With more than 150 km of cycle paths, taking to two wheels is the perfect way to discover the best of Lisbon’s urban, rural and coastal landscapes. Not only does cycling offer a unique perspective on Portugal’s capital, but it’s a healthy and sustainable form of travel for both locals and visitors alike, reducing noise and congestion and improving air quality. Visitors can take one of the many guided cycle tours or hire their own bikes, allowing them to explore at their own pace.
Here are some of the best options for visitors wanting to “give Lisbon a spin”.
The riverside route, which follows the Tagus from the futuristic Parque das Nações area, past trendy Cais do Sodré and the spectacular Praça do Comércio to Algés, takes in some of the city’s most historic neighbourhoods and best-known sites. En route, it passes through the atmospheric neighbourhood of Alfama and offers impressive views of Ponte 25 de Abril bridge.
The recently regenerated Doca da Marinha area on the central riverfront of the Tagus also features a great open space for everyone to enjoy. In addition to a cycle path with great views, visitors can enjoy kiosks and terraces offering light meals and leisure areas for relaxing.
Other urban cycle routes to discover include the elegant Avenidas Novas quarter and the gardens of Campo Grande leading to Parque Eduardo VII.
Wheels and water
The seafront is also a fantastic area for cycling, with fresh sea air and a relaxing atmosphere. From the Paço d’Arcos Beach on the north bank of the Tagus, to the stunning Guincho Beach, the trail offers wonderful views of the ocean and inland to the Sintra mountains.
Or cyclists can head south of the Tagus to the 15km of golden sandy beaches on the Costa da Caparica. Taking the ferry from the city – bikes are allowed on board – visitors disembark at the fishing village of Trafaria from where the cycle path heads south west. The boardwalk provides a wide, flat and safe route towards Fonte da Telha, with plenty of opportunities to stop off for a dip in the ocean or a delicious, al fresco meal at one of the many seafood restaurants that line the coast.
Cyclists seeking the tranquillity of nature can head for the Tagus Estuary, where the award-winning Parque Ribeirinho do Estuário do Tejo offers, approximately, 6km of biking trails. The paths are flat and relaxing, making them suitable for all levels of fitness, and there’s a 700m wooden walkway and a picnic area for refuelling and refreshments.
Heads for the Hills
For an adrenaline rush on two wheels, adventurous cyclists will enjoy the spectacular Arrábida Nature Park, where chalk cliffs and pine-covered hills meet the blue of the ocean at the tip of the Setúbal peninsula. It is home to winding trails with a range of steep climbs and fast descents, although the park can also be enjoyed by e-bike for visitors wanting to enjoy its dramatic landscapes at a more relaxed pace.
To the west of the city, the Monsanto Forest Park features some of the most stunning viewpoints in Lisbon. This large protected forest area boasts a network of more than 40 km of cycling paths, including several sections perfect for mountain biking.
For more information, ideas and inspiration on visiting Lisbon, please go to www.visitlisboa.com