2 independent reviews for Eastern Algarve cycling vacation in Portugal

Reviews for Eastern Algarve cycling vacation in Portugal

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review 20 May 2019

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

We stayed in two centers for our 6-day cycling tour, both excellent. The first hotel in Alcoutim was tidy, unpretentious with friendly staff, well-sited beside the Guidana river and within easy walking distance of the village with its castle, bars and restaurants. We cycled down the Guidana river to spend the next 3 nights at a really delightful rural retreat, Casa de Campo Vale de Asno. This is run by a family whom have done up their farmhouse to provide 7 individual rooms, all with access to a beautifully kept garden. They have built an excellent pool which looks out over the crowded beach strip below which is about 4 miles away. A lovely place to return to in the afternoons after a hot day out and about.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

We are active and in our sixties but not out-and-out bike riders and so opted to hire electric bikes for this trip. To me, this made every day of cycling thoroughly enjoyable rather than being an endurance feat. Some of the routes were very steep, often on rough farm tracks, but all were taken easily in our stride. One day we rode from the sea up to the Beliche Dam up in the hills, a distance of 22 kilometres, all uphill and in the midday sun - purgatory had it not been for our electric bikes.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Being on a bicycle, one often ends up in places that does not see regular tourists and so one can benefit the local economy in a small way by stopping for a lunch, a coffee or a beer. The lack of water was a topic that came up a lot in conversation, southern Portugal having had a very dry winter. One is very much more aware of the situation cycling rather than driving through the countryside, noticing that every stream is already dry at the beginning of the summer. The Beliche Dam was only about half full. We decided we should set ourselves the challenge of traveling by rail for all future trips to Europe.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

We had an excellent vacation and hope this persuades many others to explore Eastern Algarve, maybe on e-bikes if they want the freedom of being on two wheels without the straining up hills under a hot sun.

review 4 Nov 2018

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

This was an enjoyable vacation throughout with lovely cycling routes and friendly people. The first hotel (b&b) was wonderful and particularly memorable - owned by a surrealist artist the gardens and building were inspiring. Christina made great breakfasts and we had picnic evening meals with supplies we bought from the local supermarket rather than going to restaurants, as we wanted to spend our time enjoying the art and atmosphere. We were made to feel very welcome by our hosts. Antonio who organised the vacation and Antonio and Alex who planned the routes and provided cycle hire were very helpful and passionate about their region and the opportunity to share it. The off road routes were great and the countryside, birds, flowers, tranquility and sun made this a relaxing, strenuous and peaceful vacation.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Bring cycling shorts and let Antonio know your level of fitness so that the routes can be planned to suit your requirements. Bring binoculars so that you can make the most of the opportunities to view the birds. We saw flamingoes, hoopoes, stilts and numerous others. Unfortunately the storks had just migrated but their nests were plentiful. The roads and villages were very quiet - take fluids and snacks with you/plan where you will stop to eat if spending the whole day cycling.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes - this seems to be an area of Portugal that certainly off season does not see much tourism. We were told the food we bought was sourced from local farmers and the hotels appeared to be locally owned and staffed. Sustainability and managing environmental resources was emphasised. We cycled throughout the trip except when transferring from and to the airport. Antonio and Alex had programmed GPS routes so the trip was paperless.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

Excellent

Read the operator's response here:

Thanks Mike, we really enjoyed having you on our tour and look forward to new cycling adventures in 2019!

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