Portimão - Algarve, Portugal
This is my second visit to Portimão for an extended stay. As I am staying with a friend, I have no opinion about accomodations. What I enjoy most here is the climate, even in the winter. Shopping for food is fun and the prices can even be reasonable, the same goes for many restaurants.
It can be a challenge to find simple litle things at times, but this is compensated for by the great variety of typical portuguese sweets and the many many different and often even cheap wines. The beaches are a treat at any time, especially during the winter months as the masses of tourists are absent.
There ARE drawbacks of course to this at first seemingly heaven. The drivers of any kind of motorized vehicle and their habbits are simply irresponsible, if not dangerous as Portugal has the highest rate of (deadly) accidents in all of Europe. Passing over double lines in a curve with oncoming traffic is almost the norm. Motorbikes being the worst offenders. The other nuisance is the abundance of noisy dogs that leave their mess at any place, and of course Portuguese people never heard of "POOP and SCOOP". So, beware where you step.
"You like to walk??...."
... well then better be prepared to use the roads, as the majority of portuguese drivers use the ... SIDEWALK - to park their cars. I never came across such ignorance in any other country of my travels. Especially, since many sidewalks are too narrow even to walk side by side. Being a pedestrian can be outright dangerous at times, as on a few occasions the cars were heading so close to me that the shopping bags I was carrying hit the car, and on another occasion I banged my fist on the roof of one of the passing car to make the driver aware of what he was doing. There seems to be a "ME" attitude among many people that I dont like.
But enough of the bashing, it can be a nice place if one can adapt to some of the differences in culture.
There are many places of interest within a short drive of Portimão. Silves, Sagres, Carvoeiro, Vilamoura, Armação de Pera, Albufeira, Lagos and others. Many have splendid beaches, Marinas, and /or a great assortment of restaurants. And the big shopping mall in Guia alone is worth a visit.
"A place to relax"
All in all, its never too far to find a place to unwind. The fountain plaza by the river is one of the many places to take a break, have a snack or just for people watching.