Trans-Algarve Hill „Serra“ tour
Holiday and bike tour description
Day 1 Arrival
Individual arrival and check-in at the hotel in Faro. 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.
Bike tour 1 Faro - Vaqueiros 39km/ 630hm
This morning you will transfer to Azinhal on the Spanish border, the start of your tour. Now you can set off on your bike! The route takes you on a very quiet, well surfaced, tree-lined road through the village and on towards the Guadiana river, which forms the border. Just before you get there you will enter the ‘Serra do Caldeirao’, the hilly inland region. From the top of a hill the pretty little village of Odeleite can already be seen with the deep blue reservoir behind it. You reach the village after an exhilarating descent and cycle through it, constantly up and down through the little streets. After cycling a few kilometres along by the reservoir you come right out into very quiet countryside. The roads are good and carry hardly any traffic. The landscape is open with just low scrubland by way of vegetation. The road is lined with gorse bushes and rock roses – an enchanting sea of flowers in the spring. You will pass through many small villages with whitewashed houses, for the most part uninhabited. All the time you are climbing gently upwards towards Vaqueiros, where you will stay the night.
Bike tour 2 Vaqueiros - Barranco do Velho 39km/ 840hm
Today you cycle uphill and downhill nearly all day! The landscape has changed. Beside the road you will see spruce, almond and eucalyptus trees and a variety of bushes, especially medronho. You will come to Cachopo, a quiet unspoilt village in the middle of the Serra. You can take a break at a nice, inviting café in the village square. After this your route takes you onwards through dense and fragrant spruce groves and over a number of summits from which you will enjoy breathtaking views of the coast and also of the vast Serra hills. When you leave Castelao you will ride down to the Ribeira de Odeleite. A wonderful old stone bridge takes you across the river. You then follow the bank enjoying the shade provided by the rich vegetation. You cycle uphill to the village of Parizes and then continue on the ‘Rota de Cortica’ with its many cork oaks. Finally you will come to Barranco do Velho, the end of today’s stage.
Bike tour 3 Barranco do Velho - São Bartolomeu Messines 45km/ 570hm
Back to civilisation today! You will enjoy a very long and exhilarating descent on a newly resurfaced road with hardly any traffic. You ride through a densely wooded area with ancient cork oaks. Time seems to stand still here! You continue on a beautiful panoramic road. It’s a straight road and it undulates gently, passing many small villages in the direction of Bartolomeu de Messines and rewarding you constantly with fantastic views of the coast. However, just after leaving Salir, you take a small detour around the Rocha da Pena. Benafim is an inviting place for a break in one of the Pastelarias that line the street. This is an agricultural area and you will see lots of orange groves and the trees that are so typical of the Algarve – carob, fig and almond. You cycle then briefly uphill again before enjoying a long descent to reach the end of today’s stage. Your accommodation is in a beautifully renovated 16th century building with its own restaurant.
Bike tour 4 São Bartolomeu de Messines - Monchique 54km/ 740hm
Today’s route is a combination of good off road cycling and paved roads with some very winding and steep sections right at the beginning. As soon as you set off you will cycle immediately up to the top of a hill where you will have a fantastic view of the deep blue reservoir, the ‘Barragem do Funcho’, nestled in the green hills of the Serra. Rich vegetation lines the riverside path which you follow until you reach the dam and the next beautiful reservoir, the ‘Barragem do Arade’. It is a steep ride down to this point. You then follow the Ribeiro Arade until you come to Silves. After this you have a long, flat section before climbing once again to Caldas de Monchique at the Ribeira de Odeluca. This thermal spa resort is situated in a magnificent, shady, evergreen valley.
Bike tour 5 Monchique - Aljezur 53km/ 840hm
Today you cross the Serra to reach the wild west coast! The day begins with a short climb in a northerly direction, up into the evergreen hills of the Serra de Monchique. After that the route continues west towards the coast. You cycle across a high plateau, somewhat undulating, and come to Marmelete. You then continue on a long descent towards Aljezur. Just before you come to this village, the route makes a large loop round to bring you directly to the coast and to the beach, the Praia de Monte Clerigo. The Costa Vicentina nature reserve stretches for many kilometres in this part of the coast. It is one of the best preserved coastlines in Europe and provides a habitat for numerous animal and plant species. Wild herbs are prolific here, which alongside the wildflowers, the numerous grasses and the eucalyptus trees, give this region a wonderful fragrance. You cycle over a castle hill and through the narrow streets of the Old Town of Aljezur to reach your bed for the night.
Bike tour 6 Aljezur - Sagres 60 km/ 650hm
The last stage follows the coast the whole way down to Sagres. First you cycle off-road as far as Carrapateira, a village situated in a large area of dunes and on a hill where a windmill (still complete) provides a good landmark, visible from every direction. Your route takes you on along the cliffs and through a landscape where the green vegetation is known as ‘macchia’. The views over the deep blue Atlantic are quite breath-taking. You pass two beautiful sandy bays and then continue on to Vila do Bispo on a well surfaced road which is lined with wonderfully tall pine trees. After this you cross a steppe-like plateau. You should make the fascinating detour to the Cabo de Sao Vicente, the most south westerly point of Europe. The lighthouse, towering high above the cliffs, offers a fantastic view of the coast and the Atlantic Ocean. You can cycle past the Fort Beliche which once served as a defence against pirates, and you will come to the Fortaleza de Sagres fortress. This fortress, extensively and carefully renovated, stands on the top of a headland. Your route then brings you to Sagres, the legendary town where the navigator school was located. It was here that Portugal’s best seafarers were trained and later explored the oceans of the world.
Day 8 Journey back
Transfer from your hotel to Faro airport or to another agreed destination in the Algarve (included).