11 Best Activities To Do In & Around Portimao, Portugal

things to do in portimao
| 5 min read

Portimao is the largest city in the west of Algarve and one of the most touristic Algarve centers. Portimao was originally a leader of sardine fishing and processing, but with time it has taken on the tourist role. The former fishing docks create the spectacular and charming promenade that leads to the stunning beaches. Portimao is a cosmopolitan city, as the second most populous town in Algarve and features many streets with stores, restaurants, and cafés. Besides the city rush, Portimao has a picturesque historic center and the most wonderful sunny beaches. With our list of 11 things to do in Portimao, you will explore nature, attractions, festivals and the local cuisine!

1. Zoomarine

Zoomarine Dolphins (11)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Joseolgon used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Zoomarine is the water theme park providing various attractions for kids as well as for adults. Zoomarine consists of many attractions such as swimming pools, water slides, a wave pool, pirate boat and a wave beach. In Areal, you can take a tour with a guide, discovering the aquarium or feeding animals. Zoomarine has spacious gardens and pools, where many events are held during the year. A popular attraction is the dolphins, and the Dolphin emotion show. The park is a place full of amusement and an especially good stop for a family.


Address: EN 125 - Km 65, Guia 8201-864 Albufeira, Portugal

Website: Zoomarine

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2. Penina Hotel & Golf Resort

Penina Hotel & Golf Resort is a spacious, luxurious resort and home to incredible natural beauties, comfort, and sensational grasslands. The area features three complete courses, one of them a famous 18 hole course and home of the Championship. The hotel of five-stars provides the best possible service and comfort. This place is perfect for family holidays, meetings with colleagues or golf enthusiasts, especially those eager for deluxe stays and Algarve’s high service.

Penina Hotel & Golf Resort

Address: EN 125 - Penina, 8501-952 Portimão, Portugal

Website: Penina Hotel & Golf Resort

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3. Praia da Rocha

Praia da Rocha (Portimao) (Portugal) (10726935196)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Jose A. used under CC BY 2.0

The main beach in Portimao and pleasant holiday resort. With Algarve’s warm weather, especially in the summer season, Praia da Rocha is one of the most visited places in Portimao as well as in Algarve. The beach gets crowded on the hot days, but due to its spacious area, you will always find a spot for yourself. The street leading along the coast is called Tomás Cabreira, and it is filled with various restaurants, bars and for lovers of nightlife, also a wide range of clubs.

Besides relaxing you can try any of the water sports or from a variety of boat tours. Many events are held here during the year such as firework shows, NYE, beach sport competitions and parties. Praia da Rocha is a perfect place for anyone who wants to spend a holiday on the beach with plenty fun things to do.

Praia da Rocha

Address: Praia da Rocha, Portugal

Website: Praia da Rocha

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4. Vau Beach

Praias do Vau e do Alemão
Source: Photo by user Aires Almeida used under CC BY 2.0

Vau Beach is the next wonderful beach not far away from the Praia de Rocha. With its golden sand, it is one of the most famous beaches in Algarve. Perfect for warm days, Portuguese families as well as tourists frequent here. However, the beach is not the calmest place, but perfect to explore beautiful Portuguese nature. To the West, you will find impressive rock cliffs, while on the other side is the little cove of Praia do Barranco das Canas. The beach is safe and in the summer months there is a lifeguard.

Vau Beach

Address: EM531, Portimão, Portugal

Website: Vau Beach

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5. Portimão Sardine Festival

NIOSA Fiesta Party Crowd Downtown San Antonio
Source: Photo by user Nan Palmero used under CC BY 2.0

From the 3rd to 10th of August is the Sardine Festival in Algarve. Sardines are popular in all of Portugal, and they’re one of the first elements of the traditional cuisine. You can always find a place to eat sardines, but this event is just about them. During the festival you will see other highlights of the delicious Portuguese cuisine, and a good range of wines. The event is organized along the waterfront, and during the days you can enjoy concerts. At the final countdown of the event, there is an impressing fire show.

Portimão Sardine Festival

Address: Waterfront of Portimão

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6. Alvor Boardwalk

Portugal - Algarve - Alvor - the wooden walkway (25552574430)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user muffinn used under CC BY 2.0

Alvor Boardwalk, the wooden structure, is situated by the harbor right next to the fishermen’s huts. The trail will take you through the beautiful natural surroundings of Portimao, through wetlands and impressive azure lagoons. The Alvor Boardwalk leads across the beautiful valley formed by the confluence of four rivers, and this beautiful natural phenomenon is one of the most significant wetlands in Portugal. This trail shows you the beauty of the local flora and fauna and also offers exceptional views of the imposing nature of Algarve.

Alvor Boardwalk

Address: Alvor, Portimao, Portugal

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7. Praia de Alvor

Praia de Alvor
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Paulo Juntas used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Praia de Alvor is located on the other side to the Praia dos Três Irmãos, on the western end. It is a wonderful sandy beach with sand dunes and lovely lagoon formed by the Alvor River. The beach is fully equipped; there are two restaurants where you can enjoy the delicious seafood and Portuguese cuisine, and sun loungers and sunshades for rent. The spacious beach has plenty of room for various sports like windsurfing or sailing. The Praia de Alvor is an excellent choice for the warm sunny days with your family or friends, as well as for relaxing.

Praia de Alvor

Address: Alvor, Portimao, Portugal

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8. Taste the freshest seafood in the popular restaurant Carvi Marisqueira


Posted by Carvi Marisqueira on Friday, 24 February 2017

This popular restaurant in Portimao serves a variety of seafood. Because its location is next to the sea, the food is taken from the best sources and of the best freshness. The menu consists of several kinds of seafood so you can enjoy specialties such as shrimp, crab, monkfish, prawn and popular cod fish. Besides sampling unique local cuisine, you can choose from the wide range of Portuguese wines. This place is perfect for dining with your friends or family.

Carvi Marisqueira

Address: Rua Direita, 34-A, Portimao, Portugal

Website: Carvi Marisqueira

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9. The sweet heaven of Portimao - A Casa da Isabel

The Casa da Isabel has been making people happy with their sweets since 1998. Portugal is well known for its love of sweets and its delightful cakes. In the Casa da Isabel, you can taste the traditional cakes; fresh and homemade with love. If you want to try anything sweet while visiting Portimao then heading to Casa da Isabel is a must. And you can be sure that this sweet heaven will satisfy your taste buds.

A Casa da Isabel

Address: Rua Direita, nº 61, Portimao, Portugal

Website: A Casa da Isabel

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10. Fort of Santa Catarina

Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user xuaxo used under CC BY-SA 3.0

The Fort of Santa Catarina is a fort from the medieval age, considered one of the last projects of the Philippine military. The origin of Fort of Santa Catarina is not clear, but some historians say it comes from the 15th-century. The fort was built to defend the peninsula from pirates and military invasions. The construction was designed by military engineer Alexandre Massai, who traveled Algarve and reinforce more military forts along Algarve’s coast. The Fort of Santa Catarina is situated on the Praia da Rocha, and it is accessible by a staircase built into the cliffs.

Fort of Santa Catarina

Address: Av. Tomás Cabreira 4, 8500-802 Portimao, Portugal

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11. The Marchas Populares

Posted by Portimão on Thursday, 16 March 2017

The Marchas Populares is a celebration of the Popular Saints. Dancing, barbecues and grilled sardines; a bit of everything will happen during this event. The Marchas Populares takes place between the 9th and 29th of June. The traditional Marches are held over 18 days and four parishes will attend:

9th of June: Riverside Area Porftimao 16th of June: Triathlon Figueira 23rd of June: Riverside Area Alvor 29th of June: Praia da Rocha

The Marchas Populares

Address: Alvor, Riverside of Portimao, Praia da Rocha, Figueira

Date: 9 - 29 of June

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When to visit Portimao?

Even though the weather in Portugal is quite nice throughout the whole year, the best time to visit Portimao is surely in the summer season. The streets are full of life, bars and nightlife wake up, and all possible festivals guarantee fun. Hot weather will invite you to visit local beaches and enjoy your trip to the fullest. Let this list of 11 things to do in Portimao assist you!

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Veronica, hailing from the enchanting city of Prague in the Czech Republic, is an ardent traveler with an unwavering passion for exploring not only her own beautiful country but also diverse...Read more

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