In Portugal there is an increasing adherence to the practice of mountain biking. This is an excellent way to explore isolated and difficult to reach places, namely mountains and mountains. Generally, it is the sport chosen by those who appreciate nature and don’t do without a good adventure.
The Portuguese territory is full of places with the perfect conditions for mountain biking. In this article we marked the TOP 5.
All the routes indicated are free and are differentiated according to signs that represent the levels of difficulty – the green ones are the easiest; blue ones are accessible; the red ones are the hard ones and the black ones are the hard ones.
5 Places to go mountain biking in Portugal
1. Melgaço, Viana do Castelo
Melgaço is the northernmost municipality in Portugal, well known for its beautiful natural landscapes, its vast historical heritage and its delicious gastronomic relics. It is located in an important mountainous region, the Gerês-Xurés Transfrontier Biosphere Reserve.
Melgaço boasts typical Minho landscapes, with strong and fertile vegetation, which you can easily explore behind the wheel of your bicycle! There is a mountain biking center in this region that includes five routes, duly signposted and with different levels of difficulty, over a length of 170 km.
In this verdant region, the P1 Verde stands out, a circular route accessible to all practitioners of the sport or those who want to start. This itinerary takes place essentially in the Peneda Gerês National Park. The P3 Vermelho is also worthy of mention, a scenic route similar to the previous one, but with a higher level of technical demand, ideal for those who are already a regular mountain biker.
Distance: 4.25 km
Time: 12:30 am – 1:00 am
Accumulated slope: 57 m
Distance: 34.2 km
Time: 2:30 am – 4:00 am
Accumulated slope: 790 m
The Cyclin’ de Melgaço Center has a self-service workshop, free bicycle washing, toilets and changing rooms with free baths.
2. Pampilhosa da Serra, Coimbra
Pampilhosa da Serra is a village in the district of Coimbra, where nature displays all its splendor. It is the perfect place for those who practice mountain biking and, at the same time, enjoy contemplating the charms of nature.
Pampilhosa da Serra has a network of cycle paths and duly signposted with about 122 km and 4 levels of difficulty. If you take these routes, you will have the opportunity to explore various rural paths, the typical schist villages, areas of great diversity of fauna and flora, and a unique landscape around the Stª Luzia reservoir.
The P18 Azul, although it has an intermediate level of difficulty, is the most suitable route for those who want to explore the magnificent landscape of the reservoir, as the route goes around its limits. The P19 Vermelho runs through the different parishes, allowing you to discover the more rural side of the municipality and the famous schist village. It is a more demanding route, suitable only for experienced mountain bikers, as it has several steep climbs. Both routes stand out from the rest due to their vast natural beauty.
Distance: 27.9 km
Time: 2:30 am – 4:00 am
Accumulated slope: 830 m
Distance: 36 km
Time: 3:00 am – 4:30 am
Accumulated slope: 1225 m
This center has some services and equipment, such as toilets, changing rooms with paid baths and paid bicycle washing. If you already have an advanced level of mountain biking, you might consider investing in a GoPro action cam to film your adventures
3. Alcanena, Santarém
Located in the middle of the protected area of the Serras de Aire and Candeeiros Natural Park, we find the mountain biking center of Alcanena. Here we can contemplate geological phenomena, fauna and flora in natural viewpoints that provide moments of great beauty and relaxation while resting and enjoying the fantastic landscape.
The Cyclin’Portugal de Alcanena center consists of 5 circuits duly signposted and planned in order to create 4 different levels of difficulty. There are 192 km adapted to everyone who visits, from the youngest or beginners in this modality, to the most experienced and daring.
Of all these circuits, the P21 Verde stands out, a route suitable for beginners, which explores the agricultural area surrounding the Nascentes of Olhos de Água do Alviela, and the P24 Preto, ideal for more experienced practitioners, which takes place essentially in the mountainous area of Alcanena.
Distance: 7 km
Accumulated slope: 85 m
Distance: 46.5 km
Time: 4h – 6h
Accumulated slope: 930 m
This mountain biking center has excellent infrastructure, such as toilets, changing rooms with free baths, a self-service workshop and paid bicycle washing.
4. Serpa, Beja
A few kilometers from Beja, you will find Serpa, an Alentejo village where a great wall stands. Serpa is a municipality rich in historical heritage and stunning natural landscapes, where vineyards, olive groves and cork oak forests stand out. It is also part of the Vale do Guadiana Natural Park, where Pulo do Lobo offers an incredible view over the great southern river.
The municipality of Serpa has ideal conditions for mountain biking, being the stage for the only network of cycling trails in the Alentejo region. This is a place regularly visited by practitioners who want to explore the area, as its routes are strategically planned, allowing them to reach all parishes in the county, giving a panoramic view of the entire region.
The P1 Verde stands out, accessible to all practitioners of the sport, of all ages, which in its first part allows you to explore the rurality of the county and, on your return, exposes the beauty of this magnificent city in Alentejo; and also the P3 Vermelho, the longest and most difficult route, which crosses several parishes in the municipality, allowing you to appreciate the traditional quietness of Alentejo villages.
Distance: 12 km
Time: 1:00 – 2:00
Accumulated slope: 150 m
Distance: 64 km
Time: 3:30 am – 4:30 am
Accumulated slope: 1100 m
This center has sanitary facilities, changing rooms with free baths, paid bicycle washing, self-service workshop and even a pump track.
5. Lagos, Faro
The Algarve is developing a structured network of cycling routes and Lagos was the chosen place to start this expansion, which aims to promote the use of bicycles in the Algarve region.
Lagos boasts enormous historical and cultural notoriety and a vast natural heritage, often overlooked and undervalued by tourists who only seek to “go to the beach”.
Therefore, in 2019, the Lagos mountain bike center was opened, the Centro Cyclin’Portugal de Lagos, where any bicycle enthusiast can safely and signposted travel a 300km network, with 9 routes of different lengths and difficulties.
These itineraries are located essentially in the interior of the municipality, passing through some historic and emblematic places, such as the Mata Nacional Barão de S. João.
We highlight the P2 Verde, ideal for mountain biking beginners, and the P7 Vermelho based on adrenaline and adventure, which is why it is more suitable for those who are already experienced in the sport. The first is a circular route entirely carried out in the Barão de S. João National Forest. The second is one of the most interesting routes because it combines two different scenarios, the mountain and the beach, providing a unique experience.
Distance: 18.6 km
Time: 1:30 am – 2:30 am
Accumulated slope: 290 m
Distance: 36.0 km
Time: 3h – 4h
Accumulated slope: 600 m
This center has various facilities and services, such as bathrooms, free bicycle washing and a self-service workshop.
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