Friday, September 02, 2005

Portimão

A rich heritage of historical monuments. The eternal natural beauty of the Ria de Alvor. The charm of cultivated fields, of slopes covered with pine trees and wild flowers. The allure of walking up into the hills and looking down on the Algarve from a new perspective.
Narrow streets of the old fishermen and tradesmen quarter. Some aspects that identify the character of this city, old of many centuries. The presence of the sea, the immense beach known by the name of Praia da Rocha.

Portimão is one of the main big game centres in the Algarve, offering the chance to catch fighting swordfish and other big fish. There are also facilities for sailing, windsurfing, parasailing, water-skiing and scuba diving.The golf course set among the pines of Penina is internationally renowned. With courses at Alvor and Vau too, keen golfers are spoilt for choice. Fortress of St. Catherine of Ribamar Along with the fort of St. John of Arade, across the water in Ferragudo, this fortification constituted Portimão's defences against raiding corsairs and pirates.Built in the 17th/18th centuries in an excellent strategic position, it affords splendid views of the sea, river, beaches and cliffs. A great place to be at sunset. Inside is an old chapel dedicated to St. Catherine of Alexandria.

Portimão Area

Alvor

This town's long history is clear from the discovery on Vila Velha hill, overlooking the Ria de Alvor, of a Neolithic village retaining traces of subsequent Roman occupation. During the period of Moorish rule, Alvor was a thriving port. Alvor retains much of the charm of a picturesque fishing village, with streets of white houses and colourful boats which, after a day at sea, congregate around the old fishing market.

Abicada

A Roman archaeological site at the confluence of two rivers. There is a 1st/4th century villa with several rooms and a peristyle decorated with coloured mosaics bearing geometric patterns and stylised designs.

Alcalar

An important Neolithic/Chacolithic burial ground (2,000/1,600 B.C) with graves of several types, from megalithic chambers to tombs with false cupolas and side alcoves. There is another burial ground nearby at Monte Canelas.

Mexilhoeira Grande

An old village traditionally sustained by agriculture and by the resources of the Ria de Alvor.

The Ria de Alvor

To one side the sea, to the other the liquid mirror of the vast estuary stretching inland, and between them a long, broad dune. This beautiful setting is the chosen nesting place of dozens of species of migratory bird. The salt marshes also support an interesting variety of animal life, while the local fishermen still use traditional techniques to catch fish and gather shellfish. To explore this almost unknown facet of the Algarve by the diffuse light of dawn is to discover a world of total calm and make memories that will last forever. (Boats can be hired at Alvor).

The Arade Estuary

For thousands of years, Phoenicians, Greeks, Carthaginians, Romans, Moors, Normans and Crusaders sailed up the river towards the city of Silves, intent on trade or conquest. Visitors today can take the same course in a boat hired from Portimão. The shady groves along the banks make good places to stop off and relax, as does the island of Nossa Senhora do Rosário (Our Lady of the Rosary), where the ruins of an old chapel are still to be seen.

Sun and SeaPraia da Rocha

May be the most famous resort in the area, but the beaches that extend all the way to Alvor have their own particular appeal. Fine golden sands as far as the eye can see. Calm turquoise waters. Ochre cliffs and rocks sculpted into fantastical shapes. Such is the natural beauty of Praia da Rocha, a place which inspires visitors today as it has always done. Discovered by tourism at the end of the 19th century, it was for decades the favoured resort of well-to-do families from Portimão, the Algarve and Andalusia in summer, and of the English in winter. The Hotel da Bela Vista, with its Belle Époque architecture and decoration, dates from this period. In the 50s and 60s Praia da Rocha began to draw an increasingly international clientele and these days it is a cosmopolitan tourism centre and a byword throughout Europe for sun, sea and sand.

Vau

A charming beach flanked by cliffs. Its charming atmosphere, iodine-rich waters and fascinating rock formations make it popular with families.

João de Arens

A small stretch of sand set among cliffs, rocks and islands, it is associated with a fearless shepherd immortalised by the writer Manuel Teixeira Gomes, a native of Portimão, in his book "Blue August".

Tres lrmãos and Prainha

A series of tiny beaches separated by outcrops of ochre rock in which the sea has worn tunnels that offer an unusual means of access.

Alvor

A long beach that extends as far as the eye can see, until it reaches the Ria de Alvor estuary. An international tourism centre.

During your holiday don't forget to visit the most famous and important highlights of the Algarve .Beginning with the Algarve 's capital, located at the sea side Faro, is surrounded by the Ria Formosa, a nature reserve of 17.00 hectares and stopping place for migrating birds. The Faro airport is connecting the Algarve with most European capitals by direct flights and handles several million passengers a year. Drive west and you will arrive to Vilamoura. A special place, an exclusive leisure and recreation resort community where the peace of life is so easy it feels like summer all year round. Driving a few kilometres more, you will get to the centre of the Algarve , Albufeira, acknowledged as one of the main tourist regions of the country. Continuing towards the heart of the sunny Algarve , you will find the small inlet of Carvoeiro protected between high cliffs. A few kilometres ahead, Lagos is our last stop. A Marina presents a lovely picture and the harbour, is the first sight a visitor has. With its relaxed atmosphere and quiet charm, make it one of the most appealing locations in the Algarve to visitors from abroad, an important tourist town there are still many architectural signs of its ancient past.Car Hire in the Algarve at a cheap price, a brand new vehicle and a helpful team to assist you. We suggest the following websites: Algarve Car Hire, Car Hire in the Algarve, Car Hire Portugal, Portugal Car Hire, Car Hire Lisbon, Faro Car Hire, Vilamoura Car Hire, Albufeira Car Hire, Carvoeiro Car Hire, Lagos Car Hire. If you need airport transfer from or to Faro airport check out Algarve Transfers.