Well I do like to explore a new place and thank heavens we decided to come here after missing it out last year. Just across the Arada river estuary from bustling Portimao and Praia de Rocha lies the pretty little fishing harbour town of Ferragudo. It was only 9 miles from Silves so it seemed churlish not to stop and have a quick look as lots of our friends had recommended it. The sat nav was in a good mood today. No trickery, phew! The parking area was easy to find, it’s a large open space, as warned, we were careful to avoid the patches of loose unstable sand. Park considerately ie not where the locals do and don’t display any camping behaviour to avoid issues with GNR.
The view from the van is amazing. There is a little river beach, bobbing boats and the white town tumbling down the opposite banks of the harbour. It’s really lovely.
Praia de Rocha and Portimao are built up and touristy whilst Ferragudo is largely unspoilt. The main square, Praia Rainha Dona Leonor at the edge of the palm fringed river is a lovely spot to enjoy a coffee or a glass of wine and watch the world go by. Casa Grande ‘The Big House’ on the riverfront road has an excellent list of local wines and regional tapas. It also has live music some evenings. I’m going to check the website when I get back to the van. It’s a very impressive looking place. The narrow cobbled side streets spread uphill off the square, lined with traditional whitewashed cottages draped in flowers, towards the beautiful church.
Along the waters edge are several quality fish restaurants. The small fishing boats unload their catch on the front and deliver directly to them so the fish should be good and fresh! The larger boats dock over in Portimao. It’s quite a spectacle watching them sailing in, flanked by a million gulls.
The Church overlooks the town and from the terrace outside there are some amazing views of the river below, across to Portimao and the beaches.
From the edge of the beach juts the commanding, very well preserved, 16th Century castle, Castelo de Sao Joao do Arade. It’s sister castle, Fortaleza de Santa Catarina, stands on the opposite banks of the river in Praia de Rocha. They were built to protect Portimao from African Pirates back in the day. Around the corner from the castle is a huge expanse of sandy beach, Praia Grande and some impressive rocky outcrops.
From the little harbour you can take various boat trips or a water taxi over to Praia de Rocha or Portimao. It’s €8 return. The bus is cheaper but not as pleasant. The season starts on 1st of February so we’re out of luck this time unless we hang around. Whilst Portimao is a sprawl of commercial tourism now it still retains its historic quarter by the riverfront and I would have really liked to visit.
So that’s Ferragudo folks. A smashing little place. Very charming indeed. If you’re holidaying in Praia de Rocha jump on a boat and give it a go. If you’re a Motorhomer, it’s definitely not to be missed.
We’ve had a couple of cloudy days whilst we’ve been here. It’s still pleasant though, we can’t really grumble. The folks back home have snow. All well and good if you have nowhere to go and nothing to do except curl up in front of the fire but not so great if you have to drive to work or do horses and the Derbyshire roads are always notoriously bad. So stay safe and wrapped up my lovely friends, I shall spare you a thought. Love to all and catch you at the next place wherever that may be. Adious for now, toodaloo ❤️