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From the cobbled streets of Lisbon we cycle south through wild coastal landscapes, past fishing villages, pristine coves and superb beaches, to the remote south-westerly corner of Europe. Discover the Costa Vicentina - Europe's largest coastal natural park.
Explore Tour Leader
7 nights comfortable hotel
Trip maximum 16 Explore Average 11
Itineraries on some departure dates may differ, please select the itinerary that you wish to explore.
Our trip begins in Lisbon, founded on seven hills overlooking the estuary of the River Tagus, the city became the capital of Portugal after its conquest from the Moors in 1147. As Portugal built a global empire from the 15th century onwards, Lisbon became the hub of international trade and the heart of this maritime Golden Age of discovery, reflected in the monumental architecture. A devastating earthquake and resulting tsunami almost totally destroyed the capital in 1755 and therefore Lisbon appears as a carefully planned 18th century city.
The Leader plans to meet you in the hotel reception at 7.00pm for the welcome meeting and for those that wish, there is the chance to go out for dinner.
If you would like an airport transfer today, you'll need to arrive into Lisbon Airport (LIS), which is a thirty minute drive from the hotel. Should you miss the welcome meeting, your Leader will inform you of any essential information as soon as you catch up.
Empire Lisbon Hotel (or similar)
Today we leave the capital behind and strike south on our journey and transfer to Lagoa Albufeira. Once arrived, there will be some time to ensure all are happy with our bikes and to make any minor adjustments. We then begin the first cycling section of the holiday and ride south to Cape Espichel, bathed by the Atlantic Ocean to our hotel in Sesimbra passing through rural roads surrounded by nature and urban areas such as Azeitao and Quinta do Conde. Once a small fishing village, Sesimbra is now a pleasant beach town with great seafood restaurants and an old Moorish fort overlooking the sands.
Our total cycling distance today is approximately 29 kilometres/18 miles (total 375 metres/1230 feet accumulated ascent and descent).
Today we ride to Setubal passing the rolling hills of the Serra da Arrabida. The stunning coastal scenery is somewhat greener than the south and contrasts the deep blue Atlantic with the greens of the pine-forested hills. There is a steep climb in the morning section of the ride where we gain about 200 metres/660 feet elevation over 3 kms/2 miles and a couple of shorter climbs in the afternoon. Along the way we pass little bays and beaches and will make time for a quick swim. Finally we reach our hotel in the thriving port town of Setubal where you can take a walk through the pedestrianised old town and even up to the hilltop fortress for panoramic views. Around 10% of the route today is on a unpaved surface.
Our total cycling distance today is approximately 33 kilometres/20.5 miles (total 700 metres/2296 feet accumulated ascent and 720 metres/2360 feet descent).
Hotel do Mar (or similar)
This morning, we catch the ferry to the Troia peninsula, where we cycle south into the region of Alentejo (literally the land 'beyond' the River Tagus) along the peninsula to Comporta beach (17 km/10.5 miles). After a short transfer, we begin our second cycle of the day from the little coastal town of Sines where we head south to Vila Nova de Milfontes (27 km/16.7 miles). Shortly after starting we enter the protected lands of the Vicentine Coast Natural Park - Europe's largest coastal natural park. The remainder of the trip is within this huge park as we cycle south to Sagres, mostly on inland routes but always returning occasionally to the stunning coastline of rugged cliffs and miles of unspoilt beaches constantly pounded by the Atlantic Ocean. Relax in the unhurried town of Vila Nova and take a stroll down to the harbour and explore the old quarter.
There is one longer climb today after Odeceixe where we climb for about a mile. Around 25% of the route today is on good off road.
Our total cycling distance today is approximately 44 kilometres / 27.2 miles (total 220 metres / 722 feet accumulated ascent and 230 metres / 755 feet descent).
Hotel Arangues (or similar)
Today is a well deserved free day in Vila Nova. Relax on the local beaches or take an optional ride to the nearby beaches (approximatively 28 km / 17.3 miles). Or why not trying kayaking or standup paddleboarding? You can easily hire a kayak or a board for a few hours on one of the local beaches of Vila Nova.
Hotel Milfontes Beach (or similar)
Today is our longest ride as we continue south on another ride past wild coastlines and white-washed fishing villages. The final part of our ride is in the Algarve region, whose name dates back to Moorish time mean simply 'the west' in Arabic. We see the 'untouched' Algarve on the Atlantic Coast, far removed from the golf courses and beach resorts further east. Today's cycle ride ends in in the charming historical village of Aljezur. We recommend a stroll around its compact and well-preserved old quarter and, time permitting; you can choose to visit the ruins of the medieval castle with great views over the surrounding area. Around 15% of the route today is on a unpaved surface.
Our total cycling distance today is approximately 66 kilometres / 41 miles (total 650 metres / 2132 feet accumulated ascent and descent).
Hotel Vicentina (or similar)
Our final ride passes some of the greatest wild beaches on the west coast. There is one steady and gentle uphill at the beginning of the ride, then another couple later in the day. Our final destination is the headland of Cabo San Vicente, the southwesternmost point of Portugal and of mainland Europe. After celebrating the end of our ride we will drive for around one-and-a-half hours on to our hotel in Faro. Around 8 km / 5 miles of the route today is on a slightly rougher, unpaved surface.
Our total cycling distance today is approximately 54 kilometres / 33.5 miles (total 760 metres / 2500 feet accumulated ascent and 730 metres / 2400 feet descent).
Best Western Dom Bernardo (or similar)
The trip ends after breakfast at our hotel in Faro.
There are no activities planned today, so you are free to depart from Faro at any time. If your flight is departing later in the day, luggage storage facilities are available at our hotel. If you would like an airport transfer today, you'll need to depart from Faro Airport (FAO), which is a fifteen-thirty minute drive away.
Total distance : 254 kilometres
Overall, spring, early summer and autumn are ideal times for a trip to Portugal - though the weather varies enormously from region to region. The northern high plains has both extremes, stiflingly hot in summer, bitterly cold and swept by freezing winds in winter. The Atlantic coast, in contrast, has a tendency to damp and mist, and a relatively brief, humid summer. The Mediterranean south is warm virtually all year round. The islands have very different weather patterns due to their positioning and can have sudden rain falls throughout the year so waterproofs are recommended even in the summer.
2 Pin Round
Vila Nova: Kayaking, Canoeing or SUP easily hired from different local suppliers - the tour leader can assist you booking the equipment. Sagres: Public Beaches: Mareta Beach, Beleeira Beach, Martinhal Beach (transport not included)
When cycling: quick drying cycle tops, padded cycle shorts, lightweight wind and water proof jacket and warmer breathable layers where local conditions require. Be prepared for wind from the Atlantic in general and some colder days on the bike on departures in April, May and October. General: Pack essentially for mild or hot weather depending on the time of the year.
If you are not bringing cycle shoes then try to bring stiff-soled shoes as these are better for cycling - transmitting your energy into the pedals more efficiently. This becomes more relevant and recommended the more demanding the grade and distances to cover. SPD cycle shoes are not well suited to tours that combine sightseeing with cycling. Comfortable shoes, trainers, sandals or flip flops are useful when not on the bike.
We recommend you bring a daypack and one main piece of luggage (total allowance: 44lb/20kg) which will be transported between hotels while you cycle. Check the bike details section to see if a pannier or handlebar bag is provided on the bike.
On all Explore cycle holidays we strongly recommend you bring along and wear your cycle helmet. In case of an accident resulting in personal injury, certain insurance policies are invalidated in cases where a helmet was not being worn. Cycle glasses to protect against dust, pollen and the sun, padded cycle gloves and a water bottle or water delivery system (e.g. camelback or platypus) are also useful. You may choose to bring your own gel seat cover for added comfort. If a handle bar bag or pannier is not provided (check bike details) then you may like to bring a small rucksack to wear while cycling. Other items to consider bringing are a sunhat and sun cream, torch, earplugs and insect repellent. Please carry some or all of your cycling equipment e.g. helmet as part of your hand luggage.
Bus, Bicycle, Ferry, Train
Comfortable - Our mid-range accommodation offers a good level of service often with other amenities such as a restaurant, bar, garden or swimming pool. Generally rooms will be comfortable with en-suite facilities.
We strongly recommend that you check your government's travel advisory for up-to-date information and advice about your destination: safety and security, entry requirements, health, local laws and customs. For UK citizens, check the latest Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office advice.
Please refer to our COVID-19 entry requirements page for any country-specific conditions of entry. Whilst we strive to update this on a regular basis we recommend you also check the FCDO website for the latest advice on entry requirements in this fast-evolving situation. Information can change at any time.
Please note that some countries require proof of parental consent when travelling overseas with under 18s. Please check requirements with the relevant embassy or consular office well in advance of travel if this applies to your party.
Once your booking has been confirmed we guarantee the price will not increase, whatever the circumstances. However, please note that if you voluntarily make any changes to your booking including changing your trip or departure date, any additional costs or charges incurred will not be covered. Before booking please ensure you have read our important tour pricing information.Booking Conditions
Portugal: Visas are not required by UK, Australian, New Zealand, US and Canadian citizens. Other nationalities should consult their local embassy or consular office.
If you do require assistance in obtaining a visa then you may be able to apply through Explore's recommended visa service in the UK, Travcour. See www.travcour.com to download the relevant visa application for your trip, if applicable (UK citizens only), along with details of how to apply for your visa through Travcour. The Team at Travcour will be happy to answer specific questions relating to visa applications, please call them directly on 0208 5431846.
It is your responsibility to ensure that you are in possession of a full passport, with the correct validity for your chosen destination.
Before booking your Explore trip, please ensure that you read both our Essential Information and Booking Conditions.
Customers who have chosen to book on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements of our tour, please ensure that you have checked your tour specific ‘Joining Instructions’ prior to booking your own travel arrangements. Your joining instructions can be found below in the dates and prices information.
You may also be eligible for the Free Explore Transfer.
Customers booked on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements will receive a Free Transfer, provided you arrive and depart on the tour only itinerary start and end dates. The complimentary transfers will be arranged from the Explore designated airport or train station to your trips joining point, and then back from the ending point to the designated airport or train station. Generally the airport or station that Explore have selected will be the one that is closest to the town or city where the trip starts, or the one nearest to the joining point. It will be either an airport or train station but not both.
The exception to this rule is customers who are booked on a tour where the joining and ending point is at the designated airport or train station.
Free transfers are not available for Polar customers.
If you are not eligible for the Free Transfer then you will need to make your own way through to the joining and ending point. On a majority of our tours Explore will be able to provide a private transfer at an additional cost. Please ask for a quote at the time of booking.
For more information regarding the Explore Free Transfer click here
It is a condition of booking with Explore that you have adequate valid travel insurance. It is your responsibility to arrange appropriate travel insurance and ensure you have read and understood the full terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy to ensure that you are covered for all activities you intend to undertake whilst on the tour, including all optional activities. Your Insurance Policy must fully cover you for medical expenses and emergency repatriation to your home country. Please ensure your policy includes medical emergency helicopter evacuation in the event of illness or injury and covers the entire duration of your holiday. If you are trekking at altitude please ensure that there is no upper altitude limit which may limit or exclude cover for your trip. The cost of many of our Polar Voyages will exceed the capped amount covered by standard insurance premiums and you will be required to pay an additional premium to cover the full value of your trip. Please ensure that you are covered for the full amount of your holiday cost, as insufficient cover could invalidate a claim under the policy. Medical and repatriation insurance cover is not mandatory for UK residents who are travelling on trips within the United Kingdom.
Read more information about what travel insurance is required.
Explore offers a wide range of flexible flying options to make joining and leaving our trips easy. Read more about them here.
You are able to book this tour on a 'land only' basis or as a ‘flight inclusive’ package. Your flight inclusive package will be fully protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) ATOL protection scheme.
We have a good selection of flights not only from London but from many regional airports around the UK allowing us to compare fares between scheduled carriers as well as low cost and charter airlines. Our dedicated flights team will match the best flight options to your arrival and departure airport.
On our website we display a UK flight inclusive package guide price which is generally based on a London departure. To avoid paying supplements or to secure your preferred flight option, we recommend booking as early as possible, especially for peak travel dates.
Nothing compulsory but Tetanus is usually recommended as a precaution. Please check the latest requirements with your travel clinic or doctor prior to departure. The above is not an exhaustive list. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found by following the NHS and NaTHNaC links at Explore Travel Health and from your local healthcare provider. Visa and vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed by you before travelling.