Praia da Rocha – General information
Praia da Rocha is a beach 2 km south of the city of Portimão. It is situated the right bank of the estuary of the Arade river. The beach is the main beach of Portimão. According to the TripAdvisor community, the beach is the #2 thing to do in Portimão and the #1 thing to do in the Praia da Rocha area. The beach is highly rated by TripAdvisor.
Back in the 1930s, Praia da Rocha became one of the first resorts in the Algarve. By then, it consisted of rich villas and was an elegant resort for rich Portuguese families. Some of these villas still can be seen on the cliffs above the beach. Up on the cliffs on the eastern end of the beach, you can also find the Santa Catarina fortress. This fort was built in the 17th century to defend the estuary of the river. From there, you have an impressive view over the beach and surroundings.
The big development of Praia da Rocha as a mass tourism destination began in the 1970s and 1980s. Nowadays you can see many apartment blocks and hotels in the area.
The beach is quite sandy and very long and wide. The main attraction of this beach however has always been the spectacular rock formations surrounding the beach. The name Praia da Rocha literally means ‘Rocky Beach’. Besides the main beach, there are other long beaches. Formerly, there was a tunnel, connecting Praia da Rocha to the other beaches, towards Praia do Vau. Nowadays, the beach is much larger and you can walk several kilometers along the beach, protected by beautiful rock formations.
As Praia da Rocha is a very popular beach for Portuguese people. The sandy beach is perfect for families with children. It also attracts a lot of younger tourists, who stay in the neighbourhood. Thus it can be quite busy on the beach, especially on weekends in the summer.
How to get there
When you are in Portimão, you will see many signs indicating Praia da Rocha. Alternatively, you can enter the following address in your GPS: Avenida Tomás Cabreira, Portimão. You have to be lucky to find a parking spot near the beach. If you can’t find a parking spot, park your car a bit further and walk to the beach.
Praia da Rocha – Facilities
Behind the beach there is a lively, elegant boulevard, which is especially suitable for walking and sightseeing. Along the boulevard you will see many bars, restaurants and clubs. Near the beach you can also find a luxurious 5 star hotel with a gambling casino.
There are all types of water sports available, both in Praia da Rocha and in Praia do Vau, as well as many beach restaurants and other facilities. Just like most beaches in the Algarve, Praia da Rocha has been awarded every year with a blue flag, which means that this beach fulfills all criteria to be considered a quality beach.
Facilities in Praia da Rocha:
• Restaurant: yes
• Bar/club: yes
• Toilet: yes
• Shower: yes
• Water sports: yes
• Sunbeds: yes
• Parking: yes, but difficult near the beach in summer
• Lifeguards: yes
• Blue flag beach: yes