The area

First the blue sea and its gentle lapping waves. Then fine golden sands framed by cliffs and rocks. This is the Algarve of beach holidays in the sun.

Portimão and its municipality have a lot to offer: a rich heritage of historical monuments, the eternal natural beauty of the Ria de Alvor – the charm of cultivated fields, of slopes covered with pine trees and wild flowers; the allure of walking up into the hills and looking down on the Algarve from a new perspective (Monchique).


There are over 70 beaches listed in the Algarve, the closest being Praia do Vau and Praia da Rocha, both within an easy walking distance.

Typically, the south coast beaches, because of the calmer waves and gentle slopping shoreline, are very nice for wading, beach combing, safe swimming and sunbathing.

The west coast is exciting, wild and excellent for surfing, body boarding, the general enjoyment of the sea and dramatic cliffs and landscape.

For more pictures of the different beaches check The Coast  All pictures were taken by us, during our walks!
Alvor – A long beach that extends as far as the eye can see, until it reaches the Ria de Aivor estuary. An international tourism centre.
Três Irmãos, Prainha, Três Castelos – A series of tiny beaches separated by outcrops of ochre rock in which the sea has worn tunnels that offer an unusual means of across.
João de Arens – A small stretch of sand set among cliffs, rocks and islands, it is associated with a fearless shepherd immortalised by the writer Manuel Teixeira Gores, a native of Portimão, in his book “Agosto Azul” (Blue August).
Vau e Alemão – A charming beach flanked by cliffs. Its calm atmosphere iodine-rich waters and fascinating rock formations make it popular with families.
Praia da Rocha may be the most famous resort in the area, but the beaches that extend all the way to Alvor have their own particular appeal.


Palmares This is a course of great beauty, perfectly blending beach and mountain scenery.
Penina The first golf course to be built In the Algarve, Penina is considered the masterpiece of Sir Henry Cotton.
Morgado do Reguengo This course is the newest course to open in the Algarve. Laid out in a large 980 hectare estate through undulating small .
Alto Golf Alto Golf runs through two valleys, and was the last to be designed by Sir Henry Cotton.

The golf course set among the pines of Penina is internationally renowned. With courses at Alvor and Vau too, keen golfers arc spoilt for choice.

Big game fishing and much more

Portimão is one of the main big game centres in the Algarve, offering the chance to catch fighting swordfish and other big fish. There are also facilities for sailing, hind-surfing, para-sailing water-skiing and scuba diving 18Getting to know the Portimão area

When people think of Portimão they think of Praia da Rocha, coast, beaches, etc. But the town itself is an old fishing port with a lively down town shopping area and cafés.
Jesuits College – Being in 17th C baroque style, the college has a hall church with a single nave in the shape of a Latin cross. The altars are decorated in gilded woodcarving. A stone sculpture representing Our Lady of Mercy and the items of religious gold ware are of particular interest.
Parish Church – Originally built in the 15th C, the church is an 18th C baroque edifice in which only the Gothic portal remains of the earlier construction, having three archivolts resting on fleur-de-lis capitals. Inside are a nave and two side aisles, 19th C glazed tile wainscoting and an altarpiece in gilded woodcarving.17

Mexilhoeira Grande
An old village, traditionally sustained by agriculture and by the resources of the Ria de Alvor
Main Church – This church is in the Renaissance style (16th century) but has two side doors that are Manueline. The main doorway is extremely solemn, with a triangular pediment. The interior consists of three naves, held up by columns with ornate bases and capitals. The triumphal arch is decorated with motifs from the world of nature and a coat of arms. There is a panel depicting the Assumption on the high altar. The Capela do Santíssimo (Chapel of the Most Holy), boasts a high relief showing the figure of tire Eternal Father and a low relief of St. Peter and St. Paul. There is a collection of statues and objects used in religious ceremonies

Ria de Alvor
To one side the sea, to the other the liquid mirror of the vast estuary stretching inland, and between them a long, broad dune. This beautiful setting is the chosen nesting place of dozens of species of migratory bird. The salt marshes also support an interesting variety of animal life, while the local fishermen still use traditional techniques to catch fish and gather shellfish. To explore this almost unknown facet of the Algarve by the diffuse light of dawn is to discover a world of total calm and make memories that will last forever. (Boats can be hired at Alvor).
A Roman archaeological site at the confluence of two rivers. There is a 1st/4th century villa with several rooms and a peristyle decorated with colored mosaics bearing geometric patterns and stylised designs.

An important Neolithic/ Chalcolithic burial ground (2,000/1,600 B.C.) with graves of several types, from megalithic chambers to tombs with false cupolas and side alcoves. There is another burial ground nearby at Monte Canelas.

Alvor – This town’s long history is clear from the discovery on Vila Velha hill, overlooking the Ria de Alvor, of a Neolithic village retaining traces of subsequent Roman occupation. During the period of Moorish rule, Alvor was a thriving port.

The ramparts defending it were the scene of violent fighting when the Portuguese army led by King Sancho 1 conquered it in 1189, with the help of Crusades en route to the Holy Land. Retaken by the Moors in 1191, it was only returned to Christian dominion in 1250, at the time of the campaigns that resulted in the conquest of the whole of the Algarve. The town walls were rebuilt in 1300 and Alvor was made a town by King
João II, who died there in 1495. It shared in the prosperity of the 15th and 16th centuries, but was laid low by the earthquake of 1755. The old town was never to regain its farmer splendor. Alvor retains much of the charm of a picturesque fishing village, with streets of white houses and colorful boats which, after a day at sea, congregate around the old fishing market.

Main Church – Built in the 16th century, this church was rebuilt in the 18th century. The profusely decorated main doorway – one of the most beautiful in all Algarve – and the side door are in the Manueline style. The columns supporting the three naves are also part of the original structure as are the fonts and the triumphal arch of the altar. The carved retable on the high altar, with its impressive life-size statue of the lord Jesus, is from a later period (18th century). There is also a fine panel depicting the Saviour. The sacristy drat adjoins the church is a former Moorish marabout’s retreat, since adapted to is new role. This small, but nonetheless important church also contains polychrome tiles with two 18th century figurative panels – the Washing of the Feet and the last Supper – several statues and a number of tombs. From the churchyard there is an excellent view of the Ria de Alvor, the town and the encircling sea.
Castle – The castle has long disappeared but for two stretches of wall that were once part of the fortress and now lave houses built against them.
Marabout Chapels of São João and São Pedro (St. John and St. Peter) – Cubic structures with spherical cupolas that testify to the Moorish influence, these chapels evoke the holy places where Moslems would bury the religious ascetics known as marabouts.

The Arade Estuary13
For thousands of years, Phoenicians, Greeks, Carthaginians, Romans, Moors, Normans and Crusaders sailed up the river towards the city of Silves, intent on trade or conquest. Visitors today can take the same course in a boat hired from Portimão. The shady groves along the banks make good places to stop off and relax, as does the island of Nossa Senhora do Rosário (Our Lady of the Rosary), where tge ruins of an old chapel are still to be seen.




Map of Portugal

Algarve Region


The Southern Portugal region has a ‘pocket’ climate – a Mediterranean-climate region – of which there are only a few others around the world. (click on map to enlarge it)

Look at all the beaches!



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