This summer I had the fantastic opportunity to visit some amazing places with some good friends of mine. Top of my list to visit was the Algarve (needed to work on my tan) and the seaside town of Portimão did not disappoint.
When it comes to a beach town that has it all – Praia da Rocha in Portimão is the place to be. Praira da Rocha is just a few blocks long but has just about everything to offer – great food and drinks, water tours and play, and an amazing beach that invites you to let the day slip away under an umbrella and a summer breeze.
Praia da Rocha is the place to play when it comes to water. While all of the beach towns in the Algarve have a lot to offer, Praia da Rocha has one unique water attraction – an inflatable water park.
Other nearby water parks are also great (Slide & Splash, Aqualand Algarve, and Zoomarine Algarve). These may be bigger and have a lot more to offer including dolphin shows, but the inflatable park at the end of Praia da Rocha is unique and a lot of fun. Don’t even try to Google it (I did and there is not much online). You can however see it in Google Maps:
There is a little beach shack nearby where you can pay a couple of Euros an hour and swim out to the inflatable park. It is an easy walk from the main beach and you can spend an hour or more on a very bouncy obstacle course. Is it for kids? Yes! (If they can swim). Is it for adults (Oh Yes!) In fact, I think the adults were having the most fun trying to bounce each other off of a giant inflatable cushion.
If you like the idea of bouncing and sliding, but prefer your own private fun, well, perhaps you need your own private pedal car with slide. These are available to rent along with other surf toys.
When you have had enough play time, head out on one of the many, many boat tours around the Algarve. The caves are amazing and the best way to see them is up close and personal by boat. Boat tours vary in time (2 hours, half-day, full-day), and adventure level, (speed boat, casual coast tour, pirate ship). Picking the right tour may take some time, so make sure to think and plan ahead. I took a trip on the Alegria and had a great time. We stopped by some caves for a dip in the water.
And if that is not enough, there are jet ski rentals, surfing, scuba diving, dolphin tours, kayaking, and fishing.
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Had enough getting wet (the water can get cold)? Then head to the beach and enjoy an amazing day of doing, well, not much. And that is a good thing. I enjoyed just sitting on the beach and letting the sun glide across the sky.
The beach at Praia da Rocha is long and relaxing. With enough room even for large summer crowds, the beach offers great views, room for sports, and my favorite, private umbrellas and chairs. These can be rented for about 10-15 euros a day. A small price to pay for a little slice of heaven.
There are beach shops along the street that offer just about everything you need for a day in the sun including food, treats, toys, inflatables, skim boards, and boogie boards.
For a bit of history, check out the fort of Santa Catarina, located at the east end of the beach. It was built in the 17th century to protect the port from pirates and other threats. From the top you can see the beach and the rest of Portimão.
Whether you are enjoying a day on the water or relaxing on the sand, at some point you will want to eat – and Praia da Rocha just so happens to have some amazing places to eat.
If you are into the high energy night-life or beach burger places, then the west side of the beach is the place to go. There are no shortage of Irish pubs on the west side, so if you are looking for a taste of the Irish Isles, this is the place to go.
My favorite restaurant though is on the east side of the beach near the river, Senhora da Rocha. This restaurant came highly recommended by locals. Don’t believe me – check out the reviews on Yelp and Facebook. My friends and I enjoyed our delicious meal (monk fish and prawns). The drinks were amazing, made by the owner Margarida. The staff was very friendly and helpful. The views were amazing. And did I mention how delicious the food was?
I easily could have spent a week in Portimão and Lagos, but alas I only had a couple of days before we were on the road heading to see some castles and the Roman temple of Diana in Evora (stay tuned for more)