Facing the sprawl of Portimão across the Rio Arade estuary, FERRAGUDO is an attractive former fishing village centred on a strip of palm-fringed gardens that spread up to the cobbled main square, Praça Rainha Dona Leonor. A waterfront promenade lined with fish restaurants skirts the estuary – you can take various boat trips from here, most linking up with those departing from Portimão. The old town spreads steeply uphill behind the estuary, its warren of atmospheric cobbled backstreets gathered around Ferragudo’s church, with a terrace that offers great views. The town has an estuary beach, which gets progressively more appealing as it approaches the impressive Castelo de São João do Arade. The castle (closed to the public) faces its partner fort in Praia da Rocha across the river, both of which were built in the sixteenth century to defend Portimão against attack.
The nearest ocean beach lies a couple of kilometres south, where you’ll find the broad sands of Praia Grande at the mouth of the Rio Arade, with a scattering of restaurant-bars.