Portimao: Home of the Algarve Motor Park


Portimao, situated between Faro and Lagos in the Southern Algarve region of Portugal offers plenty of attractions and things to do, from the beautiful beaches and shops to dolphin watching, golf, discos, restaurants and nightclubs. The Algarve Motor Park, which Portimao is well-known for, hosts such prestigious racing events as the FIA World Touring Car Championships, the Le Mans Series and the FIA GT2/GT3 European Championships. Portimao also hosts a Powerboat Grand Prix in May, an Air Festival and a Sardine Festival with live music, fireworks and of course plenty of sardines!

The main beach at Praia da Rocha has beautiful pink sand at the foot of the landmark cliffs. There are plenty of shops, restaurants and accommodation along the Atlantic oceanfront but the town of Portimao itself has far more historic charm and character. Some of the oldest buildings in Portimao are the church, built in 1476, and the Municipal Museum which is housed in the old sardine canning factory. Most pleasing are the elegant apartment buildings painted in pastel shades of blue, coral and pink. Even more vibrant are the terracotta and ochre buildings at the marina which has a good selection of shops, restaurants and bars at the Tivoli Arcade. The glorious Manuel Bivar Gardens are on the banks of the Arade River, opposite the delightfully unspoilt fishing village of Ferragudo. It is the perfect place to linger beneath the palm trees at the outdoor cafés or dine al fresco on the waterfront.

Things to Do in Portimao

Portimao is excellent for shopaholics with plenty of large malls and supermarkets which sell shoes, clothing, sports and electrical goods at great prices. Those who want more exciting things to do in Portimao can opt for fishing charters, boat trips to the sea caves, parachuting at the local aerodrome or a day at the Slide and Splash Water Park. Boat trips take visitors in authentic pirate ships upriver to the delightful town of Silves, known for its imposing red sandstone castle and Crusader history.

More historic things to do include a visit to the Fortaleza de Santa Catarina, a 17th century fort which has fantastic views of the marina, Praia da Rocha Beach and across to Ferragudo. There is also a Neolithic burial site at Alcalar and the remains of a roman villa at Quinta da Abicada.

Families will enjoy the beautiful zoo on the outskirts of Lagos and Zoomarine at Guia. Wine tasting tours can also be arranged to visit the local wineries where samples of the local wine and port can be enjoyed. Portimao offers plenty of great things to do for all ages and interests.

Food and Drink in Portimao

As Portimao is a major fishing port, fresh fish monopolizes the menu in most local restaurants. Clams, oysters and cockles come from the river estuary and the grilled sardines and seafood risotto are simple tasty dishes which will be remembered long after the holiday is over. Desserts showcase the locally grown figs, carob and almonds along with egg custards and sweet pastries.

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