The Best Mountain Bike Routes in Lagos

Discover the other side of the Algarve, spend your adventurous holidays cycling on the best mountain bike routes in Lagos.

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Are the perfect holidays for you adventure holidays?

At the Belmar Spa & Beach Resort, you can spend the entire period of your visit in this resort without ever being bored. However, we still want to show you the wonderful landscapes that surround us. And what is the best way to do this? Through sports, of course! Why not combine the best of both worlds: getting to know the place where you spend your holidays and exercising your body and mind. And what if we told you that our proposal is an extreme sport?

Venture into MTB, get to know this sport and fall in love with the trails of the Algarve.

Do you know the origin of MTB? MTB was born in California in the 1950s from road cyclists who wanted a more challenging sport and surfers who wanted to occupy their time while the waves didn't come. This sport has spread all over the world, and today it is a much-loved adventure sport in Portugal.

How many types of MTB are there? The acronym MTB is a quick way to say Mountain Bike, which is also known by the acronym BTT in the Portuguese language, which means off-road bicycle (bicicleta todo o terreno). Within MTB there are some disciplines such as Cross-Country, Downhill and Enduro. Of these three disciplines, two are timed, Enduro and Downhill. The first is an effort race that can last a whole day and the second consists of getting down a hilly course in the shortest time. In Cross-Country the athlete goes through long, rugged courses, mountainous, rocky surfaces and trails. It is a true blend of adrenaline and contact with nature.

Do you know the benefits of doing mountain biking? Cycling is one of the most complete exercises for the well-being of your body. If you ride a bike for just half an hour a week, you will see your metabolism speed up and this may be reflected on the scale. Very soon, the muscles gain more resistance and not just the leg muscles, but every muscle in your body. Cycling makes you move the upper and lower body parts, and the results are even more obvious in MTB. Just as the body is invigorated with just a bike ride, so is the mind. This happens through the release of endorphins and serotonin, the substances responsible for the feeling of happiness. The ups and downs on rougher paths, recurrent on MTB, help you learn how to breathe, i.e., the lungs are forced to exercise and receive more oxygen, making the climb of a staircase an easy task. While you ride in a cross-country race, your body is releasing toxins which help the body function. As this is a sport which can be practised all year round, you should know that in the summer the release of toxins is more effective.
The benefits of mountain biking aren't only for the body and mind. It is also a great way to preserve the environment, as bicycles are known as the symbol of sustainability. The main reason this happens is simple, a bicycle is not powered by petrol, but powered by the force of your legs. Another benefit related to mountain biking is the conviviality between people with the same passion, through races or even on various MTB platforms on the internet.

Ride in pure harmony with nature just two steps away from Belmar Resort.

In the Algarve, just a few minutes away from the Belmar Resort, there is a 260 km stretch of nature trails. In addition to mountain biking, you can also relax in the picnic area while the children play in the playground. The mountain bike routes in Lagos are suitable for Cross-Country competitions. There are nine trails in the Barão de São João National Forest, divided into four levels of difficulty. The trails are colour-marked to indicate the different levels of difficulty. At the entrance to the national forest, you will find a space dedicated to maintaining your bike, as well as public toilets.

The mountain bike centre of Lagos is 18 minutes away from the Belmar Resort.

  1. National Forest Route - green (easy)
    This is a circular route cycled entirely through the Barão de São João National Forest. In the intervals of each race, take the opportunity to get to know the woods, breathe in the fresh air and observe the green of the umbrella pine woods that extends throughout the forest.
    Distance - 10,5 km | Climbing Distance - 200 m | Estimated duration - 1.00 to 2.00 h
    Route map

  2. Menir da Pedra Do Galo Route - green (easy)
    Cycling circular route in the Barão de São João National Forest, where you can observe various species such as hares, wild rabbits and foxes. As the name of the trail means, the ride goes past Pedra do Galo, a fragment of a menhir from the Neolithic period. Observe the beauty of the landscape by the menhir, and take in the sights of Espinhaço de Cão, Fóia and the Monchique mountains.
    Distance - 18,6 km | Climbing Distance - 290 m | Estimated duration - 1.30 to 2.30 h
    Route map

  3. Route around Barão de S. João - blue (moderate)
    A circular trail that continues the previous one and allows you to get to know the surrounding area of the National Forest. This route takes you to the centre of the Barão de São João village, one of the most picturesque places in the Lagos municipality. There you can find white houses with coloured bars, high and lacy chimneys representing the Moorish heritage of other times in the Algarve. Along the walls of the village, you will find some examples of urban art, made by national artists.
    Distance: 22,3 km | Climbing Distance: 410 m | Estimated duration: 2.00 to 3.00 h
    Route Map

  4. Golf Route - blue (moderate)
    Circular route cycled in the southern area, on a flat area without major technical difficulties. This route is close to some of the most famous courses of what is considered the king sport in the Algarve, golf. The route also takes you cycling through the parish of Bensafrim, where you can find typical Algarve products such as honey, almonds and figs.
    Distance: 29,1 km | Climbing Distance: 330 m | Estimated duration: 2.30 to 3.30 h
    Route Map

  5. Vila da Luz Route - blue (moderate)
    A circular route in the south of the Lagos municipality with a surprising passage through Praia da Luz. Passing through the Luz village, you will soon realise that it is a popular tourist spot, yet it still retains the typical characteristics of a fishing village. One of the attractions of this place is the black rock of volcanic origin that stands out among the other golden rocks on the beach.
    Distance: 33,5 km | Climbing Distance: 500 m | Estimated duration: 3.00 to 4.00 h
    Route Map

  6. Northern Route - red (difficult)
    This circular route is cycled in the northern part of the Barão de São João National Forest, passes through the Espinhaço de Cão mountain range and by the Bravura dam. In the Espinhaço de Cão mountain range, you will find hidden villages among the hills, robust strawberry trees covered with their delicious fruit. On this route, you will see the other colours of the Algarve with the sea always on the horizon.
    Distance: 43,5 km | Climbing Distance: 624 m | Estimated duration: 3.00 to 4.00 h
    Route Map

  7. Beaches Route - red (difficult)
    A circular route in the south of the National Forest with paths that connect to the beaches of Luz and Burgau. The route is made of single-tracks, excellent for the more experienced and demanding mountain bikers. This route takes you cycling along the coast and passes through the village of Burgau, part of Vila do Bispo. It is one of the villages with a fishing tradition, from where you can still see the fishermen launching their boats into the sea, from the beach.
    Distance: 36 km | Climbing Distance: 600 m | Estimated duration: 3.00 to 4.00 h
    Route Map

  8. Figuras Route - red (difficult)
    A circular route that passes through the Barão de São João village and finally the emblematic Figuras climb. The connection between nature, art and poetry is present throughout the National Forest. While riding along this trail you will find sculptures by the artist Deodato, poems and faces engraved in huge grey stones scattered along the paths' edges.
    Distance: 37,6 km | Climbing Distance: 642 m | Estimated duration: 3.30 to 4.30 h
    Route Map

  9. Bravura Dam Route - black (very difficult)
    A circular trail that goes around the Bravura dam and goes through the interior of the Lagos municipality. This is the most demanding trail of the set of trails presented, but perhaps the most enjoyable. You must have the necessary experience and knowledge to do it, as it is a very difficult trail. Ride along the shore of the Bravura dam and discover the fauna and flora of the interior Algarve. To finish this trail, rest and take the opportunity to socialise with your group in the restaurant near the dam pontoon.
    Distance: 65,6 km | Climbing Distance: 1014 m | Estimated duration: 4.00 to 5.00 h
    Route Map

At Belmar Spa & Beach Resort we are aware of the potential of the municipality where we are located. Several sports can be practised in the western Algarve. Therefore, we have large garage structures where you can store all your equipment and bikes safely.

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