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Holidays in Praia da Rocha
A small but bustling resort area alongside a huge beach, Praia da Rocha has been a popular place for holidays since the late 19th century. The cosmopolitan restaurants and nightlife along the seafront promenade (Tomás Cabreira Avenue) are the perfect complement to the old town area, pretty marina and quieter waterfront of Portimão, the bigger port town behind Praia de Rocha.
May to October for beach weather.
2 hours 45 minutes
Faro Airport (FAO), also known as Algarve Airport, about 70km east of Praia da Rocha.
Praia da Rocha’s beautiful big beach is one of the best in the Algarve, perfect for lazy summer days. Book your holiday with Thomas Cook today.
What is included ?
You could easily spend your whole holiday at Praia da Rocha. It’s the main beach in the Portimão area and one of the most impressive in the entire Algarve; bucketloads of sand, open-air cafes and a long promenade leading to the glamorous yachts moored in Portimão Marina. To get to know the area better, take in the views from the 15thcentury fortress of Santa Catarina de Ribamar up on the clifftop and explore Portimão’s old town and waterfront. Go further with a boat trip along the River Arade to Silves; 23km away by road - the town’s famous for its castle. Or unwind in the quaint village of Alvor nearby.
The glorious beach is top of the list of attractions in Praia da Rocha. Holidays here revolve around its long, wide sweep of sand, which is book-ended by weathered cliffs and lapped by calm waters. There’s everything you could need for a day in the sun, from parasols and watersports to an array of places to eat and drink on the promenade. Walk through the passageway in the rocks at the western end and you’ll find yourself on the golden sands of Praia da Tres Castelos beach. Or head up to the clifftops for amazing views along the coast.
While most things to do in Praia da Rocha are based around the beach, there’s a lot more to this part of the Algarve. In Portimão, delve into the old-time atmosphere of the fishermen’s quarters, follow the Riverside Walk around the luxury marina or browse the award-winning Museu de Portimão museum. A visit to the charming fishing village of Alvor (7km away) is also a must. The sands of its beach run all the way to the Alvor Estuary, famed for its birdlife. Between Portimão and Alvor, you’ll find the 18-hole golf course, clubhouse and driving range of the popular Pestana Alto Golf.
As the sun goes down, the promenade lights up. Its beachfront bars, cafes and restaurants are the best places to go in Praia da Rocha for sultry evenings of good company, great food and a buzzing atmosphere. Find a table in the open air for a glass of cerveja (beer) or vinho (wine) under the stars, try your luck at the casino or make a night of it at one of the discos. Menus are full of mouth-watering local dishes; look out for the chilled arjamolho soup, the Algarve’s take on gazpacho. There are even more restaurants on the waterfront in Portimão, near the cruise terminal.
What is included ?
Beach-lovers: Praia da Rocha is famed for its broad sands, calm waters and long promenade lined with bars and restaurants.
Golfers: Whatever your handicap, you’ll get a lot out of a round or two at the 18-hole Alto golf course.
Sports fans: There are big sports events year-round as well as plenty to do yourself, such as volleyball, sailing and karting.
Language: The language spoken in Praia da Rocha is Portuguese
Currency: The currency used in Praia da Rocha is the euro (€)
Local time: Praia da Rocha is in the same time zone as GMT/UK time
Fly to: Faro Airport (FAO), also known as Algarve Airport, about 70km east of Praia da Rocha.
Flight time from UK: Approximately 2 hours 45 minutes
Tourist Information: Further Praia da Rocha 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 to Praia da Rocha.
Temperature: Average highs of 16°C in mid-winter and 26°C at the peak of summer.
Best time to visit: May to October for beach weather.
The weather in Praia da Rocha is made for sunbathing and sightseeing. With 11-12 hours of sunshine a day from June to August and very little rain, you can fit a lot in. August/September is the best time for swimming in the sea, as it warms up throughout the summer to 22°C.
On foot: Follow the road into the centre of Portimão for more shops, bars, restaurants and attractions.
By mini-train: A leisurely way to get around, the tourist mini-train runs alongside the beaches to the marina throughout the summer.
By bus: Use the Vai e Vem route to travel between Praia da Rocha and the rest of Portimão. You can also see more of the Algarve by bus, with Rede Expressos and EVA Transportes.
By train: There are regular rail services from Portimão station. It’s a great way to visit other towns around the Algarve, including the region’s capital Faro, which is less than 70km from Portimão.
For jazz fans: Portimão is home to the Maio Lindo Maio (‘May, Beautiful May’) festival. You’ll find international and local musicians on the bill.
Sardine festival: Visit in August to join the locals in celebration of their favourite fish, the humble sardine.
Show jumping: September’s International Show Jumping Competition is the most prestigious of the horse-riding events held in Portimão every year.
Motor racing: Frequent home of the Superbike World Championship, Formula 1 tests, the World Touring Car Championship and all sorts of other petrol-head events, the Algarve International Motor Racing Circuit is about 10km from Praia da Rocha.