Looking for the best cycling routes in Portugal? Whether you are a beginner in bike touring looking for the most beautiful views of Portugal, or a seasoned bicycle traveler looking for new routes to explore, this list has something for you.
The routes are graded on the difficulty of terrain and length. All of these cycling routes are scenic with plenty to see, so pack your bike and enjoy!
Table of Contents
The Best Coastal Cycling Routes In Portugal
Rota Vicentina bike route
The Rota Vicentina is one of the most popular routes in Portugal, and in the whole of Europe. The route follows the Atlantic coast through rice paddies and marshes, rolling hills, farms, fields and numerous villages.
Along the way there are plenty of opportunities to stop for a coffee break or snack or a proper meal of world class grilled fish. The route is graded as an easy-medium difficulty with an average daily distance between 35 and 65 kilometers.
Eurovelo 1 cycling route
The Costa de Prata Coastal Cycling Route runs along the picturesque coastline of southern Portugal. This route is popularly known as the Eurovelo 1, which actually starts in northern Europe.
This coast has some of the best beaches in Portugal and offers stunning views of the beach towns and wild nature. This route is graded at low to medium difficulty with flat to rolling terrain for most of the route.
This is a great choice for beginners or people who want to take it easy on their first bike tour in Portugal, with an average daily mileage of between 45 and 65 km. If you are looking for a tougher challenge, you can always ride 2 days back to back!
The Best Bike Touring Routes In The Mountains Of Portugal
Douro Valley bike route
You would be hard pressed to find more exceptional rides than what the Douro has to offer. The Douro valley cycling route is one of the very best bike routes in Portugal!
With excellent roads and near zero traffic for the most part, the Douro valley bike route will take you through the most stunning landscapes with breathtaking views of this unique valley.
This UNESCO heritage site owes as much to the labors of man in making the remarkable terraced vineyards as with the beauty of the valley itself.
A unique micro-climate and varying solar exposure ensure that no two hillsides are alike and the result are the wonderful wines of the region, as well as turn after turn of sublime vistas.
The rides are as challenging as they are rewarding, with most climbs being taken on the saddle, as they wind round the contours of the slopes rather than straight up them. Daily average mileage ranges between 35 and 65 km.
Even so, this is a more challenging route and it's important that you're in good shape to take it on - or you can always consider an ebike to get a little extra help on the hill climbs!
Camino Português bike route
The Camino Portugues cycling route follows one of the official pilgrimage routes to Santiago de Compostella, in the footsteps of the Way of St James.
The cycling route follows closely the walking path, along ancient Roman roads of Lusitania and is the second most traveled route after the Camino Frances.
Whichever route you take, the incredible beauty of its varied landscapes, charming villages and monuments to the glory of St James will instill unexpected awe in you.
Due to the hilly and mountainous terrain of northern Portugal, this is a more challenging route, so you need to be in good shape to undertake this adventurous bike tour. Expect to ride between 35 and 65 km per day.
As mentioned above, don't be put off considering the Camino Portugues, as an ebike can certainly help on the hills and make this route accessible to more riders!
The Best Bike Touring Routes In Portugal For Beginners
If you are new to bike touring, these routes are the best to start with. They are less difficult than the other routes and still offer beautiful views and an in depth experience of Portugal.
Alentejo wine country bike route
Relaxing, Self Guided bike tour across the rolling fields of the Alentejo in Southern Portugal, cycling past wild flowers, vineyards, ancient castles and cork trees along the way.
Medieval walled villages, white-washed and trimmed in blue, dot the hilltops while plains of wheat and oats spread out below, freckled with small flocks of sheep and goats grazing under majestic cork trees.
With traffic free roads and beautiful landscapes it is no surprise that the Alentejo is one of my very favourite regions in Portugal. This is an easy to moderate route with a daily average mileage of between 40 and 70 km on mostly rolling terrain.
Algarve interior bike route
The Algarve is famous for it's sunshine and sparkling beaches, but the often overlooked interior offers rustic tranquility and outstanding cycling on very low traffic roads.
Departing from Tavira, not far from the Spanish border and cycling to Lagos, near the south-westernmost point of Portugal, the Algarve route follows little traveled inland country roads, passing fragrant orange groves and fields of fig, almond and carob as we cycle back to the sparkling beaches the Algarve famous for.
This part of Southern Portugal gets around 300 days of sunshine a year and offers some of the finest cycling conditions in Europe. The cycling is easy to moderate with a daily average of between 40 and 60 km.
This warm, sunny bike tour route offers great rides, the unbeatable Portuguese hospitality, superb food (particularly fresh grilled fish!) beautiful beaches and plenty of reasonably priced accommodation.
If you are looking for a fun and easy bike tour, this is a great choice!
Conclusion: My Favourite Cycling Routes In Portugal
The popularity of cycling in Portugal is on the rise, and with good reason. The country has some of the most beautiful routes for cyclists, with scenery that ranges from iconic coastal routes to picturesque mountains.
Whether you're a novice cyclist or an expert, Portugal has the perfect cycling routes for you.
My personal favourite bike touring routes in Portugal include the Rota Vicentina, for it's perfect blend of seascapes and bucolic landscapes, as well as the daily option to wet your feet in the Atlantic - before or after a delicious seafood meal. I can never tire of this route!
Another personal favourite is the Camino Portugues, although it's not exclusively in Portugal, it covers some of my favourite regions in northern Portugal; the Minho and the Douro.
This is where you experience some of the warmest hospitality I've encountered in my travels and the cherry on top is arriving in Santiago de Compostella - always a jubilant triumph, no matter the weather!
While the previous two favourites tick all the boxes for an inspiring and exciting bike tour adventure, perhaps my very favouirte cycling route in Portugal remains the Alentejo wine country, for it's very simplicity and tranquility in our hectic times.
For someone who loves wine and food as much as they love cycling, the Alentejo is hard to beat - anywhere in the world. It's also a perfect place to unplug, unwind and get far from the crowds.
How about you? Have you cycled in Portugal, and if so what is your favourite cycling route or region? You can share your bike touring stories or submit your photos and videos with like minded cyclists right here!
By Maggie Deffense & Enrique Díaz
As a consequence of the rich cultural heritage of Portugal, there are plenty of public events in the country, where its main focus can be gastronomy, a rural tradition, religion, or just a fun event to celebrate life.
Visiting Portugal during one of the best Portuguese summer festivals is an excellent way to experience Portugal’s rich culture. Let's explore some of the most remarkable:
Festa de Santo Antonio (Feast Day of Saint Anthony, Lisbon)
Lisbon celebrates its patron saint with newly-wed couples giving thanks and singles praying for a match made in heaven - usually around June 12. This is one of the primo festas in Portugal. Lisbon decorates its streets with Japanese lanterns, while local residents of the oldest parts of the city, the Alfama and Bairro Alto, put long trestle tables in the streets and serve grilled sardines and wine. So many sardines are consumed that the whole city smells like a fishing village. Sweethearts give little pots of marjoram to each other as valentines! Everywhere there’s music and merrymaking!
Festa das Cruzes, Barcelos
The lively Festa das Cruzes is held during the 1st week in Barcelos, Northern Portugal with a procession and stupendous handicraft fair. It’s one of the prettiest towns in Portugal - which definitely has more than its fair share of gorgeous towns and villages. May 3rd is the holy day commemorating a miracle when a poor cobbler saw a miraculous image of the cross engraved on the floor of a chapel 500 years ago. The octagonal-shaped church of Senhor da Cruz was built over this older chapel and is the focus of the festival.
Today, Barcelos is best known for its pottery, especially its brightly-painted clay cock, whose crowing saved a man from the gallows, according to the local legend. It also sports one of the biggest and best weekly markets in Portugal at the enormous Campo da República square. Each Thursday, visitors can browse amongst the market's vast range of handmade Portuguese pottery as well as, fruits, vegetables, cheeses, breads, you name it!
Festa de São João, Porto
The Festa de Sao Joao (John the Baptist) is big in Porto and on June 23-24. There are large street parties with people being hit on the head with harmless plastic hammers, leeks or dried artichokes - go figure! After an evening feasting and drinking outside in little bars and restaurants overlooking the beautiful Douro River you’re treated to one of the most stupendous displays of fireworks I’ve ever seen high high up off of the Dom Luis I bridge and into the Douro River below! Absolutely breathtaking!
Festas d'Agonia, Viana do Castelo
This festival is held in Viana do Castelo at the mouth of the Lima River in the Minho Province at the top of Portugal. The Minho is one of Portugal’s most beautiful provinces if not THE MOST beautiful! Green and lush with hydrangeas and wild roses growing everywhere over the low granite walls that surround the little fields of corn and green wine vines. The Festa includes an impressive parade of floats, displays of local crafts, carnival giants (gigantones), local music, nightly fireworks and lots of drinking.
Many people dress in their colorful national dress - women wearing the traditional red embroidered skirts or black wedding dresses and displaying the family’s wealth in gold earrings and heavy gold chains and medallions around their necks! The agricultural fair which runs all week sells everything from tractors to spindles for spinning flax!
Arraial Pride, Lisboa
The Arraial Pride is Portugal’s main gay pride event, free and open to everybody and has been held since 1996, getting more and more popular every year.
You can expect the usual fun and frivolity of music, food, drink, and a marketplace late into the night. Although it is usually held at the end of June, the exact date and location of the LGBT event change every year. At least in prepandemic times, this event was the bigger single event in Portugal. Unfortunately it was cancel in 2021, but it's again scheduled for 2022.
Due to the dynamic nature of the coronavirus pandemic, the rules and regulations adopted by each country vary and are subject to change at very short notice, so Cycling Rentals has altered its Term and Conditions to allow you maximum travel flexibility.
Read on to understand the current Coronavirus Bicycle Travel Restrictions for Portugal and Spain - updated September 2021.
Portugal Covid-19 Travel Restrictions
To enter Portugal, travelers must present either an E.U. Digital Vaccination Certificate or a negative Covid-19 test taken within 72 hours before departure or negative antigen test taken within 48 hours of departure.
Once in Portugal, travelers must show proof of vaccination or a recent negative test to stay at a hotel or vacation rental property. Travelers who test positive for Covid while in Portugal will face a 10-day quarantine at their own expense.
General behavior guidelines have been enacted, in which all people must adopt the following rules:
- Social distancing;
- Frequent hand washing;
- Mandatory use of mask;
- Respiratory etiquette.
In order to prevent the spread of the virus and the possibility of contagion, all services should take hygiene measures according to the indications of the Directorate-General for Health, with specific recommendations for various sectors of activity.
In tourism, the “Clean & Safe” seal, defined by Turismo de Portugal, was implemented, which allows tourists to have greater security and confidence in the use of accommodation establishments, in the various tourist services and tourist attractions.
You can find full details and requirements for travel to Portugal on the VisitPortugal coronavirus travel advisory page.
Spain Covid-19 Travel Restrictions
Since September 6, Spain requires either proof of full vaccination, a negative COVID-19 test or proof of recovery from Covid-19.
To enter Spain, all travelers must submit health information to the Spain Travel Health portal, which generates a QR code to show when entering the country. The system also sends each traveler an email with the QR code.
Full details at Spain Travel Health FAQs
Europe is one of the top global destinations for cycle and adventure enthusiasts. This is because of its cultural heritage, excellent food, and range of terrain.
Spain and Portugal take all of these aspects to the next level. So if you are looking for a long-distance biking adventure destination in Spain or Portugal, you are likely to find some of the best tours in the world. Read on to discover the 10 Best Biking Adventure Destinations Across Spain and Portugal!
Table of Contents
5 Best Biking Adventure Destinations in Spain
Due to Spain’s excellent year-round climate and incredible terrain, the country isn’t short of avid cycling fans. Part of the reason cycling is so prevalent in Spain is because of the excellent route, road and mountain biking opportunities available. Here are some of the best biking routes leading to adventure throughout Spain.
Ruta del Califato
The Route of the Caliphate is a prestigious route through Spain. It brings together some of the most significant and emblematic parts of the Andalus region in Spain. You cycle through a period of the past and get to enjoy the cultural heritage of one of Spain’s most beautiful regions.
Ruta del Cid
Ruta del Cid, or the Way of El Cid, offers cyclists the opportunity to get the true Spanish experience. If you aren’t interested in doing the better known and more popular Camino de Santiago, try Ruta del Cid instead.
It is a 2000 km route that offers a calm and beautiful tour through Spain. It takes you from Castilla along to the Mediterranean coast.
La Ruta de Don Quijote
Ever heard of the literary classic Don Quijote? Cervantes, a satirical Spanish author, may have written the book hundreds of years ago. However, the legacy it left behind is still living on.
This route takes you 2,500 kilometers from Castilla to La Mancha, tracing Don Quijote’s route through the region. In addition, there are national parks, cultural communities and more on the ten stages of the route throughout the country.
The TransAndalus takes you through one of the most scenic parts of the country, the southern region of Andalucia. The conception of the trail was to get cyclists to experience Andalusia’s eight provinces. The route takes you through the volcanic landscapes of Cabo de Gata along with wetlands and more. Keep an eye out for trail signs and keep a detailed map on you to successfully get through the 2,000-kilometer route.
El Camino de Santiago
No list of the Best Biking Adventure Destinations Across Spain and Portugal would be complete without The Camino de Santiago pilgirmage route.
This has been one of the favorites for cyclists and backpackers for many years. Since the bones of St. James the Apostle were supposedly discovered in 813 AD, the route has become a world-famous pilgrimage path. The Camino Frances that runs along the North of Spain is the most popular and sacred cycling trail that leads to Santiago in the North of Spain.
5 Best Biking Adventure Destinations in Portugal
Spain isn’t the only country with a beautiful climate and stunning cycle routes. So if you feel the inner adventurer calling out for the next trip, consider indulging them in a trip to Portugal along any one of these four routes.
Rota Vicentina is a bike tour that takes you along the coast of Portugal from Setubal to Sagres. You get to follow along the Alentejo and Algarve coastline to find your way along the scenic Rota Vicentina.
Along the way, take some time to explore the seaside villages and rural towns set next to the some of the most beautiful wild coastline of western Europe.
Douro Wine Valley
Douro Wine Valley is a UNESCO World Heritage site due to its ancient relationship with growing valuable wine. The vineyards across the countryside soak up the sun that shines down on them all year round.
Don’t only go for the sampling of wine, but indulge in vintage ports and unique landscapes that punctuate the whole ride.
Alentejo Marble Route
Alentejo is one of the least densly populated regions in Portugal. However, it is an area that is well worth visiting on the numerous bike friendly routes that criss-cross this part of Portugal, known mainly for wine, olive oil, cork and marble.
Starting and finishing in the postcard perfect town of Évora, you will cycle across the rolling fields past wild flowers, vineyards, ancient castles and cork trees along the way. Loop through the beautiful marble towns of Borba and Vila Viçosa, considered Portugal’s white gold where everything down to the park benches is made of marble!
Ecovia do Litoral Cycling Trail
Last but not least is the Ecovia do Litoral Cycling Trail. The route takes you through the well-known Algarve but gives you a different taste of the region than you would typically find. This almost entirely flat trail offers 214 kilometers of stunning cycling by clinging to the coast and swimming into the Spanish border.
Enjoy heritage sites like Cabo de Sao Vicente and Vila Real de San Antonio. If you prefer rolling terrain and don't mind travelling a little further inland, the Algarve interior offers superb cycling and very low traffic rides.
EuroVelo 1: The Atlantic Coast Route
The EuroVelo network is a criss-crossing route of 17 long-distance cycling routes that extend throughout much of Europe. The Atlantic Coast Route is the first route of the EuroVelo system. It is the extension that connects Lison to Oporto. Due to its beauty and positive standing throughout the communities along the route, it is widely promoted by the Portuguese National EuroVelo Coordinator.
It is quite a popular route among the EuroVelo network and we recommend riding from Porto to Lisbon, to take advantage of the prevailing tailwinds.
Spain and Portugal are fantastic countries for cycling, with great cycling conditions almost year-round.
It’s not just beautiful scenery that will tempt you to take a bike out on these routes, but also some of the best food in Europe. You can enjoy delicious regional dishes and wines on any of these bike touring routes.
These are just some of the wonderful sights and tastes await anyone looking for a cycling adventure in Spain or Portugal. Are you ready to explore?
The train transport system in Portugal is great. Here's what you need to know how to make it work for your bicycle journey by following our guide to fuss-free bike travel on trains when you visit Portugal.
If you are going to start or finish a route in Lisbon, Faro or Porto in Portugal you will most likely use the national train operator, CP (Comboios de Portugal) Intercidades trains.
The CP train routes go to the following destinations in Portugal: Lisbon – Oporto / Guimarães / Braga / Viana do Castelo, Beira Alta, Beira Baixa, Alentejo (Lisbon Oriente / Évora) and Algarve.
Below is the CP list of conditions for taking your bicycle on a train in Portugal:
The 2nd class carriages on Intercidades trains have dedicated supports for traditional bikes, allowing 2 bikes to be taken in each carriage. The supports in the carriages do not have padlocks.
More information can be found in English here:
The Regional, InterRegional and Coimbra urban trains allow you to take your bike. These trains are used more for shorter distances, to cross the Algarve or the Douro, for example.
On the platform before boarding, go to the ticket inspector, who must issue the ticket (the passenger's) and say whether the bike can go on board as the space is limited depending on the type of train.
There are a few temporary restrictions on bikes on the Regional and InterRegional trains.
It is advisable to use the carriages and spaces indicated by a bike symbol on outside of the regional trains.
More information about traveling by public transport in Portugal can be found here:
By Vanya Maplestone & Enrique Díaz
We are both cycling tour guides and travel all year round in Portugal, sometimes by train or motorhome but mostly on two wheels. After 5 years traveling in this amazing country together we have many useful things to share with you!