Cycling in Portugal makes for a great cycling holiday or a day bike trip. Learn the best cycling routes, where to rent a bike, & when is the best time to go.
Are you considering a cycling holiday or a day biking trip in Portugal?
Biking and cycling are becoming increasingly popular ways to get around this beautiful country. It is a wonderful way to intimately explore Portugal on its quiet roads: bike trip allows you to make as many stops as you want for that!
There are endless scenes of architectural beauty and alluring ambience throughout Portugal to see, making it one of the most exciting destinations in the world for cyclists.
You can explore over 850 miles (1375 km) of trails and country roads across Portugal, lively cities, quiet villages, golden beaches and national parks alike.
Cycling in Portugal: what to know & best cycling routes
Portugal is a great destination for cycling due to its diverse landscapes, including a lengthy Atlantic coastline, mountains, and valleys. There are routes suitable for all levels of difficulty throughout the country.
The country's favorable climate allows for cycling year-round, especially in the Algarve area in Southern Portugal.
Besides, biking and cycling are becoming increasingly popular in Portugal not only as a sport but also as a means of transportation due to the rising gas prices. It's a good way to travel around Portugal.
While some areas of Portugal may not have extensive cycling infrastructure like dedicated cycle paths, it compensates with well-maintained backroads that offer scenic routes for travel.
With a growing emphasis on promoting cycling as a sustainable and healthy mode of transportation, Portugal has been investing in infrastructure and services to cater to cyclists.
Local authorities keep making special paths for bikes in big cities like Lisbon and Porto, and other smaller cities across Portugal. They were also creating long paths on old train lines, like the Ecopista to Dão near Coimbra and the Ecopista da Linha to Tâmega near Amarante and the Ecopista near Évora.
Let’s look at already existing Portugal’s biking routes.
What are some popular cycling routes and bike paths in Portugal?
Best cycling routes
Here is a list of 11 best cycling routes in Portugal:
Entlang des Douros loop from Valença to Douro wine country. This intermediate route takes you along the wine region of Douro River, offering stunning views of the river valley and vineyards. The distance is 40 km and elevations gain around 450 m.
Estrada do Guincho loop from Santa Cruz – Damaia. This expert route takes you through the scenic coastal road of Guincho. This is a 70 km intermediate route along the Portuguese coast.
Bidirectional Coastal Bikeway loop from Estádio do Mar. This intermediate route offers beautiful coastal views. This route is a flat and easy ride along the bidirectional coastal bikeway that connects Porto to Matosinhos. You can admire the ocean views, beautiful beaches and the urban landscapes of these two cities. The route is around 60 km with some legs of steep climbs.
Bidirectional Coastal Bikeway – Pergola da Foz loop from Dom João II. This route is a flat and easy ride along the bidirectional coastal bikeway that connects Porto to Matosinhos. You can admire the ocean views and the urban landscapes of these two cities. The route is around 60 km long and good for any skill levels.
Cabo de San Vicente loop from Fairviews Village to Boavista. This expert route takes you to the most southwestern point of Europe, Cape Sagres. You can see the lighthouse and the cliffs there. The route is 67.7 km long and has an elevation gain of 957 m.
Rota Costa Atlântica Aug23. This route takes you along the Atlantic coast of Portugal.
Rota Vicentina. This is a hiking trail, but it also makes for a great cycling route. The Rota Vicentina cycling route is a beautiful and diverse coastal route that explores the Southwestern coast of Portugal around Costa Vicentina.
It has two main routes: the Historical Way and the Fisherman's Trail. The Historical Way is a 230 km route that can be done by foot or bike, passing through villages, forests, and historic sites. The Fisherman's Trail is a 111 km route only for walking, offering stunning views of the sea, cliffs, and beaches. Both routes allow you to discover the natural beauty of the region. You can find more details for this cycling route here.
Via Algarviana. Perfect for mountain biking and also cycling.
There are a few great biking routes around Serra da Estrela, the highest mountain range in Continental Portugal. You can choose from different types of bikes, routes, and levels of difficulty, depending on your preferences and skills.
Grande Rota to Guadiana (central Portugal) and Ecovia to Litoral. These two routes are major cycling routes in the Algarve region. Which is practically guarantee that you will have a great sunny weather!
Bike on trains paths
To accommodate cyclist, Portuguese authorities created new cycling paths on former rail tracks, so you can have a unique experience. How many former rail tracks have you cycled on before?;)
Ecopista do Dão cycling route
The Ecopista do Dão is a beautiful cycling route in Portugal. It used to be a railway line called Linha do Dão that connected Santa Comba Dão and Viseu. In 2011, it was turned into a bike and walking path. It is the longest Ecopista in Portugal and is known for its beauty. It also one of the easiest bike routes, featuring the paved, traffic-free greenway.
The beginning of the cycle path is in Santa Comba Dão, and it follows the Dão River and its tributary, the Pavia River. The path is almost 50km long and is easy to walk or cycle. It takes you through a rural area with vineyards and farming communities. The Ecopista starts at the railway line in Dão, and there are also some amazing railway heritage sites along the way.
Although Coimbra is not directly on the Ecopista do Dão, it is not too far away and could be a good place to stay if you want to explore this route and others in the region.
Ecopista da Linha do Tâmega cycling route
The Ecopista da Linha do Tâmega is a beautiful cycling route near Amarante in Portugal. It used to be a railway line that has been turned into a bike and walking path.
The Tâmega Ecotrail is about 40 kilometers long and connects Amarante to Cabeceiras de Basto, passing through Celorico de Basto.
This route allows you to explore the Tâmega Valley, the Marão Mountain Range, the Nature Park of Alvão, and Terras de Basto.
The historic centers, villages, vineyards, and forests in this northern interior region provide surprises throughout the journey.
The Ecopista near Évora
The Ecopista near Évora is another popular cycling path in Portugal. It also used to be a railway line but has now been converted into a biking and walking path. The path starts in Évora and goes through the Alentejo province which is known for its cork trees, villages, wine, and beautiful views.
The starting point in Évora is difficult to describe. There are no designated crossing areas, so you just use the crosswalk. At one point, there is a new, red bike path. Most of the Ecopista de Évora is not paved. If you don't have a bike, you can rent one at Galacio Bike near the edge of town, where the path starts.
Visit https://hansonthebike.com/2023/06/08/ecopista-de-evora/ to learn more details about this route.
These above listed routes were on Portuguese mainland. But Portuguese islands also have some outstanding cycling routes.
Best Portuguese islands cycling routes
Cycling routes in Madeira:
- São Lourenço Palace – Aussichtspunkt loop from São Pedro: This expert route offers stunning views.
- Madeira – Altstadt Funchal loop from Garajau: This route takes you through the old town of Funchal.
- Aussichtspunkt – Waterfall on the road loop from Lazareto: This route offers a view of a waterfall on the road.
Cycling routes in Azores:
- Blick über den Furnas-See – Poca da Dona Beija loop from São José: This route offers a view over the Furnas Lake.
- Jardim Botânico António Borges – Mühle: Red Peak Mill loop from São Sebastião: This route takes you from the António Borges Botanical Garden to the Red Peak Mill.
- Pico da Barrosa Climb – Alto da Lagoa do Fogo loop from Ponta Delgada: This route takes you from the climb of Pico da Barrosa to the Alto da Lagoa do Fogo.
Biking routes inside Lisbon
Cycling in Lisbon city is a great way to explore this beautiful and bike-friendly capital of Portugal. Here are some popular cycling routes within Lisbon:
Cais do Sodré – Belém: This route takes you along the Tagus River, offering stunning views of the city and the river.
Entrecampos – Saldanha: This route takes you through some of Lisbon's bustling business districts.
Restauradores-Monsanto: This route takes you from the Restauradores Square to the Monsanto Forest Park, the largest green space in Lisbon.
Campo Grande – Parque Das Nações: This route takes you from Campo Grande, a public park and garden, to Parque das Nações, a modern cultural center and neighborhood in Lisbon.
Cascais – Guincho: This route takes you from the town of Cascais to Guincho Beach, offering beautiful coastal views.
Belém – Trafaria: This route takes you from Belém, known for its historic monuments, to Trafaria, a former fishing village.
Biking routes in Porto
Biking in Porto city is a great way to explore the city. Here are some bike lanes within the city:
Ciclova da Avenida da Boavista: This traffic-free cycle route starts at the Parque da Cidade and continues for 2.2km along the Avenida da Boavista until it ends at the Sea Life Centre, where it joins the Ciclovia da Foz coastal cycle path.
Ciclova da Foz: This pleasant route begins at the western end of the Parque da Cidade and follows the coast south for almost 5km until reaching the Douro estuary (Foz). It then continues inland to the Foz da Ribeira da Granja, where the bird observatory is located.
Ciclovia da Foz da Ribeira da Granja: This route starts at the southeastern entrance of the Parque da Cidade and continues south towards the river. Along the way, it passes through the Parque Urbano da Pasteleira before ending at the Foz da Ribeira da Granja, near the bird observatory.
These routes are within the city limits and offer a great way to explore Porto.
Portugal bike route map
Wondering where you can find Portugal bike route map?
You can find maps of cycling routes in Portugal on the following websites:
These websites provide a variety of cycling routes with different levels of difficulty, length, recommended fitness level and scenery. They also offer features like elevation profiles, points of interest, and user reviews. You can use these resources to plan your cycling adventure in Portugal.
Now, how you can rent a bike in Portugal?
Bike rentals Portugal
Renting a bike in Portugal is very straightforward.
Here are some places where you can rent a bike:
Lisbon Bike Rentals: They offer a variety of award-winning bikes for different genders, types, sizes, and styles. You can collect your bike from their shop in the city center.
Go Cycling Portugal: They offer a wide variety of Scott: road bikes, mountain bikes, touring bikes, or e-bikes. You can pick up your bikes in Porto or Lisbon and drop them off at different locations in Portugal or Spain.
CCT Bike Rental: They offer top-class trekking or racing bikes for rent.
Cycling Rentals: They offer bike hire and equipment rental services for independent cyclists, with delivery in continental Spain or Portugal.
Europcar Bikes: They offer motorcycle and bicycle rental at more than 20 stations in Portugal.
Various places such as specialty shops, hotels, campsites, and youth hostels that offer bike rentals at prices ranging from €10 to €20 per day.
Check their websites to compare the types of bikes available, rental prices, and terms and conditions. Most of these services allow you to book online for your convenience.
Can I take my bike for free on trains in Portugal?
Bikes can now be taken on regional and interregional trains for free so long as they are dismantled (foldable or collapsible bikes , wrapped in a cover).If you bike is not foldable, you can still bring it on the urban lines in Lisbon and Porto, as well as regional trains from Coimbra.
When is the best time for cycling in Portugal?
The best time to go cycling in Portugal is during the off-peak season, from April to June, and September to November. These months have warm temperatures and fewer tourists, making for a better cycling experience. The weather during these months is pleasant, with temperatures around 64 - 78F ( 18ºC to 26ºC .
And you can take bike trips in Algarve year-round, as it usually has 340 days of sunshine.
Biking and cycling are popular activities in Portugal and they keep getting more popular! And Portugal keeps adding new wonderful cycling routes.
Cycling is also a great way to get around the country! Here are all the other ways to get around Portugal as well.
If you don’t want to cycle alone or plan your biking trip, you can join a cycling tour.
Here are 5 best biking tours in Portugal that offer different experiences and challenges:
Porto to Lisbon Atlantic Ride: This is a 8-day road bike tour that follows the Atlantic coast from Porto to Lisbon, passing through historic towns, fishing villages, and natural parks. You will enjoy the scenic views of the ocean, the countryside, and the monuments along the way.
Cycling Portugal - Porto to Lisbon: This is another 8-day road bike tour that connects Porto and Lisbon, but with a different route that explores the Douro Valley, the Serra da Estrela, and the Alentejo region. You will cycle through vineyards, mountains, and plains, and visit UNESCO World Heritage sites, castles, and monasteries. This tour is also rated as intermediate level and is operated by Explore.
Cycle Portugal - Lisbon to Algarve: This is a 8-day hybrid bike tour that starts in Lisbon and ends in the Algarve, the Sithern region of Portugal. You will ride along the coast, through the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park, the Arrábida Natural Park, and the Rota Vicentina. You will also discover the rich culture and cuisine of Portugal, and enjoy the sunny beaches and cliffs of the Algarve. This tour is rated as intermediate level and is operated by Explore.
I hope my post was helpful in planning your future biking trip!
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Check out my other posts on wonderful European destinations on Alonga Travel as well!