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Day trip to Ferragudo and suggested one day itinerary and tour
Ferragudo is a charming fishing town that situated on the eastern side of the Arada River, and makes for an enjoyable day trip from Carvoeiro or Praia da Rocha. Ferragudo is far removed from the hectic resort towns, and has offers a peaceful and unhurried ambience, while the surrounding coastline boasts of some of the finest beaches of the Lagoa region.
Within the small town there is a delightful harbour, pretty cobbled shopping streets and a selection of outstanding seafood restaurants. To the south of Ferragudo is the São João do Arada fort and the vast Praia Grande beach, while further along the coastline leads to the Ponta do Altar Lighthouse and the stunning Praia dos Caneiros beach.
The river front of Ferragudo
A day trip to Ferragudo provides an authentic Portuguese fishing town, which is surrounded by a wonderfully scenic coastline. This guide will provide an overview for a day trip and includes details of sights, an overview of the beaches and a suggested itinerary.
Quick overview for an excursion to Ferragudo
The traditional fishing harbour of Ferragudo
How long to spend in Ferragudo?
Ferragudo is only a small town and all of the sights can be easily seen within a couple of hours, but this rushed approach misses the entire point of Ferragudo. Ferragudo is a peaceful, unhurried destination where a lunch should take much longer, and time should be spent socialising in the beach bars.
If you dislike sitting around and have a personality of wanting to explore, consider the scenic hike south along the Praia Grande and cliffs to the Ponta do Altar and the Caneiros beaches. If based in Carvoeiro, a day trip could be easily extended by crossing the Arada River by water taxi to the bustling city of Portimão.
The Praia dos Caneiros beach
A suggested itinerary for a day trip to Ferragudo
The following is our suggested itinerary for a day trip to Ferragudo, which is divided into town sightseeing in the morning and exploring the coastline in the afternoon.
• Arrive by bus (Portimão) or taxi/Uber (Carvoeiro) to the Rua Marechal Carmona in the centre of Ferragudo (GPS: 37.12499, -8.51789)
• Wander along the Rua Infante Santo and the harbour front
• Squeeze around the rear of lifeboat station (GPS 37.12378, -8.52255) to reach the Praia da Angrinha
• See the fishermen’s huts, which are to the rear of the beach, where old men are tending to their nets and cats search for seafood scraps.
• On the beachfront admire the views over Portimão, and walk to the Arada Fort (GPS 37.119659,-8.522453)
• Head back to the lifeboat station and climb the narrow stairs to the Igreja de Ferragudo church (GPS 37.12345, -8.521989)
• Head downhill via the cobbled streets to the Praça Rainha Dona Leonor (GPS 37.12478, -8.51967)
• Cross the rive to the northern side and take the classic photo of Ferragudo (GPS 37.12543, -8.52353)
• It’s probably time for lunch, so choose a welcoming restaurant in the Praça Rainha Dona Leonor or the adjoining Rua Infante Santo
• Have a strong coffee at the end of the lunch to give the energy to walk to the Praia Grande (GPS 37.11762, -8.52129)
The rest of the afternoon could be spent relaxing on the Praia Grande or socialising in one of the beach bars that line the beach.
An alternative activity is the scenic coastal path to Caneiros beach, which is about 1.5km south from the Praia Grande beach bars (or 2.5km from central Ferragudo) this route includes:
• The cliff footpath at the southern end of the Praia Grande (care needed as a bit rough in patches). The path starts at GPS 37.11350, -8.51789)
• The Praia do Molhe and the long harbour defences, which stretches out from the beach (GPS 37.11013 ,-8.51942)
• The pretty Praia do Pintadinho, a beach which is the favourite with locals (GPS 37.10771, -8.51849)
• The Ponta do Altar headland, with the low-rise lighthouse and distinctive (or ugly) navigational tower (GPS 37.10577, -8.51940)
• The beautiful Caneiros beach (our favourite beach of the region) (GPS 37.10533, -8.51402)
Kayaks could be hired to explore the coastline instead of walking along it (details of Kayak rental and tours further are detailed further in this article)
The Praia da Angrinha is scattered with fishing equipment
Sights of Ferragudo
Castelo de São João do Arade
The Castelo de São João do Arade is a riverside fortification that is positioned on the rocky headland between the Praia Grande and the Praia da Angrinha. This fort in conjunction with the Fort of Santa Catarina (in Praia da Rocha) guarded the Arada River against pirates or North Africa raiders.
The castle was constructed in 1640, and unlike many other castles of the era has not been altered since its original construction, this is due to it being undamaged during the powerful 1755 earthquake. Sadly, the fort is privately owned and is not open to the public.
The Ponta do Altar and the Lighthouse
The Ponta do Altar headland forms the eastern mouth of the Arada estuary and positioned at the top of the high cliffs is the Ponta do Altar lighthouse. When the lighthouse was constructed in 1893, it was deemed not necessary for a conventional tower, due to the height of the cliffs (32m), and today the light can be seen up to 29km out to sea.
The lighthouse is not open to the public, but from the headland there are wonderful views over the estuary and Praia da Rocha. Contained with the Ponta do Altar headland is one of the largest sinkholes of the region, the Algar dos Caneiros, just don’t get to close to the edge.
Igreja de Ferragudo
The church stands at one of the highest points of Ferragudo.
Kayak rentals and tours
For a different method to explore the coastline, kayaks can be hired (€8/ €10 single/double per hour) or an organised kayak tour could be joined (€25 – 3hours). The tours and rentals are from the Praia Grande, and for more information please see:
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The Praia do Pintadinho and caves are only a short paddle away from Ferragudo
Travel to Ferragudo
Public transport is sadly very limited within the Algarve and driving is the best option to reach Ferragudo. Unlike many of the other resort towns there is ample car parking, either behind the Praia da Angrinha (GPS: 37.12153, -8.52184) on no the northern side of the river (GPS 37.12661, -8.52424). Both of these locations are very popular with camper vans during the low season and are great stopovers.
The traditional fishing harbour of Ferragudo
Portimão (and Praia da Rocha) to Ferragudo
The bus is probably the easiest method of transport from Portimão and takes 15minutes. A ticket costs €2.30/€4.60 (single/return). The bus departs Portimão from Largo do Dique (GPS: 37.13671, -8.53513) a series of bus stops close to the waterfront, and terminates in the Rua Marechal Carmona (GPS: 37.12509, -8.51815) in Ferragudo. The bus service is seasonal, and the latest timetable can be viewed on the Eva bus website, using the “Time Table Search” feature .
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If your hotel is based within Praia da Rocha, then catch the local bus service to the Largo do Dique.
Water taxi between Portimão and Ferragudo
During the summer season there is a water taxi from Portimão waterfront to the harbour in Ferragudo. A return ticket costs €6 and is much more enjoyable than the bus.
What about the beaches?
Ferragudo has a two good beaches within the city limits, the Praia da Angrinha and the Praia Grande, while a longer walk reaches the more scenic beaches of Praia do Pintadinho and Praia dos Caneiros.
The Praia Grande
The Praia Grande is the better beach of Ferragudo, and as the name suggests is a large beach, which faces a southwards direction and is surrounded by the distinctive golden cliffs of the region. Though the waters are a mix of the estuary and the ocean they are suitable for bathing, while the calm and safe setting makes it popular with families. Along the rear of the beach are a selection of popular beach bars for when a break from the summer sun is needed.
Praia da Angrinha
The Praia da Angrinha has less of a scenic setting than the Praia Grande but is an interesting location place to watch the estuary traffic either heading into the Port of Portimao or out to sea. We wouldn’t recommend swimming in these waters. Behind the beach is a car park and is probably the best location to try to park in the summer season, during the low seasons this car park is a popular locaction for motorhomes to stop overnight.