Praia de Rocha is a beach resort a few kilometers west of Portimao. Portimao itself is a working port on the Algarve and has frequent visits by ocean liners. It is also a residential and commercial center. The waterfront host a couple of large pavement cafes which offer a wide range of everything from full English breakfasts to decent Italian Pasta meals with wine from around 15 euros per head. Adjacent newsagents offer a wide range of European newspapers from around 10:30 each day and it is very pleasant to read a current day 'The Times' with a freshly squeezed orange juice.
Frankly there is not a lot on offer in Portimao itself. Even the locals will tell you your choices are a sea trip to the caves on the Algarve, a river trip to Silves, or eat sardines. Our experience was that the later was the least attractive. The satisfaction from the former was gained by engaging with the staff who generally spoke good English.
In 2012 the main shopping areas of the town were quite depressing, obviously due to the economic climate. So don't expect too much there. However possibly worth a visit for those interested in what is available.
Would I go back? Yes - but only for a weekend and then only to spend more time in Silves. Would it be worth it? Probably not.
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