Portimão (45,000 inhabitants) is the second most populous city in the Algarve. Its historic center is picturesque with a medieval core of narrow alleys located on a bend in the ribeira de Odeluca.
The area where the city stands was certainly inhabited before the arrival of the Romans who left several testimonies of their presence. The Roman villa of Abicada is particularly worth a visit. Strangely, the Arabs did not leave many traces in the area. In fact, the actual inhabited center of Portimão was founded only starting from 1463 at the behest of King Afonso V.
WHAT TO SEE: THE MAIN ATTRACTIONS OF PORTIMÃO
Destroyed largely by the earthquake of 1755. Today Portimão is a modern city that still retains some valuable monuments among which we can mention: the Matriz de Nossa Senhora da Conceição church of the fifteenth century with a beautiful late Gothic portal.
The Bivar and Sárrea Garfias palaces (18th century), neoclassical with Baroque reminiscences. The Collegio dos Jesuítas (17th century). The Fortaleza de Santa Catarina (17th century) and its viewpoint (Miradouro) with views over Praia da Rocha.
The real attraction of the area are the beaches often dotted with rocks and sea stacks, proceeding from east to west we find: Praia da Rocha perhaps the most famous beach in the Algarve. Praia de Vau small, enchanting beach west of the previous one sheltered by cliffs. Praia João de Arens, Praia dos Tres Irmãos and Prainha are a series of small beaches separated from each other by cliffs. Alvor beach stretches for a few kilometers until it reaches the estuary of the Rio de Alvor.
Among the excursions to do from Portimão: Silves, the ancient Arab capital of the Algarve, with remains of the Arab castle and a beautiful Gothic cathedral. La Serra de Monchique with the spa town of Caldas de Monchique. The ruins of the Roman villa of Abicada. Lagos with the old town, its beaches and the promontory of Ponta da Piedade. Alvor and Albufeira with their beaches.
PRAIA DA ROCHA
Located near Portimão, Praia da Rocha was the first area of the Algarve to be developed touristically.
The beauty of the beach set between the rocky walls and 2 km long is undoubtedly the main attraction for a stay, but also its position, between Lagos and Albufeira, makes Praia da Rocha an ideal place to visit the rest of the region.
Main attractions of Praia da Rocha: Do not miss the walk along the cliff of Praia da Rocha that leads to the Fortaleza de Santa Catarina de Ribamar, built in 1621.
The town is full of restaurants, bars, shops and nightlife and is a favorite spot for young people. There are also casinos located on the beach.
Alvor (5,000 inhabitants) is a small fishing village that has become a popular tourist destination in recent years. In its historical center there are shops, bars, clubs and restaurants.
The main attractions of Alvor: In the old fishing center, the 16th century parish church with a beautiful Manueline-style portal. Also the ruins of the medieval Alvor Castle, whose ruins are dominant on a hill, are worth a stop.
The main beach of Alvor is called Torralta and is over 6 km long. Another excellent beach further east is Praia dos Tres Irmaos, dotted with cliffs and huge rocks.
Continuing in the same direction you reach Prainha, beyond are the beautiful Praia do Vau and Praia da Rocha.