Praia da Rocha (Rock Beach) is one of the most popular beaches in the Algarve. With an area of sand stretching over one kilometre, holidaymakers are assured plenty of space, even in peak times. The name “Rock Beach” comes from the beautiful, warm-coloured cliffs that surround the beach. High viewing points can be found at either end of the beach, with Três Castelos to the west and Fortaleza de Santa Catarina de Ribamar to the east. Here visitors can enjoy a fabulous panoramic view over the coastline between the scenic rock formation of Ponta João d´Arens and the lighthouse of Ponta do Altar. The landscape is also marked by the mouth of the River Arade itself and the nearby hills of Serra de Monchique. The beach has undergone a recent facelift making it even more appealing and accessible. There is now a network of wide, wooden footpaths that cover the beach and host a number of different facilities for sunbathers. Further, the avenue that runs along the seafront of Praia da Rocha has a succession of hotels, bars, open-air cafés and restaurants, discos, and a casino, finally culminating in Portimão Marina.
Tomás Cabreira Avenue follows the seafront of Praia da Rocha and is filled with hotels, bars, restaurants, esplanades and discotheques. This along with the Hotel Algarve Casino gives the resort a night-time buzz. For those looking to get away from the English and Irish bars, try Cloque Bar. Located on the cliffside of Tomás Cabreira Avenue, this bar offers excellent views of the Algarve sunset. There is a restaurant and grill as well with a range of dishes to suit all tastes for those who need a bit of grub before sampling the cocktails.
With one of the best coastlines in Portugal, the views are stunning here. At the end of Tomás Cabreira Avenue is the Fortress of Santa Catarina de Ribamar. Nearly 400 years ago, this fortress was built to defend the town and port from corsairs and pirates. Now it acts as a place to take in some of best views of Ferragudo, the Beach and the Portimão marina. There is a small chapel inside devoted to Santa Catarina along with a cafe.
BEST FOR SPORTING ACTIVITY
A short trip along the A22 motorway before the village of Guia will take you to Algarve Shopping Mall near Guia. There are more than one hundred shops over two levels. The upstairs level has a food hall with a number of restaurants. There’s even a cinema and a bowling alley.
British Airways offer flights to Faro from £75 (one way). Terms and conditions apply. See ba.com/cityoffer for details.