyards with their single storey, whitewashed houses. The heat of the sun slows the rhythm of life and time seems to stand still… When you arrive in Lisbon, take a taxi to your hotel which is very centrally situated. You may have time to do some exploring.
An alternative option: Instead of going by train, you could fly from Faro to Lisbon or any other destination. We would gladly help you with this.
Individual departure or extension.
You will stay in typical Portuguese guesthouses and 3*** and 4**** hotels. Breakfast is included in the price. Half board is possible at an extra charge of 27 €/person/evening.
Individual arrival to Lisbon. Transfer from Lisbon airport to Setubal, and on the 7th day transfer from Sagres to the railway station in Tunes is included in the price.
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