Portimão - Algarve - Portugal
Welcome to Portimão Uncovered! Guide to holidays in Portimão, Portugal!
Welcome to Portimão Uncovered! Your guide to holidays in Portimão in western Algarve, Portugal. For information about Portimão, its beaches, hotels, shopping and things to do, local events (including at Autodromo Algarve, Portimão's very own international race track!), restaurants, bars, Portimão Marina and much more on Portimão Uncovered!
Portimão is the biggest town in the western Algarve and sits on the bank of the Arade river facing Ferragudo on the opposite bank. Portimão's atlantic beach of Praia da Rocha has, over the years, become a resort in it's own right with lots of hotels and apartments, restaurants and bars, discos and clubs and shops.
Portimão is a mix of late 19th, early 20th century buildings in the older part of the town, and high rise apartment blocks in various pastel shades of blue, pink and coral around it. The town centre is simply perfect for those who love to shop! It is jam packed full of shops, offering a wide choice of clothes, gifts, souvenirs, electrical goods and general household items. You’ll see brands you see at home, such as Mango for the ladies and plenty of traditional shops selling bargain leather goods, such as handbags and belts.
There are also plenty of bars, restaurants and café’s where you can sit for a bite to eat or a drink and watch the town carry on around you. To see the more relaxed side of Portimão, wander down to the river front, where the 'Manuel Bivar' gardens are, and have an ice-cream or a coffee at one of the cafe's along the front. You will also find Portimão's famous fish restaurants at the end of the waterfront near the bridge - just follow the aroma of sardines barbecuing!
The roads in and around Portimão are quite confusing and congested, especially if you end up in the narrow back streets where everyone parks on both sides of the road. There is plenty of car parking around the town, and there is a particularly large free car park on the waterfront which is very easy to find if you approach from Portimão marina end and follow the river. There is also a large underground paying carpark in the centre of Portimão (just follow the signs for 'centro' and you can't miss it!).
The Portimão shopping scene has got better and better and it is probably one of the best towns for shopping in the Algarve with retail parks and shopping malls galore! Coming into Portimão from the west is a large Intermarché supermarket, which opened in 2009. A short distance down the road is Portimão retail park with amongst others a large Worten (electrical goods), Casa (everything for the home), Page 1 (fashion), C&A (clothes), Brinca (toyshop) and a supermarket. Nearby is the newest of the shopping malls, Aqua Portimão, with a large Jumbo supermarket and a really good selection of shops including H&M and Primark which are proving very popular! There are 2 floors of shops and a top floor with various restaurants and fast food outlets.
On the main dual carriageway around the town heading towards Praia da Rocha is a large Continente supermarket on the left hand side. Although not obvious from the outside there are also lots of other shops in the mall (shoes, clothes, accessories, electrical, sports goods etc) as well as a small food hall and cinema.
As well as shopping, there are also Portimão Events throughout the year to be enjoyed, like powerboat racing or jet-skiing on the river, fantastic fireworks and live music to celebrate the New Year, and various exhibitions and sports events at the Expo-Arade centre. The most popular place for events in Portimão has become the Autodromo do Algarve, the motor racing circuit for which Portimão (and the western Algarve) is now famous for!
Portimão Marina you simply have to see with your own eyes, because you’ll never have seen colours like it! Only a place in the Algarve could carry off ochre and terracotta! The marina is at the eastern end of Praia da Rocha at the entrance to the river and includes the Tivoli Arade and Nikki beach resort. There are shops as well as a selection of restaurants and bars to occupy your time!
The town itself is probably not where you would choose to stay, being very built up as you would expect. However there is an abundance of hotels and other accommodation both at Praia da Rocha and on the roads leading to it - all of which is within walking distance of the town centre. The area just to the west of Praia da Rocha, Praia do Vau, also has plenty of mostly low rise accommodation around the beach and still accessible to the town.
There are plenty of things to do in Portimão whatever your age - there are boat trips for fishing, trips to the caves, dolphin watching trips or a trip up the Arade river to Silves from the river front. There are several golf courses nearby and at Portimão municipal aerodrome near Alvor various pursuits like parachuting for the more adventurous! Lagos zoo is just a short distance away to the west and Zoomarine at Guia is just a short distance to the east - both great family days out - or for those that prefer to keep cool, then Slide and Splash Water Park at Lagoa is nearby as well.