AQR Holidays Mountain Bike weeks in Portugal March 2019
For the past 10 years Ian & I have been escaping winter in the Pyrenees and heading to southern Portugal for an early spring month on the bikes. Each year we offer both mountain bike and road cycling weeks as we love the variety of riding in this area. I refer to this area as the Algarve 'Hinterland'. The dictionary defines 'hinterland' to mean (1) 'An area lying beyond what is visible or known' or (2) 'The often uncharted areas beyond a coastal district or a river's banks'. This is exactly what this area feels like as every ride guided by AQR will take the group across sections of trail and single track very few people know about and could spend weeks trying to explore without a guide. Ian who has been guiding in the Algarve for 20 years has seen very few changes to the countryside compared to the coastal tourist areas. The mountain biking in this area is for people who want to feel part of an adventure, without the hassle of camping or carrying supplies. This is not bike park territory, but rather a mixture of natural cross country trails through orange groves, old shepherds trails and across accessible farm areas. You will see very few people, if any on the trails, so there's no waiting in line to start your favourite descent.
AQR tailor each ride to individual members of the group taking into consideration both fitness, skill and experience level. Throughout each ride there will be extra challenges or easier sections of trail to suit mixed ability groups. Riders can choose to shorten or lengthen rides or even take a break by the river. There's always an extra option to ride more or enjoy an extra slice of cake at our favourite cake shop in Alte (Agua Mel Cafe). AQR really do their best to make sure everyone rides as much or as little as they prefer on their mountain bike holiday. There's also an option to participate in an AQR Mountain bike & Skills Coaching session on your day off which most guests sign up for. During this session Ian from AQR will give individual attention within the group session so that everyone learns something new that can be applied on the trails in Portugal as well as their local trails back home.
For nature lovers there's a wide variety of wild flowers, trees and birds in the area. Guests often mention riding with butterflies and being enchanted by the endless bird song, along with the stunning views across the rolling hills or down to the Algarve beaches. There are also small pockets of charming white washed villages with cobbled roads that lead to some of the best cafes and cakes AQR have ever experienced in Europe. Our friends at Agua Mel Cafe in Alte always look after our guests and on every ride AQR guests will have the opportunity to choose one of the many popular cakes made from home made ingredients and local produce.
This year we had the pleasure of staying at the Entrecolinas B&B in Paderne who very kindly agreed to cater for our groups. Ellen & Maarten were the perfect hosts, as well as their delightful dogs Pip & Lee who were not only very well behaved, but just loved to play ball. All our guests remarked at how laid back they felt whilst staying in such beautiful accommodation. All rooms are spacious and include an ensuite bathroom along with views of the surrounding countryside.
Each morning guests remarked on how well they slept and loved waking up to the sound of bird song and the warmth of the sun. Breakfast was eaten on the balcony and included a selection of cereals, breads, fresh fruits, cold meats, cheese, home made pancakes and croissants as well as freshly squeezed orange juice. Ellen was also a fabulous cook and made a wide variety of wholesome nourishing and very tasty food at night.
This year our Mountain bike weeks filled very quickly with our regular guests, but we also made new friends who we hope to see again in the future. Here are some of our favourite photos from the last 3 weeks...
AQR have already been asked to confirm Portugal Mountain Bike and Road Cycling holiday dates for 2020 -
AQR MOUNTAIN BIKE WEEK 1 - 7-14 March
AQR MOUNTAIN BIKE WEEK 2 - 14-21 March
AQR ROAD CYCLING WEEK 21-28 March
There's an early bird discount £50 discount if you book your place before August 2020!
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