Just 8km west of Portimao, one of the largest towns in the Algarve, and within walking distance of Praia da Rocha's pumping late night party scene, Alvor with its huge sandy beach offers a relatively peaceful and calm alternative.
The historic Alvor was a sleepily attractive whitewashed fishing village until tourism began to take hold in the 1960s. The development has fortunately managed to remain low-rise, although sprawling, and the central Praca retains much of its original charm. The beach is a short walk along the estuary past a line of fisherman's huts and offers just about everything you could wish for in terms of facilities. At the same time the sheer size of this magnificent strip of sand ensures that, should you crave privacy, you will find it even in high summer.
Windsurfing, kitesurfing, waterskiing and sailing are just some of the activities on offer at this blue flag beach, which has very good facilities for the disabled. There is no shortage of decent cafes and bars and when you get bored of lying on the sand or bathing in the crystal clear water the Quinta da Rocha, just north of the beach, is an extensive area of salt marsh, sand spit and estuarine mud flats which is home to 22 separate species of wading bird.