Pousada Palácio de Estoi
- Route summary: The tour has a great variety of cycling routes in the east and west of the Algarve. Whether you ride into the quiet and unspoilt interior of the Algarve or along its vibrant coastline. We invite you to experience a fascinating and richly varied landscape with towns and villages typical of this region. The gradients vary from flat to hilly with some steep climbs, for which the corresponding excited descents more than compensate! You will enjoy many wonderful views towards the coast or inland. You cycle almost exclusively on quiet, well surfaced roads.
Holiday and bike tour description
Day 1 Arrival
You arrive at Faro airport and take a taxi to the Pousada Estói or make your own alternative arrangements. You will be welcomed by a representative of LisaBikes in the reception area of the hotel at the agreed time. Then the tour information will be given to you and we will answer any questions you may have. Your bicycles will be handed over to you and any necessary adjustments made.
Tour 1 red - 63km/ 710hm
The tour begins with a gentle warm-up cycle down to the beach. From the Pousada you’ll first head towards Moncarapacho and from there on to Luz de Tavira. The route goes along secondary roads through the Barrocal countryside with typical small villages and lots of fruit and vegetable fields as well as pastureland and trees which are typical of the Algarve region such as almonds, figs and carob. After Luz de Tavira you’ll take the national 125 road (EN125) for exactly 1 km before you turn off towards the sea. When you get to the holiday resort of Pedras del Rei you’ll find yourself in the lagoon area of the "Ria Formosa" nature reserve. Cycling on a beautiful boardwalk, you’ll go past the lagoons and salt fields from which the famous „Flor de Sal“ salt comes from. You’ll then continue along the Ria Formosa arriving at the historic town of Tavira, also called the "Venice of the Algarve" with its many small bridges. At the edge of the historic centre of this beautiful town, you’ll cross the railway line and shortly after that come onto the EN125, but only for a short distance to the big roundabout where you’ll go off towards Santa Margarida. From here the second part of today's tour begins, a steady up and downhill, with lengthy climbs and descents, dominated by a landscape of a lot of cork and olive trees. After Santa Catarina de Bispo there’s a final 2.5 km climb and then you’ll be on a straight road towards São Bras de Alportel. On the new bypass branch off at the third roundabout towards Estói. Now you can look forward to a long, exhilarating downhill ride! Pedal just a little more and you’ll be back at the Pousada.
Tour 2 violet - 75km/ 1.200hm
Today's tour starts with a ride to Sta. Barbara de Nexe and then continuing on to Loulé. You’ll bypass the small market town and then after 2 kilometres the route leads onto a secondary road which goes to Parragil. Steadily going uphill you’ll reach Parragil and then the tour continues north going to Benafim. On a wide road with hardly any traffic you’ll go in steep descent into the "Ribeira de Algibre" valley. Once you get to the bottom, you’ll go over the little bridge, and then it’s back to climbing! A 7 km climb (4-5%) to Benafim, which is 300 m above sea level. Once you’ve got to the top, you’ll cycle towards Salir along a long hill range, constantly slightly going up and down. You’ll go through large fruit orchards, time and again having really beautiful views of the coastal area. After the village of Salir there’s a very easy ascent of 6 km towards Barranco do Velho. The route is along a newly tarmacked road - with no traffic - through a densely forested area, with ancient gnarled cork and pine trees in some places. It seems like time is standing still! At the crossroads, turn off at 50 km towards Querença. First, a short section uphill, but then there’s a wonderful and long descent. The tour takes you back over the "Ribeira Algibre" and then up to Amendoeira and São Romão. Then a short, steep descent to the EN270 which you need to go across, leaving it after just a few metres going towards Corotelo. There’s then a short but very steep climb. Once at the top, you’ll be rewarded with a very long descent towards Estói and then once again you’ll be back at the Pousada.
Tour 3 black - 89km/ 1.700hm
Today, you’re once again high up in the hilly, mountainous world of the Serra. Expect 20 percent gradients! The tour starts with a climb to Corotelo, the same route as the last leg of tour 2 - violet, but the other way around. Once you get to the top, you’ll descend very quickly to the main road where the tour goes towards Loulé. After a few more or less flat kilometres you’ll get to the small town which you’ll go through and then the fun begins! First, with lots of ascents and descents, the tour goes through two river valleys towards Salir. You go through this town and then go north towards Vermelhos. The route goes steadily up and downhill with very steep climbs and descents. The landscape is dominated by cork trees, eucalyptus trees, medronho bushes (Arbutus unedo) and macchia scrublands as well as rock roses. It is a deserted, natural area which remains intact. There are no cafes or restaurants in this sparsely populated region, and we recommend that you replenish your water reserve in or before Salir. Shortly after 48 km there’s a bend and the tour again go towards the south. You’ll get to the "old" Faro-Lisbon N2 national road at 54 km, a few kilometres after Ameixial, after going through a very deep river valley. Shortly after that you’ll get to the highest point of the tour - 589 m above sea level. You did it! Then it’s a rapid descent to a small hill which once again is slightly uphill. But then ... nearly always going down! The route heads towards São Bras de Alportel via Barranco do Velho and then continues downhill to Estoi. Another little tip for you - you can get the best roast boar in the region at a restaurant called "Tia Bia" in Barranco do Velho.
Tour 4 blue - 90km/ 1.400hm
First, you’ll be going to Santa Barbara de Nexe again and then via Loulé towards Paderne. After a few kilometres you’ll get to the small town known for its castle ruins dating back from the Moorish period. Shortly after Paderne turn towards Alcaria. Suddenly the traffic stops, there’s hardly a car to be seen, even though the road is very well maintained. You’ll cycle through rural areas, with a lot of fruit trees and large vegetable fields. The route for the time being is still flat, but after a few kilometres it begins to go up towards Alte, ending with an exhilarating, clear descent, with a view overlooking the last climb and the small town of Alte. Once at the top, the tour heads towards Salir / Loulé, but if you fancy it you can make a detour to Alte. With its pretty white houses and the small river which flows through the town, it’s one of a most beautiful towns in the Algarve. The route then continues along the hilltop and you’ll get to Benafim. Then there’s a fantastic descent into the "Ribeira de Algibre" valley, turning off shortly before getting there towards Tôr. After a short cycle you’ll get to the small village and then onward towards Loulé. Shortly after the turn-off you’ll go past the “Quinta da Tôr” vineyard - perhaps you’d like to stop and have a small wine tasting session? The last section of the tour goes through Loulé again to Sao Bras and from there downwards in a lovely long descent to Estoi.
Tour 5 green - 101km/ 1.900hm
Today's tour is one of the best! It once again goes back into the hilly, deserted Serra, but this time towards the east, to the "Serra de Calderão". First the route heads up to São Bras de Alportel and then further north to Barranco do Velho. Right in the middle of the cork tree area you get to Barranco do Velho, where you can even take a short rest before heading towards Cachopo and immersing yourself in the endless expanse of the Serra. On a fantastic road with no traffic, the route steadily goes up and down across open terrain. There are always fantastic panoramic views of the coastal area and of the rolling hills of the Serra. After 44 km you’ll get to Cachopo and this is also the turnaround point of today's tour. You can stop for lunch in the restaurant on the village square, just opposite the sign "40 km Tavira". We also recommend filling up your water reserve. Once invigorated, the route heads off on a brand-new tarmacked road with no traffic in the "Ribeira de Odeleite" valley. You’ll cross the valley via a steep descent and its facing uphill slope which is deadly. Next there’s an exhilarating descent over 10 kilometres to the junction towards Alcaria do Cume at 61 km. Be careful, the turn-off is just on a left-hand bend and can be easily missed during the descent! It goes to the right, up a slope to the transmission masts and then on to Alcaria do Cume. From here the route is a single shift from up and down to Malhada do Judeu. But then .... there’s a steep, magnificent descent down to Porto Carvalhoso. Down at the little bridge with no railings, the good road very abruptly ends, and you need to be careful on these last 3 km to the main road. Then you are once again back in civilisation! At the junction turn off towards Tavira, but then shortly after, at the Santa Catarina roundabout, go towards Olhão / Moncarapacho. The last part of the tour is pleasant, the route is almost flat and at Moncarapacho it becomes a straight road with some slight ups and downs, back to Estoi.
Tour 6 yellow - 57km/ 1.100hm
Today's tour also goes to the Serra, however, it’s a "rest day" compared to yesterdays. It begins with a cycle through a rural area with a lot of orange groves, up to Corotelo, followed by a short descent down to the main road. You’ll need to go across this road, leaving it after just a few metres, to go up towards São Romão. Once at the top, the route descends to the village of Amendoeira, which you’ll get to in one long descent. Once at the bottom of the hill, the route continues into another short descent towards Querença. Then there’s a long, continuous ascent of between 4-5%. The road is very well built and again has no traffic! The route passes through a densely forested area with cork trees, pine and eucalyptus trees and time and again olive trees. The last few metres up to the crossroads are rewarded with a sweeping downhill ride. You’ve already done this leg in tour 2 - violet, but this is going the other way! At the crossroads, turn towards Barranco do Velho and then there’s another 3 km climb. This 3 km climb is the local racing cyclists’ famous "triangle". It’s the connection to / from a lot of different tour options in the Serra. Once at the top at the crossroads the tour goes onto a secondary road towards Javali. However, you’re welcome to first make a small detour into Barranco do Velho and take a short break. The journey to Javali goes through a small, beautiful valley. After two steep slopes you’ll get to Javali and the plateau which you’ll go along for several kilometres before coming to the "Ponto de Miradouro", a beautiful viewpoint for seeing the coastal area. Now you can look forward to a very long downhill ride! On a good road with no traffic, you’ll go via Cova de Muda down to Alportel and then continue on to the Sao Bras bypass. On a secondary road via Mesquita and Peral you’ll then go down to Estoi and to the Pousada.
Day 8 Return journey
You take a taxi to the airport or you make your own alternative arrangements.