Vila Real de Santo António (VEE-luh rree-AHL d(ih) SUHN-too uhn-TAW-nee-oo, /vi.ɫɐ ʁi.ˈaɫ dɨ ˈsɐ̃.tu ɐ̃.ˈtɔ.ni.u/) municipality has 18,828 residents (2021 preliminary), with over 11,500 living in the city proper. The municipality is noncontiguous, occupying up two different stretches of coastal land, seperated by Castro Marim.
In the earthquake of 1755, the places on the border with Spain were badly damaged. Under the direction of the Marquês de Pombal, Vila Real de Santo António was built in just five months in 1774, partly following the same pattern as before Lisbon.
There are 10-15 daily buses from the regional centre Faro, which takes between 1½-2 hours depending on the company, expect to pay around €5 for a one way ticket, there is no substantial discounts on return fares. Many of these buses continue to Sevilla in Spain, which takes around 2½ hours and cost approximately €15. There is a 1-hr time difference between the two countries. The reverse route is naturally also possible. Companies that operate on this line include Eva Transportes, Eurolines España, and Damas.
Up to 10 trains per day traverse the quite scenic route along the coast from Lagos to Villa Real via Faro. The train takes around 1 hour 15 min. from Faro and costs around €4.50. The route is run by the Portuguese Railways. There are no direct trains from Sevilla but it is possible to take the train to Huelva about half way, and continue from there with a bus.
Since the highway bridge crossing the river to Spain is off limits to pedestrians or cyclists, there is still a small ferry crossing the river to Ayamonte on the opposite side of the river. It generally runs once every hour between the two cities and the ride takes less than ten minutes. Be sure to bring your passport in order to enter Spain. A passport is not required to enter Portugal from the Spanish side.
- 1 Galeria Manuel Cabanas, Rua Teófilo Braga (Centro Cultural António Aleixo), ☏ .
- 2 Praça Marquês de Pombal.
- 3 Fortaleza de Cacela. A fortress above Cacela from the 16th and 17th centuries. It is the seat of the Brigada Fiscal, which is responsible for coastal protection. Cultural events such as readings take place in the fortress.
- 4 Igreja Matriz de Cacela-Velha. Built in 1518 on the ruins of the primitive medieval construction, from the end of the 13th century, from which it preserves a small pointed side door, facing north. Severely damaged by the 1755 earthquake, it was rebuilt in 1795.
- 1 Mercado Municipal, R. Prof. Egas Moniz B.
- 1 Cuca, Rua Dr. Sousa Martins 32 (Centro Cultural António Aleixo, near Praça Marquês de Pombal), ☏ .
- 2 Vistas Rui Silvestre, Sítio Do Pocinho – Sesmarias, Vila Nova de Cacela (Monte Rei Golf & Country Club), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Tu–Sa 18:30–22:30, closed Su M. Chef Rui Silvestre gives classic recipes a modern touch at this Michelin-starred restaurant, with a pleasant terrace overlooking a golf course. €115-155.