Portimão - Lying between the Alvor estuary and the Arade river

Portimão is one of the largest cities in the Algarve.

The city sits between the Alvor estuary and the Arade River, boasting an incredible set of beaches along its 8km coast.

In the 19th century, Portimão became an important centre for the fishing conserving industry in Portugal and it remained that way until the 20th century when tourism took over. Today, Portimão is a popular summer destination, welcoming over a thousand people per year.

Visitors come here to enjoy the beaches and practice sports like sailing, surfing and scuba diving. The closest beach to the centre of Portimão is Praia da Rocha, and it’s around here that you will find most of the hotels in the city. The beach has a small fortress that provides a great view across the Arade river and the sea.

Other beaches worth visiting in Portimão include Praia dos Três Castelos and Praia de Alvor. This last one is backed up by a stunning nature reserve that can be explored on foot by following the wooden boardwalk on the beach.

For the car enthusiasts, there is the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve, one of the best race circuits in the world. The circuit features a race track, a sports complex, a go-kart track and a hotel.

Portimão is extremely well connected to the rest of the Algarve. It has a railway station, a harbour and even a small airport which offers scheduled flights to some domestic destinations.  From the Marina of Portimão, you can easily join a boat trip and explore the caves in Lagoa or travel up the Arade river towards the medieval town of Silves.

To learn more about the fishing tradition of Portimão you should visit the Museum of Portimão. The museum is set in an old cannery and recreates the production lines of the factory, from catching the fish to preparing it for canning.

Some of the most important historic sites in Portimão are the Igreja do Colégio, a former Jesuit college and the Alcalar Megalithic site, a large necropolis that was established over 5000 years ago in the north of Portimão.

Portimão is a great place for shopping. In the town centre, you can find traditional shops selling souvenirs, but if you’re looking for something more you can visit the Portimão Retail Center or Aqua Portimão, a modern shopping mall with two floors filled with shops and restaurants.

Grilled sardines are one of the local specialities of Portimão, there is even a Sardine Festival in August dedicated to this delicacy. New Year’s Eve is also a big celebration in Portimão with live bands performing on the waterfront, food stalls and a fantastic fireworks show.

Explore this region by following our Portimão 2 day tour. Also read about Portimão Beaches and Alvor.

Return to the home page