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All About Portugal | March 3, 2021

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What to see and do in Portimao

Portimao - Praia da Rocha
Clara Campos

There is a lot to see and do in Portimao as the city has amazing beaches, a rich history, a great movida and a tasteful gastronomy to offer to all visitors.

There is a lot to see and do in Portimao, one of the most famed beach destinations of the Algarve. Restaurants and hotels in Portimao also play an important role for the city’s popularity among tourists.

Things to see and do in Portimao

The beaches

When thinking about what to see and do in Portimao, the first thing that crosses our mind are the beaches. These are the ex-libris not just from Portimao but from the entire Algarve. Alvor, Torralta, 3 Irmãos, Prainha, Alemão, Vau, 3 Castelos and Praia da Rocha are emblematic names known all over the world. They are famed for their golden sand, warm waters and natural beauty.

History an Heritage

Portimao has a few not to miss religious places. Here are some good exemples of what to see and do in Portimao:

– the Jesuit College, which church is the biggest in the Algarve;

Jesuit College in Portimao
Photo by Richard Lazzara

– Nossa Senhora da Conceição church that was destroyed by the 1755 earthquake and rebuilt in the following century;

– The ruins of São Francisco Convent;

– The chapel of São José.

Old Town

Go for a stroll along the streets of the old town. The 1755 hearthquake didn’t left much from the medieval times. So there you will find mainly the architecture of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Interesting are also the defense walls of Portimao, which shape resembles a triangle, and the Santa Catarina fortress. These monuments are set in Praia da Rocha beach. From here you have an amazing view over the river, the sea and the beach.


For nature lovers there is Ria de Alvor. The Ria results from the confluence of four rivers coming down the hillside of Serra de Monchique. It is a protected area. It consists of a coastal lagoon, salt marshes, dunes, salt beds and two peninsulas. Ria de Alvor is part of the routes of migrant birds. They stop there for food, to rest and, in some cases, for nesting. Each year Ria de Alvor houses more than 150 species of migratory birds. It is an amazing ecosystem.


If you are looking for a lively nightlife in Portimao, you just need to head to Praia da Rocha. Practice bar hopping before go dancing all night long. There are many cool discos in the premises. By the way, Praia da Rocha is also a perfect spot during the day due to the many restaurants, coffee-shops and ice-cream parlours you may find there. The city’s movida is one of the best things to see and do in Portimao.

Portimao Sardine Festival

What to see in Portimao - Sardines festival Portimao Sardine Festival is one of the city’s highlight. Every year during the first days of August Portimao honors the queen of the Portuguese gastronomy, the sardine. On the waterside area of the city grilled sardines go hand-in-hand with music concerts, fireworks and market stalls among many other attractions.
However, if you are visiting the city on other dates than the ones of the Festival you may enjoy the delicious grilled sardines on the many existing restaurants in Portimao.

Where is Portimao?

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Praia da Rocha: 37.116663, -8.534660
Autodromo Internacional do Algarve: 37.231752, -8.629264
Pestana Alvor Praia hotel: 37.120581, -8.579723

Main image credits

Photo by Galeria de ivogomes


  1. sola

    I love to read articles on your blog, lots of useful articles and quality ..

    Greetings, sola

    • clara

      Thank you for the nice words, Sola!

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