"Portimão" Top 5 Page for this destination Portimão by Balam

Portimão Travel Guide: 66 reviews and 243 photos

The Town Of Portimão

Portimão, the beach resort Praia da Rocha, and the nature reserve Ria de Alvor are the most well known places of an Algarve region quite unique in its diversity. Portimão is a commercially orientated town with 35,000 inhabitants. It was one of the most important canning and fishing centres in the Algarve until the early 1980s when the factories closed during the recession . It was also the main shopping area for the whole of the Algarve in the 70s and 80s.

Located at the mouth of the River Arade it provides a natural harbour and has been associated with many famous smugglers and pirates in the past. Its origins date back to a Phoenician, Greek and Carthaginian trading port, with some historians believing it was originally the notorious Portus Hannibalis named after the Roman general, Hannibal Barca.

The Arade provides the sea access to the ancient city of Silves which was the capital of the Algarve during the Moorish occupation. It was called Porcimunt during this period but was recognised as a town in 1504 and renamed Vila Nova de Portimão and ruled by the Castelo Branco family until the seventeenth century.

Summertime is clearly the busiest time of the year, reaching a climax with a popular annual event in Portimao: the sardine festival in august. The mild climate of the Algarve, and many sunny winter days attract a multinational crowd in all seasons, exploring the regional markets, visiting historical sites, strolling along the river boulevard or just sipping a drink in a garden bar.

This is a video of the square and river

And a video of Fisherman at Portimao

A new marina has been built adjoining the popular tourist area of Praia da Rocha and with this has come a plethora of new bars and restaurants to while away the hours watching the yachts and what seems like the rest of the world go by.

Although most of the Older building were destroyed in the Earthquake of 1755, there are a few that survived or were rebuilt like The Igreja da N.S.Conceicao which was rebuilt after the earthquake and retains an excellent manueline door from the original 14c building.The interior is quite impressive with walls coverd in Azulejos from the 17th c. Also the Jesuit College in praco republicais certainly a majestic building which was constructed on the orders of Diogo Gonçalves who was a nobleman that made his fortune in the Far East and is buried in a Marble tomb inside the church.
The Construction work continued from 1660 to 1707 and then the Earthquake of 1755 left the church needing major repairs. The facade is made up of three sections; The section corresponding to the church is higher than the other two and has a curved pediment. The right-hand section has a Manueline doorway of the16th century. The church, which is the biggest in the Algarve, consists of a single nave, like a large hall, and is typical of its kind. The high altar and lateral altars contain gilded canings (beginning of the 18th century) which are of interest for their profuse decoration, with a Renaissance statue of the Virgin and Child (16th century) and others dating from the 17th/18th centuries. It has side altars that contain a statue of Nossa Senhora da Piedade (Our Lady of Piety) and a crucifixion of Senhor Jesus dos Milagres

  • Last visit to Portimão: Nov 2006
  • Intro Updated Mar 25, 2009
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Reviews (11)

Comments (7)

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Mar 4, 2013 at 4:58 AM

    Fifty years ago today I rode my bicycle from Tavira to Portimão.

  • Myfanwe's Profile Photo
    Oct 24, 2010 at 9:48 AM

    Portimao looks like a great place, will you be taking a ride in one of the viking ships tomorrow? xx

  • hopang's Profile Photo
    Mar 25, 2009 at 6:45 AM

    Lovely page! Portimao seems a lovely place to visit. Thanks for sharing. ~ho & pang

  • LoriPori's Profile Photo
    Mar 6, 2009 at 3:19 AM

    I don't remember too much about Portimao, just that we had to drive through the town to get to our hotel in Praia de Rocha.

  • Feb 28, 2008 at 6:45 AM

    Portugal is one of my favourite countries in Europe! volopolo

  • Stina274's Profile Photo
    Feb 25, 2008 at 1:56 PM

    Nice and wonderful page>>>>Stina//Stockholm

  • Maurizioago's Profile Photo
    Feb 10, 2008 at 2:40 AM

    Nice page. I have to visit Portimao next time I'm going to Algarve. Ciao!

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