Portimao Portugal

  • Course level: Intermediate
  • Categories FA BASES
  • Total Enrolled 0
  • Last Update January 26, 2024


Portimão is the largest city in the western Algarve, and was traditionally a centre for shipbuilding, sardine fishing and fish processing. Today, most of that industry has been replaced by tourism, leisure, and retail, leaving Portimão as a large and residential city. Most tourists visit Portimão either for the extensive shopping or when using public transport, but there is a surprising amount to be seen within the city. The city’s old and once bustling fishing docks have been responsibly transformed into a scenic promenade, leading to the quaint and tree-lined plazas of the old town. Further inland are pleasant pedestrian shopping streets, a series of historic buildings, and a varied selection of cafes, bars, and restaurants specialising in freshly cooked seafood.  For tourists new to the Algarve, Portimão and Praia da Rocha, may seem to be used interchangeably and refer to the same area region. Praia da Rocha is 3km to the south of Portimão, but while relatively close, they are different in almost every conceivable way. Praia da Rocha is a modern, purpose-built town packed full of hotels and bars, that is situated along a stunning beach, and is primarily designed for foreign tourists. Portimão, by contrast, is a largely residential city located on the banks of the Arade River, filled with Portuguese working families. Portimão’s restaurants, cafes and shops are largely aimed towards a traditional, localised clientele. Although some travel guides do refer to Portimão as having beaches, this is in fact not true, and they are all located 3km south in Praia da Rocha. Generally speaking, most tourists seeking a beach holiday will choose Praia da Rocha over Portimão.