The Algarve is blessed with a mild climate and plenty of sunshine all year round, providing you with just the right spirit to tackle this tough ride in the mountains. The first stage reveals nothing of the difficulties ahead. It takes you to Silves, a city adorned by a splendid castle that is one of the finest examples of Islamic military architecture in the region. From here, you will encounter an increasing number of long, hard uphill sections, starting with the Sapeira road, and then on towards Alferce, with the Odelouca dam on the horizon. The Monchique forest will help you recharge your batteries during the 15-kilometre descent from Fóia – in preparation for another demanding but spectacular climb, this time to Marmelete. From Casais, you can calmly appreciate the remainder of the ride, which includes uphill sections to Picota and Pomba.