Praia da Rocha – Great beach and wonderful scenery at the second-largest Algarve resort


The Portuguese resort town of Praia da Rocha is located on the west side of the Algarve, at about a fifty minute drive from Faro Airport and situated rather nicely between Alvor and Portimao.

What started as a quiet and very elegant resort back in the 1930s only started to develop at a major rate once cheaper flights started to be offered in the 1970s, which in turn spurred on a boom in apartments being built, and steadily and surely Praia da Rocha became the region’s second-largest resort town.

There are basically two types of travelers in the world: those who haven’t been to the Algarve yet, and those who return there year after year, but what exactly makes the latter do this?

It may have to do with the fact that the Algarve sees only about seventeen days of rainfall each year, or more specifically to Praia da Rocha, maybe it’s the two kilometer beach that is home to both wonderfully soft sands as well as rock formations, after all Praia da Rocha means “rock beach”.

Portimao guide - Praia da Rocha

Portimao guide - Praia da Rocha

Almost as the beach is vast, the main town avenue runs along the top of it and is chock full of restaurants, cafes and shops and you can bet that during the night it simply comes to life thanks to the plethora of bars and clubs that one can choose from.

At the avenue’s end you will find the Fortress of Santa Catarina de Ribamar, this fortress was part of neighboring Portimao’s defences meant to protect the city from corsair and pirate raids during the 17th and 18th centuries.

In terms of accommodations, Praia da Rocha offers mostly hotels and many-many apartment-blocks – because of the earlier mentioned building boom of the ’70s – however you won’t feel crammed in because the buildings are well spaced and they are well positioned in regards to access to the local amenities.

Praia da Rocha is the ideal destination for those who want a quintessential Algarve experience, not a traditional one. It’s a great place if you’re interested in sunbathing, great restaurants and many places to party during the night. The only place that it doesn’t shine as strong is in the shopping category, but you can always rent a car and head into Portimao to visit the main shopping centre there.