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Busy with commerce, Portimão still has time to welcome visitors to its small, cosy old town. Stroll the old harbour, with its cafes along a very pretty waterfront sizzling with fish restaurants specialising in sardines. Take a trip up the Rio Arade and explore the local area, rich with bloody history, or get out and active in the sunshine. Our pick of the best places to stay in Portimao are perfect bases whether you're simply here for a beach holiday, or you plan to explore further afield.
Portimão's package holiday infrastructure means it gets busy in summer, but it's a very pleasant place for some winter sun, and there's loads to do here beyond eating sardines by the seashore. Though if you come in August you will be here for the annual Sardine Festival.
The rocky sands of Praia de Rocha are where many visitors are headed - this is one of the Algarve's most famous beaches. Praia de Rocha was also the Algarve's first holiday resort and it's got plenty to please folk on holiday, from cafes and bars to reasonably priced restaurants, a casino, and of course the gorgeous yellow, sandy beaches.
Praia do Vau is less well known, but it's also a very lovely beach - well worth the stroll along the cliff tops to get there.
Portimão is also a great base if you want to visit:
- Silves, for its historic and bloody hill, crowned with a castle fortress fought over by Crusaders and Moors;
- Lagos, once a major ship building power, and now a peaceful town;
- and Sagres, which has the home of the world's first maritime school, and thus changed the course of world history.
As you can see, the region around Portimão is rife with truly fascinating historical sites.
Portimão for Sports
- This is a great resort for watersports - as well as sardine fishing, of course.
- Portimão is also well known amongst golfers. There are five courses within greater Portimão, a couple of which run right along the cliff tops and have spectacular ocean views. And there are more a short distance away, including a championship course.
In the centre of town
The Bela Vista Hotel & Spa is right on Praia de Rocha, with private sea views from private balconies. There's also a palm-fringed pool - also with beautiful sea views, and very stylish interiors in fresh white, bright blues and yellows. There's also a spa, making this one of the most glamourous places to stay in Portimão.
On the coast
Also right on the seafront, Vivenda Miranda is a comfortable 26 room hotel converted from a 17th Century villa surrounded by lush tropical gardens. The style here is Provencal with bags of charm.
If you're travelling with your kids, check out the Vila Vita Parc, an exclusive cliff-top resort with all the facilities and entertainment options you or your kids could dream up. And of course more of those stunning views.
For a rural retreat
Vila Valverde is a romantic hideout surrounded by orange groves and olive trees. The decor is modern and there's plenty of glass, to let in the beautiful light and the beautiful views.
Quinta Bonita is another romantic spot set within beautiful gardens this time. It's got an old fashioned glamour to it, with elegant rooms and suites all with their own private balconies.
Still not sure which to book? Browse through our list of all the best places to stay in Portimão, widen the remit and check out all our Algarve recommendations, or contact, one of our friendly gurus for advice.
Best Hotels in Portimao
Bela Vista Hotel & Spa 38 rooms from $240Portimao (Praia Da Rocha)
A unique boutique hotel on the beach front. Cerulean blue walls in striking rooms and suites match the azure of the sea seen from private balconies. Excellent spa facilities and a dreamy swimming pool make this spot a very luxurious beach holiday.Watersports - The property sits directly on the beach.Beach LifeRestrictions on children - Adults only propertySwimming Pool - Lovely Outdoor PoolRecommended by - Relais & Chateaux