When you think of the Portuguese Algarve, you probably imagine high-rise hotels, all-inclusive resorts and packed beaches. Though that side of the Algarve does definitely exist in places, there’s plenty more to this sun-drenched region than sangria and sunburnt tourists, as a mountain biking holiday in Carrapateira aptly demonstrated.
In fact, the western Algarve, with its rugged coastline, traditional villages and wild, empty beaches is one of the most naturally beautiful parts of Europe. With hills, valleys and cross-country routes offering the perfect conditions for some high-energy, high-adrenaline mountain biking and adventure sports.
If you want to get away from the crowds and get closer to nature on your Portuguese mountain biking holiday, you’d be hard pushed to pick a better spot that the village of Carrapateira as a base. Unlike the inland areas around Monchique, a mountain biking holiday in Carrapateira offers both countryside and coastal routes suitable for all abilities.
Apart from its great location, many people choose a mountain biking holiday in Carrapateira thanks to the fact it lies on the Rota Vicentina. This long distance walking route has many sections that are suitable for mountain bikers, all of which are clearly signposted.
The off-road routes take in a variety of terrains, allowing you to choose the type of ride you want to embark on each day. And unlike better known mountain biking destinations in Portugal, this region is still relatively unexplored, giving intrepid riders the chance to discover new routes and have the landscape all to themselves.
If you’re planning a mountain biking holiday in Carrapateira, there’s a good choice of accommodation in and around the village suitable for a range of tastes and budgets.
However, for an authentic Algarve vibe and great setting, you can’t do much better than the L Colesterol Hostel. Located just a few minutes walk from Praia da Bordeira, one of the best beaches in Portugal, and within easy reach of the village itself, the hostel is a firm favourite for visitors looking to combine a lot of action with a little bit of relaxation.
As well as a great setting and friendly atmosphere, L Colesterol is also home to one of the best kitchens in the region. Offering a mouth watering mix of traditional flavours and local ingredients, guests at the hostel will have no trouble loading up on essential calories before a big day of biking. It’s like staying at a good friend’s house, only a friend who happens to be a Michelin starred chef on their day off.
Though there are several routes to tackle on a mountain biking holiday in Carrapateira, one of the most beautiful takes you approximately 20km north to the rather lovely Praia da Arrifana, a sandy beach enclosed by imposing cliffs.
For fans of wild, untamed beaches and rugged countryside, the Western Algarve will be paradise, offering an unexpected and unique mix of adventure and relaxation.
So there you have it, a great destination for an unforgettable mountain biking trip and one of the best local establishments, L Colesterol Hostel reviewed. It’s a mountain biking holiday somewhere you might not expect to find it – and isn’t that what adventure is all about?