Comfortably situated at the mouth of the Arade estuary, Praia da Rocha is the Algarve’s best known and longest established resort. Its creamy yellow sands and warm crystalline waters have provided year-round tourist appeal since the 1930s.
Framed by ochre cliffs and lapped by sheltered Atlantic waters, the town’s 2-kilometre-long beach is one of the most photographed in Europe, largely due to its highly architectural rock formations. The sea has sculpted the soft cliffs along the coast into fantastic shapes in the form of pinnacles, buttresses and caves shimmering with reflected light.
What to see. The promenade on Praia da Rocha’s cliff top leads to the Fortaleza de Santa Catarina, built in 1621 to defend Silves and Portimão against opposing fleets.
The town itself is a vibrant holiday resort with numerous bars, restaurants, night-clubs, souvenir shops, hotels and apartments. There’s also a first-class casino located right on the beach.
Nearby. Set on the estuary of the River Arade, just 3 km north of Praia da Rocha, the fishing port of Portimão is blessed with a relaxed Mediterranean atmosphere and a rich selection of fish and seafood restaurants. A short drive west lies the picturesque village of Alvor, where the discovery of a Neolithic settlement with vestiges of a subsequent Roman occupation is evidence of the town’s historic past.