Selle Royal on Track: riding along the Portuguese coast

Bike Culture & Tips

Selle Royal on Track: riding along the Portuguese coast
April 2018

For those who love cycling, beautiful new itineraries are some sort of a treasure to be discovered.
And when it comes to travelling and riding, it's time for Selle Royal on track. If you enjoyed riding along the path of the lakes in the Italian Alps of Trentino Alto Adige, this time we are recommending something slightly more challenging but extremely fascinating. It’s a route in the westernmost country of southern Europe: Portugal.

A favourite destination for surfers from all over Europe for its beautiful beaches and waves that rise high above the sea, the Ecovia Litoral runs from one end of the Algarve to other and was opened in 2008 as part of the Eurovelo 1 project; it is still today one of the few routes for bike touring in Portugal, covering 130 miles and with a vertical drop of about 100 metres.

Ecovia Litoral starts in Cabo de Sao Vicente, at the western end of the country, and ends in Vila Real de St. Antonio, extending along the Atlantic Ocean and alternating breathtaking natural landscapes and tourist areas.
As you leave the lighthouse of Cabo de Sao Vicente, you will start the part of the route that gets to one of the most fascinating areas of this cycle path: the southern side of the Parque Natural da Costa Vicentina. Here, the towering cliffs of Sagres offer a fascinating, colourful sight, including a turquoise ocean and sun-kissed yellow rocks.

At this particular point of the coast, the sea is gentler than the open ocean, and you may want to get off your bike and stop in one of many sandy beaches, such as Ponta de Piedade or Praia Dona Ana near Lagos, dominated by rocks that the wind has eroded into hundreds of different shapes.
The next stretch of the route will take you from the beach to the city; the road crosses the Ria de Alvor, a lagoon area that is a perfect destination if you want to spot different species of birds, and reaches Albufeira, the first actual city where you can have a fun-filled stop and plunge into its busy nightlife!

After this “city” stop, the Ecovia do Litoral starts again in the direction of Faro, a town founded by the Arabs; encircled by medieval walls, its Cidade Velha (Old Town) bewitches cyclists with its rough beauty.
But the real highlight of this area is the Natural Park of
Ria Formosa, a natural oasis formed by dozens of sandy islets and deserts that mark the border between the lagoon and the sea, where you can enjoy some Arroz de lingueirão, the traditional rice with razor clams that is typically made in this part of Portugal.

At this point, you will have almost reached the end of the Ecovia Litoral; there’s not many miles to go before you get to Villa Real de Santo Antònio, but there still are a few surprises to experience, such as the shallow, warm waters of the ocean, for you to enjoy some well deserved relaxation on the beaches of Altura or Manta Rota.
A trained cyclist can complete this itinerary in two days,  but our advice is that you take your time to enjoy the landscapes, nature and history of this beautiful country. Because travelling does not only mean moving, especially if you ride to experience new emotions.
So look to the horizon and imagine yourself as pirates on a bike, dreaming of new routes to explore and new lands to conquer. Your vessel will have two wheels and your map will be
Selle Royal on track.
Ready for the next adventure?

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