Luís Simões, travel sketcher around the world
EuroVelo 1 – Algarve
The EuroVelo 1 – Atlantic Coast, Algarve is a full week of bike touring route through the Algarvian coast starting from the southwest tip of the country, Sagres, continuing to the east end, Vila Real Santo Antonio, through sheltered dunes to rocky coves, from small beaches to long stretches of sand, through a perfect climate to complement its spectacular coastline.
The EuroVelo Atlantic Coast – Algarve is a full week of bike touring route through the algarvian coast starting from the southwest tip of the country, Sagres, continuing to the east end, Vila Real Santo Antonio, through sheltered dunes to rocky coves, from small beaches to long stretches of sand, through a perfect climate to complement its spectacular coastline.
The EuroVelo Atlantic Coast – Algarve is a cycling route that is part of the EuroVelo Atlantic Coast which is a long-distance cycling route that runs along the Atlantic coast of Europe, passing through several countries including Portugal. But before we go dive into the tour, let’s get to know more about The EuroVelo Atlantic Coast briefly.
The EuroVelo Atlantic Coast
The EuroVelo Atlantic Coast (EV 1) Route is a long-distance cycling route that runs along the Atlantic coast of Europe, including Portugal. This route, also known as EV1, runs for over 4,500 kilometers, beginning in the north of Scotland and ending in Caminha, Portugal.
In Portugal, the route runs from north to south, starting at the Spanish border near Vila Nova de Cerveira and ending in Vila Real Santo Antonio in the Algarve region. It passes through several historic towns and villages, including Porto, Aveiro, and Lisbon, as well as beautiful natural landscapes such as the Ria Formosa Natural Park, the Serra de Sintra, Arrabida Natural Park, and the Costa Vicentina Natural Park.
The route is primarily on dedicated bike paths and quiet roads and is suitable for experienced and adventurous cyclists. It offers a unique opportunity to explore the country’s history, culture, and natural beauty.
The EuroVelo Atlantic Coast Route is part of the EuroVelo network of long-distance cycling routes, which covers the whole of Europe and is promoted by the European Cyclists’ Federation.
The EuroVelo 1 – Algarve
As it is named, the journey goes along the Atlantic Coast in the Algarve region, beginning from Sagres until Vila Real de Santo Antonio for 220 kilometers. Whether you are an experienced cyclist or a beginner, you can expect to have an enjoyable time exploring the combination of stunning scenery, cultural and historical sites, and delicious food and drink of its region.
Check out also the other tour that starts at Vila Real Santo Antonio, the Great Guadiana. A bike tour that focusing on the Guadiana river that flows, defining a long stretch of the Portugal-Spain border, separating the easternmost Algarve and Alentejo region in Portugal, and Andalucia and Extremadura in Spain.
Sagres to Lagos
Sagres is a small town located in the southwestern tip of Portugal, in the Algarve region, where the journey began at the grandiose Cape St Vincent lighthouse, 6 kilometers away from the downtown. From here, traverse the gems of the coast that so many tourists seek during the summer: the beaches. But hold your horses because there will be more beaches along the way that keep calling you to stop and dip into them.
The trip from Sagres to Lagos 44 kilometers in length (depending on where will you stay), will give a few good climbs, especially between Salema and Luz village. You may have to push up by hand due to the rough terrain.
Besides the stunning beaches that are irresistible along the way, you can expect to pass by several cultural and historical sites, including Sagres fortress, the main church of Luz, Ponta de Piedade, Lagos roman bridge, and the charming historical town in Lagos.
Lagos to Portimao
In addition to its historical and cultural attractions, Lagos is a popular destination for outdoor activities, including surfing, windsurfing, and stand-up paddleboarding. Whether you’re looking to relax on the beach, explore the city’s history, or try some of the local water sports, Lagos has something to offer that is understandable to stay here for more than a night on the second day of the EuroVelo Atlantic Coast – Algarve tour.
Once you settled up and are ready to continue, the journey to Portimao will be easier than the previous one. It will be shorter (30 km) and mostly flat. However, although the roads are not as hilly, well-signed, and mostly follow dedicated bike paths, there are also some sections where you will need to share the road with cars and other vehicles. Be aware of traffic conditions and stay safe while cycling.
Portimao to Albufeira
Portimão is the largest city in the western Algarve and is known for its splendid long stretches of beaches with calm waters that make it a lovely vacation destination. Our favorite is Praia da Rocha, about three kilometers from downtown, where the Fortress of Santa Catarina de Ribamar is present. While in the 15th century, it had great strategic importance, today, the fort emerges as an excellent viewpoint over the city, the river, and the sea, which obtains a unique charm in the late afternoon when the sun sets, enhancing the yellow wall of the fort.
From Portimao, the tour continues leisurely for 34 kilometers. Expect a smooth ascent after Lagoa until the outskirt of Porches village with a maximum of 6% of inclination. And this stretch ends at the beginning of the long beach of the Albufeira.
Albufeira to Faro
Albufeira is a bustling city, known for its vibrant nightlife, a diverse range of dining and shopping options, and beautiful beaches. The town is divided into two main areas – the lively town center, known for its lively bars and restaurants, and the quieter, more residential areas surrounding the town. Knowing this, arrange where you stay according to your preference.
The journey to Faro will be approx 44 kilometers (depending on where you stay), with mostly flat terrain. You will cycle through golf courses that sometimes have fig trees, offering their natural sugar boost when the season is on.
Faro to Vila Real de Santo Antonio
As you reach Faro, you are a day ahead from the last town of this trip – The EuroVelo Atlantic Coast – Algarve. Yet, this part of the adventure will be the longest one, 67 kilometers.
Before you do it, make sure to enjoy the capital city of the region. Here, we felt that there was more to the Algarve than the beaches. Be entertained by the streets, modern buildings, urban art, local market, marina, and the enchanting views of the Ria Formosa.
Ria Formosa is a unique and fragile coastal ecosystem that you will pass through to the finish line of the tour, The EuroVelo Atlantic Coast – Algarve. It is a dynamic environment network of lagoons, salt marshes, and barrier islands that is constantly changing due to tides, wind, and sedimentation, creating a rich biodiversity habitat. The area is protected by the Ria Formosa Natural Park, which was established to preserve its unique ecosystem and promote sustainable tourism and environmental awareness.
As you reached Vila Real Santo Antonio, you accomplished the 220 kilometers tour through EuroVelo Atlantic Coast – Algarve. If you have extra time, explore Castro Marim Swamp Reserve and Vila Real de Santo António National Park. Get a chance to see the flock by the lagoons. Or, simply relaxing on the Monte Gordo beach that has a Mediterranean climate all year around.
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The Algarve coast is known for its stunning beaches, cliffs, and coves, and the cycling route provides an excellent way to experience these natural wonders up close.
The route passes through several traditional Portuguese villages, giving cyclists the chance to experience the local culture and cuisine.
The Algarve region is also home to several historic sites, such as the Sagres Fort, Slave Market Museum, Fort of São João do Arade, Capela de Nossa Senhora da Rocha, Capela de Ossos, Ponte Romana over River Gilão and many more, which provide an opportunity to learn about the region’s rich history and heritage.
The Algarve is a great destination for bird-watching, and the cycling route provides an excellent way to spot some of the region’s unique bird species, such as the flamingos and the ospreys.
The route passes through the Ria Formosa Natural Park, which is a unique wetland area known for its rich biodiversity and excellent bird-watching opportunities.
The EuroVelo 1 – Atlantic Coast, Algarve is well-signed and well-maintained, making it an ideal destination for cyclists of all skill levels, from beginners to experienced riders.
The route is designed to provide an enjoyable, relaxed, and safe cycling experience, with plenty of opportunities to stop, relax, and enjoy the views along the way.