A holiday hot spot in Portugal’s western Algarve, Portimao sits on the Arade River and offers something for everyone: beaches, marine caves, dolphin-watching cruises, local wines, and more. Here’s how to spend three days in this picturesque port city.
Get acquainted with Portimao, from its plaza-dotted old town to its riverfronts, beaches, and sea caves. A Segway tour is a quick way to get around, covering signature sights such as the lighthouse and Praia da Rocha beach.
After lunch, take to the ocean on a catamaran, stand-up paddleboard, or private cruise to see the nearby Benagil Caves, burrowed into cliffs east of Portimao. Trips leave regularly from Portimao’s marina, and usually include swim stops.
End the day with a drive west to the Algarve’s most scenic clifftops. Tours with round-trip transport typically visit Cape St. Vincent (Europe’s southwesternmost point) and Ponta da Piedade, renowned for their sunset views.
Cast your sightseeing net wider today. Head out on a private tour of western Algarve vineyards without worrying about tasting and driving. Alternatively, explore the countryside on a Jeep tour, bumping along off-road trails past old-school villages.
For a change of tempo, take a leisurely eco-boat ride along the Arade River, watching birds and wandering around the medieval town of Silves en route. Or for a fun twist, travel in the sidecar of a chauffeured vintage motorbike to see the surrounding coast, stopping by the resort town of Alvor and the whitewashed fishing village of Ferragudo.
Finally, relax on Praia da Rocha or Praia do Vau, perhaps interrupting your idyll for a dolphin-spotting cruise. You’ll also find a myriad of water sports options along the shoreline to the east, from parasailing to Jet Ski rides. For maximum thrills, book a tandem skydive—you’ll be treated to sweeping views over the Algarve’s cliffs as you descend to the sands of Portimao.
If you didn’t visit the Benagil Caves earlier, swap a boat trip for something different. Board a scooter or convertible car with a guide at the helm, and zip by beaches before getting out and making the short swim to the caves. Then, conclude your stay in true Portimao fashion: feast on grilled sardines at a riverside restaurant before a final dose of nightlife in the old town or marina.