- Praia da Rocha
The vast beach of Praia da Rocha provides the main stretch of golden sands in Portimão, a strip so vast it seems only sparsely populated even during peak times in the middle of summer.
But as well as the sand and sea, Praia da Rocha has become a holiday resort and tourist centre in its own right. Here, the expanse of the beach and water-front activities draw tourists and the abundance of choices where wining and dining is concerned makes it a top choice for couples hoping for a romantic getaway.
Praia da Rocha is located in Portugal’s Algarve region, which also happens to be the warmest, driest and sunniest the country has to offer. The months of June to August see the lowest rainfall each year, and with the temperatures ranging from 25°C to 28°C, the slightly warm temperatures of the seawater will provide blissful relief.
Even the wintertime sees temperatures that rarely drop below 15°C and there is low records of rainfall (70mm in January)
Avenida Tomás Cabreira, the avenue running along the head of the beach, is jammed with shops, cafes and restaurants. This strip is also extremely lively come nightfall, so be sure to head back to check out the bars and clubs. The boat trips operating from Portimão riverfront are also excellent and worthwhile.
The fantastic beach of Praia da Rocha, by far the largest on this coastline stretch, is likely one of the main reasons you headed here in the first place. For a more secluded and intimate feeling, heading west will land you in front of a wide selection of small coves.
One of the summer highlights within the town is the Portimão Sardine Festival. As well as a wide variety of sardine dishes, the riverfront is also dotted with market stalls, plus live music and fireworks add to the sense of occasion.
More traditional eateries are available by the boatload at the seafront. Local Portuguese places sit alongside British, Italian and Chinese options, so you’ll lack for neither choice nor sustenance.
After dusting off the sand, applying the after-sun, and throwing on your glad rags, head back down to Avenida Tomás Cabreira. There’s plenty of bars and clubs to choose from, including, naturally, a lively Irish bar!
For something a little more out of the ordinary, why not catch one of the nightly shows, grab some dinner, have a dance, and try to win back your spending money in the Algarve Casino Gaming Rooms.
On the main beach’s east end, you’ll encounter the Medieval Fortress of Santa Catarina. Head up the cliff-infused steps for wonderful views of the surrounding landscape.
If you don’t mind a short trek, the town of Silves, just 20km away, is a good bet for great sights.
Slide and Splash is a terrific water park, combining water-based frolics with reptiles, macaws and even shows of birds of prey. Zoomarine is another option and is apparently the best marine/theme park in the whole Algarve region.
Walking around Praia da Rocha is fairly easy and the stroll to nearby Portimão will take just 20 minutes. Or it’s a few minutes by bus, on which there are plenty of routes available. Of course, taxis provide an alternative to both options.