Problems in the Ecovia do Litoral solved by 2020 or 2021

The Ecovia do Litoral do Algarve, despite needing a lot of investment to become 100% usable, is the base of the European route Eurovelo 1, in the Algarve region

The «potential is incredible», but there is still a lot to be refined in the Ecovia do Litoral that connects Sagres to Vila Real de Santo António, covering a total of 214 kilometers. The section is part of the EuroVelo 1, a trans-European cycle route starting in Norway, it's atTil «2020, 2021», Ecovia's problems will be solved, guarantees Jorge Botelho, president of AMAL – Comunidade Intermunicipal do Algarve. 

Turning this EuroVelo 1, which is over 9000 kilometers long, into an excellent tourist route is the aim of the workshop project “Atlantic on Bike” which started this Wednesday, October 17th, in Faro. To debate this issue, representatives from Norway, Ireland, United Kingdom, France and Spain are meeting in the Algarve capital.

In the Algarve, the route passes through the Ecovia do Litoral section and, for Jorge Botelho, «increasingly, nature tourism and gentle mobility are reasons to attract people all year round».

«The municipalities are interested in this and it is more than proven that the commitment to this type of European partnership projects will make the Algarve's visibility even greater», considered the president of AMAL, on the sidelines of the opening session of the workshop.

But, he acknowledged, “there are still problems” at Ecovia. For example, in the section between Olhão and Tavira, the user is pushed onto the EN125, without safety conditions. In the Lagos area (and between this county and the future track in Portimão), there are dangerous spots, where the cyclist is forced to cross the railway. The signage on many routes along the Ecovia is also not the best, because it is old, vandalized or disappeared.

“There are points to do better in terms of paving and even redefining the route. There are meetings taking place on this matter. The issue of integrated signage is also essential», said Jorge Botelho.

To correct these deficiencies in the route, there is a fund of 6,2 million euros, from the Sustainable Urban Mobility Action Plan (PAMUS) of the Algarve, which will be, "largely", used to improve the Ecovia do Litoral, which integrates Eurovelo 1.

The idea is that, in 2020 or 2021, it is possible to «go from Vila Real de Santo António to Sagres on a clean, well-signposted road with no crossing constraints. We recognize that there are problems, so we are still going to invest. This subject is, more and more, a reason for work and concern of municipal executives because they recognize its importance», said the also president of the Tavira Chamber.

It is certain that in other countries, such as Norway, the project is already more advanced. Cycling itself has been ingrained for more years. «In a project with so many countries, the speeds are not the same», acknowledged Jorge Botelho who, in the future, believes that it will be possible for any tourist to leave Norway and finish the route in Sagres.

For the president of the Algarve Tourism Region, the commitment to the Ecovia do Litoral is «one of the strategies for diversifying the Algarve's tourism offer outside the high season».

«We are betting on nature tourism. We want more sustainable tourism and the Algarve has fantastic natural resources», João Fernandes told Sul Informação. 

And that was exactly what the participants in this workshop they were able to witness yesterday afternoon, on a bike ride along a stretch of the Ecovia do Litoral.

The course, that the Sul Informação also did it, started by the beach of Faro and passed through Ludo, to Quinta do Lago, always along the Ria Formosa, in a stretch of about six kilometers. In the end, the happy faces were many, as well as the sore legs…


See the summary of the tour of the participants in the workshop through Ecovia, from the beach of Faro to Quinta do Lago:


Photos: Pablo Sabater and Pedro Lemos | Sul Informação