An action-packed holiday is on the agenda when you book a trip to Portimao. One of the most well-known towns in the Algarve, Portimao is a bustling fishing port on the banks of the River Arade. If you want more from your Portugal holiday than just basking on the beach, then Portimao should be on your radar. There’s loads to do here. Golf, watersports, horse riding, mountain biking and motor racing are all popular. Souvenir hunters will also be in heaven in Portimao. There’s loads of shops and boutiques to browse and use up your spending money.
Lots of your time in Portimao will be spent at the town’s bustling marina area. It’s a scenic fishing port which is famous for its sardines. Its full of authentic restaurants and the launchpad for boat cruises to the surrounding coastline and river. Just a short stroll from the marina will take you to Portimao’s sister resort of Praia da Rocha. This is where the beaches are, with a stretch of golden sand that goes on for more than a mile. Snorkelers and scuba divers can explore the nearby crags and coves.
Portimao has all the amenities and transport links you could need to explore the rest of the Algarve. If you fancy a boogie, then the popular resort of Albufeira is only a stone’s throw away. Albufeira’s old town is also a great place for a romantic dinner, although with the delicious food on offer in Portimao, you can be forgiven for never leaving.
Most visitors to Portimao tend to congregate around the town’s marina area. It’s a scenic spot overlooking the River Arade. As you wander around the marina’s boardwalks, you’ll come across excellent seafood restaurants, cute cafes and swimwear shops. While the yachts might be out of your price-range, you can hire a jet-ski and other water sports equipment here. During the summer, the marina is a vibrant area, full of outdoor partying.
Praia da Rocha
The purpose-built beach resort of Praia da Rocha is almost a suburb of Portimao, with only a mile separating the two spots. The beach is a beauty with golden sands backed by red sandstone cliffs. If you’re looking to party, then there’s loads of bars and clubs to enjoy in Praia da Rocha. History buffs can also take a look at the remains of a 17th century castle, built to protect Portimao’s harbour.
It’s only a 30-minute drive to the beautiful seaside town of Albufeira, where holidaymakers of all interests and ages flock. The pretty old town area is packed with cafes and shops. You can stroll around the shaded cobbled alleyways to escape the midday sun. When the sun sets, the more modern section of Albufeira springs into life. Thousands of revellers descend on the bars and clubs here, which remain open until the early hours.
Make sure you’ve packed the credit card for your holiday to Portimao because the town centre is a shopper’s delight. It’s jam-packed with stores selling clothes, gifts, electrics and souvenirs. There are familiar brands, along with traditional shops selling leather goods such as handbags and belts. On the outskirts of the town, there’s also the Portimao Retail Park and the Aqua Portimao shopping centre.
You don’t have to be fighting fit to enjoy the activities on offer in Portimao. There’s lots of boat trips to explore the 40 miles of waterways along the River Arade. Small boats depart from Portimao’s marina and head towards the pretty town of Silves. Along the way, you’ll get a glimpse of the Algarve’s beautiful countryside and wildlife.
Petrol heads will be in heaven in Portimao, with the Algarve International Race Circuit found just five miles outside of town. This track plays host to many international events, including World Superbike races and the prestigious Le Mans Series. There’s also the Algarve Classic Car Festival, which takes place every October. If you want to have a go yourself, test your driving skills on the nearby go-kart circuit. There’s 50 karts available to rent and anyone over six can have a go.
Beaches in Portimao
It’s only a short wander from Portimao to reach Praia da Rocha, and it’s certainly worth the effort. It’s one of the most photographed beaches in Europe. There’s all the facilities that you’d expect of a top beach resort. If you’re looking for something a little quieter, then relax at the natural lagoon of Alvor.
It will come as no surprise to learn that fish and seafood play a major part in Algarve cuisine. As well as grilled sea bass, swordfish or prawns, you must also try the delicious fish stew called caldeirada. If you’re after something more meaty, try the bean and pork stew of feijoada or a plate of the spicy Portuguese favourite, Piri Piri chicken. There’s several Algarve wines to wash it all down with, or you can try a glass of the vinho verde sparkling wine.
Restaurants in Portimao
Most of Portimao’s famous fish restaurants can be found next to the marina. The smell of grilling sardines will guide you there. You can also grab an ice-cream or coffee at one of the cafes next to the river. It’s a perfect spot for watching the world go by.
There’s no chance of getting bored on your holiday to Portimao. Some of the Algarve’s best attractions are at your doorstep, with tons of outdoor activities available to see more of this beautiful region. When you book a holiday to Portimao with easyJet holidays, you take all the hassle out of your trip. You’ll even save some spending money for Portimao’s shops when you book a hotel and flight at the same time with easyJet holidays. Portimao not quite right for you? Take a look at our other Algarve destination guides.