iiblog

BLOG

We'll keep you posted on Live Love Ride bike tours and cycling holidays.
Don't miss a single detail of your dream ride.

MOUNTAIN BIKING IN PORTUGAL: A GUIDE FOR YOUR MTB TOUR IN PORTUGAL

Mountain biking in Portugal is attracting more and more cyclists to our Portugal Bike Tours, that have been praising our trails but also the Portuguese gastronomy, climate, culture, natural beauty and authenticity. There are sensacional trails, single tracks and long coastal routes, from north to south, to experience and discover.

mtb-bike-tour-southwest-coast-Portugal-cabo-sardão

HERE'S WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN MOUNTAIN BIKING IN PORTUGAL:

This sun kissed and luminous territory is considered one of the most geographically diverse countries in Europe and home to amazing beaches, glacial valleys, big mountain ranges, wine countries and national parks.

Perfect climate all year long: Overlooking the north Atlantic Ocean with an average annual temperature of 16ºC and sunny days all year long, making it perfect for mountain biking in Portugal.  Click to read on our “winter cycling in Portugal” article

Rich history and culture: At the edge of the Iberian Peninsula and crammed between the Atlantic Ocean and much larger Spanish kingdom, Portugal had to turn its focus towards the ocean exploration and became the epicentre of trade routes since the 15th Century a.C.. As a petite country opened to the world, Portugal has always embraced other cultures and arts. Nowadays, you will find that ancient and contemporary architecture, literature, music and theatre, all blend with millennial traditions and craftsmanship. A mountain bike tour in Portugal provides a relaxing and authentic way to discover the country in depth.

Brilliant gastronomy and wines: The country’s great variety of cultures and landscapes means each region has an endless variety of delicacies, cheese, wine and local gastronomy, so if you are mountain biking in Portugal, you'll be able to discover picturesque and authentic food, landscapes, people, wineries, farms and culture. So, everywhere you go, you’ll find it easy to savour great, authentic and simple food.

Great long routes, mountain bike trails and bike parks: Our long routes like the Alentejo Southwest/Vicentina Coast and The Way to Santiago from Porto by the Central Route are just great to ride. Many regions have invested in the creation of bike parks and in maintaining and improving the trails, making it perfect for those looking for a more controlled mountain biking or downhill experience. You'll find great rides in the Lousã and Estrela mountain ranges. Louzan Park or the Manteigas Bike Park are some of the most sought out locations to experience great trails and long single tracks. They always offer loops and rides for different levels and cycling skills. In the Manteigas Bike Park you can ride the long trails up to 2000m high, the top of Portugal, at the Torre weather station.

mountain-biking-portugal-sintra_ocean_mountain

MOUNTAIN BIKING THROUGHOUT THE YEAR:

As a general rule you can ride a MTB bike tour in Portugal throughout the year. January and February are the coolest and rainier months that make for a heavier terrain on the trails and tracks, but the temperatures are usually mild. From March till June it's the best season for MTB in the whole of Portugal, with the trails more compact and surrounding scenery in full bloom. July and August bring warmer temperatures good for morning rides only and the beach after. From September to December expect milder temperatures and the autumn colours on the trails.

GETTING HERE AND RIDING YOUR MTB TOUR:

Plan to fly in to one of the 3 international airports in Continental Portugal, Lisbon, Porto or Faro, choosing the one that is nearer to the start of your MTB tour.

If you are an experienced rider and plan to rent a bike to ride self-guided, try Portugal Bike Rentals, they can provide you with good, reliable bikes and bike routes . You will also find Bike parks or our National Mountain Bike Centres ("Centros de BTT") throughout the country and more densely in the north and central mountainous areas of the country. They offer more than 1330km of marked trails.

For those wanting to join an organised MTB tour, there are several companies offering Mountain biking in Portugal and Bike Tours, organising self-guided and fully guided tours and experiences, giving you the opportunity to discover great trails and also hotels, restaurants, historical monuments and personalised experiences. As they usually stay for 1 week in each region to fully enjoy it, you can consider 2 weeks to explore more than one region.

 See below a video of a mountain bike tour in Sintra and Arrábida and a list of regions and how to discover them on a bike!

BEST AREAS TO GO MOUNTAIN BIKING IN PORTUGAL:

Mountain Biking in Portugal: Alentejo and Algarve's coastline - the Southwest Coast and Vicentina natural park 

When to go: March to July; September to November
Type of rider: Beginner to Intermediate
Bike type: Mountain and e-bikes
Terrain type: Rolling hills, flat sections on the coast with ocasional short and steep climbs; bike trails by the Vicentina natural park
Duration: 5 to 7 days

map_Bike_Tour_Southwest_Coast_Alentejo_and_Algarve_mtb_portugal

The Alentejo and Algarve southwest coast, bathed by the Atlantic Ocean, is home to some of the best ocean cliff trails Portugal has to offer, especially in the Vicentina natural park, which starts in Sines and extends its way down south, towards Sagres (southernmost point of the country) which includes secluded beaches, cliffs, islets and isolated rocks - the Pessegueiro island, in reality a consolidated dune, is anchored two steps from shore, and inland, woods and moors alternate with irrigated and rain-fed berry plantations and production woods. In the Southwest coast and Vicentina natural park, you'll find rare botanical species (mainly on the area of the Sagres and São Vicente capes), varied nesting bird fauna with the white stork building nests on coastal rocks and an important passageway for numerous other birds. Riding alongside the coastline from north to south, the constant presence of the Atlantic Ocean and the mixture of backroads and trails of the Rota Vicentina provides an amazing atmosphere, which can be better experienced on a MTB, because of the changing conditions along the way - although you might find some steep climbs, this route is suitable for different types of riders, from beginners to experts.

You can start your mountain bike tour from Lisbon, taking the train to Setúbal, followed by the ferry over the Sado River estuary - pay attention, you might spot some dolphins - to Tróia peninsula, where you'll ride a mix of asphalt and trails alongside the beautiful beaches  and the rice fields in Comporta, heading south to Sines (pay attention to traffic and crossing in Sines, it can get tricky). After Sines, riding by the coastline, you'll find the beautiful beaches of São Torpes, Porto Côvo and trully start to experience the trails of the Costa Vicentina. Because it is a natural park, there aren't that many hotels in this area, so we advise you to book early and stay in the peaceful "Herdades" along the way. Cabo Sardão, Zambujeira and Odeceixe are must see destinations before entering Algarve, towards Aljezur and the beaches of Amoreira, Carrapateira and Arrifana.

Riding south, you'll reach Sagres, the climax of your cycling holidays, in Cape São Vicente the southern edge of the country. Start riding east towards Lagos, by the beaches of Burgau, Praia da Luz and many others and never forget to bring your swimsuit along for the ride, as there will be plenty of options to freshen up on the way. Click here to know more about our Bike Tour in the Southwest Coast of Portugal or explore more about cycling in this area in Rota Vicentina's website.

mountain-biking-portugal-southwest-coast-trails-beaches

Mountain Biking in Portugal: Lousã Mountain Range and Bike Parks

When to go: March to July; September to November
Type of rider: Intermediate to Expert
Bike type: Mountain and e-bikes
Terrain type: Mountainous and forested area, long climbs and equally long downhill sections
Duration: 3 to 5 days

Located in the central part of the country and easily accessible from either Lisbon or Porto, this is a densely forested mountain area and one of the favourite areas to MTB in Portugal. Here you can find rides for almost all types of cyclists, divided by categories and difficulty, from beginners rides to XC, Enduro or DH World Cup type of trails and single tracks. The rides usually connect the typical schist villages we can find throughout the mountain range. They are an amazing sight and also offer a place to rest and relax, have a coffee or buy some needed sustenance. You can plan your stay in the city of Lousã to fully explore the area and ride the different trails and routes that connect the bike parks of Schist Villages. There are 9 bike parks in this region all with different trails and tracks, some of them connecting between each other and also the schist villages. The bike parks have facilities to wash and care for your bike after each riding day.

mountain-biking-portugal-sintra-trails

Mountain Biking in Portugal: The Silver Coast of Portugal

When to go: April to July, September to November
Type of rider: Intermediate to expert
Bike type: Mountain and e-bikes
Terrain type: Mixed terrain with inland hilly terrain and coastal trails and paths changing frequently between flat sections and steep climbs
Duration: 5 to 7 days

map-silver-coast-cycling-portugal

The Portuguese Silver Coast, starts south of the town of Aveiro and ends on the Lisbon coast, in the Sintra/Cascais area, sprawling for over 200km of coast. For mountain biking though the juicy part of a Bike Tour in the Silver Coast of Portugal begins in Alcobaça/Nazaré area, just on the edge of the Aires and Candeeiros mountain range. here you'll start riding inland tackling the hilly section to the coast at Nazaré, famous for the big wave surfing, and then heading south along the coastal tracks and cliffs of this coastal area. The Óbidos lagoon marks the end of the first day of riding and it's always an amazing sight, topped by the historical city of Óbidos, a gem of medieval fortress painstakingly preserved. From Óbidos you'll head down the coast, in a mix of asphalt, gravel roads and cliff trails with a few visits to the secluded beaches and its steep climbs. Passing through the Ericeira town and surf reserve with a beach brake for every surfer's skill. Just after you'll find the Sintra Cascais mountain range, a densely forested area that ends on the ocean, home to some brilliant single tracks and MTB aficionados. Besides the great mountain biking available in the mountain, you'll be able to explore the historical village of Sintra, its narrow streets, romanticism gardens and palaces one of which is the royal Pena Palace, all considered world heritage sites by UNESCO. During the final days of the tour you'll be able to fully explore this mountainous area. Make sure you taste the gastronomical delicacies of this region too, with the highlight being the fresh fish that is truly wonderful, and pair it with the region wines and the local monastic pastries and sweets. Relax in the historical Pousadas and charm hotels, while you have the Atlantic Ocean as backdrop, exploring the trails that lead you from beach to beach.

mountain-biking-portugal-silver-coast-sintra-ocean-trail

Mountain Biking in Portugal: Lisbon’s magical Sierras: Sintra and Arrábida

When to go: April to October
Type of rider: Intermediate to Expert
Bike type: Mountain and e-bikes
Terrain type: Hilly
Duration: half-day to 2 days

The capital of Portugal, Lisbon, is a beautiful city with more than 2.7 million inhabitants, which makes it the 11th most populated city in Europe. Despite the perfect mixture out of city and beaches, Lisbon is also famous for their rich culture, their local food, their beautiful buildings and the pulsating nightlife. The Castle of Sao Jorge, the Bairro Alto and the Terreiro de Paço are just a few must sees in Portugal's capital. But regarding cycling, the best areas to ride are outside of Lisbon, in the Sintra sierra, north of Lisbon and near Cascais, or the Arrábida Sierra. Both are Natural parks and offer amazing viewpoints and brilliant bike trails. Sintra is famous for its Moorish ruins, Pena Castle, Quinta da Regaleira and it's luxurious vegetation, making way for narrow roads and trails across its mountain range that overlooks the Atlantic ocean all the way to Roca Cape, continental Europe's westernmost point.

Arrabida is well known for it's quaint villages, the vineyards, views over Tróia Peninsula and cristaline water beaches like Portinho da Arrábida where you can end your ride by the beach and fresh fish and Azezitão wines. You can explore both regions on mountain bikes (there are great trails in both mountain ranges). To reach Sintra from Lisbon, the best way is to take the train up to the historial center train station, to avoid Lisbon's marginal road which is busy with traffic.

To reach Arrábida, the best option is also by train, leaving in Azeitão or Setúbal - you can take your bike in both trains. If you have more than one day in Lisbon, make sure to ride in both Sierras (and let us know which one you like best, we can't figure that out ourselves). Click here to know more about our Sintra and Arrábida bike tours.

mountain-biking-portugal-sintra-trails_magical_forest

Mountain Biking in Portugal: The Way to Santiago de Compostela from Porto - The Central Portuguese Camino de Santiago (St. James Path)

When to go: May, June, July, September, October
Type of rider: Intermediate
Bike type: Mountain and e-bikes
Terrain type: Mixed terrain
Duration: 5 to 7 days

mountain-biking-portugal-the-way-santiago-compostela-mtb

The Way of Santiago or St. James Path is a religious experience for some riders, but we dare to say that it is a spiritual experience for all of them. Cycling the Camino de Santiago, whether from France, Spain or Portugal is a milestone for many riders, as the camino leaves its mark in you. The portuguese Camino is best ridden from Porto (or Lisbon, if you have 15 days total to ride), where you'll get to ride by the northwest of Portugal - the Minho region - and Galiza, in Spain, until you reach Santiago de Compostela. The best mountain biking path from Porto is the Central path, heading north roughly 30km inland, through rural and forested land and tracks until the coastal towns of Redondela and Pontevedra, already in Spain. From Pontevedra the route heads inwards again all the way to Santiago de Compostela.

The Camino is signalled out by yellow arrows or shells, pointing towards Santiago de Compostela cathedral, making it easy to follow although, if you follow the arrows precisely, you might have to cross some occasional trails and tracks of high difficulty. What differentiates the Portuguese path from the more known French or Spanish ones is its authenticity - the Camino is not as smooth as the others might be; on the contrary, it's more raw, authentic and adventurous. The central path will provide you with more historical and cultural depth in the Minho region, as you ride by the beautiful romanic cities of Barcelos, Ponte de Lima and Valença, and is a bit tougher to climb, especially after Ponte de Lima, in the "Labruja" siera. The path has varied terrain - tarmac, macadam trails, ancient roman roads, trails and single tracks - and are mostly done through forests and rural areas, with occasional urban areas like Porto, Pontevedra and Santiago de Compostela. The best bike option for the Camino is a mountain bike, because of the ever changing conditions and terrain. Intermediate to Expert riders might take 4 to 5 days to ride the Camino from Porto, while beginners/intermediate riders might take 6 to 7 days - everybody can do the Camino, but we advise some preparation, as beginners might need to spend many hours on a bike everyday to complete the same distance.

The Camino starts in Porto, the second largest city in Portugal after Lisbon and one of the major urban areas of the Iberian Peninsula. But before you leave and start your journey, you should take your time to taste the famous port and Douro wines, the city's charming architecture and many sights, such as the tower of Clerigos, the amazing Livraria Lello, the old quarters of Baixa with its local shops, restaurants and pastry shops, Ribeira - a quarter by the river Douro facing the wine cellars in Gaia - and other areas. Start to ride from Sé cathedral, either following the coastal path or the central path and discover the Minho region's green wines, local gastronomy, roman heritage and where Portugal started to emerge as a country as it is now, in the 12th century, as the county from which the first portuguese King arose, D. Afonso Henriques, is right here in the Minho. Ride towards Spain's Galiza, discovering the celtic heritage, the "tapas", the amazing seafood and brilliant architecture, until you reach Santiago de Compostela and realize that the Camino never actually ends... 😉 Click to know more about our bike tour from Porto to Santiago de Compostela.

mountain-biking-portugal-the-way-santiago-compostela

Want more info?

Check our blog where you can read our complete Cycling Portugal Guide or  Coastal Camino of the Portuguese Way and don't forget to visit our website, Live Love Ride - Portugal Bike Tours.

Make sure to contact us at ridewith us (@) liveloveride.pt - we'd love to hear from you!

GO BACK to Blog
Book with confidence - Check our cancellation policy.

European Offices

Live Love Ride
Avenida Infante D. Henrique, 311
1950-421
Lisbon - Portugal

Monday to Friday
09AM to 06PM
Telephone: 00351 217 590 365
Email: ridewithus @ liveloveride.pt 

Follow LLRide

App StoreGoogle Play
turismo de portugal
Tdp A&s Web Black
adventure travel association
All Rights Reserved. portugalbiketours.com
twitter-squarefacebook-squareyoutube-squareinstagram
scroll-top