"Overlooking Spain on the Rio Guadiana" Vila Real de Santo António by Willettsworld

Vila Real de Santo António Travel Guide: 52 reviews and 127 photos

Vila Real de Santo António is situated on the Rio Guadiana, which is the river that divides the Algarve from Spain. Vila Real is very easy to find your way around, because it is laid out on a grid system. The town was designed that way by the Marquês de Pombal who was keen to apply the latest concept of town planning after the sea had eroded all of the original settlements in the area at the beginning of the 17th century and by the 1755 earthquake. The Royal charter founding the town, was signed on December 30th 1773, the marking out of the street plan was started on March 2nd 1774 and by August 6th, the Town Hall, Customs House and barracks had already been completed! At the end of the 19th century the town was a major canning centre for sardines and tuna, and the port was busy with the ships that sailed the Guadiana. It was also the first place in the Algarve to have gas lighting (1886). It is still a thriving community based on fishing, agriculture and tourism. I came here after visiting Tavira and spent an hour here before heading north to Castro Marim.

  • Last visit to Vila Real de Santo António: Sep 2010
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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