The best experiences are in Portimão! In this article, you will discover the best things to do in this city, whether by land or by sea.
Portimão offers a mixture of sensations, experiences and moments that remain in the memory of those who pass through it. It is a touristic city, just like many others in the region, but can be much more! It has the highest population density in the Algarve and only three parishes. It has a bit of sea and countryside, and in the town, you can see the walls and streets with white houses, which tell the stories and the hours of the fishermen on the sea. The tall solid brick chimneys herald the passage of the old canning factories that once worked 24 hours, non-stop. Today, the chimneys in shades of red are home to several storks, the symbol of this city.
Portimão is a city of discoveries during the day and the night. It is a town linked to sport, which has already been the European Capital of Sport in 2019. It has several sports centres, scattered all over the city, such as the football fields where big Premier League matches plays. It has award-winning golf courses, a hockey rink, basketball courts and plenty of water sports activities because this city has the sea and the river as its horizon.
If you choose to travel to Portimão, follow our suggestions and get to know one of the best cities for unforgettable holidays!
What to visit in Portimão?
Portimão has several tourist attractions and places to visit. Discover the next spots we propose.
Portimão Marina – We begin at the marina, situated on one of the safest harbours in the whole country from which belives the name of the city was born as it was nicknamed “Porto à mão” (easy harbour), over the years, it has become the word “Portimão”. The River Arade is to the east and the Atlantic Ocean to the south of Portimão Marina, and mega-yachts of up to 50 metres can pass through here. Find bars, restaurants, shops and enough outdoor spaces for a bike ride. Still in the marina, there is the exclusive beach with sun loungers down to the sea, where are served cocktails without having to order.
- Our office in Portimão is located next to Portimão Marina. Find out here the best way to get there.
Fort of Santa Catarina – A few meters away is the imposing Fort of Santa Catarina. The climb to the top is steep, but the view over the marina and Praia da Rocha will be worth every step you take.
Portimão Museum – Now closer to the city centre, following the Arade river in counter current meet the ancestors of many people from Portimão. Portimão Museum tells the story of the old fish canneries present in the city, mainly about the Feu Factory, where the museum building is today. The permanent exhibition is very interactive, with videos, replicas or objects from other times that help to explain the daily life of the female workers and the sardines and mackerel fisherman.
Rua das Lojas – The centre of Portimão is a well-kept surprise to all visitors. It has surprising nightspots like Tasca Porta Velha. Every corner of this old bar holds a relic or a curious ceiling filled with cork stoppers set by hand. The cobbled streets, the tile-covered walls, and the friendliness you get in the local shops make downtown Portimão a very characteristic part of the city. Visit and lose track of time in the “Rua das Lojas”, as this area is known.
The best experiences to do in Portimão.
On this holiday, take with you the best memories and experiences ever.
Catamaran Cruise Algarve – Experiences by sea are a must in Portimão! You can’t miss the Catamaran tour to the famous Benagil cave and the Carvoeiro caves. Also, have some fun with the activities in the inflatable water park in front of one of the most beautiful places in the city, João de Arens. On this tour, practise your balance on a SUP board or explore the seabed with the snorkelling equipment available on the boat. Relax onboard the Discover Tours catamaran and remember these magnificent places where nature is king. Find out more about this tour and book your trip here.
Scuba Dive – If you were fascinated by the stories about the sea after you visited the museum, book a diving baptism at PortiSub, one of the oldest diving clubs in town. The club is a minute away from Portimão Museum and, in addition to the baptism, you can also visit an underwater park with shipwrecks. Find out more about the Ocean Revival project.
Touristic Bus – Now by land, we show you a unique experience. Discover the city in a convertible bus, with commentaries in three languages. You can join this trip at any stop defined by the bus and leave wherever you prefer. This trip will take you to explore some secrets about Portimão, Alvor and Praia da Rocha through historical commentaries, curiosities and even great tips on gastronomy! See how you can go on an adventure on this tour bus here.
Algarve International Autodrome – Are you a fan of totally different experiences full of adrenaline? At the Algarve International Autodrome, in Portimão, you can drive not one but three sports cars on an internationally recognised circuit. If you are a motorsport enthusiast, you can drive a Honda Civic Type R, a Porsche Cayman 718S and an AMG GT C. Besides this exhilarating experience, you can watch different events such as MotoGP throughout the year. Find out more about The Driving Trio here.
The best restaurants in Portimão.
Enjoy everything from tapas to desserts in Portimão’s best restaurants.
Tapas – Portimão is known for being the city of sardines and tinned fish. For this reason, the first suggestion includes various canned sea flavours. Try the Portuguese canned fish at Maria do Mar, where they welcome you with a smile and mackerel, tuna, sardines and anchovies’ tapas.
Drinks – Accompany your tasty food with wines produced in Alvor. The Villa Alvor brand has red, white and rosé wines produced on clay-limestone soil that embody the essence of the Algarve. At the former Quinta do Morgado da Torre, you can also book a wine taste or buy these excellent wines directly in the store.
Main course – Would you like to know where to eat fresh fish? Dona Barca, on the Portimão waterfront, have the best fish, and they serve it with all the care. At the entrance, in the display cabinet, choose your fresh fish, accompany it with “xerém de berbigão” (corn puree with cockles) and ask for the house Piri-Piri. A meal to die for!
When you visit Portimão, is it imperative to eat grilled sardines? Our suggestion goes to Alvor, the Zé Morgadinho restaurant, next to the Alvor river, facing the old fish market. Look through old town own photos and learn about the famous Alvor’s sayings in the hanging frames on the walls. In this restaurant, everything that comes to your plate is fresh and grilled. Enjoy your meal!
If fish is not your thing and Italian food always comes in handy, we suggest Pizzaria La Dolce Vita. The pizzas and lasagne are made in a wood-fired oven, and there are even vegetarian options. This restaurant is located on the main street of Praia da Rocha and has been open since 1987. You won’t regret it!
Dessert – Ice cream is always a good idea! In Portimão, when someone talks about ice cream, everyone knows the way to the best ones! It’s in the riverside area, next to the bandstand, that hundreds of people gather, waiting to try the pistachio and yoghurt ice creams, or in another establishment close by, the scoops of ice cream on crackers, with very different flavours from the usual. Ask for ice cream and tell us later which is your favourite flavour.
Portimão has several cultural, gastronomic and sports experiences. We propose to discover this land full of peculiar corners and, in the end, embark with us on an adventure through the seas of Portimão, until the Benagil caves. Book with us!