Portimao – Lost in a Residential Town

One of our days out on our trip to Portugal was to the town of Portimao. We didn’t know too much about this place, but as it wasn’t too far away we thought we should pay it a visit. We took a local bus, the bus stop was right outside our hotel which was handy.

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The journey took about 40 minutes and cost us 4.15 Euros per person each way. We were dropped off at the bus station in Portimao, which was near the water. It was a promising start as we had just travelled over a bridge that passed over the Arade river and there was a lovely view of the town and river.

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Once off the bus we weren’t sure which direction to walk in to reach anything significant, so we followed a group of people who had gotten off the bus in front of us. They turned right and walked along the water and we realised they were heading to the beach Praia da Rocha and we didn’t want to head that way! So we turned back and tried to find some sort of centre…but every turn we took all we seemed to be faced with was residential buildings and the odd shop. There were hardly any tourists and it took us over half an hour to find a place to eat.

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It was a simple little restaurant that mainly sold massive toasties! We shared one between us, as they were 7 Euros. Emma had looked into Portimao and she found positive descriptions of the town, such as an old town area, which we think we found and was basically a couple of shops, a little kind of square with tiled walls and a partly cobbled street. But we didn’t feel like this should have been classed as the old town, which is a nice place for tourists to visit.

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We kept on a wandering, hoping to find more life. Until we gave in and looped back round to the river and it was here that we found where some of the action appeared to be! There were a few restaurants, shops, a lot of ice cream being sold and even a tourist train! The latter would have been great to use, as what sights they were in Portimao we would have seen on the train.

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In our dismay we settled with buying ourselves an ice cream and took a slow walk back to the bus station. We realised that if we had turned left instead of right once off the bus then we would have come across this bit of life straight away and might have left with a different impression of this town. We did walk through a pretty little park though. But Portimao appeared to be a very residential town with little for tourists, except the beach to the south and the shops, such as Primark to the north.

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