WHAT TO EXPECT:
This is cycling heaven. Forget about the French Alps, the Italian Dolomites or Majorca and head for the deserted roads of the Eastern Algarve before everyone finds out about one of cycling's last great secrets.
Most people's impression of Algarve is of a flat coastal strip of purpose-built resorts and beaches, backed by rocky cliffs. But turn right instead of left when you leave Faro Airport and you will find a very different Algarve stretching along the coast to the Spanish border.
A 30-minute taxi ride away is Tavira, a charming city of cobbled streets and churches. Most visitors hop on a ferry and head south down the River Gilao to Tavira Island and its 11km-long sandy beach.
Hop on your bike and head north and within a kilometre you are heading past orange groves, grazing cows and vineyards. Very soon you start climbing through pine-covered valleys streaked with sandy tracks making up some of the 2,000kms of off-road cycling.
Even sticking to the pot-hole free national roads you will see hardly any traffic as one valley folds into another.
During "rush hour" you might see a dozen cars.
The going is "lumpy" rather than the long climbs and descents of the Alps with gradients of 5% and 6% which can head into double figures as hills of 300, 400 and 500 metres follow one another in quick succession.
But the views as you leave one valley and head into another are breathtaking with the blue of the Atlantic in the receding distance.
And then there's the adrenaline rush of descents down twisty hairpin bends.
The Eastern Algarve needs to be on every cyclist's bucket list.
WHY GO WITH ALEMVILA TOURS? Antonio was brought up in the Eastern Algarve and along with Alex they know all the roads and all the best routes.
"This is my back garden,and I love showing it off to other people," says Antonio.
Head off with Antonio and Alex and you won't have to waste time plotting a route, getting lost or tackling one too many climbs.
They tailor routes exactly to your cycling ability.
And away from the coast inland Algarve is so, so different. Few villagers speak English so asking for directions can be a problem. And often cafes only open for a few hours during the day.
But that's not a problem if you go with Antonio and Alex as they always phone ahead to make sure you can fill up your water bottles, get a coffee, a cake or even stop for a meal.
And they also throw in a a unique insight into the area, whether it's pointing out a pair of eagles soaring overhead, stopping to help an endangered chamelon across the road or mentioning that you've just entered the valley of the donkey!
Alemvila tours is a bicycle touring agency.
We have tours for all those who want to explore the Algarve by bike.
The duration of our tours range from half a day up to 5 days in different categories. Cycle Touring tours for those who want to discover the culture, museums, castles and other points of interest, Mountain Bike tours for adventurers who want to explore the mountains of the interior of the Algarve and for the purest we have Road Bike tours where let's walk along the quiet roads of the Algarve.
Visit our website and choose the one you like more, we'll take care of the rest.