Portimao, Algarve, Portugal
Portimao is a bustling cosmopolitan port that offers excellent shopping, good restaurants and a colourful market for which it is well known locally. There are plenty of bars and restaurants available but not much in the way of nightlife although many clubs can be found in neighbouring resorts.
There are many beaches in Portimao with the largest and most popular beach being Praia de Rocha. Praia de Rocha beach is a long, sandy beach with wooden walkways running the length of the beach which makes it easily accessible for those with wheelchairs or pushchairs. During the summer, the beach can get very busy but there is ample room for everyone and awnings and umbrellas can be hired. There are lifeguards on duty during the summer and a whole host of watersports available such as windsurfing, jet skiing, paragliding and pedalos. There is also a good selection of beach cafes and restaurants here which is ideal if you are here for the full day.
The next beach along is Praia dos Tres Castelos (meaning three castles which is derived from the isolated rock formations in the sea) which has plenty of golden sand, rocky outcrops and curving cliffs. There is a lifeguard on duty in the summer and there are sunbeds available for hire. There are two beach bars/restaurants at the beach and even more close to the beach.
Another beach which is to the left of Praia de Rocha is Praia do Amado. The beach enjoys a sheltered position beneath the beautiful cliffs. Although there is a small car park and a wide path for walking or cycling at the top of the cliffs, access to the actual beach is via relatively steep wooden steps so may not be suitable for those with small children or those with limited mobility.
With so many beaches on offer, you are bound to find one to suit.
Things to Do
There is plenty to see and do on a wander round Portimao. Take a stroll along the esplanade and check out the riverside gardens or visit the square, Largo 1 de Dezembro which has many benches with scenes depicting different important historical events from Portuguese history.
There are many boat trips that can be taken, whether it be a fishing trip, a trip to the caves, a spot of dolphin watching or just a trip up the river to Silves, it is all available from here.
Although there are many golf courses in the area, there are three very good golf courses in Portimao itself.
Out and About
Portimao is certainly ideal for those who enjoy shopping, there is such a wide variety, from clothes shops, gift shops, general household items to electrical goods. As well as traditional shops, you will also see some brands that we get at home, such as ladies fashion shop, Mango. There are also some larger department stores and supermarkets to be found too.
There is no end of cafes, bars and restaurants too, so if you fancy a quick drink and a bite to eat or a more leisurely evening meal, there are plenty of options. Due to the location of Portimao, there are many seafood restaurants to sample too.
Nightlife is generally centred around the bars and restaurants so it's not too wild. Praia de Rocha, at the southern end of Portimao has plenty of lively music bars, live music, karaoke and various nightclubs should you wish something a bit livelier.
Portimao can liven up a little at certain times of the year, when there are festivals on. The annual sardine festival is held at the end of the summer and there is live music, fireworks and sardines to celebrate. There are also different sporting events held throughout the year too such as motor racing, jet skiing and powerboat racing.
There is plenty to do in the area such as horse riding and there are many horse riding centres to choose from. It's a great way to see the countryside and can be very relaxing too.
Zoo Marine is a very popular choice for families with children and is the highlight of many a holiday. Visitors will be able to see dolphins, sea lions, seals, tropical birds and various birds of prey. There is also an aquarium with exotic fish and sharks and there is a 4D cinema too so there is plenty to keep everyone occupied.
There are many attractions at Aqualand which is a water park, to suit the whole family. There are swimming pools, wave pools, gentle slides for little ones and slightly more thrilling rides for bigger kids and adults too. The park can get very busy but it is a great day out for all.
The pretty seaside town of Albufeira is approx 30 minutes drive from Portimao and has lots to see including Paderne Castle and the beautiful Blue Flag beach. A lovely, relaxing day out for all the family.
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