With a perfectly-suited all-year-round climate, attractive scenery and varied terrain, Portugal is a fantastic holiday destination for cyclists and walkers alike.
Whether on or off-road, cycling through the timeless Portuguese landscape is a great way to discover this beautiful corner of Europe. Relatively traffic-free, well-surfaced roads are the norm and the single most popular location for road cycling is the western Algarve (Sierra de Monchique/Lagos/Cape St Vincent), where you'll find the best weather in the country and the best facilities.
Elsewhere, the rolling terrain of the Alentejo region south of Lisbon, the hills and coast just north of Lisbon (around Sintra), the Tejo valley in the heart of the country, the stunning terraced hillsides of the Douro valley and rugged mountains of the north are all excellent for cycling.
Mountain bikers are just as well served, with the most popular location also being the western Algarve, with a great number of dirt tracks with terrific views across to the sea. The Via Algarviana is a fantastic long-distance trail running from the Spanish border to Cape St Vincent. Also popular in the south is the spectacular Atlantic coast of the Alentejo region between Lisbon and the Algarve. There are high sea cliffs, stretches of beautiful farming country and ancient stone villages.
There are also an array of options for walkers. The Alentejo region covers almost a third of Portugal, yet houses a mere seven percent of its population. There is a feeling of emptiness, wildness and remoteness here: most visitors pass it by or make a fleeting visit to the historic town of Evora before travelling to Lisbon or the Algarve. Yet this large area encompasses a captivating and varied landscape, extending from the hills of the Serra de Sao Mamede in the north to the cereal plains of the south, the wild Atlantic coast in the west to the fortified hilltop towns in the east.
Or situated in the extreme north of the country, Peneda-Gerês National Park is another little-visited area which provides wonderful opportunities for walking. You’ll find remote uplands reaching over 1,500 metres, deep wooded valleys and remote time-warp villages. The National Park is criss-crossed by paved granite trails that link villages to their upland summer pastures where temporary summer settlements bear testimony to the harsh conditions endured by the local farmers and shepherds.
And finally, the cool green hills of the Serra de Sintra are simply superb for exploring on foot: not only is the scenery sublime - forests of eucalyptus, acacia and pine and the rocky outcrops with fabulous views down to the Atlantic - but there's an amazing array of cultural and historic sights: opulent royal palaces, stately homes, royal hunting lodges and castles dot the hillsides around the town. It is the combination of the two that makes this area so special.
The Algarve is also the perfect training base for anyone wanting to get fit, and is long-established as the pre-eminent training centre for athletes of all disciplines, including swimmers, runners, tennis players, cyclists and general outdoor enthusiasts. It’s a result of its fantastic facilities and Mediterranean climate - the area benefits from the mildest winters in mainland Europe.
Read our activity guides for local guides to some of the best places in Portugal - click an icon on the map or browse the options below.
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Excellent facilities, beautiful surroundings and a warm, sunny climate makes the Algarve an ideal location for all forms of activity training.
Sublime scenery with views across the sparkling sea, an abundance of sunshine and excellent facilities make the Algarve a favourite with cyclists.
Wide-open spaces, towering cliffs, fairy-tale castles looming over picture-perfect towns: the Alentejo is an exciting destination for walkers looking to explore a corner of Europe way off the tourist trail.
This out-of-the-way southern stretch of Portugal makes ideal touring country, with attractive scenery, empty roads and lovely old towns.
For some of Europe's most enjoyable mountain biking amid an incredible variety of scenery, head for the green hills and Atlantic clifftops just north of Lisbon.
Lush forested mountainsides, granite cliffs with spectacular views, royal palaces and a superb cliff-lined coastline: it's hard to think of a better location for exploring on foot.
These wild granite uplands offer exhilarating solitude amid magnificent scenery, and an encounter with an age-old way of life
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