Luís Simões, travel sketcher around the world
EuroVelo 1 – Porto to Lisbon, Portugal
The EuroVelo 1 – Porto to Lisbon tour is a mix of rolling hills, flat coastal plains, and some mountainous areas it provides a great challenge for those looking for a diverse and exciting biking experience. This bike trip is approximately 495 km long and offers a variety of landscapes and environments for cyclists to enjoy start from Porto, southward until Lisbon, the capital city of Portugal.
The EuroVelo 1 – Porto to Lisbon is a bike tour inspired by the EuroVelo Atlantic Coast. It is a scenic and challenging route that covers approximately 495 km and offers dazzling views of the Atlantic Ocean, the countryside, and some of the most iconic cities in Portugal.
Before we dive into the tour, let’s understand what is EuroVelo…
The EuroVelo Atlantic Coast
The EuroVelo Atlantic Coast 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 history, culture, and natural beauty of each country.
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 – Porto to Lisbon
The EuroVelo 1 – Porto to Lisbon is a unique and unforgettable experience that combines challenging cycling, beautiful scenery, and cultural discovery. Inspired by The EuroVelo Atlantic Coast Route, it offers varied terrains including hilly sections, flat sections along the coastline, and some mountainous areas.
This tour is suitable for experienced cyclists and requires good physical fitness. It is recommended that you bring proper equipment and supplies, such as a reliable bicycle, helmet, water, and some snacks to maintain the tour.
Although the course is well-signposted, it is essential to research the route, check weather conditions, and be aware of local regulations and road safety rules before embarking on the tour.
During the tour, you will experience the rich cultural heritage of Porto, which is also the starting point of this EuroVelo 1 – Porto to Lisbon tour. Then, you will cycle through the famous Ria de Aveiro, exploring the stunning beaches of Figueira da Foz, Nazare, and Peniche, visiting the medieval town of Obidos, and finally, ending the trip in the vibrant city of Lisbon.
How to get there
The EuroVelo 1 – Porto to Lisbon is not a loop tour. Yet, it can be done perfectly in a reverse way. However, southward is recommended than the other way around as the strong wind mostly comes from the north.
Getting to the starting point of this trip is quite simple. The easiest way from Lisbon or Porto is by train. Check here for more about the rules for the transport of bikes on trains in Portugal.
Nevertheless, it also depends on where you are coming from. If you come by bus, bear in mind, the rule to bring a bicycle on a bus varies, depending on each company.
If you desire an extended adventure, The EuroVelo 1 – Northern Portugal or The EuroVelo 1 – Costa Vicentina tour are the best options. Combine it with The EuroVelo 1 – Porto to Lisbon tour, you can plan more than two weeks of exploration.
The sections we mentioned below are our suggestions. The tour is adaptable, depending on your needs: timetable, interest, and fitness level. For instance, we would do it easily in two weeks as Luís would like to sketch each region with time.
Porto to Aveiro
The route from Porto to Aveiro follows the coastline for most of the way, offering scenic views of the Atlantic Ocean and passing through charming towns and villages along the way. There are some sections with gentle hills, but overall the terrain is not very challenging. The route is mostly on dedicated bike paths or quiet roads, making it a safe and enjoyable ride.
If you are lucky with the weather, you will see the stunning Capela do Senhor da Pedra, the oceanfront chapel built on rocks offering picturesque views of the beach, water & sunsets at the end of Vila Nova de Gaia hub.
As you roll to Cortegaça village, seize a little detour to admire its unique architectural style and rich cultural heritage, Santa Marinha of Cortegaça Church.
In Ovar, you can choose which way to proceed with your venture:
- Keep following the coastline and cross by ferry at Sao Jacinto (€3,10/person). Note that you don’t need to pay anything for the bicycle. Check here to see the update.
- If you decide to save some cash, you can bike inland through occasional stretches of industrial areas until Aveiro.
Aveiro to Praia de Mira
Although Aveiro is located a bit far from the coastline, it is worth the 10 kilometers of detour (depending on where you stay). Firstly, it is known for its picturesque canals, similar to those of Venice in Italy, which offer a unique and charming landscape for cycling along. Secondly, Aveiro is a city rich in history and culture, with numerous museums and cultural centers to explore.
The city also has a lively atmosphere, with plenty of cafes, restaurants, and bars to enjoy. With its combination of natural beauty, cultural heritage, and lively atmosphere, Aveiro is a great place for a memorable and diverse cycling experience.
Whether you skip Aveiro or not, make sure not to miss the colorful houses in Costa Nova. From here, you will continue the journey of The EuroVelo 1 – Porto to Lisbon to Praia de Mira on a bicycle path on a quiet road that is relatively flat and easy to navigate.
Praia de Mira to Figueira de Foz
Praia de Mira is a pleasant overnight spot because of its gorgeous natural beauty and peaceful surroundings. The beach is a long sandy stretch with crystal clear waters and offers a great place to relax after a day of cycling. There are also several accommodation options available in the area, including camping sites and local guesthouses, making it a convenient and affordable place to spend the night.
From here, The The EuroVelo 1 – Porto to Lisbon will lead you to Figueira de Foz through a pretty straightforward. However, as per our local friend, for the first 6 kilometers, the road is pretty damaged. Although the path is flat, due to the potholes make it unpleasant to pedal through. He suggested us to did a bit of detour through a lovely Lake Mira and one of the biggest rice fields in Portugal, Bom Sucesso. Whichever you choose, both ways are flat and calm roads.
As you are pedaling away from Quiaios, the route will guide you back to the coast through a few hilly cliffs overlooking the Atlantic Ocean until the destination of the day, Figueira de Foz.
Figueira de Foz to Nazaré
Figueira da Foz is a great place for a bike tourer to stop overnight because it offers a range of accommodation options, from budget-friendly hostels to luxurious beachfront hotels. Not only that, in contrast with Praia de Mira, Figueira de Foz offers a vibrant nightlife that makes The EuroVelo 1 – Porto to Lisbon tour diverse.
As you proceed with the journey, be aware of the heavy traffic as you leave Figueira de Foz. In the first kilometers of this stretch, the route is relatively flat and runs through sandy beaches and coastal towns. After a while, the path includes more hills and scenic views of the coastline and countryside. The road surface is generally good, with well-maintained bike paths and quiet roads. Some sections may have steep inclines, which could challenge inexperienced cyclists, but there are also gentle slopes and descents to help you to recover.
Nazaré to Peniche
Nazaré is a town famous for the biggest wave on earth. However, the big wave is not happening all the time. So, do not expect you will see it. Nevertheless, it is popular for its stunning beaches and historical significance. For bike tourers, it can be a good place for an overnight stop since it has a variety of accommodations and restaurants or cafe options, ranging from budget-friendly to luxury ones, so there is something for everyone.
From Nazaré to Peniche, the terrain becomes a bit more challenging, with some rolling hills and a few steep climbs. However, the beautiful scenery and stunning ocean views make it all worth it. The route passes by several beautiful beaches, such as Praia do Norte, famous for its massive waves that attract surfers from all over the world. The terrain is generally well-maintained, with some paved roads and some dirt tracks.
In this part of The EuroVelo 1 – Porto to Lisbon you will ride for approximately 83 kilometers through one of the cutest medieval towns in Portugal, Óbidos.
Peniche to Assafora
One of the main attractions in Peniche is the Fort of Peniche, a former prison that was used during the dictatorship of António de Oliveira Salazar. Today, the fort serves as a museum and a cultural center, showcasing the town’s history and heritage.
Another highlight of Peniche is its beautiful beaches, including the Praia do Baleal and Praia da Consolação. These beaches are popular spots for surfing, with waves that attract surfers from all over the world. In addition to its natural beauty, Peniche is also famous for its seafood. The town is home to several excellent seafood restaurants, serving up the freshest catch of the day.
From here to Assafora village, the journey will be more demanding. With fewer kilometers than the previous day, you will climb more hills up to 1000 meters. The route initially follows a flat road along the coast before turning inland and starting to climb through forested hills toward the town of Lourinhã. The climb is gradual but sustained, and there are a few steeper sections. Once in Lourinhã, the route descends to the coast again and then follows a mix of quiet roads and cycle paths through agricultural land and small towns.
As the route approaches the town of Santa Cruz, the terrain becomes more challenging, with some steep climbs and descents as the route follows the cliffs along the coast. This section can be exposed to the wind and requires extra caution. After Santa Cruz, the route becomes flatter again and follows the coast through small towns and beaches until it reaches Assafora.
Overall, this section of the The EuroVelo 1 – Porto to Lisbon tour requires a moderate level of fitness and some cycling experience due to the hills and potentially challenging coastal sections. However, the stunning scenery and beautiful coastal towns make it well worth the effort.
Assafora to Lisbon
Assafora village is relatively untouched by tourism and offers a quiet and laid-back atmosphere, making it a great place to relax and enjoy the natural beauty after a demanding cycling day.
One of the main attractions in Assafora is Praia da Aguda, a stunning sandy beach that is popular with surfers and bodyboarders. The beach is surrounded by cliffs and rock formations, which create a unique and dramatic landscape. There are several other beaches nearby as well, including Praia da Samarra and Praia da Vigia, which are also great for surfing and sunbathing.
As you are here, it also means that you are a day ahead from the finishing line of The EuroVelo 1 – Porto to Lisbon tour! The terrain from Assafora to Lisbon is relatively hilly, with some steeper climbs as you are approaching Sintra – Cascais Natural Park. The route follows the coastline, offering stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean, and passes through several small towns and villages.
As the route approaches Lisbon, the terrain becomes flattish, following the banks of the Tagus River and passing by some of the city’s most iconic landmarks, and the The EuroVelo 1 – Porto to Lisbon tour is ending at the Ferry terminal, Cais do Sodre.
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- Magnificent coastline: The Eurovelo 1 – Porto to Lisbon tour provides a scenic journey along the coastline with its crystal clear waters, sandy beaches, and breathtaking cliffs.
- Scenic fishing villages such as Nazare and Peniche
- Historic cities of Porto, Aveiro, Obidos, and Lisbon