Praia da Rocha
Place: Portimão
Photo: Câmara Municipal de Portimão
Photo: Câmara Municipal de Portimão

Located in the estuary of the River Arade, Portimão is known for its excellent sandy beaches with plenty of warm, calm waters, which make it a very alluring holiday destination.

Portimão has a long fishing tradition that developed particularly between the 19th and 20th centuries with the advent of the canning industry and tourism. Most of the buildings that you see in the streets and squares of the historic centre are from this period, as well as the building that houses the Portimão Museum, a superb refurbishment of an old cannery that received the Museum of the Year award from the Council of Europe in 2010. It pays homage to the people and the city that for centuries have lived exclusively of and for the sea.

You shouldn’t miss the simply styled Chapel of São José de Alcalar or the impressive Church of Nossa Senhora da Conceição (Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception), built in the 15th century on top of a hill, and standing out in the city’s skyline; it was badly damaged by the 1755 earthquake, but retains its beautiful original Gothic portal. For a break in your meanderings, it’s best to rest in the shade of the trees of the Manuel Bivar Garden to see the fishing boats and pleasure craft sail past. Or on the promenade beside the Marina, one of the liveliest parts of the city both by day and by night.

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