To get to Velo-city 2021 Lisboa by bicycle, your best option is to cycle along the EuroVelo 1 - Atlantic Coast Route. This 11,000-kilometre-long route goes through 6 different countries starting in Scandinavia and ending in Portugal. The first section of the route in Portugal starts in the south of the country, in Vila Real de Santo António and follows over 200 kilometres of coastline in the Algarve region. The region is famous for being one of the warmest in Southern Europe and for its azulejos, traditional painted, tin-glazed ceramic tiles.
The EuroVelo 1 in Portugal has been divided in 18 section, you can find a detailed description of each section at EuroVelo's dedicated website for Portugal. Cycling Algarve's coast along EuroVelo 1, you will arrive in Lisbon at the end of section 8, which goes through the Alentejo region. As you pass through, make sure to stop at the Natural Reserve of Sado Estuary, East of Setúbal city, where 200 bird species live. It is also one of the only places in Europe where you can see dolphins swim freely in their natural habitat. Once you are in the city's surroundings, make sure to visit the Roman ruins of Creiro and the Santiago de Outão Fort. Don’t forget to enjoy a well-deserved break on one of the 66 different beaches you’ll find on your way up to Lisbon. To reach the so-called city of seven hills you can choose the boat option – operated by Transtejo – and embark at Cais do Sodré, or the train option – operated by Fertagus – and board at Campolide train station.
From Cais do Sodré, you can follow one of the cycling lanes of the city’s 150-kilometer network until the Belém area, West of the city center. Once there, make sure to visit the Palace near to the famous pastry shop (where the Pastel de Belém is sold), Jerónimos Monastery, Padrão dos Descobrimentos and the Tower. You can also enjoy the view from the terrace of the Cultural Centre of Belém.
To reach the city centre, cycle along the Tagus River, stopping first at the Terreiro do Paço, then the Baixa Pombalina and its squares and monuments. The historic neighbourhoods of Alfama, Mouraria, Graça, Bairro Alto, Bica are the best places to hear Fado. If you want to keep exploring the city on foot, be sure to park your bicycle in one of the 13 BiciParks of Empresa Municipal de Mobilidade e Estacionamento de Lisboa (EMEL), the company in charge of mobility and parking in the capital. They have a total of 238 parking spots: 214 for conventional bicycles and 24 for cargo bikes.
To move easily around the different neighbourhoods you can also use the city’s shared public bicycle system GIRA. There is now a total of 91 bike stations in operation, representing roughly 1,700 bicycle docks, and 54 more bicycle stations are scheduled to open by the end of September. Thanks to the rapid extension of the network, Lisbonites now consider the bicycle as a genuine alternative to cars for their daily trips. Once you have finished wandering around the colourful streets of Lisbon, make sure to join the Velo-city family at FIL in the Parque das Nações quarter in Lisbon. In contrast to other more historic parts of Lisbon, the Parque das Nações is strikingly modern, filled with futuristic architecture, creative gardens, and urban art. Located by the Tagus River, it includes the main music venue of Lisbon, the fabulous oceanarium, a major shopping centre, and a wide selection of fancy bars and restaurants. All of this, only a short bike ride from the city centre since the whole Parque das Nações area is connected by a separated bike lane network.
With regards to the current health situation, the City of Lisbon, EMEL and the European Cyclists’ Federation, organisers of this year’s edition of the world’s largest cycling conference, are committed to hold a safe in-person event and are working closely with the Portuguese health authorities to ensure that all necessary measures are implemented. FIL has been certified as “clean&safe” and in compliance with all current safety and hygiene regulations. Once Velo-city Lisboa 2021 is over, why not keep exploring Lisbon’s surroundings? Last May, it was officially announced that by the end of 2022 five new cycling lanes will link Lisbon to Odivelas, Amadora, Moscavide, Sacavém and Algés
However, in the meantime you can keep cycling along the EuroVelo 1 - Atlantic Coast Route!
Author: Adèle Saingenest