Portimão’s incredibly beauty combined with an extensive amount of activities to do and historical and cultural buildings to explore make this a perfect place to spend holidays. On this article we recommend the top 36 attractions Portimão has to offer.
Spend the day at the beach
Enjoy the best of the Algarve’s nature. The town of Portimão presents some of the best beaches in the region with extensive sandy beaches and calm, warm and translucent water. Among the most popular beaches in Portimão are the famous Praia da Rocha, Praia do Vau or Praia dos Três Castelos. If it is not warm enough for a swim, you can always take a stroll along the seaside.
Enjoy a Catamaran Cruise
Board the modern Ophelia catamaran in Portimão’s Zona Ribeirinha (riverside zone) and sail along the western coast of the Algarve. Enjoy exploring the beautiful caves of Benagil, one of the most magical places you will ever see in your life, and the rocks of bizarre formations in this part of the Algarve. The trip includes stops for a barbecue lunch and time for swimming and snorkelling.
Santa Catarina Fortress
The beautiful Santa Catarina Fortress, built on Praia da Rocha and over river Arade, was partially destroyed during the 1755 earthquake, but is now restored and open to the public. The fortress maintained its military purposes until the 20th century when it was occupied by the Civil Guard and the Maritime Police, but nowadays it serves exclusively as a tourist attraction.
Beach soccer is a magnificent spectacle worthy of being witnessed live once in a lifetime. Portimão hosts two very important beach football competitions every year. One is Mundialito, a competition that brings together the best national teams in the world for a beach soccer tournament, the other is the Portuguese Stage of the European Beach Soccer League. The constant acrobatics of the players and the fantastic atmosphere that you feel at the stadium, which is right on Praia da Rocha beach) will surely amaze you.
Tandem Skydive Experience
This is an activity for those who like lots of adrenaline. Dare yourself to jumping off a plane at an altitude of 4300 meters and enjoy the feeling of free falling for almost a minute. In the tandem skydive experience, you’ll be stuck with a certified instructor who will try to pull the parachute, leaving you free to enjoy this unforgettable experience to the fullest. The aerodrome is located in Alvor so is within easy reach of Portimão.
The Kartódromo Internacional do Algarve, located about 20 minutes from Portimão, was inaugurated in 2010 and is currently one of the largest karting tracks in Europe. The difficulty of the circuit makes it a frequent stage for several international and national racing competitions. So make sure you test your nerves and reflexes behind the wheel of a racing kart in Portimão.
Megalithic Monument of Alcalar
The megalithic tombs of Alcalar have astonished historians and archaeologists since they were discovered because of the complex structure of the society they present. Different tombs reveal the different roles that the prehistoric individuals who settled in Alcalar over 5000 years ago played in its society. There are specific tombs for tribal chiefs, and tombs with special honours to play homage to particularly loved ones of a family.
Algarve Landscapes, Pottery and Winery Tour
This fantastic tour which departs from Portimão combines in a single trip regional wine tastings, a visit to a typical Algarve wine cellar, stops in natural viewpoints to enjoy the most beautiful landscapes of the Algarve’s interior and visits to traditional pottery. To see it all take this Jeep Tour!
Pirate Ship Cruise
Ahoy, sailor! This trip is only for the adventurers. Only true sea wolfs are brave enough to sail through the seven seas in search of treasures. Join the crew of the Pirate Ship and dare yourself to sail across the Algarve coast as a real privateer. The trip departs from Zona Ribeirinha and is great fun for both kids and adults.
Something you definitely should do while staying in Portimão is trying the sardines of Portimão. Portimão is famous for having the best fish in the Algarve and sardines are its specialty. Taste the roasted sardines of Portimão, preferably accompanied by a “salada à montanheira” (a typical regional salad) or by “batatas a murro” (roasted potatoes with garlic and olive oil). Once a year there is the sardine festival which of course offers plenty of sardines, but also a great atmosphere with live music and a market.
Motorbike Sidecar Tours
The sidecar tours around the city of Portimão and surroundings are a great way to get to know the area, while on a fun and exciting journey. Depending on the type of tour you choose, you will have the opportunity to visit the village of Ferragudo, Praia da Rocha, the lighthouses on the coast, the seagull island, the fishing community of Benagil, Praia da Marinha (considered one of the most beautiful in the world), the promontory of Senhora da Rocha or the Fort of Stª Catarina.
At the Algarve Autodrome (approx. 20 minutes from Portimão) the racing school allows motor sport enthusiasts to have the opportunity to sit behind the wheel of some of the most beautiful, powerful and exciting cars in the world to test their driving skills. Choose from great cars like the Porsche 911 GT3 or Honda Civic Type R. Motorbikes are also available for 2 wheel fans.
Discover the most breath-taking landscapes of the Algarve including Monchique and Sagres, the best of its regional architecture and the most divine gastronomic flavours. The jeep safaris pick up from across Portimão and will take you across lakes and mountains in the most absolute comfort, while maintaining a sense of adventure.
Slide & Splash
Slide & Splash is a water park located in the Lagoa area, a few minutes from Portimão. This water park has terrifying vertiginous slides, specific spaces for children and green areas ideal for a picnic or to rest in the shade. The park also has shows of falconry, reptiles and parrots. It’s best to get your tickets in advance to get the best deal and to save you from queueing at the ticket office.
Algarve Classic Festival
The Autódromo Internacional do Algarve organizes, since 2009, an international event in October dedicated to classic cars. Taking advantage of the good weather that you can still find in mid-October the event gathers more than 300 teams and more than 500 drivers. In addition to the races, the festival features a parade on the track that includes the competition cars and privately owned old and classic cars.
Portimão is the ideal place to drive a jet ski because of its calm waters and wide water ways near the beaches. The jet ski rides can be for one day or half day, depending on your choice. To drive a jet ski you must be over 18 years of age.
Apart from the Algarve being known as a gigantic resort where it is fun to spend holidays, it is also known as being one of the best spots for surfing. This popular sport can be practiced on any beach in the region, but Portimão is undoubtedly one of the best areas to catch great waves. Sheltered beaches that protect from the north winds that destroy the waves and a warm sea that allows you to spend several hours inside water without feeling cold are some of the conditions gathered by the beaches of Portimão. Whether it’s your first time or an experienced surfer, we can guarantee you will find waves to suit your requirements in Portimão.
Stand Up Paddle Tours
Stand Up Paddle (SUP) consists of paddling standing on a giant surfboard across sea or rivers. This is an incredibly relaxing sport and is a great way to spend a morning or a late afternoon. Tours are available from nearby Ferragudo or Benagil and are a great way to explore the caves and rock formations of this coastline.
Discover the coast of the Algarve on a kayak. With enough space for three people, the kayak is the perfect way to give you complete autonomy over what you want to see and explore. The translucent waters of Portimão, the mysterious caves and the secluded beaches that can only be reached by boat or by a kayak are waiting for you! Tours are available from Ferragudo and also from Lagos which is less than 10 minutes away by train.
For a relaxing way to explore the beautiful Algarve coast you definitely should try a sailing cruise. Some include lunch and drinks, and you can even take a day trip to Lagos. Sailing boats are available from Alvor and Ferragudo.
The Algarve has many wonderful golf courses, and Portimão is no exception. Just 15 minutes from Portimão you can find the courses of Álamos and Morgado which have hosted the Portuguese round of the European Tour. Alto golf course in Alvor is also within easy reach so you’ll never be short of choices.
Portimão’s Casino – Dinner & Show
Another thing you can do in Portimão consists in visiting Portimão’s Casino where you can try your luck at the machines and gaming tables or indulge in an excellent dinner served in a silver service. The Casino also has several shows every week.
Racing competitions at the Autódromo Internacional
If you are a racing fan, then you should really take the opportunity to attend one of the many races that take place at the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve throughout the year. Some of the best known races taking place here include the FIM Superbike World Championship, the European Le Mans Series and the Rotax Trophy.
Just off the coast off Portimão you can find the Ocean Revival Park which contains the world’s largest artificial reef formed by 4 war ships formally from the Portuguese Navy. The ship wrecks are great for divers to explore and each year are also attracting increasing amounts of sea life which adds to the experience. While the wrecks are suited to more experienced divers there are also plenty of great dive sites nearby for beginners and Portimão’s dive school offers a complete range of courses.
Portimão Museum aims at preserving, publicising and promoting research on the historical and cultural heritage of Portimão. In order to do so, the museum uses innovative techniques resulting in a visit which is both interesting and informative. Portimão Museum is housed in an old sardine cannery which also adds to the history.
These amphibious vehicles allow you to travel on surfaces such as grass or even water, providing a completely different experience than anything you have ever experienced. The hovertrack, in Portimão, offers three different circuits with increased difficulties, such as lakes, causing a unique sensation when crossing them. Traveling in a hovercraft is pure fun and adrenaline.
Boat trips to see dolphins are a favourite activity of families with children that visit Portimão. High speed boats leave the Marina of Portimão to find these beautiful creatures playing in their natural habitat.
Inflatable Water park
The inflatable water park of Portimão is located by the marina and includes lots of great obstacles, slides and swings. Its lots of fun and is a great activity for both kids and adults. Make sure you get your tickets in advance are the special offers available.
Boat trip to see the caves
Take the whole family on a magnificent tour of the Algarve’s coast to explore the caves and rocks of bizarre formations that exist in the area of Portimão and Praia da Rocha. With luck you may even see dolphins swimming freely in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Many tours includes a stop in the nearby caves of Benagil and also Algar Seco.
Boat trip for snorkelling
Portimão’s amazing natural conditions that make it such a great place for scuba diving, also make it ideal for snorkelling. That is why there are boat trips accompanied by a diving professional, who also serves as a guide, which take you to the best spots for snorkelling. The guide will be able to help you discover some of the richest ecological areas of the Algarve. All equipment will be provided to you and trips are available from Portimão itself and also from Ferragudo.
Come and participate in a Segway tour through the coastal area of Portimão, where you can admire the extensive beaches and learn more about the local culture. This is a great way to spend a leisurely morning or afternoon, whizzing quietly along the pedestrian path of Praia da Rocha, passing through the Marina of Portimão and finishing at Rio Arade. The Segway also has the advantage of being an eco-friendly and easy to manoeuvre vehicle, which can be used by adults and children.
Yacht rental and private boats
Rent your own yacht for the trip of your dreams with your friends and family. A wide range of boats are available in Portimão and other nearby marinas enabling you to find a boat that’s perfect for you regardless of the size or preferences of your group.
Igreja Matriz de Portimão
Combining a range of architecture styles like Baroque, rococo or Manueline because of the several renovations that it had to undergo over the years, Igreja Matriz de Portimão is one of the most beautiful churches of the Algarve. Dating from the 15th century, the church overlooks the entire city of Portimão. Inspired by the Monastery of Batalha, the main evidence of this influence is evident in the late Gothic gates where musicians and women statues are visible.
Igreja do Colégio dos Jesuítas
After Diogo Gonçalves found a safe haven in the port of Portimão during a dangerous storm at sea, he decided to build a church as a way to thank God. Igreja do Colégio dos Jesuítas has a simple interior decoration and a bizarre exterior with its yellow tones.
Downhill Off Road Mountain Biking
Dare to cross Serra de Monchique on a mountain biking adventure. The route can get a bit tricky in certain sections, which is why it is recommended to people with some previous experience in downhill or cycling. The pace of the course allows each individual to pedal at the pace which feels most comfortable. The tour starts at the highest point of the Algarve, in Fóia, at 902m of altitude, and ends at the protected area of the Alvor’s river near to Portimão.
Walking through the Algarve countryside
Taking a walk through the Algarve countryside is certainly a great way to get to know the region better. The walk allows you to visit a more traditional Algarve, and with the beautiful Monchique mountain region so near to Portimão its certainly worth a visit.