The High Road – Algarve

Exploring the High Serra of Southern Portugal
The Algarve is one of Europe's best kept secret cycling destinations. With deserted roads through the high sierra and along the coastal peninsula, as well as exquisite cuisine and superb accommodation — this is a paradise region for the active cyclist.

Getting to the Algarve is a simple affair, with regular flights to Faro from many major European airports. Once on the ground, it is at most a thirty-minute drive before you get to one of the many rural hotels in the rolling green hills, or to one of the exceptional beach resorts down on the coast.

Enjoy cocktails and seafood tapas on the terrace as a welcome treat on your first evening in Portugal; then embrace the peaceful surroundings and get a good night’s sleep; for tomorrow, we ride…

A cycling tour of the Algarve is the perfect way to explore the unique offering provided by this southern region of Portugal.

The Ride

Start from the coast, and head north up the Guadiana river. Pause for coffee and Pastel de Nata in Alcoutim and you can look over to the opposing riverbank upon the Spanish territory; you can hear exciting tales of the smuggling history of this bustling little village.

A turn westwards from the river takes you into the interior of the Algarve region. The emerald green hills and empty single-track roads provide a sensual enlightenment; as you pedal past verges full of fresh herbs, and through orange groves laden with fruit.

At midday, with the sun high in the sky you can expect temperatures in the high twenties, even in December. The region’s proximity to Africa is apparent in its tropical climate, yet the Atlantic winds keep the air fresh and clean and bring the occasional rain that sustains the bold green backdrop.

Pausing for lunch at a restaurant in one of the provincial Algarve villages is an insight into the cultural past of this region. Dishes brimming with chickpeas and lamb stew are served — hinting at the Moroccan influence; then for dessert, the orange cake alludes to the beautiful plantations lining the hillsides, introduced by the Moors in the 11thcentury.

Filled to bursting point with fresh home-cooked food, it is time to head back out into the hills. The climbs can be long and challenging, if you wish; winding upwards on undisturbed roads. The summit of any Algarve climb is a moment to pause and reflect though; views of the distant Atlantic Ocean and white sandy coastline, contrasting with the rolling green hills, make for a unique panorama.

As you roll back down to the coast, the warmth of the late autumn sunshine brings a smile to your soul. The smell of the sea, and the sight of the vast salt pans signals your arrival back on the Atlantic shore.

Pull up at the harbour-side in Santa Lucia. The small vibrant fishing village is bustling with activity, and the restaurants along the promenade are cooking up the local delicacy… octopus!

An octopus has eight tentacles, but there seem to be a hundred and one ways to cook them. Enjoy octopus pie, teriyaki, and barbeque octopus—to name just a few. This is seafood fresh off the boats—you can watch the fishermen work as you eat.

With the sun setting, roll back along the shoreline. Pause to watch as the light dips below the Atlantic horizon; and enjoy a cocktail or two on the beach. Then, head back to rest in the hotel spa—after all, even more exploring is possible tomorrow­—the Algarve has many more secrets to show.

Telling the story to the world

Media Placement

Where can you read it?
Fahrrad.de Magazine

The print publication for the largest online bike shop in Germany, with a circulation of 375,000 copies.

CycleLive Magazine

One of the largest road cycling magazines in Belgium, with a circulation of 100,000+ copies in Dutch language.

Cykel Motion Danmark

One of the largest Danish cycling magazines, with a print circulation of 30,000 copies.

GRIPSTER Magazine

GRIPSTER Mag is the in-house publication of clothing brand GripGrab; with a circulation of 10,000 copies.

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