Tour cycling in Portugal.

Tour cycling in Portugal.

I have been cycling in Portugal several times over the past 17 years and have covered many parts of the country by bicycle, so here is some general advice about tour cycling in Portugal, seen from my perspective.

What are the roads in Portugal like, for cycling?

The roads in Portugal are mostly good for cycling.

The roads in Portugal are mostly good for cycling.

Roads in Portugal are generally good for tour cycling. Getting in and out of Lisbon by bicycle can be a little tricky of course, but if you take one of the ferries from Cais do Sodre, that goes across the river Tejo, then you are quickly out of the city, in case you are heading south from Lisbon, on your bicycle.

You should of course stay away from the motorways in Portugal, where it’s both dangerous and illegal to cycle, but that should not really be a problem for you to find an alternative.

Once you are away from the big roads, then you will find that most roads in Portugal are nicely paved and often, either have a shoulder for soft traffic, or is so quiet that you hardly see any cars. I generally find car drivers to be quite friendly towards cyclists in Portugal and I have never had any serious encounters with aggressive drivers, while tour cycling in Portugal.

Be ware that Madeira Island is not quite as as good as the mainland for cycling. There is a trip report about Madeira Here.


Accommodation for tour cyclists in Portugal.

Space for bicycles on a road in Portugal.

Space for bicycles on a road in Portugal.

When I am tour cycling in Portugal these days, I mostly stay in smaller hotels. These places are often called Residencial by the way. I do it because they are cheap, usually costing me between 20€ and 30€ per night, sometimes even less. Sure enough, camping is cheaper and very doable if this is what you like.

The government run campsites called “camping municipal” are often very cheap and there are also good chances to camp wild along the west coast of Portugal, on many of the secluded and little visited beaches.

And don’t forget about the Portuguese youth hostels. They are often very bicycle friendly and usually have excellent staff, who like to bike themselves. These places are cheap and have both dorms and private rooms.

And space for my bicycle in a portuguese hotel room.

And space for my bicycle in a portuguese hotel room.

Finding bicycle shops in Portugal.


If you need spare parts for your bike in Portugal, then you will find that almost all major towns will have a well equipped bicycle store, but be ware that smaller villages, usually don’t have a bicycle store.

But ask around if you need it urgently, as there might be a bicycle repair shop, even in the small villages. You have quite a few independent bicycle stores around Portugal, that I highly recommend.

As an alternative, you can also look for the sport stores called “Sport Zone” where they always have a well equipped bicycle section. You also have bicycle sections in the Decathlon stores in Portugal.

Cycling near Fatima, in Portugal.

Cycling near Fatima, in Portugal.

What part of Portugal is the best for tour cycling?

Cycling in Alentejo is fantastic.

Cycling in Alentejo is fantastic.

Having cycled quite a bit in both north, south and central Portugal, I will have to say that my favorite region for tour cycling in Portugal is Alentejo. Sometimes people ask me if there is anything to see in Alentejo, because they have never really heard of places to see there.

But I can assure you that there is plenty to see and the roads are nice and mostly quiet and Alentejo is by far the least populated part of Portugal, when compared to size. Because it is fairly unknown as a tourist destination, some of the really nice places there are surprisingly un-touristy.

Mertola is a great example of that for instance. It’s not that I don’t like the other parts of Portugal, it’s just that I think Alentejo is slightly better for tour cycling, In fact, Alentejo is one of the best places in the world for tour cycling if you ask me. but don’t miss out on the rest of the country. The area up around Aveiro and Coimbra is really nice for tour cycling too for instance.

I have recently taken a trip as well in the DAO wine region, between Coimbra and Viseu. This is some of the best cycling terretory I have encountered so far in southern Europe. I have a longer blogpost about it on this link

Cycling near Aveiro.

Cycling near Aveiro.

What time of year is the best for tour cycling in Portugal?

Spring cycling near Estoril.

Spring cycling near Estoril.

If you are free to chose what time of year you want to go tour cycling in Portugal, then chose either spring or fall. This is when you have mostly nice weather, but not as steaming hot as you can get it in places like Algarve and Alentejo and the summer can be crowded with tourists too in many places, driving accommodation prices up. Winter is doable, as long as you are ready to put up with wind and rain every now and then. Portuguese weather is in general more unpredictable than the weather in other southern european countries, because it’s located by the Atlantic Ocean and not by the Mediterranean sea and you will see that during winter months in particular.


Leiria even has a bike trail named after an endurance cyclist.

Carlos Vieira bicycle trail.

The Carlos Vieira bicycle trail in Leiria.

I was recently in Leiria, in central Portugal, and was positively surprised to see this new bicycle trail. It was even named after a local endurance cyclist called Carlos Vieira, who broke several world records. He was also a firefighter and a real local hero. Unfortunately, Carlos Vieira passed away in 2020. But the town of Leiria decided to honor him in this very special way.


My final conclusion about tour cycling in Portugal.

As a whole, Portugal is a really nice country for tour cycling, with locals who are friendly to cycling tourists and a country where you can get by easily, even if you speak no Portuguese, as most younger people there tend to be at least bilingual.

Beware that when you are close to the coast, then it can be quite windy in Portugal and the most common wind direction depends a little on what part of the country you are, so be prepared for a little wind in your face from time to time. But as a whole, Portugal is a great country to go cycling.

If you want to read about my cycling trip around Madeira island, then I have a blogpost about it on this link.

My bicycle leaning up against a cork oak.

My bicycle leaning up against a cork oak.



  1. Your pictures and comments were very helpful, thanks alot. I will place Portugal on list of countries to visit by bike.

  2. Great post! Adding it to my list of travel resources in Portugal. I love bicycling, but, unfortunately, since we started our perpetual travel around the world, two bags is all we carry around. That means that we switched to hiking.

    I can attest that Portugal is beautiful in spring: not too hot, not too many rainy days; basically, perfect for any physical activity. Beware though that higher elevations could be 10-15 degrees colder with some strong winds, so layers of clothing are necessary.

  3. Excellent summary and I would agree with all the main points – including the Alentejo probably being the best area for cycling. The eastern Beira region (to the north) is also excellent and even quieter (with some fabulous ruined castles) but can be a bit cooler and harder to get to.
    If you want more detail on Portugal’s different regions, ideas for routes, guided tours etc, can I suggest the Pedal Portugal website!

  4. No doubt, Portugal is the great place for cycling. But I hadn’t much idea about cycling in Portugal. After reading your post, I get enough idea about Portugal. My desire is, I will go to Portugal for cycling. Portugal is really nice place for cycling.

  5. Have you used trains or buses for inter city transportation with your bike in Portugal? Our group is flying into Lisbon, but wanting to start cycling from Evora, not Lisbon. We are finding conflicting information regarding being able to take our bikes (in boxes) on buses & trains. Our bikes are not foldable, so would be in larger bike boxes.

    • Hi’ Tanya. I don’t think you will be able to bring them on trains, as I have never seen any area on the trains that can fit bikes. Bur on busses should be ok, I would think, as long as the bikes are in boxes. But if you are a group traveling together,, then it’s maybe a good idea to email the bus company in advance and ask. Being a group, I suppose that you are reserving your bus tickets in advance anyway. Have a nice trip to Portugal.

      • Hello Claus

        I have rented a bike in Lisbon around mid-April this year. I intend to cycle to Merida, Spain and join the Via de la Plata to Santiago.
        Can you give me any advice on routes/roads to take from Lisbon to Évora or Estremoz, eventually to Elvas, then Badajos and Merida?
        I will be on a road bike, so would prefer staying on paved roads with shoulders.

        Thank you

        • Hi’ Rod. I would suggest taking the ferry to the southside of the Tejo river and then cycle down to Setubal.From there, cycle to Evora. This is a nice ride, where you can avoid the busy main road. And then from Evora go via Estremoz to Elvas.

  6. Thanks for the information. I’ve been thinking about riding in Portugal and your article helps motivate me to do it.

  7. Wheeler Edwards

    Claus, Thank you very much for this summary. It fired us up. We’re planning on a mid May trip to Portugal for 14 days. Your pics and words (plus comments!!) have inspired us. Do you know of a “Greenway” in Portugal.
    We rode the Kingfisher trail in Ireland and found that the buses were less expensive, more frequent and often to many town trains don’t go to. With folding BikeFridays we could quick fold and bag the bikes which the drivers appreciated!

    • I have not used busses that much in Portugal when cycling there. But they have fairly large trunks, where you can easily fit in a folded up bike. I do not really know of companies that helps you organising accommodation on bike tourslike Greenway in Ireland does. But they might exist.

  8. Hi, great post, thanks for this!

    Can you please give some advice on this?

    The idea is to arrive in Lisbon on 8th, get the bikes and explore Lisbon until 11th. We then want to take the train/or transport (incl. bicycles) to Coimbra. Stay there for 1 – 2 nights. (?). From there it looks pretty to cycle via Celorico de Beiraz – Pinhel- Figuera de Castelo Rodrigo – Freixo de Espada a Cinta – Torre de Moncorvo – S. Joao de Pesqueira – Pinhao to Peso da Regua. we think to do this in 8 days. From there we intend to take the boat to Porto and spend two (?) nights in Porto. From Porto to take the train/transport to Aveiro or alternatively to Figuera da Foz. From there cycling back to Lisbon. We think that will take another 8 days.

    Kindly advise if this makes sense, if we chose nice areas to ride in, if you take the train from Porto to Aveiro or alternatively to Figuera da Foz rather.

    We are no pilgrims, just avid riders and love nice food, wine and alternating scenery.

    Looking forward to hearing from you!

    Warm regards from sunny Cape Town


    • Hi’ Ines. Be ware that there are a few conditions you have to meet if you take a bicycle on to a train in Portugal. You have details about it on this link to the Portuguese railways:
      The trip and the route sounds good to me. And I would only take the train to Aveiro, as the coastal area around the Aveiro region is quite bicycle friendly. Also make sure that the boat you take from Regua to Porto allows you to bring a bike on it. The trip north from Coimbra will take you though a very non touristy area and it should be a very nice ride. Have a fantastic trip and greetings from Sri Lanka, where I am cycling around at the moment.

  9. Claus, we are torn between 3 self-guided bike trips. One is 7 days of biking starting point is Lisbon and end point in Lagos. The next one is 7 days of biking inland the wine country, starting in Evora and ending in Evora. The next one is 10 days of biking starting in Oporto and ending in Estaril. First and third are basically along the coast, second one is inland. Which would you do? It’s our first time biking in Portugal and visiting Portugal.

    • Hi’ Terry. That depends a little on the time of year that you plan to bike. The inland tour around Evora sounds really good to me. The roads in this area are very good for cycling. But the weather is extremely hot there during July/August. So if you plan to go during these months, then I would recommend that you take the tour from Lisbon to Lagos instead. The tour that starts in Porto is probably not bad. But I do think that the central and southern part of Portugal are the areas most suited for cycling. Hope you will have a fantastic trip.

  10. Hi Claus thank you for the post, very useful. May I ask for some advice?
    I’m planning a bike/surf trip in july (I know it’ll be very hot and for that I’ll be cycling early mornings). So the plan is Lisbon – Sines, Sines – Sagres, Sagres – Faro. Three stops, 120km approx each 360km in total. It won’t be easy ahah.
    About the ground, is it ups and downs or mostly flat?
    I’ll need to find a bike in Lisbon (possibly not expensive), what’s best: second hand shops? Street markets? second hand websites??
    or do you know if there’s a possibility to rent a bike in Lisbon a drop it in Faro?
    Thanks and I’m looking forward to hearing from you!

    • Hi’ Matteo.The ride from Lisbon to Algarve is not that hilly. But you have some climbs as you get down south. Not very steep ones though. You might want to consider staying overnight in Vilanova de Milfontes, instead of Sines. Sines is ok, but Vilanova de Milfontes has a much nicer setting if you ask me. For buying a second hand bike, I do not have so much experience. But you do have some second hand stores. Finding the right bike could easily take you a few days though. There is a fantastic bicycle rental place called that rents out excellent bikes. I am not sure if you can drop off the bike in another place than Lisbon though. But they are worth contacting as they are bicycle enthusiasts who knows the cycling scene in Portugal very well. Hope you will have a fantastic trip. 🙂

  11. C
    Planning trip fro Porto to Santiago late September
    Any ideas for maps/ travel routes. Want to ride without a tour group etc

  12. Hi Claus!
    We are a group of girls wanting to cycle in the Alentejo region of Portugal!
    We want to start off in Estremoz & end in Montemor O Novo!
    Would appreciate if you could let us know of a cycle rental place in Estremoz & also someone who can provide us with the route map!
    Thank you
    Suman Jain

    • Hello Suman Jain. I am quite sure that there is no bicycle rental in Estremoz. This is a part of Portugal with relatively few tourists. And I think it will be very hard to find a place with several rental bikes for a group there. What I would suggest is to contact and ask if they can help you. They are situated in Lisbon, but have lot’s of bikes of a very good quality. And they might also be able to help you with transporting bikes between Lisbon and Estremoz and from Montemor back to Lisbon. If that does not work, then I think you will need to get hold of a tour operator and see if they can organise something for you. Hope it will all work for you and hope you will have a fantastic trip. Claus.

  13. Hi Claus – great post. Very informative. My wife and I are travelling to Lagos from Canada May 6/19 for roughly a week’s holiday. Thereafter we would like to do an approximate 7 day bike tour. Would this be feasible maybe going up inland from Lagos and circling back along the coast perhaps. Wondering about road suitability, bike and equipment rentals in Lagos, and accommodation availability along the way. Thanks and look forward tony assistance you can offer.

    • Hi’ Rob. Your trip should certainly be doable. I would recommend that you head west from Lagos and then a little up the west coast towards Aljezur. This is really good cycling terretory. Accommodation along the way will not be a problem. It’s very common in Portugal to rent out private rooms, so you can always do that if you do not find a hotel or a guest house. Accommodation is plentiful in this part of Portugal. In terms of bike rental in Lagos, I am not too sure. It’s been around 2 years since I last rented a bike there, so I better not play expert here. But renting a bike is certainly possible in Lagos. Have a fantastic trip and all the best from here.

  14. Hello Claus,

    Wonderful post, thank you for sharing. I am looking for the perfect location to stay for one month in May for training. I would like to be close to some mountains for good climbing opportunities. Ideal if I can be without a car for the entire time so a town with a market, a restaurant or two and a good cafe would be a dream. Prefer smaller towns over busy, tourist towns. Any recommendations?

    Thank you!

    • Hi’ Shannon.
      I would recommend the western part of Algarve for that. If you take one of the smaller towns a little inland from Lagos, then you should be fine. Or alternatively the town Aljezur a little further west. That area is really good for cycling and very laid back. Hope you will have a fantastic trip.

  15. Dear Claus,
    I am planning on doing a tour from Porto to Faro along the coast or the other way around (Faro to Porto) in May. Do you have any recommandations due to wind conditions?
    Or other reasons to do the tour from South to North better then North to South?

    Thanks for your advise.

    • Hi’ Marcus. You often have a strong northern wind coming in the afternoon, along the west coast of Portugal. So I would say that riding from north to south is a little better. Have a fantastic trip.

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  17. Have a 2 month tour with a mate planned for sept/oct. start and end in Lisbon. Biggest dilemma so far is suitable accommodation in Lisbon without stairs preferably with bike box storage facility for the period we away riding and finally convenient to Cais da Sodré.

    Any suggestions would be much appreciated


    • Hi’ Rick. I would consider one of the many hostels in central Lisbon in your case. They tend to have luggage storage, where you can keep your bike boxes. Just make sure that it is one of the bigger hostels and not one that is located on the second or third floor of a building. I don’t think that storing the boxes will be a big problem for you though, as long as you are ready to pay a little money for a place to keep them for you. I would try and write places like Home Hostel or Yes hostel in advance, asking if they can keep your bike boxes stored, if you stay there at the beginning and by the end of the tour. Have a fantastic trip.

  18. Hello Claus,

    Thanks a lot for all the info. We (my wife, daughter and I) are planning travel towards South from Lisbon this October…..are there a lot ups downs?

    Thanks a lot

    Best, Davide

    • Hi’ Davide. It should be a very nice trip. Just make sure to go south by taking the ferry from Setubal to the Troia Peninsula, instead of driving on the busy road around the bat. But from Troia to Algarve, you generally have a very bicycle friendly road.

  19. Hi Claus thanks for helping so many people with all this great info. One question : we like to take our bikes with us in a vehicle as we tour around. Its hard or impossible to rent a car with a tow bar for a bike rack. Last year in Australia we got a Ute (pick up truck) with tow bar but I don’t see those for hire in Portugal. Any ideas? Could we transport bikes in a small van? Many thanks. Rose

    • Hi’ Rose. This is something that is quite hard for me to help with, as I have never driven a car or had a drivers license. So it’s probably better to ask someone for advice in this regard. Have a fantastic trip anyway 🙂

  20. Claus, do you know where I can order a map of Portuguese cycling routes?

  21. Poul Christensen

    Hej Claus.Jeg hedder Poul.
    Den 15 april cykler jeg fra Faro op igennem Portugal igennem Spanien til Irun, på grænsen til Frankrig. Jeg skal være i Irun d.19 juni.Det giver mig 2 mdr.hvor jeg vil tilbringe den meste tid i Portugal, jeg er 73 år og kommer sandsynligvis ikke til Portugal igen, er der noget jeg absolut ikke må gå glip af? Jeg er ikke speciel kulturel, men forfærdelig nysgerrig efter at vide hvordan folk lever og har det og hvorfor. Går da også fobi et museum i ny og næ.
    Jeg vil besøge Lissabon og Porto, og har en vag ide om at følge Duoro floden til dens udspring, men det er måske en dårlig ide. Elsker dramatiske landskaber og ved ikke en ting om landskabet langs Duoro floden.

    • Hej Poul. Fed tur du planlægger. Fra Faro har du ligesom to muligheder op langs kysten. Enten langs den spanske grænse, hvor du har fine små byer om Alcotim og Mertola. Eller op langs kysten, hvor du har fine byer som Lagos, Aljezur og Vila Nova de Milfontes. Efter Lissabon vil jeg anbefale at du cykler ind i landet, da der kan være en del trafik i kystområdet nord for Lissabon. Fra Coimbra og op mod Douro Dalen har du en rigtig fin cykelsti der hedder Ecopista do Dao. Den var jeg selv ret vild med sidste sommer. Jeg har noget om den på det her link: Porto er en fed by. Men med den cykeltur du planlægger, så ville det måske være bedre at cykle ind i landet efter Lissabon. Og så ramme Douro dalen ved Lamego/Regua og cykle mod Spanien derfra.

  22. Gaylen Armstrong

    Thanks Claus.Your comments are really appreciated and knowledgeable. We are now 80 years old and my wife and I are looking forward to continuing road cycling. We do it just the two of us and cycle a transect through a few countries each year. This Sept will be from Amsterdam to Belgium to Paris and then a train to near the Pyrenees in France and on to Portugal via Spain. Your comments re Portugal are much appreciated and we will enter from the North and cover what we can (about two weeks in Portugal based on some of your comments.

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  24. Claus, my son and a friend are planning a European cycling adventure starting in Lisbon. They plan to purchase a bicycle in Lisbon for this trip. Do you have any advice or recommendations regarding where to purchase and equip a touring bicycle in Lisbon?

  25. Claus, my son and a friend are planning an European bicycle adventure starting in Lisbon Portugal. Do you have any advice and recommendations regarding where to purchase a touring bicycle in Lisbon?

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  27. Great post, I love the photo of your bike near your bed. It seem you will never tired to find your bike in the car park next morning

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