Situated on the western coast of the Iberian Peninsula, Portugal often feels completely separate from the rest of Europe. The sandy beaches and calm waters of the Algarve coast in the south may be the biggest draw for visitors to Portugal, but the vibrant cities, hilltop castles, scrumptious seafood, and delectable wines will have you exploring all over the small country. One of Europe’s oldest continuous states and a former maritime superpower, Portugal has some of the best cultural sites you can find packed into its manageable cycling size.
The two main cities, Lisbon and Porto, are wonderfully busy places where food, art, and culture all combine to give you the best introduction to all things Portuguese. Porto is your home base for an everything wine tour in the north; the city is situated at the mouth of the famed river of gold, the Rio Douro, which is the heart of the port industry. All sorts of wine lodges, farmstays, and B and B’s await to rest your tired legs once you ride inland from Porto.
Porto also serves as one Portuguese starting point for the Way of St. James pilgrimage north to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. The Silver Coast runs south from Porto to Lisbon and features multiple routes that vary in intensity, and will take you through some of Europe’s most underrated beaches and sea-side villages.
The busy capital of Lisbon echoes Portugal's past as a maritime superpower in its eclectic architecture and multicultural makeup. This makes for a vibrant urban culture that is forward thinking yet retains a lot of its old world charm. Since Lisbon is centrally located along the coast of Portugal, it makes for a great starting point for almost every type of ride. Head inland for a river adventure and some of the world's best wine, or go up and down the coast to experience some of Europe's best beaches.
For those seeking sun, the Algarve is Portugal's most popular beach destination, as it has been for hundreds of years. The warm Mediterranean climate makes for good cycling all year round. However, the roadways, beaches, and town squares fill to the brim in the main summer months. With its stellar climate, fun-loving cities, and natural amenities, Portugal is one of Europe’s most manageable cycling destinations. The variation in rides and the shorter distances make it a fantastic place for a cycling holiday.