Vila Real de Santo Antonio, Portugal - Stein Travel
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Vila Real de Santo Antonio

The unusual resort town of Vila Real de Santo Antonio, 53 miles (85km) east of Faro, is neatly designed on a geometric grid system, radiating out from the central square, the Praca Marques de Pombal, with its dramatic paved radial mosaic floor and central obelisk, edged with orange trees. The town is on the west bank of the River Guardiana, facing Ayamonte, Spain, which is on the east bank.

Back in the 17th century, the original town was inundated by the sea and was rebuilt by the Marques de Pombal, who had rebuilt Lisbon after the 1755 earthquake. The reconstruction was completed in just five months, leaving a tidy town with streets lined by elegant 18th century townhouses and a long esplanade along the riverbank where strollers on holiday can enjoy an impressive view across to neighbouring Spain. The Manuel Cabanas Museum in town is a popular attraction, as is Castro Marim, which boasts the fort of São Sebastião, and two ancient castles on its massive hilltop just 1.86 miles (3km) from town. A car ferry connects to Spain.

Information & Facts


Portuguese is the official language, but English is widely spoken and understood.


Portugal is a member of the European Union and its official currency is the Euro (EUR), which is divided into 100 cents. There are numerous banks, bureaux de change and ATMs available in main cities and tourist destinations. Foreign currency can be exchanged at banks, bureaux de change and automatic currency exchange machines. Banking hours are generally 8.30am to 3pm Monday to Friday. Major credit cards are widely accepted, as are travellers cheques.


Local time is GMT (GMT +1 from last Sunday in March to Saturday before last Sunday in October).

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