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"|
|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:)
|A church in Zambujeira|
|The cliffs of Cabo Sardo|
|Carrapateira Beach - what a nice walkway!|
|O Tiago restaurant in Vila do Bispo|
|Vila do Bispo|
|The interior of the church in Vila do Bispo|
|local seafood feast!|
|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|
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