With its broad, cliff-backed swathe of sand, picturesque old sea fort and bustling town overlooking the sea, it’s easy to see why Praia da Rocha has been a popular place for holidays since the late 19th century. Climb the steps of the 16th century Fortaleza da Santa Caterina and take in the views of the modern yacht-filled Marina de Portimão and ocean from the fort’s terrace. Only a short stroll up the elevated main street of Avenida Tomás Cabreira is Praia da Rocha town. It’s full of luxury hotels, bars, restaurants, and even a casino, which look down over the beach from the edge of ochre-red clifftop. The port town of Portimão and the lively nightlife resort of Alvor, are both just under 15 minutes away too.
Things to do
With beaches this good, holidays Praia da Rocha could easily just consist of sunbathing, swimming in the sea and enjoying the open-air cafés lining the promenade. But there’s plenty of things to do in Praia da Rocha away from the impressive sandy shoreline too. Explore the history of the area with a trip to the 15th century fortress of Santa Catalina and Portimão’s old town. Take the kids on a family-friendly day out to Ocean Revival Underwater Park or the Zoomarine aquatic attraction. Sail along the River Arade to Silves on a boat trip, or unwind in the nearby village of Alvor.
Praia da Rocha is renowned for its fantastic beaches that are sheltered by dramatic sandstone cliffs which are said to be some of the best in the Algarve. Follow the steps down to the long and wide stretch of golden sand, where you can soak up the glorious sunshine by reclining on sun loungers and under parasols. There are other smaller beaches in coves along the coast, which are accessible via a connecting tunnel. If you’re in need of something a little more uplifting, why not try your hand at the variety of water sports available to you; speed along the waves on a jet ski, take to windsurfing or gently bob through the water on a pedalo.
History and culture
Praia da Rocha is right next door to Portimao; it’s often considered connected to the bustling city and was the Algarve’s first ever tourist destination. Praia da Rocha translates to ‘rock beach’ in English. This may be because of its favourable cliff-top location giving spectacular views of the glistening waters and the River Arade. It’s the second biggest resort in the area next to Albufeira and has fantastic beaches and a great nightlife.
Praia da Rocha transforms from being a place to relax under the sun by the beach, into an upbeat, colourfully lit resort where dancing and entertainment is high on the agenda. With a great number of restaurants lining the streets, eating out couldn’t be more enjoyable as delicious food is served in the feel-good vibe that this resort is famous for. There are a lot of great bars to choose from including sports bars, Irish pubs, karaoke bars and discos. Cocktails can easily be found with fruity flavours being served in the upbeat bars across the resort, including the popular Manhattan Café found just outside the main strip. Dance the night away in one of the nightclubs or visit the bars and hotel venues that host live music. Praia da Rocha is a modern resort with lively nightlife, which makes it easy to find something to do in the evening to suit your tastes.