What we found in the Algarve - April 2024

(from ridewithgps event description)

These routes have been created and adjusted for a 3 week exploration of the Algarve with our gravel/road bikes (34mm slicks). Many people have said the area was a great cycling destination and so we needed to check it out!

It has taken us most of the 3 weeks to understand the cycling here. Everyone says the roads are quiet as soon as you go inland north of the A22. The rwgps heat map would suggest alot of possible cycling routes. HOWEVER, this is miss-leading. Yes there are some great roads and routes and some of them are quiet but you need to be very selective. There are some roads that looked fine on streetview and the heatmap but were terrible to ride on because of heavy traffic (This is April 2024).

A general rule is the best riding is west of Loule and up towards Alte. There are some great N roads that have good wide shoulders and are not busy at all - but then there are some that ARE busy with no shoulder.

For some reason, Fridays are busy days on the roads and Sundays and Mondays are quiet (half the cafes close Sunday and the other half Monday). Maybe Fridays are busy in anticipation of the weekend ... or maybe its the effect of good weather in April and everyone heading to the region.

Our stay in Quarteria was pretty good. We had a great condo and could easily walk to the beach. We also found some easy ways out of town to get us quickly to quiet roads. We did not have a car.

The routes we have selected here are the best and the ones that were terrible have been removed! I've also adjusted the routes after riding them with small corrections to try to get on quieter roads. If you are cycling here in quieter times, you may find you can 'straighten' out some routes. I'll try to indicate in the route descriptions if we tested the route or if not if we had some concerns over it.

Most notably, the M525 road north of Loule to Tor has a great shoulder but is no fun riding on. Very steep downs and fast traffic. We did not feel safe taking the lane down this road so we road the shoulder with debris and sections with barrier posts. Not fun.

In contrast, the unnamed north-south road from Almancil between M572-2 and N396 is new and has an excellent shoulder and makes for a great route escaping traffic.

Many people end up cycling on the east-west road south of Almancil called Av. Alm. Medes Cabecadas. It has a bike path on south side while its four lane but then it turns to 2 lane and no shoulder and can be very busy. No fun so stay off this section.

Another great road is the N270 between Boliqueime and Paderne. Very quiet and great in either direction. We also found the road from Arieiro to Monte Da Charneca was paved and quiet. The N124 running east-west is also a nice road and not too busy.

Of course, you will also want to check out the boardwalks and beach area heading east .. as far as Faro if you cross over the salt-flats.

Bottom line - there is some good cycling in the area and interesting towns to visit - so enjoy!

Harold - April 2024

photos by Harold Blount - Copyright © 2007-2024
hb at nordicwind dot ca