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The Algarve has joined a joint European project to encourage visitors to explore the Atlantic coast by bike.

This new, sustainable form of tourism sees the Algarve become a partner in the EuroVelo cycle route which begins on the Spanish border in Vila Real de Santo António and then continues along the coast and up through Portugal, Spain and into France.

The Algarve Regional Tourist board and AMAL (the Intermunicipal Community of the Algarve) have signed up to the cycle project which brings together a total of 18 entities from seven different countries and has been designed to offer a sustainable option for those looking to explore Europe.

Increasingly, visitors to the Algarve are looking for new ways to explore the region and lesser known areas that have been traditionally less popular with tourist.  By offering a specific cycle route along the coast, travellers can then choose to stop off in various locations along the Algarve.

A spokesman from the tourism board said: “The specific objectives of the initiative are to firstly stimulate, structure and promote the offering for tourist in the Algarve while then helping to boost the local economy through job generation.”

The Algarve is the first stage of the EuroVelo route and covers the entire Algarve from east to west over around 200km.  The route follows the already existing Ecovia Litoral path which allows cyclists to be able to take in some of the most spectacular sites and landscapes that the Algarve has to open along the coast.

Visitors to the Algarve can see all the information about the route, pick up tips on sites to see and places to visit while on their journey and learn more about cycling in the Algarve by visiting the official EuroVelo site, while those looking for accommodation along the route can contact the Algarve Holiday Lets team for suggestions and bookings.

The EuroVelo network currently has 15 long-distance cycling routes linking the entire European continent, which can be used by both holiday cyclists and residents on their daily commutes.

"Many of these routes are completed, but others are still under development. It is estimated that by 2020 the network will be complete, "concluded the RTA.