Bikepacking refers to the adventure cycling modality that combines cycling (usually gravel) with camping. For this, we have to equip our bike with racks to carry the saddlebags with our luggage and the tools necessary for our adventure.

On our website, we have previously talked about bikepacking. If you are determined to practice this modality, this link will help you find the best bikes offered on the market to fully enjoy the bikepacking experience.

But what differentiates bikepacking from normal cycling or MTB practice is an adventure. You carry on your bike everything you need to spend 1 night out, or 1 week, or the time your route requires.

In a previous article on our website, we talked about the best bikepacking routes in Spain, an ideal country for cycling.

bikepacking in portugal
source: Pixabay (link)

But in this article, we want to analyze the best bikepacking routes you can find in Portugal. This country offers fewer mountains, but it makes up for it with spectacular landscapes and beaches.

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Why do we have to try a bikepacking route in Portugal?

Geography: Portugal is a country that offers a combination of beach landscapes with smaller mountains, which is ideal for bikepacking.

Although it does not have mountain ports like the ones we can find on the Transpirenaica route in Spain, we can still climb mountains that reach 800 meters in altitude (or even 1600m in Serra da Estrela).

The Portuguese mountain passes will not require as much effort as the Spanish ones.

On the other hand, Portugal is a coastal country, where we can finish our stages by relaxing with a refreshing swim in the Atlantic Sea.

This, together with the moderate temperatures, makes Portugal a perfect country for our adventure.

  • Gastronomy: Portugal is a country with varied and delicious cuisine. You will have the opportunity to taste excellent fish in the coastal area and very tasty meat in the interior areas.
  • Prices: One of the great advantages that Portugal has is that it is a country where we will find prices a little lower than the European average.
  • Hospitality: The moment we land in Portugal we will see that the Portuguese people are very hospitable and will help you at all times. The population is very scattered throughout its geography, so we will find many small villages along our routes.
  • Language: If you don’t speak Portuguese (or even Spanish), it won’t be a big problem. In Portugal, there is a good knowledge of English (especially with younger people), so it will be easier to communicate with the locals.
bikepacking in portugal
source: (link)

In the following passage, we describe the 7 best bikepacking routes in Portugal. We will travel along with Portugal from north to south, from east to west, through the best landscapes that this wonderful country has to offer.

If you decide to ride on a route that we are going to analyze below, we assure you that you will not regret it.

EuroVelo 1 Algarve (Vila Real do Santo António – Sagres):

We have already said that if we do a route in Portugal, we will enjoy a lot of sea views. And this is the best route to enjoy warmer temperatures and spectacular landscapes with the sea at our side.

This route runs throughout southern Portugal, the region known as the Algarve, from the border with Spain to the most southerly point in Europe, Sagres.

A flat route, with no mountain to climb, that runs 245 kilometers of wonderful beaches long. In our adventure, we will cross large towns such as Tavira, Faro, Albufeira, Portimao, or Lagos.

marina de lagos
Marina de Lagos (By Luis Pedraza)

Being a tourist area, it will be easy to find accommodation in the low season, and mild temperatures will allow us to do it at any time of the year.

Recommended Bike: Gravel
Region: Algarve
Difficulty: Amateurs
Better season: All seasons. Better to avoid summer due to high season and tourism.
Stages: From 3 to 7 stages.
Cities: Tavira, Faro, Albufeira, Portimao, Lagos, Sagres

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You can find more information (and great pictures) in the links below:

Rota Vicentina (From Setúbal)

We will continue touring the Portuguese coast on our next route. In this case, we will ride from Setúbal, a town very close to Lisbon, to Sagres through the Rota Vicentina (which begins in Santiago do Cacém).

Our journey will begin by taking a ferry to cross to Troia (zone of beaches with clear water) and continue to the south until we reach Santiago do Cacém where we will join the Rota Vicentina.

Since we are very close to the coast, the route is quite flat without big slopes and travels about 250km riding on the bike to Sagres.

If you are brave, it is possible to do the Eurovelo 1 together with the Rota Vicentina and make a longer bikepacking route for one week, without big slopes but with 500 kilometers accumulated in the legs.

Recommended Bike: Gravel
Region: Costa Vicentina
Difficulty: Amateurs
Better season: All seasons. Moderate Temperatures.
Stages: 3 or 4 stages.
Cities: Sagres, Aljezur, Vila Nova das Milfontes, Sines, Setubal

More information available in the following links:

TransPortugal (Braganza – Sagres)

The previous routes crossed a part of the Portuguese coast. But Portugal also has indoor areas to explore.

On this route, we will ride a bike for 1150 km to cross the whole country, from the most northeast point (Bragança) to the most southwest point (Sagres).

We will have to overcome some mountain difficulty bordering Serra da Estrela, in the center of Portugal.

An elevation gain of 18,000 meters at the end of the route makes it only for cycling and bikepacking experts. The highest point will reach 1100m altitude.

There is an official race that rides through it in 10 stages, although 2 weeks would be ideal if you want to make it a little more relaxed.

Recommended Bike: Gravel or MTB
Region: Portugal
Difficulty: Only Experts
Better season: Autumn and Spring
Stages: From 10 to 15 stages.
Cities: Sagres, Elvas, Castelo Branco, Braganza

You can find more information at this page.

EuroVelo 1 Complete: (Vila Real de Santo António – Caminha)

We can continue with the Eurovelo route, although it is already for more experienced cyclists. A route that runs along the entire Portuguese coast, from the already known Vila Real do Santo António, to Caminha, on the border with Spain in the north of Portugal.

This route does not have a big slope, but you ‘ll notice fatigue when traveling 1125km with saddlebags on the bike.

Throughout the route, we will not separate from the coast, and we will almost always keep it in our sight. A perfect route to travel at any time of the year since the ocean softens the temperature a lot.

Recommendable Bike: Gravel
Region: Coast of Portugal
Difficulty: Moderate (1125km)
Better season: All year
Stages: Around 14 stages.
Cities: Faro, Albufeira, Portimao, Lagos, Sagres, Sines, Setubal, Lisboa, Peniche, Nazare, Figueira da Foz, Aveiro, Porto, Viana do Castelo.

Here you can find more information about this route.

GR22 – Aldeias Históricas Route

In our analysis, a route for mountain lovers could not be missed. In Portugal, not everything is the sea and beach. Inside, we find the Serra da Estrela, where we can climb up to 1650 meters altitude.

A 530 km route that runs through small villages with a lot of history in the interior of Portugal along the border with Spain.

Since it is a circular route, you won’t be needing any extra transport (train or bus) to return to the departure point.

We will ride along with the natural sites of Serra da Estrela, Douro Natural Park, and Serra da Malcata.

Landscapes with lush forests and medieval villages, traditional Portuguese culture. A more solitary route than the previous ones, less touristy, but with a special charm.

Recommended Bike: Gravel and MTB
Region: Serra da Estrela
Difficulty: Experts
Better season: Spring and Autumn
Stages: From 7 to 10 stages.
Villages: Almeida, Castelo Novo, Castelo Rodrigo, Monsanto, Sortelha

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Lisbon – Santiago (Caminho Portugués)

In our best bikepacking routes in Spain, we have already covered how to get to Santiago de Compostela from Hondarribia and from Seville. In this article, we are going to show you how to get to Santiago from Lisbon.

In this case, our adventure will begin in Lisbon, and we will go to Fatima, a pilgrimage place in Portugal par excellence.

Our trip will take place in the interior of Portugal, although near the coast, crossing emblematic cities such as Coimbra and Porto to cross the border with Spain and travel about 100 km more to Santiago de Compostela.

It is a long route, almost 700 km but without crossing any mountain, ideal if you have a bit of experience in bikepacking, but you don’t need to be an expert.

Recommended Bike: Gravel
Region: West Coast Portugal and Spain
Difficulty: Moderate
Better season: Spring, Summer, and Autumn
Stages: From 7 to 10 stages.
Cities: Lisboa, Fatima, Coimbra, Porto, Pontevedra, Santiago de Compostela

You can find more information about this route in the links below:

Serra da Arrábida

To finalize our selection, we cannot forget the Serra da Arrábida, a mountain range near Setúbal with a wonderful landscape.

If you walk these paths with your bike, you will immediately fall in love with the combination of mountains and sea in this area.

Serra da Arrábida
Viewpoint Serra da Arrábida (By Luis Pedraza)

Ideal for bikepacking during a weekend, we can divide the 125km of the route into 3 stages and relax at the end of each stage in Troia, Galapinhos, and Ribeira do Cavalo (the last two, named best beaches in Europe in recent years).

The mountain range is not very high and we will only climb up to 400 meters, but the high gradient will fatigue our legs.

Recommended Bike: Gravel
Region: Setúbal
Difficulty: Amateur
Better season: Spring, Summer, and Autumn
Stages: 2 or 3 stages
Cities: Setúbal, Sesimbra, Troia, Palmela

You can find more information here.

Our last words:

Portugal, a privileged country, with a warm but moderate climate, boasts incredible landscapes of sea and mountains, which is an ideal geography for cycling.

You will not regret if you choose to ride one of the routes described above. Some of them are compatible even with a relaxing summer vacation.

Do not miss this unique occasion and enjoy these bikepacking routes in Portugal.

One Response

  1. Marcel Besemer
    Posted on May 27, 2020

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