Portimão is the second most populated city of Algarve and one of the main commercial nucleus of this Portuguese region.
This town became the main fishing centre of Algarve, but it has been currently exceeded by the fishing port of Olhão, and Portimão has been developed more as a touristic destination, in great measure because of the success of its famous Praia da Rocha Beach, one of of the most beautiful beaches of Portugal; and its rebuilt sports port.
The heart of the city has been filled up with modern buildings; but its surroundings bring nice surprises, bring nice surprises for both fishing and mountain lovers.
The main point of the suburbs is found in Manuel Teixeira Gomes Square, where you can also find a nice dock, a range of cafes with quiet terraces and good restaurants where you can try delicious fish dishes.
Historically, this place was an important commercial port for Phoenicians, Carthaginians and Greeks (it is believed to have been visited by Hannibal Barca). It was known by the Romans as Portos Magnus, and it was cause of many arguments between Muslims and Christians.
Your visit to the city can start in the Matriz de Nossa Senhora da Conceição Cathedral (free admission). After the big earthquake in 1755, the only surviving part is the XIV c. gothic gateway.
In its neighbouring rua do Comérico Street, the Colégio dos Jesuítas raises with its imposing facade. The nobleman Diogo Gonçálves ordered its construction at the end of the XVII c.
Once in Pracça Visconde de Vivir Square, which has an inland Port named Arade and beautiful gardens, you should follow the river’s course to the beautiful Praia da Rocha Beach. Its thin white sand is splashed by the rocky formations and reddish cliffs, typical of this zone of Algarve.
Another fascinating place is the Portimão Museum, which has intriguing collections and archaeological and underwater-findings expositions, as well as the recreation of a canning factory.
In former days, Arade’s mouth was defended by the Santa Catarina de Ribamar Fortress (XVII - XVII c,), which closed the estuary besides the Ferragudo Fortress.
Currently, the marina is located in the outfall of the river, being part of a nice area with restaurants, shops and a mall.
Besides the promenade of the banks of the river, you will find different operators offering you boat tours, cruises by the coast and the river. They have amazing visits to the caves and the possibility of sightseeing dolphins.
In Portimão’s surroundings, it is worth visiting the locality of Alvor (4 km far from the city centre). Among other things, you can visit its Alvor Mother Church, since it has the most gorgeous Manuelino-style port of Algarve.
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