Take in the super-yachts at Marina de Portimao
In the centre of Portimao, Marina de Portimao, also known as Tivoli Marina, is a smart, bustling hub of sailing activities. One of Portugal's premier yachting marinas, it's frequently used as a training base for professional sailing teams from all over the world.
It also regularly hosts high-end international sailing, powerboat racing and windsurfing competitions – such as the Lisbon-Dakaar rally pitstop - making it a magnet for surfing and sailing fans. You don't have to be an expert sailor to join in activities though and there are plenty of opportunities to sail out and explore the beautiful Algarve coastline from chartered yachts.
With the ancient forts of Santa Catarina and Sao Joao nearby, this picturesque harbour is a fantastic place to stroll and relax between beach activities. There are several excellent restaurants around the marina area serving fresh fish, seafood and delicious Portuguese cuisine. You'll also find elegant bars where you can stop off and admire the views over a cocktail. In the evenings Tivola Marina becomes a lively spot where you can have some fun and join in the party, with several venues opening late.
Lots of choices for shopping and eating
You'll find several shopping districts in and around Portimao, where you can do some serious fashion browsing at familiar brands such as Mango. You'll also find lots of smaller stores where you'll find items such as leather goods and souvenirs. Supermarkets can be found around town too, where it's cheap and easy to pick up drinks and snacks.
There are several cafes and restaurants dotted around the town for a bite to eat and relax during the day, or have dinner in the evenings. There's a good mix of local and international cuisine, but if you're looking for Portimao specialities head down to the riverside at Portimao Marina. You'll find laid-back fresh fish restaurants with superb harbour views and the opportunity to enjoy local favourites, while those on All Inclusive holidays to Portugal are sure to find plenty of choice at the hotel restaurant.
Lots to see and do in and around Portimao
The most popular beaches in the area are Praia da Rocha and Praia do Vau, where you can spend seaside days napping in the sun or getting super active with some watersports. You could also take a boat trip out to do a bit of fishing, catch sight of pods of wild dolphins, or take a leisurely trip up the Arade River and admire the scenery.
Portimao is well known as a partying destination and you'll find a good selection of lively bars and clubs in the town centre and around the marina where you can have some late-night holiday fun. You can also try the Algarve Casino Hotel in Praia da Rocha where you can have a flutter and play the tables. You can have dinner there while watching a live cabaret show, and then stay on to dance the night away.
For great family trips and days out there are several options nearby, including Lagos Zoo and the adrenaline excitement of the Slide and Splash Water Park at Lagoa. If you're a golfing enthusiast there are also a number of superb golf courses nearby – it's the Algarve after all.
Join in Portimao’s events
Like much of the Algarve region, Portimao celebrates a number of religious and other festivals throughout the year. It also has a programme of local events - such as fireworks at New Year – and two annual events that are unique to the town. If you're visiting at the time, look out for these to join in the fun and excitement.
During September and October, Portimao will host the third stage of the Roto do Petisco. It's the final leg of a gastronomic feast that takes you around participating local restaurants to sample the best of Algarve cuisine.
Portimao is also one of the host towns for the Algarve Trophee Mondial Accordion championships. Accordion playing and music is an important Algarve tradition, with the best players being highly regarded and celebrated here. The event consists of five rounds, with guests being invited to join in the festivities and celebrate with competition finalists.