12 Nov Portimao and Praia da Rocha (Rock Beach)
We arrived in Portimao, Portugal on October 8 and were extremely pleased with our accommodations (another successful Air BNB find). We have a side balcony with a view of the Atlantic Ocean and the extremely large Praia da Rocha (Rock Beach). We immediately got a visit from Sammy the Seagull, a very large bird with no fear that visits almost daily. The actual city of Portimao is about two miles away and the port of Portimao is at the other end of our beach. The next beach over separated by a large rock structure i Praia de Tres Castillos (Beach of Three Castles. The actual town of Praia de Rocha is on the top of the cliffs about six stories above the beach. Needless to say we get in a lot of walking and a lot of steps.
Praia De Rocha (Rock Beach
Rock Beach is the largest and most popular beach in the area and port is at the far end of the beach. At our end is a scenic viewpoint on the rock that divides Rock Beach from the Beach of Three Castles. There are numerous and dangerous sets of steps going to and from the beach. We try to use the one that have multiple switch backs and solid rails. Once on Rock Beach there is a long wooden board walk with about twenty restaurants scattered over the next mile.
Three Castles Beach
The beach to the right of the dividing rock offers tremendous views of the cliffs. Though some of the cliff features have been formed by sea erosion, the actual elevation differences between the beaches and the town were formed by the movement of Teutonic plates under the sea. Africa rose up and Europe went down as a result.
Secret Passageway and Nighttime on the Beach
There are plenty of restaurants above and on the beach. Unfortunately, many of them have already closed for the season and others will follow. Two that are worth noting that are still open are Restaurante a Casa da Rocha and Safari. At da Rocha we enjoyed a lamb shank meal and scenic views of the sunsets. At Safari we met the owner, Margarita, who offered us advice and is always ready to answer questions. We stayed at Safari long enough to enjoy Aperol Spritzers and Lamb Stew.
Our favorite restaurant which we frequented at least once a week was Tapas O Destapas where we tried just about everything on the menu. Everything was excellent in this family run restaurant, and friendships were developed with all of the staff. Especially the owner Juan and his son John. When our family visited Juan prepared a special dish of Shellfish and Rice for the whole table.
My daughter came to Portugal with the intent of visiting the Christmas Markets. Portimao did not provide much of an opportunity, but she was departing from Lisbon. So we all went up to Lisbon two days early to explore. A lovely market was not all, as we took in sights such as the large park squares and the Statue of Christ similar to Rio de Janiero. I could not resist the last photo as we passed a restaurant showing off lobsters in a tank. We asked a worker and found out the largest (by far) in the tank weighed eight pounds.