Eat sardines in Portimão
The location of Praia Do Vau provides opportunities to soak up the sun and relax, while still being able to visit the busier towns in the Algarve. The small town is part of Portimão, so it’s worth spending a day or two there. You’ll see everything that makes the Algarve such a popular destination, from the spectacular Praia da Rocha Beach to the historical sites and brilliant restaurants. While there are plenty of posh gourmet restaurants in the city centre, your best bet is to head to the harbour and dip into one of the cheaper establishments. They specialise in delicious grilled sardines and local wines, with a good view over the ocean. Car fans should ensure they stop off at the nearby Algarve International Circuit, just outside Portimão.
Learn about the culture and history
There’s a lot to see in the area surrounding Portimão and Praia Do Vau. It’s a region rich in history and culture, so you can spend a few days seeing the sights. In Portimão, you can see an 18th-century palace, which has since been turned into a theatre. In the city centre, there’s a 15th-century church and a Jesuit’s college from the 17th century. It has one of the largest churches in the Algarve, so it’s worth visiting. If you want to find out more about the region’s enticing history, you can visit the Museu de Portimão. In addition to an interesting collection of exhibitions and artefacts, it’s housed in an old sardine-canning factory, which is fascinating.
Walk around the historical Alvor
Praia Do Vau is a beautiful town, but neighbouring Alvor is something else entirely. This old fishing village is tucked into the estuary of the Rio de Alvor, and it’s now a protected area. Nearly every era of history has left its mark on Alvor, from Neolithic and Roman settlements to the influence of its Arabian occupation. The parish church has some of the most beautiful architecture in the Algarve, too.
While you’re in Alvor, head to its beautiful beaches. There are a couple dotted around, both of which are unique. One has impressive rock formations, and the other is a textbook desert island paradise.
Take in the coastline’s scenery
After all the incredible food you’re likely to eat, you may be in need of a gentle, picturesque stroll, and the cliffs alongside Praia Do Vau are perfect for this. The striking formations have easy walking paths and trails, as well as brilliant views the entire way. You can walk to Praia de Alvor, where you’ll see the jagged arches and mysterious grottos that poke out into the deep blue sea. There’s also the chance to walk across the beach to Praia da Rocha, though you’ll need to wait for the low tide. Once you get to Praia da Rocha, you can walk up to the cliff-top promenade, which will take you to a 16th-century fortress, Santa Catarina.
For relaxing holidays, Praia Do Vau tops the leaderboard. You can enjoy the laid-back atmosphere, eat with the locals, snack on grilled sardines and relax on a host of gorgeous beaches. There’s no pressure to do anything but sink into the local way of life and get to know the region. And when you’re ready to step things up a notch, Portimão has all the bars and clubs you could ask for.