Sunny Cycling in a Very Popular Spot
The tour operator provided very responsive and friendly service throughout this trip. The hotels were excellent, being mostly four-star (although we're usually happy with two or three.) We particularly liked the staff at the Hotel Apolo in Vila Real de Santo António. As the description says, this is one of the few places you can cycle warm, sunny weather in Europe in late November! We would caution prospective riders to do their research, though. If, like we, you imagine the Algarve as quaint and quiet - as it may have been in the past - you may be surprised at how built up it has become. We were rarely out of sight of high-rise hotels or flashy marinas. The "fishing villages with Moorish architecture, cobbled lanes, Roman ruins, beaches, lagoons, and inlets" all exist - but there's a lot of development in between, and growing. And this also means traffic and more challenging cycling. When we see a "2" rating, we usually expect we could invite capable non-cyclists, but in this case, the preponderance of busy, sometimes narrow roads, and complex traffic circles made us glad we didn't have newbies with us. So, do your homework - but if you know what to expect, this is a well-run operation with nice bikes and a super GPS route-finder.
Great adventure !!!
This was a wonderful trip.
Other than 2 issues I thought this was a well planned trip, great hotels / flawless luggage connections / good route aided by supplied GPS.
The 2 issues were :
The bicycles were not very good. Shifting was erratic as they obviously hadn’t been tuned prior to our trip.
The other issue was the promosed transfer to the airport at the end of the trip did not happen, we waited almost an hour in the hotel lobby only to hear through the consierge that the ride to the airport was not happening forcing us to catch a cab and rushing to make our flight connection.
Responses from Biketours.com
Chuck, thanks so much for your thoughtful review. We're glad to hear that you had a great time but sorry that you had some troubles. I'll follow up with you via email to make things right. Thanks again!
Debbie & Phyllis' Excellent Adventure
This was our 7th trip with Biketours.com, and one of our favorite routes, by far. The route was spectacular, and unlike a few of our previous trips - the towns were we spent the night each offered a delightful mix of sightseeing & dining options to take advantage of. And we can't say enough about Fred and the rest of the group at Algarve Bike Holidays. From the materials they provided ahead of time to the extra TCL by helping us with a flat on Sunday afternoon, so we didn't lose time on Monday waiting for the local bike shop to open - they went above and beyond. The hotels were particularly nice - some of the best breakfast buffets we've experienced so far. This was the first time we took a trip that was guided via GPS - and it is definitely the way to go!
Cycling in Portugal was an amazing adventure! The scenery was exceptional, the routes were mostly flat, some hills at the end of the week, food along the coast (grilled fresh fish, fruit and vegetables) was all part of a very special week. Fred, part owner in Algarve Bike Holidays, could not have been more friendly and supportive. We were provided with a Garmin that had the routes already downloaded. We were a little challenged with this when construction blocked our route. Regardless, we always made it to our end location which included large resort hotels as well as quaint bed and breakfast inns. We went in July which turned out to be exceptionally hot so be sure to carry lots of water and start your trek early in the morning.
Algarve Coastal Route
Very enjoyable scenic route. Great seafood, excellent weather (September). Good logistics. Challenging in parts however, due to traffic on roads and more hills than expected. We were glad to have ebikes. Tires supplied were not up to the trails and we suffered several punctures. I recommend checking equipment carefully before setting out.
The scenery, transportation and accommodation were top notch. Several of the bicycles were difficult to shift, no water bottle holders and poor tread (five punctures). The GPS supplied did not always follow the route. The comment about most road riding is on traffic calmed roads is not correct. If any of your group has trouble riding in traffic you may want to look elsewhere. Having said all that I would repeat the trip after addressing the comments above.