Algarve is the Portuguese southern part, with more than 200 km of coastline and hundreds of beaches that to explore and enjoy.
Here the sun shines more than 3,000 hours a year, it has a temperate climate and in this area the water, which is wormer than in the rest of the country, has a very pleasant temperature.
Algarve has its own culture and traditional dishes, cooked with fish.In July and August, when many people are here on vacation, it’s an area with a lot of nightlife, at that time the bars and clubs are always with a lot of people, dancing and singing.
But what makes the Algarve different, unique and very famous are the wonderful beaches and the fantastic sea.
When I was younger I took a lot of vacations here and that's why I know very well this region and the vast majority of these beaches.
In fact, there are many beaches. Some with thousands of people and others deserted; small beaches designed between rocks and beaches with huge sand stretches; some with escarpments on the back and others with dunes. There are also beaches with waves for surfing, others with wind for kitesurf and windsurf, beaches where the sea looks like a lake and beaches where the sea is like crystal, therefore offer great conditions for diving or snorkeling.
Algarve is much more than that. It’s also the pleasure (difficult to describe) of sitting in a beach restaurant at the end of the day, wearing only a t-shirt and shorts, eating delicious sardines, grilled fish or clams accompanied by sangria, beer or green wine. It’s also difficult for me to describe how good you feel, on days when the temperatures are warmer, swimming at midnight or sitting on the beach and watching millions of very bright stars. It’s also mandatory, because it’s amazing, to take a boat tour and explore the rocky cliffs and hundreds of caves.
It’s not easy, I would say it’s impossible, to discover all this in a few days, but you can discover many of these wonders in a few days with a bicycle.
Places that are impossible to reach with a car and that on foot take much more days. If you want to do a bike tour here, you can choose to do several kilometers a day, see many places, but always very quickly; or you can do a tour, like the one I did a few days ago with my wife, more rested and quieter, in which you’ll see and know only one Algarve part, but you’ll get to know that area well and you’ll have the opportunity to enjoy more of each place that you’ll visit.
We started this tour in Sagres, the most western Algarve point and also the Portuguese southern point. We took this option because I prefer to ride at the end of the day and so, when riding from West to East, we always had the sun on our backs and we were able to see everything more clearly.
Day 1- Sagres
We arrived at lunch time, so we opted to take a small tour around this city, visit the fortress and some beaches (Mareta and Baleeira. Then we went to Castelejo beach,nera Vila do Bispo, possibly the best Algarve spot to watch the sunset and we were not mistaken, it was indeed fantastic and a good indication for the days ahead.
Day 2 - Sagres > Lagos (40 km)
Contrary to what is usual, we woke up early, had breakfast and left for what was our first day. So, early in the morning, we had time to visit 2 beaches still in Sagres, Martinhal and Rebolinhos, before heading towards Lagos.
The first stop was to visit Praia do Barranco, it was deserted, without a single person, so we took advantage of that tranquility to cool our feet, breathe the intense, pleasant and healthy smell of iodine.
We also passed by Praia da Ingrina and made the second stop on a beach we didn't know – Zavial. It’s a beautiful beach, almost deserted, maybe 10 people. This beach has a very nice restaurant, so we decided to take a longer break - we took the opportunity to take a walk on the sand, swim, take some pictures and have lunch.
It was time to head further east and visit some more beaches that were unknown to us, that of Furnas, Salema and Burgau, before arriving at the famous and very touristy Praia da Luz.
Until Lagos was just another 15 kilometers away, we wanted to visit Ponta da Piedade (a beauty of Nature) and end up at Praia Dona Ana to dive and swim in those waters, something refreshing after such a complete day.
Day 3 - Lagos
Lagos is a small town that has undergone many changes in recent years due to the tourist development, but it has managed to preserve the old streets, houses and shops. It is a city that can combine beach life with cultural activities very well.
The entertainment is great, in addition to the beaches, there are many bars and restaurants, so it is a good place to spend a day.
If you are greedy there is one thing you have to do here, try the traditional sweets from the Algarve. D. Rodrigo is the best known, but has a wide choice of sweets made with almonds, eggs, figs and carob.
Here we have friends and family that we haven't seen a very long long time and that was one more the more reason to stay here a full day.
Day 4 - Lagos > Alvor > Rocha (35 km)
Between Lagos and Alvor there is a huge sand, about 10 km, which is only cut halfway to enter the waters of a small river. This river forces us to take a longer route, but the presence of this freshwater course is the reason why here (Alvor) there is a different landscape and a unique ecosystem.
So that this whole area can be visited, a large walkway (the largest in the Algarve) was made, on which a bike ride becomes amazing.
Alvor also has a small and beautiful village, where taking a small tour and a short stop for a beer is mandatory. From here we continue on our way to Praia da Rocha, a place that I don't like much (there is an excess of construction, buildings and people), but that has many places to sleep.
Day 5 - Rocha > Carvoeiro > Armação de Pera (60 km).
Today was the day to visit an area of the Algarve that I know very well (Carvoeiro and Armação de Pera), during many years I took vacations here.
But I hadn't been here for many years, so I was curious to see what had changed and also happy to be able to see once more places that left me with many good memories.
Carvoeiro was a small fishing village, but today it’s more geared towards tourism. It has small beaches, all of them wonderful, located at the feet of huge rocky cliffs where you can find dozens or hundreds of caves.
In these rock formations, due to the erosion caused by the wind and the sea, authentic art works have also been sculpted, some of which you’ll be able to see on your own, others which you’ll only have access by boat. Like Ponta da Piedade (near Lagos), this is the ideal place to take a boat trip.
Except in August, when the beaches are overcrowded, this is an area of the Algarve that I advise everyone to visit. Carvoeiro is a very friendly village, with many places to sleep, good bars and restaurants.
Here there is the list of beaches that you can visit in this area:
Malhada do Baraço
Senhora da Rocha
After visiting all these beaches, we arrived at the village of Armação de Pera, which for many years was a very beautiful fishing village, but which currently has many towers, apartments and hotels.
Day 6 - Armação de Pêra > Albufeira (20 km).
This was our last day, we still had a few kilometers to reach Albufeira, our last stop before returning to Lisbon.
We woke up early, we were very lucky, the tide was low and for that reason we were able to do the first 10 km on the sand of a beach that starts in Armação de Pera and ends in Galé.
After that we visited São Rafael Beach, which is also very beautiful and famous in Albufeira, where we had lunch and ended this tour.
During these days, unhurried, with tranquility and time for everything, cycling, going to the beach, eating, drinking and meeting friends, we covered half of the Algarve coast.
This is a wonderful and affordable program that allows you to get to know half of this coast.
One day later, possibly at the end of summer, we wish to return to the Algarve to do the other half, between Albufeira and Vila Real.