Praia Da Rocha, Algarve - Stein Travel
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Praia Da Rocha

Praia Da Rocha Overview

 

Praia da Rocha is popular all year around and it was lovely to see people of all ages enjoying the February sunshine, taking a stroll, relaxing on a bench or enjoying a drink at one of the many cafes.

 Praia da Rocha, the beach next to Portimão marina, is a bustling holiday resort in its own right. It became a tourist centre at the end of the 19th century, when it was the favoured summer resort of families from, not only Portimão, but also the rest of the Algarve and Andalusia; and in the winter with English visitors. The Hotel da Bela Vista with its Belle Epoque architecture, dates from this time and stands out amongst the modern buildings along the beach front.

The beach itself is vast, even in the middle of summer there is always plenty of space. The avenue, Tomás Cabreira, which runs along the top of the beach, is full of restaurants, cafes, and shops and is particularly lively at night with a variety of bars, and clubs to choose from. At the end of the avenue is the Fortress of Santa Catarina de Ribamar, which was part of Portimão's defences against corsairs and pirates. It was built in the 17th and 18th centuries and gives a wonderful view of the beach and the cliffs on one side and the marina on the other.

The accommodation in Praia da Rocha is mostly in hotels and high-rise apartment blocks, but they are well spaced out and close to all the local amenities, and those facing the sea will have wonderful views.

Information & Facts

Activities

  • Hotel Algarve Casino: A daily show, dinner, dancing and maybe try your luck!

    Hotel Algarve Casino
  • Slide and Splash water park near Lagoa operates from the beginning of April to the end of October. It opens daily at 10am and closes between 5pm and 6pm depending on the time of year.
  • Aqualand (The Big One): Water park near Alcantarilha.
  • Parque Zoológico de Lagos (Zoo Lagos) - a beautiful zoo, just on the outskirts of Lagos. It is a fantastic day out for all ages, with lots of lovely animals.
     

Eating Out

Alcohol in general tends to be very reasonably priced in the Algarve (in fact, probably considered cheap compared to most countries), with bottles of wine from as little as 1€ in the supermarkets! The prices of drinks in bars and restaurants can be very reasonable, a glass of wine €1.20 to €2.50, spirits (normally good sized measures) about €3 and small draft beers from €1 to €1.50, however they can also be a bit extortionate, especially in popular bars in tourist season, up to €6 for a spirit and mixer. For some of the best prices, stop at one of the many local cafés because they are a lot cheaper than the bars. With so many orange trees across the Algarve, its not suprising that fresh orange juice is widely served in cafes, bars and restaurants; a glass can cost as little as €2 but may be as much as €4, but it is well worth it!

A lot of the wine sold in the Algarve comes from other parts of Portugal (for example from Bairrada in the north, Estremadura near Lisbon and Alentejo) but the Algarve does also produce its own wine, most of which comes from the Lagoa, Portimão and Tavira areas. Most restaurants will only have Portuguese wines on their wine list.
The 'house' wine ("vinho da casa") in white ("branco") and red ("tinto") is nearly always a local Portuguese wine and good value. You can also opt for "vinho verde" which is a young 'green' wine, slightly sparkling, light and refreshing and goes very well with fish and chicken dishes, or rosé - Mateus rosé being the best known.

Restaurants

With over 200km of coastline, it’s not surprising that the fish and seafood are a staple part of the diet for people in the Algarve. With daily fishing trips bringing in huge amounts of fresh sardines, tuna, bream, cod, monkfish and many other types of fish; plentiful supplies of clams, oysters, prawns, not to mention octopus and squid, it’s easy to understand why.

The traditional Portuguese restaurants normally offer a large selection of fish dishes, one of which is almost certain to be grilled sardines, served with boiled potatoes and vegetables or salad. Also commonly on the menu are a range of omelettes, salads and some meat dishes, like thin pork slices served with a creamy mushroom sauce or chicken piri-piri.The prices are very reasonable, the food is good and the portions are generous.

Starters - "Entradas"

"Couvert" is the traditional start to a meal and normally consists of  fresh bread, olives, sardine paté, cheese and carrots that have been lightly cooked and marinated in garlic, olive oil and spices. Most waiters will ask before serving the couvert, but if it is brought to the table and you don't want it, simply ask the waiter to take it back. Couvert often costs as little as 1.50€ a person, but do check as it can be rather more.

 

Main Courses - "Pratos"

A lot of the main dishes in Algarve restaurants are based around fish and seafood. The fish is normally simply prepared and served with salad and boiled potatoes or chips. You will find lots of  types of fish to choose from, such as swordfish ("espadarte"), tuna ("atum"), stone bass ("cherne") sea bass ("robalo") and red mullet ("salmonete"). Sometimes the price is for the dish, but a lot of fish is sold by weight (euros/kg) so it is worth checking before ordering.

Chicken ("frango") dishes are also popular in Algarve restaurants and you will frequently see chicken piri-piri ("frango piri-piri") on a menu. This dish uses the tiny bright red piri-piri chilli pepper, which is used to spice up many other Portuguese dishes too and is even used as table condiment. Barbequed chicken ("frango no churrasco") is also a favourite for the Portuguese and not surprisingly since the great all-year-round weather has created a tradition of out-door cooking.

 

Desserts - "Sobremesas"

The Portuguese make the most wonderful desserts and pastries and a visit to the Algarve wouldn’t be complete without sampling one or two of them! The best-loved desserts are "Pudim Flan" (crème caramel), "pasties de nata" ( a creamy, custard tart) and "tarte de amêndoa" (almond tart) and are highly recommended! Figs, almonds and locally produced honey in various combinations also feature highly on dessert menus along with fresh fruit.

Dining with children

Children are always welcome, day or night, and although there may not be a special children's menu, they are always catered for...either ask for "meia dose" (pronounced 'maya dose') which is a half portion, or a meal to be shared.

Shopping

If you are a serious shopper, then take a trip to Algarve Shopping Mall near Guia - you can always leave the menfolk on one of the couches in the sunshine while you browse the shops! There is also a food hall with a variety of restaurants and 'fast food' outlets to keep them occupied! The mall is easily reached along the A22 motorway - take the turning for Albufeira/Guia, then follow the signs for Guia and the mall is on the left over the road bridge.

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