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We May Have Finally Decided - Coast of Southern Portugal

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We May Have Finally Decided - Coast of Southern Portugal

Old 02-01-21, 10:39 AM
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m2244
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We May Have Finally Decided - Coast of Southern Portugal

Hello Everyone,

My wife and I are planning a bike tour in the near future and I think we're going to try the southern coast of Portugal and I have a couple of simple questions.

Have any of you biked this area? If so, which towns would you suggest we make a point to see? I already have a few ideas but I like to hear opinions from people who have seen the area.

I would like to try to make this trip less of a planned itinerary, and more of a "we get to the next stop when we get there", maybe taking a day or two off along the way. At this point I'm not even sure how far we will go per day or even overall, we're in the early planning stage (loose plan).

Any advice would be helpful. I hope you're all in good spirits through this quarantine.
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Old 02-01-21, 05:51 PM
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crazyguyonabike.com might be helpful. You can search for tours in Portugal
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Old 02-02-21, 08:17 AM
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Seems to me that Darren Alf YouTube channel, bicycle touring pro, had a vid of him travelling there a few years back.
I second crazy guy as a good resource

im all for loose planning, but do be realistic about distances, start with short days, 50,60 kms ,yes kms if you're a yank.
you might also seriously look into the details of health insurance and etc etc coverage, or not, if bad stuff happens, including border closures and other fun adventures that come with traveling during a pandemic.

on the fun side, it's supposed to be a nice place to bike tour

are you American, a Brit?
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Old 02-02-21, 08:44 AM
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And research when the busy season(s) is/are or you might find lodging difficult and/or expensive. Festivals/holidays as well, like Semana Santa.
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Old 02-02-21, 12:15 PM
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Darren at Bicycle Touring Pro did a supported and guided trip. Looked like a very pretty area to ride, not something I would have considered.
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Old 02-02-21, 02:49 PM
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Interesting decision... If I may: (1) when; (2) how long; (3) where are you from?

Asking because Portugal is currently the worst country in the Western World regarding COVID cases/deaths per capita. Europe is now closed to non EU residents (and your profile indicates US). Portugal is a relatively small (and beautiful Country), such that wandering is certainly a reasonable approach. However, current circumstances are unfavorable and I wouldn't be surprised if restrictions were still in force until next Fall (when a significant proportion of the population is vaccinated).
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Old 02-03-21, 12:26 AM
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This page has 8 links to information about bike touring in Portugal. Not all of them will be of interest to you but some of them might help you plan your trip.
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Old 02-04-21, 08:34 PM
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Agreed that "near future" might not be in the cards; nevertheless it's fun to daydream too. I rode the coast from the Spanish border to Lagos on an unsupported, unplanned solo tour in 2017 (originating in Sicily). Also spent a whole month in 2013 backpacking around other parts of Portugal too.

First piece of advice about the Algarve (the southern coast): avoid the summer if you can. It's hot, it's famously windy, and much of central Europe comes here for their vacation. Prices are way up, availability is way down. The climate in December was absolutely lovely for cycling. Off-season you can get a night in a small family-run 1-2 star guesthouse for 25-40 euro without booking ahead (pre-COVID anyway).

Personally I love the community experience of hostels, and Lagos has a dozen or so (it's somewhat of a party town). Great casual hiking and stupendous soft sand beaches tucked between cliffs, warm waters even in winter. Don't know what it's like in season but I loved in in winter

Route-finding was easy and entertaining: don't bother with maps and just follow the road closest to the sea. Usually takes you through the main promenade of each village, sometimes through the back alleys and fishing ports. It's flat and easy riding - I made 65 miles a day with little effort. At that rate you can ride the whole coast in three days. Personally if I've got more than a week to spend, I'd try to ride the whole Algarve, then up the southwest coast to Lisbon. Which is a great city to spend time in, eating, going to fado clubs at night, eating, drinking port (I can recommend an afternoon soaking at the Instituto do Vinhos do Porto sampling bottles you probably can't afford to buy), did I mention the food?

EDIT - wait, I forgot the one wrinkle I faced getting in to Lagos. Around small or very large towns it's never a problem, but certain medium-size towns sometimes only have a couple roads going in, sometimes with bike restrictions. Lagos was one of those. I had to basically follow farm roads that turned to goat tracks to avoid a freeway or a massive detour. Google Maps tried to route me through an underpass - which was blocked by a fence. From that point I portaged over active train tracks and was briefly mountain biking through olive groves before getting past the highway restriction. This happened I think once in Spain and once in Portugal in three months. Details here if you care: https://www.strava.com/activities/1309561137

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Old 02-05-21, 11:26 AM
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I did a sort of "test" day ride in the section south of Lisbon, from Trafaria and then south past Costa da Caparica, on a day off from a business trip, as exploring for a future longer tour. I came away not too keen on a longer tour, at least after riding that section. Narrow roads with no shoulders and fast traffic, especially around the beach areas. Kind of monotonous scenery, too. Also, a few "roads" shown on Google were actually deep sand tracks that I could barely walk through, much less bike on. Not my cup of tea, but others may like it.



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Old 02-05-21, 01:18 PM
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My favourite campsites (and areas) on the Algarve are Camping Ingrina (cheap, basic) and Salema Eco camp (”normal”), both west of Lagos.

Winter can be both warm and sunny and wet and cold. I had frost on my tent in january/february a few years ago.

My BF profile pic was taken by a menhir on the road between Vila do Bispo and Camping Ingrina. The night skies are fantastic due to low light pollution.

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Old 02-09-21, 07:01 AM
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
Seems to me that Darren Alf YouTube channel, bicycle touring pro, had a vid of him travelling there a few years back.

are you American, a Brit?
American, although I'm becoming less and less comfortable admitting that.

Thanks for the advice everyone, I will definitely look at of the links all of you have provided.
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Old 02-09-21, 08:16 AM
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Well it's looking that for anyone, international traveling is going to be tricky, and I just can't see how we could fly this summer (meaning my family)
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Old 02-10-21, 12:48 AM
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
Well it's looking that for anyone, international traveling is going to be tricky, and I just can't see how we could fly this summer (meaning my family)
September is a fantastic month in southern europe. I’ve put all travelling plans on hold until then - at least

Last edited by imi; 02-10-21 at 02:20 AM.
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