West Coast tour
You never leave the coast! The west coast with its endless beaches and the vast plains of the Alentejo gradually disappears from view. Halfway along you will enter the Costa Vicentina nature reserve. This covers the south western coastal strip from Sines to Sagres and is one of the largest nature reserves in Portugal. Here you will discover the unique plant and animal ecosystem thriving here amongst some of the most beautiful and unspoilt beaches in Portugal.
Holiday and bike tour description
Day 1 Arrival Airport Lisbon – Transfer to Setúbal
You will be met at Lisbon airport and transferred to your hotel in Setubal - cost included. For an extra charge you can opt for a 90-minute extended tour around the peninsula. You will be taken right along the coast and then through the Arrabida nature reserve. This area is in the weather shadow of a range of hills and as a result produces extensive vegetation of the unique variety known as the ' macchia '. You continue on a very beautiful coast road which runs alongside the Sado estuary and the Atlantic Ocean, passing some lovely sandy beaches. Your overnight accommodation is right on the seafront and affords a great view of Tróia where your cycle tour will begin the following morning.
Day 2/ Bike tour 1 Setúbal – Tróia - Vila Nova de Santo André 53km/ 500 metres of ascent
At first you take the ferry to Tróia and then your cycle tour begins!
You begin by cycling for 12km down an almost entirely straight road in a southerly direction along the Tróia promontory. On both sides of the road there are fine sandy beaches but unfortunately you can’t see them from the road as they are hidden by sand dunes. After 12 km and just before you reach Comporta the road bends to the left. It is here that the paddy fields begin. They continue for 8 km all the way to Carvalhal, the town you come to next. Just as the rice fields begin, on the right-hand side, there is a small museum dedicated to the cultivation and harvesting of rice. Soon after leaving Carvalhal you will come to a right turn which leads on towards Sines. The next 20km to Melides are almost totally flat. You will pass a number of small farms. You cycle past Melides, a typical Alentejo village with white houses which have coloured door and window frames. You then cross the Melides river. This small river flows into a beautiful little lagoon before flowing on into the sea. When you leave Melides you will pass the Santo Andre nature reserve before coming to your overnight accommodation in Vila Nova de Santo André.
Day 3/ Bike tour 2 Vila Nova de Santo André – Vila Nova de Milfontes 57km/ 460 metres of ascent
From your hotel you first cycle back to the A26-1, the road you came in on yesterday. You cycle along this road on a fairly wide hard shoulder. You continue on a narrow road towards Sines with lush vegetation in parts. Just before you reach Sines you will come to another bridge. After crossing this bridge, you will reach the outskirts of Sines which is located on a high plateau. Above the bay is the Old Town of Sines where there are the ruins of a medieval castle. From this castle there is a wonderful view of the whole harbour bay and the Atlantic. You then leave the town behind and cycle for a while through the industrial area before you reach a really beautiful coast road. This is where the Costa Vicentina nature reserve begins. You follow this road for 8km with hardly a bend as far as Porto Covo, a fishing village. It was completely destroyed in the 17th century and then rebuilt on a grid system. You now ride for 3km along a wild coastline with steep, rugged cliffs, a beautiful beach and the ruins of the Nossa Senhora da Queimada fortress. Just out at sea from this point you can see an island, the Ilha do Pessegueiro. There are the ruins of a castle on this island too. After this you cycle inland and will pass some buildings which are typical of the Alentejo region. Finally, you reach Vila Nova de Milfontes. This picturesque place stands on the edge of a cliff above the Mira river which is quite wide here where it flows into the sea. There is a castle at the edge of the Old Town. On the southern bank of the river – opposite the town – are beaches which stretch all the way to the Atlantic.
Day 4/ Bike tour 3 Vila Nova de Milfontes – Odeceixe 49km/ 520 metres of ascent
Today you first leave the village and cross the Mira river by means of a high bridge. You will come to the small village of Almograve which have two lovely beaches, pretty houses painted white and with red tiled roofs. You cycle through the village and on towards Cavaleiro. When you get there, you should make a small diversion off your route to visit the westernmost point of the Alentejo coast and the Sentinela do Cabo Sardão lighthouse which stands on the edge of a spectacular rocky peninsular. From the lighthouse you follow a narrow path which runs in a southerly direction along the cliffs. This path is the Costa Vicentina coastal footpath. You continue on a very good cycle path with thick bushes on either side until you reach the small village of Zambujeira do Mar. This village stands right on the cliff edge. You leave this village and cycle steeply downhill to the beach and then on another 4km over a hill to the next beach, the Praia do Carvalhal. After that you go up again to a plateau where the land is extensively farmed. You pass these fields and continue on an unsurfaced road towards the Ribeiro do Seixe river. You ride along by the river and then you will come to a long bridge. Immediately after this bridge you turn right into the pretty village of Odeceixe which stands on a hill. Below the village you will find one of the most beautiful beaches in the Algarve.
Day 5/ Bike tour 4 Odeceixe – Carrapateira 47km/ 480hm or Pedralva 51km/ 590hm
Today you set off from your accommodation and head out of the village in the direction of Aljezur. The countryside is filled with cork oak plantations and large fields with olive trees. As far as Aljezur the landscape is mostly flat with large fields of sweet potatoes. After this, the route takes you steeply downhill to the Ribeira de Aljezur river valley. As you leave the village the road begins to climb again and takes you up over a hill where you will find the ruins of a 9th century Moorish castle. You continue towards Carrapateira, a small village on a hill in the middle of a large area of dunes. You will see a beautifully renovated windmill from quite a distance; this is Carrapateira’s noted landmark.
Day 6/ Bike tour 5 Carrapateira or Pedralva – Sagres 41km/ 520hm or 28km/ 490hm
You begin today by cycling along the main road towards Vila do Bispo. After about 8.9 km on this road you will see a windfarm on the left. After about 1.7 km you turn right towards the sea. After a further 1.6 km there is a steep winding path down to a beautiful quiet beach, the Praia Barriga. The path then goes steeply up again to the hilltop and then down again to another bay, the Praia da Cordama, where there is a restaurant. You then come to the small village of Vila do Bispo. After that you cross a barren plateau and finally come to the Cabo de Sao Vicente lighthouse complex. This stands on cliffs that are 60 metres high and mark the most south-westerly point of Europe. Your route continues along a beautiful coast road to Sagres, a place steeped in legend. Sagres village stands on a headland at the top of which is the vast and carefully renovated fortress of Sagres.
Day 7 Sagres – Tunes – Lisbon: transfer and train
Today we will take you to Tunes train station where you can catch the Intercity train to Lisbon. It is a beautiful train journey through the Alentejo with a landscape dotted with ancient cork and olive trees. Vast fields stretch as far as the eye can see, cornfields sway in the wind, cows and sheep graze in the meadows – time seems to stand still. In between there are farmhouses and vineyards with low, white buildings. On your arrival in Lisbon, you can get a taxi to your hotel which is centrally located. You are free to explore the city! Another option: If you prefer, you can fly from Faro to Lisbon. We would be pleased to help you with this transfer.
Day 8 Journey back
Individual back journey or holiday extension. On request we can offer extra nights in Lisbon to discover the beautiful city with its many attractions from the historic past.