The DCC Executive is considering organizing a winter cycling trip to the Algarve in southern Portugal in February 2023. It would be timed to coincide with the 2023 edition of the Tour of the Algarve (a.k.a. “the Volta”) professional bike race. This is a 5 day event which attracts top UCI World Tour teams. Previous winners include Geraint Thomas, Primos Roglic and Tadej Pojacar. The trip would last for two weeks (although individuals could choose a shorter duration of 10 days or 1 week) starting about a week ahead of the Volta and ending a couple of days after it. This would allow participants to get over jet lag, ride some gradually longer/harder routes in the varied terrain of the Algarve before the Voltar and then ride out to see the race at different locations. The dates would potentially be February 8 to February 22, 2023 with the race being from the 15th to 19th inclusive. There would also be time for some sightseeing by car within the 2 weeks.
Home base for the trip could be the “village” of Alvor, on the coast just west of the city of Portimao. Ithas many things going for it, including a 5km long beach with cliffs to walk at one end and a river estuary with mountain views to walk at the other end, an old town with numerous restaurants, cafes and bars (including one where a “pint” costs 1 euro!), lots of self-catering or hotel accommodation and numerous nearby cycling routes to beaches, castles, traditional villages and the coastal mountains. It is only 30 km to the highest point in the Algarve – Foia at 900 m. above sea level. The easiest way to travel to and from the Algarve is to fly Air Transat direct from Toronto to Faro Airport – roughly a 7 hour flight. Faro is about a 45 minute drive east of Alvor. There are other options involving flying to Lisbon which is about a 3 hour drive from the Algarve. Air fare is about $1,000 to $1,500 depending on route and/or options selected. Air Transat will transport a bicycle for $75 each way (you might need to rent a bike box on top of that). There are also local bicycle stores that will rent decent road bikes for about $250 – $300 for 12 days. Local travel would likely be by rental car (rates being very reasonable as it will be the low season) but buses and trains are available between some
Accommodation would be either self-catered apartments/villas or hotels. Again, because it will be low season, rates are quite reasonable. For example, a two bedroom apartment comfortably sleeping four could be around $900 for two weeks including bed linens, towels and all utilities. More spacious villas or
full service hotels would naturally be more expensive. We hope this brief description of our idea will peak your interest. There are several members of the club/Executive who’ve spent a fair bit of time visiting/cycling in the Algarve in the winter months in the past few years. These include President Kathy N, VP Rob B, ex-President Sharon W and ex-Secretary Eric W. They’d no doubt wax lyrical about the joys of cycling in the Algarve if you asked them any questions you have. If you are interested, please go to the web site and let us know so we can gauge whether it will be worth pursuing the idea. Details will be finalized in the fall once the Volta dates are known and airline schedules are available.