Ferragudo is smaller and more traditional than it’s neighbour, Portimão. Located across the river estuary of Rio Arade, Ferragudo is a beautiful village and has actually been tipped to be one of the Algarve’s new hot spots! Many of the houses in Ferragudo are traditional fisherman’s homes – although it won’t be a ‘traditional’ price to buy one these days! It really is a very picturesque scene when you arrive in Ferragudo to see the whitewashed houses ‘tumbling’ down the hillside towards the river front and people sitting outside the cafes around the village square, passing the time of day!
Ferragudo town is embraced by palm-fringed gardens, which run alongside a narrow riverlet up to the main cobbled square, Praça Rainha Dona Leonor. This is a lovely square, with lots of café’s where you can sit for a delicious pastry and a coffee for a breakfast in a morning, or something more substantial at lunch. Take a walk around the corner onto the quay and there are some more restaurants with a lovely view across the Arade and offering delicious, fresh fish dishes. The aromas from the barbecues outside are very tempting!
If you wander down to the beach nearest to the village (Praia da Angrinha) you will see the rather amazing Fort of São João de Arade. It began life in the 15th century as a lookout tower and then was extended in 17th/18th century as part of the fortifications protecting the mouth of the river. (On the opposite bank above Portimão marina is the fort of Santa Catarina.)
At the beginning of the 20th century it was turned into a home on the initiative of the poet, Coelho Carvalho which is how it came by it’s present day, rather romantic, appearance. It is still private property, so unfortunately you can’t go inside.
The whole of the Algarve coastline had various fortifications and watchtowers to protect it through the centuries and some other historical remains in the area are those of Atalaia and Quinta da Torre which were medieval watchtowers to give warning of attacks by pirates and corsairs.
As you move away from the town centre there are many beautiful villas higher up and a lighthouse down a one-way track towards the coast on Ponta do Altar. To get up this far and to travel around Ferragudo you may want to have a car because it is quite spread out, but if you like to get out and about on foot you can walk from the town, to the furthest beach, Praia dos Caneiros. There are painted arrows from the town and out along the coast to help you.
From the point beside Ferragudo lighthouse there is a fantastic view of Portimão across the river, the Monchique hills in the background and the sea stretching into the distance.
There are some lovely beaches in Ferragudo, Praia Grande and Praia do Pintadinho being just two, but it is worth exploring, either by car, or by foot. You’ll find signposts for the beaches, and for several bar-restaurants as you travel around in case you want to pit stop for a drink or something to eat.
For a relaxing holiday – good beaches, plenty of places for an evening meal and scenic walks, then Ferragudo is hard to beat.