municipality and city in Portugal
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Europe > Iberia > Portugal > Algarve > Portimão

Portimão is the second biggest city in the Algarve, Portugal, and famous for its fresh fish restaurants, grilled sardines being the most famous dish. It's very close to one of the most well known beaches in the Algarve, Praia da Rocha ("Rocky Beach"), and there are numerous others nearby.

Understand

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Portimão (poor-tee-MOW - rhymes with "clown", /puɾ.ti.ˈmɐ̃w/) is former fishing and shipbuilding centre has developed into a strong tourist centre oriented along its beaches and southern coast.

Get in

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Portimao, Main Square

By plane

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The airport in Faro (FAO IATA), 70 km (43 mi) away, has domestic and several international routes from across Europe. Or you fly to Lisbon.

By train

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  • 2 Portimão train station

Trains on the rather slow regional line between Lagos and Faro stops here, it's about a 1½ hour journey from Faro, for connections to Lisbon change trains in Tunes just over half an hour to the east. Most trains continue on to Vila Real de Santo António on the Spanish border after a short layover in Faro. The train is the cheapest way to get here from Lagos (Portugal) and only takes half an hour.

By bus

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  • 3 Intercity bus station
  • 4 Bus stop for EVA bus company

Flixbus goes from Lisbon, Porto, Faro and other towns to Portimão. Eva Bus offers numerous daily connections from Faro. There are also 5-6 daily connections from Lisbon (3 hours, €19) on the Expresso Qualidade service, and once daily from Seville (6 hours, €19) on the Lagos-Sevilha service. The bus station is on Largo do Dique a bit north of the centre, about 500 m south of the road bridge.

  • 5 Regional bus stop

Regional buses arrive here from Lagos, Albufeira, Faro and others towns of the Algarve.

By boat

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Portimão is a sea port.

Get around

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Map of Portimão

The main beach area, Praia da Rocha, is 3.5 km away from the centre of town. You can walk between them but you'll see only motorways and apartment blocks for half an hour.

There is a pretty reliable public bus system for travelling around and outside the city for €1.65 (Jan 2024). Tickets can be bought inside the bus. Google Maps contains the timetables, handy for an easy navigation.

E-hailing taxis are available by Bolt and Uber.

 
Nossa Senhora da Conceição church
  • 1 Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Conceição (Mother Church), Largo da Igreja. Built in the 15th century and almost completely destroyed in the 1775 earthquake. Later, its portico, Gothic with capitals decorated with vegetative motifs, was rebuilt. It comes from the original church.  
  • 2 Convento do Colégio dos Jesuítas, Praça da República 25 (on the corner of Rua do Comércio). Built in the 17th century by Diogo Gonçalves . On the façade, three bodies are distinguished, the highest corresponding to the church. The church has a single nave, one of the largest in the Algarve. The altars are in gilded wood carved from the 17th century.
  • 3 Fortaleza de Santa Catarina de Ribamar (Fort of Santa Catarina), Praia da Rocha. It was built in the 16th century, with the objective of defending the coast against piracy attacks. The fortress also belonged to the small chapel dedicated to Santa Catarina, still visible today. With a magnificent view over Praia da Rocha and the Marina, it is one of the most visited spots in the region.    
  • 4 Portimão Museum. In the museum there is a reconstruction of the daily functioning of fish unloading, with life-sized mannequins of the workers. Also canning industry, shipbuilding, fishing, stowage and others are shown.  
  • 5 Alcalar. A group of around 18 burial tombs from 3000 BC, that comprise a Calcolithic necropolis, on a hilltop. The smallish museum area contains a showcase of the history of the area, two burial tombs and one (broken-down) lime kiln.    
  • 6 3D Fun Art Museum Portimão, Av. Guanaré 35. Adults: €13, children: €9.
  • Wild dolphin watching trips sail from Marina de Portimão in Praia do Rocha.
  • Football: Portimonense SC play soccer in Primeira Liga, Portugal's top tier. Their home ground Estádio Municipal de Portimão (capacity 9,500), is just south of city centre.
  • 1 Algarve International Circuit (Autódromo Internacional do Algarve). A motor-racing course that hosts Formula One, motorbikes and other races. Outside the public events, it's not really accessible for visits and none of the racetrack is visible.    
  • Visit 2 Benagil    , one of the most popular maritime caves of Portugal, with or without an expert guide. You can rent a paddle board on site.
  • Take a catamaran cruise and have a barbecue on the beach after visiting caves.
 
Praia da Rocha beach

Beaches

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  • 3 Praia da Rocha (a 30-minute walk from the centre of town or a 70-cent bus ride). The beautiful beach.    
  • 4 Praia do Vau (walk west, along the scenic cliffs). The less known beach, but what a gem.  
  • 5 Praia de Alvor. a nice walk along the river, with a nice long beach. The beach is full of shells, especially during low tide.  

The main street shopping area has a wealth of nice shops supplying clothes, jewelry, and ornamental objects.

Groceries can be bought in the many minimarkets. In the city centre Spar has a somewhat bigger variety of products, for a large supermarket check one of the two Pingo Doce. At Praia da Rocha Intermarché Express and Spar have a decent variety of products. Nearby the Mirachoro Apartment Hotels, are Lidl, Aldi and the large supermarket Continente.

Budget

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In the city centre you find fresh baked goods in Spar and in Praia da Rocha in Spar and Intermarché.

City centre

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  • 1 A Cozinha, R. Direita 93A.
  • 2 Petisqueira Berbigão, R. António Feliciano Castilho 2.
  • 3 Michelle restaurante e hambúrgueria, Rua Carlos da Maia 15. Brazilian.
  • 4 Snack-Bar Hortinha, R. da Hortinha 30.

Praia da Rocha

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  • 5 La Bruschetta Pizza & Snack, Edif Casa Meu Reposo, Av. Tomás Cabreira loja A.
  • 6 Big Bites, Av. Tomás Cabreira.
  • 7 Doner Kebab pizzeria, Avinda tomas caberia loja 15 edif.

Mid-range

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  • 8 Pizzeria Bulli & Pupe, Rua da Falésia (Praia da Rocha), +351 282 415 645.
  • 9 Terezinha, Rua Direita 97, +351 252 425 690. The oldest restaurant in Portimao and provides a fantastic seafood meal at very reasonable prices.

Splurge

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  • 10 Vista, Avenida Tomás Cabreira 1, Praia da Rocha, +351 282 460 280, . Michelin-starred restaurant with superb ocean views, specializing in fish and seafood. €150 (July 2021).

Drink

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Sleep

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Stay safe

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Along the main road of the beach promenade of Praia da Rocha are a lot of drug dealers who openly ask if you want to buy something. They are not dangerous, just pesky. Still it is remarkable that the city and the police seem to do nothing against it. The more tourists complain about that, the earlier the drug dealers may disappear. You can do so at the tourism information center (Posto de Tourismo) and at the Policia de Tourismo, which are 2min walking away from each other on the beach promenade. Another way is writing a complaint e-mail to both turismo.praiadarocha@turismodoalgarve.pt and divportimao.faro@psp.pt (police).

Go next

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This city travel guide to Portimão is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.