Between the hills, tram lines, and narrow cobblestone streets, Lisbon doesn’t always seem to be bicycle-friendly, but there are a few lovely paths where cyclists can enjoy the view while simultaneously getting in a workout. Unfortunately, unlike many other European cities, Lisbon’s bike paths aren’t always clear and cyclists should be extra careful in areas where paths break to construction or flowing traffic. To help everyone enjoy more of the city (and beyond) on two wheels, here are a few recommended areas to enjoy.
Although seasoned cyclists may feel like taking on Lisbon’s streets and hills for an unforgettable ride through historic neighborhoods, the following 4 paths may be easier for inexperienced or less-adventurous riders.
Along the Tagus River
Perhaps the most obvious choice is along the Tagus River, a route that has become much easier with the construction of a pathway connecting Parque das Nações to Santa Apolónia and another clear route from Cais do Sodré past Belém. All-in-all, the total stretch offers cyclists around 20 kilometers (12.4 miles), and along with the beautiful river views, cyclists will enjoy the fairly flat terrain. Keep in mind that part of this course runs into one of the more tourist-heavy walkways and train/tram/traffic-heavy roads, so maintain caution, especially between Santa Apolónia and Cais do Sodré.
Monsanto’s “Green” Path
Then there is the “unbeaten path”, the one frequented by locals and usually missed by tourists. Monsanto Forest Park is a green haven with many walking/running/biking routes far from the bustle of traffic. From downtown, take the metro or cycle up Avenida da Liberdade to the top of Eduardo VII Park and that’s where the park and “green lane” begin. Located on a high point in the city, the views take in the Tagus River and the São Jorge Castle.
Cascais to Guincho Beach
A short train ride west from Lisbon will take cyclists along the coast to Cascais, a beautiful and charmingly upscale resort town sandwiched between beaches and brightened with a nautical style. Here, cyclists have a 10-kilometer pathway that heads to Guincho Beach (on the outskirts of the Sintra Mountains) and back, primarily alongside the coast. During the summer, cycling is one of the most accessible ways to reach Guincho Beach since public transportation is limited as are parking lots, and the path provides a scenic activity for the fall, winter, and spring. What’s one of the best parts of this route? Cascais offers free bike rentals!
Costa da Caparica to Fonte de Telha
Hop on the ferry from Cais do Sodré with your bike and head to Cacilhas, the first stop on the way to Costa da Caparica beach for another sandy, coast-lined ride. Parts of the route to Fonte de Telha will take cyclists past fishing villages, small cafés and restaurants (perfect for a pit-stop and a snack or lunch). In the summer, the main sandy road can be busy, so be watchful, but the offseason is a different story and not only are the roadways mainly free and clear but the mild weather will make the trip more enjoyable.
Although Lisbon is known as a better city to explore on two feet and by public transportation, it’s becoming more cycle-friendly with each passing year.