FERRAGUDO is synonymous with beach and vacations! But visiting Ferragudo, a land with 500 years, is also to see up close the real Portugal. A Portugal far away from the center of Lisbon. Ferragudo is a land that is divided between fishing and tourism. There live 2000 people, many are fishermen and some are foreigners. Ferragudo survived the unbridled invasion of concrete. The same barbaric invasion that the city with which it shares the Arade river, Portimão, could not resist. The white houses of Ferragudo, one of its brand images, are sometimes charming and other times old. But Ferragudo has soul and is genuine. Not only for the beaches, but also for its authenticity, it is worth going to FERRAGUDO!
The first traces of human presence in this place date back to prehistoric times (up to 3500 BC). The connection between the sea and the population of Ferragudo is ancestral. It is difficult to know exactly when they settled in Ferragudo what we call today as a settlement. Probably it was in the XIV that the first fishermen began to settle in the region. Today we know that Phoenicians, Carthaginians and Romans passed and settled there.
WHERE AND HOW TO GO TO FERRAGUDO?
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If you leave from Porto and drive, take a deep breath because 556 km and a 5h14 trip await you. Considering the distance, it’s worth considering flying. Check the best prices with SKYSCANNER.
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WHEN TO VISIT FERRAGUDO?
Those who live in FERRAGUDO know that they can count on more than 300 days of sunshine a year. Not bad! It’s easy to conclude that any time of year is a good time to visit this Algarve parish. If it’s summer, you can go to the beach and take a dip in the warm Algarvian waters. If you go there in winter, the weather may not be great for the beach. But it will certainly be perfect for a leisurely walk and to visit all that is interesting in Ferragudo. And there is a lot to see! Stay with us!
WHAT TO SEE AND DO IN FERRAGUDO?
A small parish with plenty to see and do. Here is a map with the location of Ferragudo’s main attractions.
WALK THROUGH THE HISTORICAL CENTER OF FERRAGUDO
As always, start by wandering aimlessly through the streets and alleys of the historic center. It is the only way to feel the soul of the places. In Ferragudo, besides walking along the small waterfront, it is worth observing the white houses and their typical Algarvian architecture. Take a break from walking and have a coffee at the Praça Rainha Dona Leonor, a nice and wide place. It is one of the most sought after and crowded places in the parish of Ferragudo.
The nice river Arade has its source nearby, in the Serra do Caldeirão (near Silves). It is the longest river in the Algarve with 75 km and flows into Portimão. Anyone visiting Ferragudo should walk along its banks and admire the calm and tranquil Arade River. There are several bridges across the river. It is worth crossing at least one bridge to appreciate its extensive water plane.
The “Caminho dos Promontórios” is one of the most famous walks in the Algarve! A 7 kilometer long trail that starts at the Ferragudo Pier and ends in Carvoeiro (at Paradise Beach). The path runs along the contour of the coast. Highlights include Ponta do Altar! A promontory (a rocky structure) that advances 260 meters in an imposing way into the sea! Along the trail also look closely at Leixão da Gaivota. We are talking about a rock of small dimensions but very important in the breeding of Herons.
URBAN ART IN FERRAGUDO
Walking through the streets of Ferragudo, we find several urban art paintings that deserve a closer look. They were done on the walls of some houses, on the electricity boxes and can be found next to the Ferragudo pier. They are a window into the everyday life of the local inhabitants. I love urban art! You learn a lot about the life and history of the locals through these paintings.
SÃO JOÃO DO ARADE FORT
It stands over the river and is also called Arade Castle. We are talking about a fortress built in the 17th century and restored after the great earthquake of 1755 (the same one that destroyed Lisbon). It is beautiful and imposing! It was a defensive military structure used until the end of the 19th century. It protected Ferragudo from pirate and corsair attacks. It was later sold to a private individual who used it as a residence. It is still in good condition.
PONTA DO ALTAR LIGHTHOUSE
Even if you’re not a fan of lighthouses, it’s worth going to the Ponta do Altar Lighthouse to enjoy the magnificent view of the ocean! It was in 1884 that its construction project came about (it started operating in 1893). It had a construction budget of 2 contos de reis! It is situated at Ponta do Altar (on the south side of the Portimão bar), on top of a large rock formation. It is 32 meters high. The lighthouse is still operating and is remotely controlled from Cape St. Vincent (located in Sagres). Its name (Ponta do Altar), results from the fact that there was an old altar there that fell into the sea (as a result of erosion caused by the ocean).
The church of Ferragudo that we can see and admire today was built on the same place where a 16th century religious temple existed (which was destroyed by the 1755 earthquake). Its exterior is simple. The best is inside the church. If you go there, look carefully at the pictures that date from the 17th and 18th century. If you visit the church of Ferragudo (also known as the church of Our Lady of Conceição), you can still enjoy a magnificent view of the Arade river!
During the 90s, I spent (practically) every summer in the Algarve (Manta Rota) with my father and some of his friends. I remember that we often went to Ferragudo for dinner. The freshness of the fish and shellfish justified the trip between Ferragudo and Manta Rota. Today, gastronomy is still a local attraction! If you like fish and seafood, Ferragudo is a must!
GO OUT AT NIGHT IN FERRAGUDO
Are you a die-hard fan of booze, disco and nightlife? Then don’t go to Ferragudo! At night you will find only a few cafés and a few esplanades open. But as Ferragudo is very close to Portimão, in just a few minutes (by car) you will be right in the center of the nightlife.
BEACHES AT FERRAGUDO
Many of the beaches in the Ferragudo area have the particularity of being bathed not by the ocean, but by the river Arade. But Ferragudo also has traditional Algarve beaches, those that impress by the beautiful sandy beaches, the surroundings and the temperature of the sea. Here is a map with the main beaches of the region.
This is one of the most attractive beaches in the vicinity of Ferragudo. The sand is extensive. The beach is protected by imposing cliffs where some caves have also naturally formed. Its trademark image is the presence of the rock “Leixão da Gaivota”, where many herons nest. From this beach you can also see the lighthouse of ponta do Altar. The beach has a restaurant and nearby you will find a small parking area.
It is also known as Vale da Azinhaga beach and is next to Caneiros beach. The sand of Torrado beach is of medium dimensions. On one side, the blue of the ocean. On the other, the ochre colored cliffs. The landscape is dominated by two islets that emerge from the sea. The beach is very pleasant, quite beautiful and not very frequented (because of the difficult access). To get there you have 3 options. 1- You can go through Caneiros beach during low tide; 2- You can go through the (dangerous) cliffs; 3- You can go by boat.
It is the first beach after the mouth of the river Arade. It is bathed by the ocean, but still enjoys the protection of the pontoons of the Ferragudo bar. There you will find a reasonably sized sandy beach. Protecting the beach is a vegetation that blends in with the cliffs. The caves that exist there are another of the attractions of Pintadinho beach.
100 meters is the distance that separates the river from the ocean at Molhe beach. Those who go there to take a dip can opt for the river or the sea. The sand is very small. The view is very beautiful and the sunset at Molhe beach is stunning! The access is complicated because it is made through a long and steep staircase. It is worth the visit even if it is only once to enjoy the landscape!
It is a very popular river beach, as it is the beach with the most extensive sand in the Ferragudo area. Praia Grande is bathed by the river Arade and is “embraced” by cliffs and luxuriant vegetation. On the beach, there is a walkway that extends along the beach and facilitates access to it. It has a children’s playground, terraces, awning areas, beach chairs and restaurants. In the summer it is difficult to find a parking space.
A very beautiful beach with a long stretch of sand. Located on the estuary of the river Arade. Its brand image is the castle of Ferragudo that rises imposingly dominating the landscape. Because it is a fluvial beach, you can bathe in water with practically no waves. It has an ample parking lot with many places. Sometimes the sand is not as clean as it should be.
UNMISSABLE ACTIVITIES NEAR FERRAGUDO
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WHAT TO VISIT NEAR FERRAGUDO?
To visit Ferragudo in a calm and unhurried way, we suggest 3 full days. If you want to see other attractions in the vicinity of Ferragudo, the following suggestions are for you. Here is a map to help you get your bearings.
NOSSA SENHORA DA ROCHA HERMITAGE
It is located at the top of a narrow cliff. A rock that advances imposingly into the sea! The hermitage of Nossa Senhora da Rocha was built in the 15th century (or 16th century) on the very spot where a military fortress once stood. In addition to its spectacular location and the magnificent view of the ocean, inside the temple there is an image of Our Lady.
LAGOA MAIN CHURCH
It is also known as the church of Nossa Senhora da Luz. It was built in the 16th century and renovated in the 18th century. Of the original church only a Manueline portal remains. We are talking about an imposing temple in neoclassical style.
Inside we find 3 naves. The altarpiece of the main altar and some images from the 17th and 18th centuries should be highlighted.
SLIDE AND SPLASH WATER PARK
From Ferragudo to the Slide and Splash water park is 7,4km, a distance that can be covered in approximately 12 minutes. The “old” Slide and Splash opened its doors in 1986 and is the closest water park to Ferragudo. It still deserves all the compliments of those who visit. Whoever goes there praises the cleanliness, the organization, the friendliness, the food and of course the fun! It makes the delight of children and adults.
PRACTICAL TIPS FOR ORGANIZING YOUR TRIP
PRACTICAL TIPS to organize your trip to FERRAGUDO (or other destination)
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