Portimao is a town that has changed dramatically over the past couple of decades, if you were here in 1990 then it was a sleepy little portugese fishing village which could be described as almost quaint, nowadays it’s more likely to be described as an affluent tourist resort and jet set holiday location. So what’s it like living in Portimao?
Where to live in Portimao
The best place to live in Portimao is split over two main areas of the town; namely; Portimao Old Town and Alvor. Many expats living in Portimao are based on Praia da Rocha beach or other beaches nearby such as Praia dos Três Castelos, Praia do Amado, Praia dos Careanos, and Praia do Vau because all of these beaches are walkable from Portimao town centre.
Portimao Old Town
If you want to be near all the action then the Old Town is where you should base yourself. This was were most of Portimao’s old town was, it’s been completely knocked down and redeveloped in recent years to form a more modern part of the town. The place has lots of nice little bars restaurants and shops with a more cosmopolitan feel than Alvor Society or the Marina. It also has direct access to the beach from here which is great for surfing or relaxing on hot summer days. There are also plenty of parks and open spaces in this area so you can keep your kids happy while you enjoy a drink or two in the bar!
Portimao Alvor, it’s a newer part of the town with wide tree lined streets and villas, many of which have been converted into apartments. In general this area has very high property security, it’s located next to a nature reserve and is not in walking distance of the central part of town which means that there is very little traffic other than local residents so this makes it a nice quite area to live or base yourself when you are staying in Portimao.
Alvor has two main areas; Alvor society and Alvor marina, they are divided by the large shopping mall called Alvor centre.
Alvor society is a newer area of Alvor with lots of modern apartment blocks, there are also some villas which have been extensively renovated and converted into apartments in recent years. If you want to be close to all the action but still feel that you are away from the hustle and bustle of it all then society is the place to be.
The Alvor Marina as you can probably guess is near a marina, if you want a luxury holiday home with access to your own yacht or holiday boat then this could be the place for you! The area around here has been extensively renovated over the past few years and feels very prosperous and well kept. This is a favourite place for holiday makers to stay when they come to Portugal, it’s popular with the English, French and German holiday makers and there are plenty of cafes bars restaurants and shops in close walking distance along the boulevard esplanade.
The most expensive area of Alvor is called la belle vue, it’s in the centre of Alvor society and comprises a small area with lots of very nice brand new apartment blocks which look out over the marina.
Praia de Rocha Beach
The most popular area to live in this area is Praia de Rocha Beach, it’s a new fashionable part of town and has designer shops bars restaurants and cafes right on the beach front. This is where all the beautiful people go so if you want to get noticed then this place makes a nice change from the hustle and bustle of the old town. It’s a great location for the party animals!
There are also a few similar apartments blocks in the hills behind here which have nice views over this area of town and the marina.
What to do in Portimao : Spas, fitness facilities and sports activities
Living in Portimao is an excellent option for anyone who enjoys keeping fit.
Portimao is a great place for keeping fit with lots of tennis courts, swimming pools and gyms. For those of you who don’t like to sweat in front of strangers then there is the Portimao indoor swimming pool or for those with energy left over from a hard days work the outdoor 50 metre pool is open until late. There are also lots of nice parks and walking paths which make this a great place for jogging if you are looking for somewhere quiet to run, just remember to wear a hat and some sun cream if you are going out in the middle of the day because Alvor is north facing on the Atlantic coast so it gets sun all year round!
If you want to workout with likeminded people then there is also a great swimming pool which has been converted into a gym by Sportzone.
This is a great place to keep fit whether you are after an aerobic workout, weight training or if you just want to tone up a bit. As well as the swimming pool there are lots of other facilities here like squash courts, basketball, tennis and even a leisure centre where you can relax in the jacuzzi. This is one of the most popular gyms in the town and you can find it at rua Dr. Sousa Mendes no 12, 8000 Portimao.
If you want to play some sport then this is a great place to start with football tennis basketball table tennis and even roller blading sports all on the doorstep of your apartment! If you have been working hard all week then there are also plenty of parks and open spaces here were you can relax with the family.
If you fancy getting out of town for a day or two then there are lots of places to go visit which are an easy drive from Portimao. Parque da Floresta de Monsaraz is a beautiful forest park and ideal for taking a nice stroll to while away an afternoon.
Portimao is also close to the lovely old town of Evora which is well worth visiting with very beautiful cobbled streets, parks and lots of lovely shopping opportunities in the local markets as well as some great bars and cafés.
Faro airport – only a short trip away
Portimao is ideally situated for travelling around with Faro airport being only a short ride down the road and as it’s so close to Spain its an easy drive to the border crossings of Vila Real de Santo Antonio (Spain) and Valenca do Minho (Portugal). If you want to travel further afield then there are also great links with Lisbon and Porto which are an easy drive away.
Travel around the Portimao Region
If you want to travel around the region then you can rent a car or alternatively the Portimao train station is only a short walk from most of the apartments here, so this means that you can enjoy moving around the country without breaking a sweat! The train station is about 30 minutes from Faro airport by taxi and there are also plenty of local buses running around the town making this a very easy place to get around.
Portimao is an ideal base for anyone wanting a quick break from city life with lots of shops bars restaurants and cafes all on your doorstep but if you want to make it a longer stay then its also a great place to settle down and enjoy some of the lovely fresh air. Feel free to contact me if you want any more information on renting an apartment in the Algarve or if you have any questions for me about living in Portimao.
If you enjoyed this article on living in Portimao you might also like to read about Things to do in Portimao