Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Biking through Algarve

First off, this post is ABSOLUTELY dedicated to my dad. If I ever had the money to make this happen, I absolutely would do this with him!


I was reading up on Portugal on the Lonely Planet website and I came across an itinerary for a bike tour through Portugal's famed Algarve region. Located on the southwestern coast of Portugal, this area is a mecca for tourists, but much can be said for the quaint way of life continuing in some of the towns outside the tourist areas. I looked up some images to coincide with the bike tour itinerary. Read on and drool....






Day 1 - arrive in Algarve and transfer to the rustic town of Monchique, known for its historic buildings like the ruins of a 17th century monastery, Nossa Senhora do Desterro. The town is quaint, with narrow cobblestoned streets and shops selling ceramics and their famous local apertif "medronho".


Cafe scene in Monchique
The convent of Nossa Senhora do Desterro
A cocktail made with the famous "medronho"
Day 2 - Go on a ride through the foothills of Picota and Foia along with the old spa town of Caldas de Monchique. The waters of Caldas de Monchique have been lauded as having healing powers since antiquity, and the small town features some hotels and spas where you can have treatments that feature the town's claim to fame. Also, the town has a few restaurants that feature beautiful views of the surrounding hills.


La capilla de São José in Picota
Wow...what a view....
Some of the scenery in Caldas de Monchique


Day 3 - Cycle west to the small coastal town of Odeceixe, a sleepy little coastal town, nestled amongst hills (one of which topped with an iconic windmill), that is known for its laidback charm and popular surf breaks. here the itinerary provides two possible routes - cycling along the Riviera de Seixe valley, or across the serra to the Alentejo border.








 







Day 4 - choice of riding through the countryside to Rogil to visit the Esteveira nature preserve, or to ride to the beautiful beach village of Zambujeira and the cliffs of Cabo Sardo.....tough decision, but I think I'm leaning toward Zambujeira:)






Rogil
Esteveira
A church in Zambujeira




Zambujeira cafe


Zambujeira nature


Zambujeira beach


The cliffs of Cabo Sardo
 Day 5 - Transfer south, and cycle to Carrapateira, a small village popular with surfers, to make a circular tour of the Pontal headland. Continue along to Vila do Bispo, a small town with typical Algarvean houses clustered around a 16th century church and a reputation for great seafood restaurants.  Then the ride continues along the Sagres peninsula to Cape St. Vincent and the fishing port of Sagres, the most western point of Europe.


Carrapateira Beach - what a nice walkway!
Pontal headland
O Tiago restaurant in Vila do Bispo
Vila do Bispo
The interior of the church in Vila do Bispo
local seafood feast!


Sagres


Sagres


Lighthouse of St. Cape Vincent in Sagres


Day 6 - Head east from Sagres toward Montes des Amantes, which the itinerary states is famous for its "standing stones," but I could not find any pictures of them online! Then head on to the beaches of Ingrina and Zavial (where I would want to take a break to enjoy their snorkelling!)before passing through the quiet countryside to the fishing village of Salema. 


beach at Ingrina
Zavial
Salema


Salema


Oh man. I want to go on this trip!!!!!!!!!!!! I want to add in an extra day in each place to not be on my bike and instead walk around, eat and do some sunbathing!!! One day......

If you are interested in the Lonely Planet itinerary, check out http://www.lonelyplanet.com/portugal/tours/self-guided-cycle/algarve-cycle?lpaffil=fbta1#ixzz1nET6CqUu

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