Nestled just five minutes away from central Portimao, Praia da Rocha enjoys a well-earned reputation for having one of the best beaches in the Algarve. This resort town’s main beach is vast and tranquil, ensuring there’s always somewhere to park your beach blanket. If you’re planning a 2018 getaway in the Algarve region of Portugal, Praia da Rocha holidays offer action and relaxation in equal measures. With a lively nightlife and dining scene, family-friendly waterparks and zoos, and romantic, rust-coloured clifftops, there’s truly something for everyone here. Spend your days shopping in Praia da Rocha’s varied retail outlets, or pay a visit to the popular casino.
The local architecture encompasses everything from a 17th-century fort to ultra-modern, sleek condo high-rises. Catch a glimpse of Praia da Rocha’s elegant past in its 19th-century mansions, many of which have been converted into luxurious guest houses. Whether you prefer your holiday accommodation to provide timeless convenience or quirky amenities, you’ll find a room to suit your personality.
Most popular hotels in Praia da Rocha
Clube Praia Da Rocha
Praia da Rocha, Algarve
Praia da Rocha, Algarve
Jupiter Algarve Hotel
Praia da Rocha, Algarve
Castelos Da Rocha
Praia da Rocha, Algarve
Jardins Da Rocha
Praia da Rocha, Algarve
At a glance
- Currency: Euro
- Language: Portuguese
- Time Zone: GMT +0
- Average flight time: 2h 40m
When to go
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One of the top attractions in Praia da Rocha is the Santa Caterina Fortress. This sturdy historic fort dates back to the early 1600s, and today overlooks the golden sands of the beach as well as the marina. This makes it a top spot for visitors hoping not only to soak in Praia da Rocha’s lengthy history, but also its spectacular sunset views. It’s hard to miss, looming over the resort with its imposing stairs to the top.
Do you prefer a bit of retail therapy? The Tomás Cabreira Avenue heaves day and night with its restaurants, shops, and bars. Visit the town’s airy boutiques to flex your spending muscles, or simply take a stroll to experience all the hustle and bustle of daily life here. For further shopping opportunities you can venture to the massive Algarve Shopping Mall in Guia, with its expansive and airy food hall.
Wine and Dine
Don’t miss the chance to sample the freshly caught seafood and traditional Portuguese cuisine on offer in Praia da Rocha. There are over 200km of sea-facing coastline in the Algarve region, ensuring that local restaurants have access to only the freshest tuna, sardines and shellfish. These are often simply grilled with a delectable sauce, or worked into a delicious risotto. Chicken piri-piri is another must-try dish in Praia da Rocha, particularly for any fans of spicy food. This bustling resort town showcases its international influences with all styles of cuisine on show. In addition to Portuguese dishes, you can go out for pasta, tapas or curries. Dine like a local and linger over your meal. The evening meal is an unhurried affair in Praia da Rocha, so you can expect to take your time and admire ocean views as you sip a glass of wine or port. If you have a sweet tooth, try the local rice pudding or marzipan cakes, which are often moulded into delicate floral shapes.
Aside from all of the sea and sun available on the beach, families will find a bevy of kid-friendly activities to keep the little ones entertained. The resort’s hotels offer a full range of indoor and outdoor attractions, from swimming pools to play parks and holiday clubs. Most restaurants are very child-friendly as well. Family holidays to Praia da Rocha should always include a side trip to the Lagos Zoo, where you can see colourful flamingos and playful monkeys up close. The zoo is open year-round, with two playgrounds and lush gardens to let the kids run around and burn off some energy. The Slide and Splash Waterpark is also located in Lagos, just a short drive from Praia da Rocha. Open between April and October, it boasts water slides, floating pools and more. For more animal antics, take the whole family to Zoomarine in Guia. This provides a splendid day out for young and old alike. You can see birds of prey swooping overhead, but the stars of the show are undoubtedly the dolphins and sea lions.
Action and Adventure
Praia da Rocha holidays offer no shortage of action to take part in. The resort’s beach is the centre of local sports and recreation, including banana boats, pedaloes and canoes for hire. Play volleyball or football on the beach, or go sailing on a dolphin-spotting cruise. There are plentiful walks in the area for those wishing to get their hearts pumping in the fresh air. Have a ramble along the sandstone cliffs to admire breath-taking views over the Atlantic. Or would you rather dive beneath the ocean waters? There are many snorkelling and scuba diving operators in the area, or you can visit the Ocean Revival Underwater Park. You’ll be able to explore sunken navy ships, which now form the world’s largest artificial reef. There are also adventures to be had further inland. One exciting day trip is to take the boat trip up the Arade River, departing from Portimao and arriving in Silves. And if you’re a keen golfer, you can visit one of the area’s exotically lush and challenging courses.
Life's a Beach
Visiting the beach is a must-experience activity during any Praia da Rocha holidays. The town boasts a long, pristine stretch of soft sands inviting you to stay in place with a sun lounger or build a sand castle. This beautiful beach offers plenty of room to sprawl out, whether you wish to relax or take part in the plentiful activities on offer here. Summer is the best time to visit for football fans, as the Beach Soccer Worldwide Mundialito takes place here in August. The beach is easily accessible, with a well-tended wooden walkway skirting the full length of the sands. This boardwalk is lined with ice creameries, relaxed cafes and bars to refresh you when the weather heats up. Alternately, you can get out onto the water with your choice of sports. Paragliding, windsurfing, and jet-skiing are all popular activities, or you can simply hire a family-friendly pedalo. With plenty of lifeguards and a first aid post, it’s ideal for visitors of all ages.
Although many bars and nightclubs are open throughout the year, this modern resort really heats up during the summer when it’s filled with party-ready visitors from around the globe. The epicentre of Praia da Rocha’s nightlife is Tomás Cabreira Avenue, which is lively in any season. Holidays in Praia da Rocha are never dull. The variety of bars run the full gamut from kitschy to sophisticated. You’ll be able to find karaoke bars, thumping discotheques and even Irish bars tucked in along the main drag. If you’re in the mood for a laid-back evening, enjoy a few after-dinner drinks in an outdoor café or watch the latest match in a sports bar. Sip on a fruity cocktail or dance the night away in a hotel venue. For something different, sway to the sounds of live music or get your adrenaline racing in a casino. The town’s main casino hosts a live show every evening in the summer, including dinner and dancing. This offers a one-stop shop for premium entertainment.
With sweeping ocean views and Belle Époque architecture, holidays in Praia da Rocha offer plenty of romance. One of the best ways to spend your time here as a couple is by simply exploring the area on foot, so make sure to bring some comfortable walking shoes. From the golden sandy beaches of Praia da Rocha to the cobblestoned streets of Portimao, you’ll find enchanting landscapes to create long-lasting memories. After dark, Praia da Rocha’s beach and central thoroughfare offers a treasure trove of intimate eateries and low-lit bars to spend time together in. Taste a glass of the local wine or listen to live music in the casino as you enjoy one another’s company. With a wealth of four-star luxury hotels in town, you’ll also have access to spa treatments, world-class dining and swimming pools tailor-made for a day of lounging. Praia da Rocha offers the ideal location for honeymoons or simply a quick weekend away from it all.
Explore all of the history, culture, and art of this intriguing Portuguese region on your Praia da Rocha holidays. In addition to the Santa Caterina Fortress, you’ll find a wealth of additional cultural attractions nearby. Central Portimao is home to a thriving contemporary art scene, with numerous gallery spaces. There’s also the Portimao Museum here, located on the city’s riverfront in a converted sardine canning factory. This industrial space has been transformed with fascinating exhibitions about the city’s history. Staying in Praia da Rocha puts you in an excellent position for further exploration of the Algarve region, including the sophisticated city of Lagos. This was at one time the home of Prince Henry the Navigator, and you can view historic sites related to his world exploration missions. For an unforgettable day trip, visit the nearby ruins in Silves, including the sprawling remains of a Moorish castle. It’s one of the largest in the Algarve, and there’s a small yet informative museum here to learn more about it.