The idyllic images of Albufeira’s beaches are irresistible and can be seen all over the world, drawing people to one of Europe’s favourite holiday resorts. And it is also from this old fishing village that you set off towards São Bartolomeu de Messines on a route that is not particularly demanding in its early stages. The road surface is excellent as you ride past the villages of Ferreiras and Paderne on your way to the first big challenge: the 2-kilometre uphill ride to Pico Alto. Once in the Serra do Caldeirão, there is a constant succession of uphill and downhill sections on roads that, despite being rather winding, still let you admire the green landscapes of this part of the Algarve. The challenge becomes tougher as you get closer to Freixo Seco and its steep uphill section, 2.5 km long and over an uneven surface. And then you will need to catch your breath in preparation for the uphill stretches to Vermelhos and Ameixial, which can be steeper than 15% in places.