Praia da Rocha - a Sun, Sand and Sailing center
"A beautiful, pollution free holiday resort area"
Praia da Rocha is very similar to the Costa de Sol. If you enjoy tranquil clear water and long stretches of beautiful beach then you are bound to like Praia da Rocha. Born as a beach suburb of Portimao, it has matured into a robust holiday resort in its own right where you will find every kind of beach and water sport activity that you could desire.
Praia da Rocha (literally "Rock Beach") is a lovely coastal city where fascinating rock formations, along an otherwise uninterrupted stretch of golden-white sand, are among the most photographed sites in Portugal.
This resort traces its origins back to a small trading port of the Phoenicians, Greeks and Carthaginians. Some think that the place was originally the famous Portus Hannibalis named by the famous Roman general, Hannibal Barca. During the following Moorish occupation they renamed the place “Burj Munt”.
Located at the mouth of the River Arade it provides a natural harbor and has in its past been a home for smugglers and pirates. The river also provides sea access to the up-river ancient and interesting city of Silves.
"If you are a beach person this is the place to be!"
But its main attraction is, of course, the wonderful beach. It is a beach of unusual rock outcroppings erupting out of a gorgeous strip of wide golden sand. The colorful eroded cliffs upon which we see a skyline full of modern buildings highlight its background. Despite this resort’s popularity, and masses of apartments and hotels, there still plenty of space on the beach to catch a tan.
It is at the western end of the long beach that the tall spires of rock that give the beach its name explodes from the sand. In this area you can often find a deserted bay or corner beneath the cliffs in which to languish and insulate yourself from the crowds and the noise of the city.
Even from the deck of the ship I was on I could tell that the main beach strip at Praia da Rocha is bustling with activity. Pedestrians rule this beach as vehicles are not allowed on the sand. Bars and restaurants spill out onto the pavement and the atmosphere is distinctly animated.
The picture included here shows the beach from the Arade river estuary. So its looking across the breakwater fishing pier (the lighthouse is at its far end) towards the multicolored rock cliffs at its west end. This picture would make you think that the beach is relatively short – but it is actually a very long and pretty beach area.
"See the Algarve from the Sea!"
We were on the Wind Spirit and sailing out of Portimao on our way to Lisbon when I captured this photograph of a nice sailing ship with Praia da Rocha in the background.
You can take my word for it, the sailing area off the Algarve coast is beautiful almost beyond words. The coastline west between Faro and Sagres consists of small bays and coves broken up by imposing rocky outcrops and amazing grottoes. Then seventeen miles to the west of Lagos is Cape St. Vincent that is a formidable headland that was considered by the ancient and mediaeval Portuguese to be the western extremity of the world. All great scenic areas to see from the sea.
If you decide to take a sailing adventure then don’t be surprised if you see lots of dolphins surrounding your boat during your adventure. There are often reports of as many as a dozen all enjoying the thrill of diving across your bow.