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Find information on Portimao in our Travel Guide covering sights, foods and nightlife plus more...
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Portimao lies at the mouth of the River Arade which forms a natural harbour. It was a prosperous city in former times being the centre of the canning industry in the Algarve. When the factories closed tourism became its saviour. It is a flourishing town once again because of the many holidaymakers who visit each year. It is a very attractive town with excellent facilities, great beaches, a modern marina and a host of leisure activities.
Portimao is an historic town with a charming waterfront. Its beautiful beaches offer fine sand and a range of water sports. Golfers have a number of courses in the area including a championship course. A Portimao holiday also offers excellent shopping facilities including a modern mall, good restaurants and some very lively bars, clubs and discos.
Portimao has something for everyone as it is well placed to access the many tourist attractions in the area. Golfers can enjoy a round of their favourite game at any time of year. Sun seekers and water sport enthusiasts will enjoy the fine beaches and the clear waters. The lively nightlife appeals to partygoers.
Portimao has hot dry summers and pleasant winters making it a year-round holiday destination. The summer is the most popular time with sun seekers and beach lovers flocking to its shores in their thousands.
Portimao is a town with a long history. Unfortunately, as with many other towns in the Algarve, the earthquake of 1755 destroyed many of the old buildings. Much of the present architecture is late nineteenth century. The church on the hill above the town dedicated to Our Lady of the Conception and dates back to 1476. There have been many additions since then and the church with its three naves and gilded baroque interior is well worth a visit.
There are many good beaches in the area with fine sand. The conditions in the sea are ideal for water sports including surfing, skiing, banana boating and sailing. It is not so good for young children and weak swimmers as there are strong currents. There is a modern marina in nearby Praia da Rocha.
Golfers have a choice of courses including Alto, in nearby Alvor, the Morgado, north of Portimao and the Penina Championship course.
There are a number of tourist attractions close by including Atlantic Park, a water park with many slides and flumes. Jeep safaris explore the hills and the inland villages where visitors experience stunning landscapes and traditional country life.
Nightlife in Portimao is very lively with pubs, music bars, clubs and discos. August is particularly vibrant during the shrimp festival when the streets become alive with entertainers. There are many small restaurants for those looking for more intimate evenings.
Portimao has a large number of excellent shops and boutiques as well as a modern shopping mall. The Modelo Mall has many specialist shops as well as restaurants and bars. On the first Monday of every month there is a market in the town with hundreds of stalls which is the place to find gifts, souvenirs and holiday mementoes. Popular items are pottery, leather goods, wickerwork, embroidered linens and jewellery.
There are very many restaurants in Portimao providing a wide range of cuisine catering for most tastes. Fishermen still land their catch daily so fresh fish and shellfish are high on the menu. Traditional fish restaurants sit along side fast food outlets and there are also many restaurants serving international cuisine. At the western end of the waterfront there is an exclusive boating club. Here you will find a superb fish restaurant with stunning views over the harbour. It is common in Portugal to be served appetisers known as ‘covers’ while waiting for your food. Please remember that these are not free samples and will appear on the bill. Wines are an excellent accompaniment to dinner, while the almond liqueur or, for chocolate lovers the Alfarroba liqueur, is a great way to relax at the end of the day.