These are all great reasons to go on holiday...But those with cycling in their blood can grow restless where others would begin to relax. Hands that are accustomed to controlling handlebars can grow fidgety. Feet that are used to being on pedals can start to itch!
The good news is that Europe has no shortage of gorgeous, cycle friendly destinations. While Portugal may not be quite so well known for cycling as France, Spain or the Pyrenees which separate them, it still has a rich history of cycling and a number of gorgeous locales in which to pump the pedals…
Popular cycling destinations in Portugal
WIthin Portugal’s abundance of lush scenery and man-made wonders are a host of fantastic cycling destinations to suit all ability levels;
Peneda Geres National Park- Looking for something scenic and sedate that will be accessible to beginners? Try the sprawling grounds of Peneda Geres. With tranquil forests, babbling rivers and charming 12th century granite houses it’s a great way to get a taste of Portugal as you pedal.
Ecovia Do Litoral Cycling Trail- You may think you’ve seen all there is to see in The Algarve but there’s more to this region than beaches and golf resorts. This stunning 214 km cycling trail offers stunning coastal views, traditional fishing villages and a plethora of opportunities for swimming.
Alentejo - Portugal’s best-kept secret! Alentejo’s national park is the largest coastal park in Europe and covers 100km from Porto Covo down to Burgau in the Algarve. Here you’ll get the opportunity to cycle through olive gardens and orange groves as well as quaint villages and Atlantic beaches. Truly stunning! While you’re there, be sure to check out the Guadiana valley with its famous wildflowers. Here you can also get off your bike and hop into a canoe for a truly special natural experience.
History of cycling in Portugal
Like much of Europe, Portugal has a devoted cycling culture since the late 19th century. To this day, you’ll find cyclists virtually everywhere from Lisbon to even the remotest rural areas. The Museu do Ciclismo in the region of Caldas da Rainha even chronicles the Portuguese love affair with cycling and its history of competitive cycling.
Famous cycle races in Portugal
Portugal plays host to a handful of high-profile cycle races throughout the year, not least of which is its answer to the Tour de France, the Volta a Portugal. Which takes place in late July. There’s also the Volta ao Alentejo, the GP Internacional Torres Vedras and the Cyclin’ Portugal Classica da Arrabida and Classica Aldeias do Xisto.
When to Visit
Portugal tends to offer something for cyclists all year round, owing to its generally clement weather. In Porto and the north, you’ll find the best cycling in the summer months while in spring, autumn and winter you’ll have a great time cycling in the southern areas like The Algarve and Alentejo.