Jo’s Monday walk : as promised, Portimão

The fishing community of Portimao revere the Virgin

The fishing community of Portimao are mostly religious

Portimão is that intriguing mix of shabby and chique that, for me, typifies the Algarve.  Always assuming you can find it, that is!  Portimão is a big city by Algarve standards, but still I struggled to locate it. Fortunately for me, my driver has a much better sense of direction.

Heading for the city centre, we managed to end up at the beach, at neighbouring Praia da Rocha. That was fine and produced a highly enjoyable Monday walk last week.  In theory, we then just needed to follow the mouth of the River Arade inland till we came to the waterfront at Portimão. ‘Oops- I think it’s back that way’ sound familiar to you?  I think my advice to strangers would be to catch the bus!  The bus station is, conveniently, right alongside the waterfront.  But if you do manage to find it by car, there’s a generous parking area.

Deep in thought!

Deep in thought!

So what will you find, and does it repay the effort?  Well, boats, of course, and fish (Portimão boasts an impressive selection of fish restaurants).  Come stroll with me along the Manuel Bivar gardens at the waterfront.  Then we can delve a little into the history of this town.

Did somebody mention boats?

Did somebody mention boats?

Aside from the fishing industry the city hosts numerous sailing events, and the Portuguese Gran Prix of the Sea, for those who like noisy powerboats.  In Summer you can catch a boat all the way up the river to beautiful Silves.  At this time of year, the waterfront is peaceful, peopled simply with a series of sculptures.

But I do like this sad face

I rather like this mournful face

The promenade continues to Largo de Barca, the home of many of the simple fish restaurants. Sizzling sardines are the staple diet in these parts.  A bridge spans the enormous width of the river at this point.  On the far shore, pretty Ferragudo.  For many years access was by ferry only.

With its excellent situation, in the natural shelter of the River Arade, Portimão began to develop into an important trading centre from the time of the Phoenicians. In 1435 it was awarded town status and walls were constructed to protect growing prosperity, and prevent pirate raids.  Two forts were built at the river mouth- Santa Catarina, featured in last week’s Praia da Rocha walk and, across the river in Ferragudo, the picturesque Castelo de São João. The earthquake of 1755 did major damage to the town walls.  Santa Catarina fort was damaged too, but was later reconstructed.

Turn in on Rua Professore Jose Buisel, from Largo de Barco, and you are in a neighbourhood of slightly down-at-heel fishermen’s homes.  Many still have original azulejo tiles, with religious images above the door.  The road leads toward the pedestrianised shopping area.  The spire of the mother church, Igreja Matriz, provides a good landmark in its elevated position above Praca da Republica.  A huge Jesuit college dominates the Praca.  You are very welcome to look inside.

From the Praca, turn right down Rua Diogo Tome and you are heading back towards the river. The shops in this area are smart, so it comes as a bit of a surprise to come upon some wall art.

Fishermen, of course, plying their trade

Fishermen, of course, plying their trade

Plying their trade

And a gull or two

I was heading towards Largo 1st de Dezembro because I’d read about some azulejo tiled benches there.  If you saw my Six word Saturday this week you’ll know that I’ve been collecting bench photos lately.  The benches commemorate famous dates in Portuguese history.



The benches are a little shabby these days, and slightly incongruous in a busy city square, but you can still admire the artistry.  I imagine on a fine day in Summer that the benches would all be taken with office workers on their lunch break. I stole a longing look at the most elegant of cake shops, but it was time to return to the waterfront, just ahead of me. I reflected as I did how foolish that I had been unable to find this vast river in a city which orients itself totally to the sea.

Returning to the river

Main square at the riverfront

Had it been worth it?  I think so.  I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Portimão a little better.  I hope you did too.  If you prefer to see it bustling with people, a huge market wraps around Largo de Barco at the beginning of each month.

walking logo

Lots of walks to share this week!  You’ll need plenty of stamina.  And a cuppa or two!  If you’re new to my walks just click on the logo to find out how to join in.  To everybody else, thank you for your fantastic contributions and for making Jo’s Monday walk a success.


As always, Drake is here, waiting, to make me smile.  Isn’t he the nicest guy?

Step on Stones

Paula always has something beautiful to share, and this week is no exception  :

Summer Bloom 

Tobias is in the woods this week.  My favourite is number two.  How about you?

A Walk in the Forest 

If anyone you know can have fun with symmetry, it has to be Yvette!


Anabel takes us walking by Loch Lomond.  The islands are beautiful!

Balmaha and Conic Hill

Jude’s taking us to sunny Australia.  Form an orderly line, please!

The Manly Eastern Hill Heritage Trail

Please welcome newcomer (to my blog) Geoff!  As the song goes…

You’ll never walk alone!

Or you could venture into the Polish capital, with Meg.  Please do!  She’d love your company  :

Walking through the heart of Warsaw 

And there’s the cutest squirrel in this one!

A walk in Lazienki

Esther charmingly rhymes as she walks  :

Walk on the Beach

Elizabeth revives some beautiful memories  :

Walking in the Mountains above Interlaken

And Minou takes us canal rambling in Holland (or you could grab a bike!)

Following the footsteps of pilgrims in Leiden

And then climbing the most beautiful windmill.  You can just watch if you’re tired.

Climbing Leiden’s Windmill

Pauline is posting a storm warning.  By the time you read this it will have passed over, with not too much damage, I very much hope.

Storm Warning 

If temple ruins in Laos appeal, this is the post for you!

Vat Phou, the Angkor-style temple in Laos 

So many fantastic places to visit in this world, aren’t there?  Thanks again everybody.  Have a happy week, and keep walking!



    1. Hi Debbie! Oooh, pangs of guilt! I haven’t been to yours in ages 😦 I’ll put that right as soon as I finish my ‘comments’ this morning. Yes, I can imagine you tinkering around, enjoying this city. 🙂

      1. No need for pangs of guilt! Seriously! Don’t you just wonder sometimes how it is we manage to keep up at all? LOL! I think it’s just wonderful when we do connect, but I’m having my own trouble making the rounds. Have a great week, my friend.

  1. Thanks for a lovely walk. What’s the story behind the sculptures? I love the simplicity of line of the murals, and of course the bridges and benches.

    Thanks for deluging people with two of my Warsaw walks at once. Not much walking for the rest of the stay, just a heap of twin-company, and sometimes twin-wrangling.

    1. You need to make the most, Meg. You are formally excused from visiting/commenting till you reach wherever it is you’re going next (home?) 🙂
      The signs on the sculptures were in Portuguese and a certain impatient husband was far in the distance so I didn’t linger. I guess I could Google them 🙂 Hugs for the little ‘angels’!

    1. I was so caught up in the telling, Lynne, I don’t think I explained too well. Parts of the city are modern and high rise and there’s a confusing array of choices on the signs. Very easy to get lost 🙂 (and that’s something I do very easily!)

  2. I’ve always been a fan of the shabby chic look, which is why I feel right at home here. I like the variety of photographs from different areas and angles that really help give a sense of the place. Very nice!

  3. Such a beautiful blue canopy of sky over everything. With my mind on earthquakes recently, I was interested to note your reference to the 1755 Lisbon earthquake. Now that one makes our little earthquakes look like mere twitches of the earth.

    1. Are you having bad tremors again, Ann? With what happened to Christchurch anyone living there would be twitchy! Funny, I’ve written about 1755 numerous times but I never even consider earthquakes when I’m in the Algarve. I can imagine few things more scary!
      I’m looking over my shoulder at the most glorious sunrise. Have a good week, Ann, and I hope all is peaceful and calm. 🙂

  4. My compliments for the photo of the “deep in thought” statue. All fine photos and views… I was just thinking how I would have made at least 4 posts with this amount of images 😀 and I don’t consider myself a mean person 😉 Generosity as always 🙂

    1. Value for money? I just like to waffle on a bit 🙂 And a small round of applause at the end. If I supply enough photos everyone must like one of them? 🙂 🙂 Thank you, Paula.

  5. I’m here at last! Love those benches, never seen anything like those. Bit hard to sit on though! The blue skies there seem to have their own unique shade, just beautiful. Lovely walk, thank you Jo. Now I’m ready for bed 🙂

  6. I don’t know what the temperature is at the moment in The Algarve but those blue skies look glorious. As I type the window is howling outside and rain was tumbling down for some of today. The blue tiles look lovely too. 😉

    1. Our window panes are playing rock and roll too 🙂 I was foolhardy enough to be walking on the north east coast this morning. Only just a tiny flurry of snow! 🙂 I know! I know! Why aren’t I back in the Algarve?

      1. As much as I want to meet you in person, Jo, I understand that Vegas should not be a first choice when it comes to travel destinations 🙂 I hope we will meet somewhere by the sea when the time is right 🙂

      2. I have some friends who are making the trip but I can’t really afford it. I only really want to do the Canyon, Elena, but beggars can’t be choosers. And I shouldn’t be so greedy! 🙂

      3. Canyon is a worthy experience, no doubt, but at the same time, it’s not worth to overpay or stretch one’s budget for. That is my personal view, of course. In any case, IF you do manage to come – make sure to let me know! We’ll be happy show you around Vegas and vicinity 🙂

  7. I really like the sculptures and the architecture. If you ever go to Brazil and visit the colonial towns, you’ll feel immediately at home. The buildings and colours are very, very similar, for obvious reasons.
    And I can never get enough of those beautiful tiles!

    1. It’s a bit on the ‘grungy’ side, Gilly, but it certainly has its points of interest and I love the waterfront. I have another couple of the benches I might use for Jude. 🙂

    1. So glad to hear from you, Suze! Were you in Dubai when that hotel fire broke out? I know no-one was hurt but it looked horrendous!
      It was sunny and snowy here today! A crazy wild and windy day 🙂 Not quite the Algarve.

  8. Ooops, my comment didn’t go through.
    Such a beautiful day for a walk, Jo. These statues are fascinating. Love the last photo especially. I need to explore new places for the Monday Walk theme. 🙂

  9. What a beautiful walk you have taken us on this morning Jo. I was especially intrigues with all of the sculptures. Great work on the photography and my top photo pick ( as if I am any expert) was the large photo of the bell tower. Love that perspective.

    1. Thanks a lot, Sue 🙂 It’s one of those grungy towns where you have to scrape beneath the surface a little to find the jewels, but I love doing that. And waterfronts and me go together like… well, you know what 🙂

      1. Peanut butter and jam? 🙂 Yes i love looking for the gems in a place. I can’t recall how many people told me there was nothing to see or do in Aberdeen.

  10. Love your description of the Porugese town – it is beautiful and charming. The benches are really neat from the beautiful art and materials used, to the history. If I were to travel it’s a place I would love to visit.

    1. It’s a very real town, Mary, with the usual traffic problems and high rise ugliness in places, but much of it is, as you observed, beautiful 🙂 Many thanks for your company!

  11. what a charming portugese town, Jo! the sculptures are quite interesting and i love the tiled benches! great pictures and thank you for the lovely walk, as always! 🙂

  12. The sculptures are really fascinating, Jo. I loved seeing the boats, and that wall art is very striking indeed. What uniquely beautiful benches you’ve shown us. Thanks for the walk, I really need it after last night’s overindulgent dinner. 🙂

    1. Rain, Jude? I thought we got rid of that yesterday! I’ve been blowing about on clifftops this morning. Not for the faint-hearted. I did tell Michael I wanted to stay in bed 🙂 Thanks a lot!

      1. I’m back and I really enjoyed having a look around this port. You may remember my saying that we stayed in nearby Carvoeiro a decade or so ago and were very impressed with the Algarve around there. Didn’t make it to Portimão though we did visit Silves and a tiny church with gold decoration! I would love to sit outside and enjoy a dish of grilled sardines with a view of the river. You certainly have whetted my appetite Jo.
        Jude xx
        (…and no it didn’t rain, but there was a black cloud or two! Cold and breezy today here too 🙂 )

      2. Just sent you the email 🙂 I was going to suggest that Alvor might make a nice little place to stay for a week. Don’t know if you know it but it’s in that neck of the woods. 🙂

    1. Yes, you are a little strange, Esther, but in rather a nice way 🙂 I did stop to read some of the signs on the sculptures but my Portuguese was hardly up to the job 🙂

    1. It’s a queer old place, Andrew, but I’m pretty sure you’d find some bits that would appeal. Praia da Rocha was one of the first places we ever went in the Algarve, and we ended up there by default that time too, and had to ‘hunt’ for Portimao centre. Our son took one look at the high rises at the resort and said ‘why couldn’t you buy in somewhere cool like this?’ Not for you and me! 🙂

  13. i pescatori sono in lotta continua con il fato e con gli elementi quindi hanno un buon motivo per pregare, la loro devozione è assoluta, non dovuta a superstizione e questo fa loro meglio accettare i pericoli
    bello come sempre questo tuo post
    felice giorno Jo, qui a Pisa già si sente la Primavera

    1. Yes, I had thought to make that point, Ventis, so thank you for saying it for me. 🙂 It’s a life fraught with danger. It’s bitterly cold here in the north east but still bright and beautiful. Hugs, cara. Enjoy your week 🙂

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