Alvor was founded in 436 BC by the Carthaginians as a commercial port named Portus Hannibalis. Taken by the Moors in 716, the settlement began to be referred to as Albur, and gained an impressive castle, with only vestiges remaining. This bastion was conquered in 1189, by the forces of King Sancho I of Portugal, with help from Crusader forces. It was retaken two years, and definitively reconquered in 1250. Rebuilt by King Denis in 1300, it served for 500 years the coastal defences against attacks by pirates and privateers until it was destroyed in 1755 by the tsunami and earthquake that devastated Lisbon.
Although the 1755 earthquake resulted in the death of only one person, it was responsible for the destruction of homes, the fort, the Facho tower, and the chapel of Nossa Senhora da Ajuda, in addition to altering the river's course. Its effects also resulted in the decrease of the local population by 1000 residents; by 1900 the population included less than 3014 souls, owing to the effects of the earthquake.
In the closing decades of the 15th century Alvor was a centre of the Jewish community in Portugal.
- Use the A22 motorway and the N125 road; Alvor is only 4 km away from these roads.
- The train station is in Portimão, 7 km away from Alvor.
- 1 Castle of Alvor (Ruínas do Antigo Castelo, Forte de Alvor). Constructed in the 7th century, it was based on a Phoenician, later Greek and Carthaginian fort, constructed on a Lusitanian castro, and conquered by Hannibal, who rechristened it Portus Annibalis, which would be the basis of the Roman settlement Barcínia. It was later conquered by the Arabs who named it Albus beginning a process of development that lasted until the Christian fort was destroyed by the 1755 earthquake: the walls of this fortication are the only remnants of this castle that still exist.
- The Igreja Paroquial de Alvor/Matriz Church was constructed in the early part of the 16th century.
- In 1652 the Santa Casa da Misericórdia was erected in the community.
- 2 Church of the Divino Salvador de Alvor (Igreja Paroquial de Alvor, Igreja do Divino Salvador). Constructed in the Manueline and Rococo styles, the longitudinal church is composed of three naves, with expressive principal porticos and lateral arcades. The 18th century principal façade highlight the entranceway with an interior in the Baroque style, main and collateral altars in a revivalist style with Rococo chapels.
- 3 Church of the Misericórdia (Igreja da Misericórdia). A 15th-century church, consisting of a singular stucco nave and simple curved facade.
- Pool Complex of Prainha
- 3-km boardwalk between the river and the beach. A pleasant walk.
- 1 Ria de Alvor (Alvor Estuary). A 1,700 hectares (4,200 acres) nature reserve between the towns of Lagos and Portimão that has a diverse mix of habitats of brushwood, forest and agricultural land, comprising the estuary, dunes, marshes and salt-pans, and also the Quinta da Rocha and Abicada peninsula. Ria de Alvor was included in the Natura 2000 network of sites, due to the presence of species and habitats considered worthy of protection at the European level.
For an enjoyable day, start at one end of the boardwalk and stroll to the other. From the Three Brothers rocks westwards to the lighthouse at the harbour entrance, spend a few hours (and clock up the steps) stopping for drinks and lunch at the cafes along the way. Stock up on water before you hit the trail.
Between the beach and the harbour, a nature reserve is home to a large variety of wildlife - fish, birds, insects, turtles - and offers nice photo opportunities.
There are many restaurants in Alvor, from Mexican and English cuisine in the Amigos to seafood restaurants on the harbour such as Ababuja, you will find steakhouses, Indian, Italian and Portuguese restaurants. In the harbour, of course the best dish is the fresh from the local fishermen.
O Arco da Vehla sits adjacent to the harbour, offering traditional family style Portuguese cuisine such as grilled fish, sardines, cataplana and charcoal meat skewers.
The village has many lively bars with a friendly atmosphere among locals and holiday makers especially on a Friday and Saturday night. The Sports Bar is popular with young people, there is Karaoke in Happy Nights mosts nights through the summer, and sometimes has live bands playing. There is also a selection of Irish bars with regular live music.
Mourisco Bar serves fresh fruit cocktails with style in a relaxed and classy atmosphere.
There are many hotels and apartments in Alvor. A short walk away from the centre you will find the large apartment complex Alvorferias, for hotels there are many under the Pestana brand, for example Dom Joao and Delfim.
- Portimão — The second biggest city in the Algarve, Portugal, and famous for its fresh fish restaurants, grilled sardines being the most famous dish.
- Carvoeiro — More commonly known as Praia de Carvoeiro, represents a particularly attractive option when it comes to tourism (beaches, Golf and water sports)
- Lagos — City sculpted with traditional architecture and colors from the region. Beaches vary in shape and style from long sandy beaches to almost private ones hidden by cliffs.
- Albufeira — Centre of a very touristic area.
- Vilamoura — Biggest touristic complex in Europe.
- Faro — A popular destination for sun-seekers from northern Europe and the UK
- Tavira — Great city to enjoy the Ria Formosa