Vila Real de Santo Antonio guide
Vila Real de Santo Antonio, Portugal is located on the Guadiana River which is the natural border between Portugal and Spain. From the extreme eastern part of Vila Real one can plainly see the Spanish coastline as well as the river that connects to Ayamonte in Spain.
Those who will be heading here will notice how easy it is to get around the town thanks to it having been built on a grid system, which is something that not many other Algarve settlements can boast. With the help of our small Vila Real de Santo Antonio guide you should get a better idea of what it is that the town can offer you and whether or not you should seriously consider vacationing here.
The town’s grid system was designed by the Marques de Pombal who was rather keen on testing this new type of town planning after all the original settlements in the area were eroded by the beginning of the 17th century. The Royal charter founding the town was signed on the 30th of December 1773 and by August 6th of next year, the Town Hall, Customs House and the barracks were already completed.
Towards the end of the 19th century, the town was a major player in the canning industry, especially for sardines and tuna, and the port was constantly busy with the ships that sailed the river. As a sign of this very industrial focus of the town, Vila Real de Santo Antonio was the first town in the Algarve to be lit with gas, back in 1886. Nowadays the town thrives on a combination of fishing, agriculture and of course, tourism.
The main road of the town and of the region pretty much, runs straight from Monte Gordo to Vila Real and the Avenida da Republica runs along the front of the town, parallel with the Guadiana River. The river-front is very well developed featuring well laid out trees and water features as well as a marina which is great for watching boats.
The town’s grid system was designed to feature a large town square and the Praca marques de Pombal is truly a sight to see, being surrounded by orange trees and populated with low buildings, shops, cafes and outdoor restaurants. Behind the square you will find the Centro Cultural Antonio Aleixo – this used to be the old market, but the space is now used for temporary exhibits and various events. Nearby there’s a museum dedicated to Manuel Cabanas a local painter and wood engraver.
What it all comes down to is that Vila Real de Santo Antonio is a very relaxed and quiet town, an ideal holiday destination for those looking for a relaxing and peaceful type of vacation. Just like Monte Gordo the town is very flat, and this makes it idea for walking and cycling around it, however getting here can be arranged with the help of some Vila Real de Santo Antonio transfer from Faro Airport if you’re planning to spend your entire holiday around these parts. Otherwise you may want to consider some Vila Real de Santo Antonio car hire services.
The town features an absolutely lovely open sandy beach which is a couple of kilometers long, actually stretching close to Tavira.
Vila Real de Santo Antonio is part of a larger region, the Baixo Guadiana region, a place characterized by wonderful environment where the sun, sea, river, mountains and friendly inhabitants create a wonderful atmosphere to live and thrive in.
Related to this very laid-back approach to life, you can enjoy a boat trip along the Guadiana to Alcoutim for a special way of seeing the surroundings because it passes through some beautiful countryside and you’ll get to see the change in geography from very flat plains to rolling hills and lush vegetation.
Obviously this has been just a very short description of only some of the characteristics of Vila Real de Santo Antonio and its surroundings, rest assured that simple words and images can’t really do it any justice, once you’re there you’ll know that you’ll never be bored while on your trip here so you might as well focus on taking in as much of the place as possible.