Praia da Rocha holidays

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. 

Excellent beaches

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.

Fantastic 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.

Map of Praia da Rocha

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26 ℃

Enjoy the long, hot summer between June and September.

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2 hours 45 minutes

About 70km east of the resort is Faro Airport (FAO), also known as Algarve Airport.

 

Praia da Rocha is best for...

Beach lovers: The calm waters, broad sands and promenade dotted with bars and restaurants make Praia da Rocha an all-rounder to please the whole family. 

Golfers: Tee-off on the legendary 18-hole Alto course, which was the last designed by architect Sir Henry Cotton and has rolling fairways and great views of the sea. 

Sports fans: As well as big sports events all year round, the Praia da Rocha sports area next to the beach means the whole family can play everything from beach football and volleyball to basketball and even gymnastics.

 

Fast facts for Praia da Rocha

Language: Portuguese is the language spoken here

Currency: Change your spending money into euros

Local time: The time zone in Praia da Rocha is the same as GMT/UK time

Fly to: Faro Airport (FAO), also known as Algarve Airport, is around an hour away 

Flight time from UK: Approximately 2 hours 45 minutes

Tourist information: Further tourist information can be found at www.visitportugal.com

Visa / Health: Before you travel, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/portugal for recommendations and advice on visas and health for your holiday 

Holiday destinations related to Praia da Rocha:

  • Lagos
  • Cavoeiro
  • Alvor
  • Albufeira
  • Vilamoura
  • Getting around Praia da Rocha

    On foot: Walk around the beach resort and you won’t miss any of the bars, restaurants, shops, and attractions

    By mini-train: Take a trip on the mini-train which runs along the seafront to the marina; you can scope out your perfect beach spot at on the way! 

    By bus: Hop on one of the buses that use the Vai e Ven route for a quick and easy way to see the rest of Portimão. To explore more of the Algarve, you’ll need a ticket for the Rede Expressos and EVA Transportes bus routes. 

    By train: You can easily visit other towns around the Algarve, including the region’s capital Faro, by train. There are regular rail services from Portimão station, and once on board you can sit back and enjoy the scenic views from the window.

    Events in Praia da Rocha

    May, Beautiful May Jazz Festival: For four days every May, Portimão is home to the annual Maio Lindo Maio (‘May, Beautiful May’) festival. Held in the Portimão Fair and Exhibition Center, there are performances from national and international jazz singers.

    Sardine festival: Recognised as the sardine capital of the Algarve, Portimão celebrates the tasty fish with an annual festival around the second week of August. Join the thousands that visit for the festival and tuck into grilled sardines as you watch fireworks and live music. 

    Show jumping: Equestrian lovers will enjoy September’s International Show Jumping Competition; it’s one of the most prestigious of the horse-riding events held in Portimão every year.

    Motor racing: Only about ten km from Praia da Rocha, visit the Algarve International Motor Racing Circuit (Portimão Circuit) and watch everything from the Superbike World Championship and Formula 1 tests, to the World Touring Car Championship. It’s truly a petrol head's dream!

    Praia da Rocha weather

    Temperature: Summer days can get as hot as 26°C and winters are mild with average highs of 16°C

    Best time to visit: Praia da Rocha holidays are best between June and September when you’ll get the warmest beach weather.

    Made for sunbathing and sightseeing, Praia da Rocha’s Mediterranean climate brings long, hot summers and mild winters. There’s 11-12 hours of sunshine a day from June to August and very little rain, so pack your sunglasses and sunscreen and leave your waterproofs at home. Fancy a dip in the sea? In August and September, the usually chilly Atlantic waters warm up to a comfortable 22°C.

     

    Best hotels in Praia da Rocha