Set slightly inland on the Rio Alvor, the port of ALVOR, 6km west of Praia da Rocha, briefly achieved fame as the place where Dom João II died in 1495. Although much of the town was razed in the 1755 earthquake, it still boasts a sixteenth-century Igreja Matriz with Manueline doors and pillars carved into fishing ropes and plants. Despite the inevitable development, the old core around the church and the central Praça da República retains some character, while the harbour itself is a delight, lined with colourful fishing boats and aromatic fish restaurants. Two-hour boat trips to various places along the coast leave from here. From the harbour it’s a short walk uphill to the ruins of Alvor’s castle, which dates back to the thirteenth century but now houses a children’s playground.
From here, Rua Padre David Neto leads onto Rua Dr Frederico Romas Mendes, the main drag lined with bars and restaurants. This stretches down to the riverside Largo da Ribeira, marked by a modern statue of a fish, where you’ll find half a dozen fish restaurants overlooking the picturesque Rio Alvor. Head right as you face the river and a path leads up the estuary for a tranquil walk; bear left and it is a ten-minute stroll past fishermen’s huts and riverside cafés to the Praia de Alvor, an enormous beach backed by café-bars.