Ferragudo is a small fishing town located west of the centre of the Algarve and on the eastern side of the Arade River. Though it’s in a prime location, right next to several tourist hotspots like Portimão and Carvoeiro, the town has managed to retain its authenticity and remains relatively unaffected by the changes tourism can often bring.
Walking through the narrow cobble stone streets, past whitewashed buildings and fishermen’s cottages it becomes apparent that, even though Ferragudo is considered a small town, it has a lot of charm and attractive scenery to offer.
Along the riverfront, beautifully lined with palm trees, are many local restaurants that offer fresh fish caught by local fishermen. If you prefer cooking for yourself, do it like the locals and buy your fish straight from the fishermen themselves.
The lively main square, Praça Rainha Dona Leonor, is surrounded by cafés and restaurants and is the central meeting point for many tourists and locals alike. From there, if you keep walking uphill, you will inevitably reach the Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Conceição, the church crowning the town. The beautifully arranged herb garden, on the terrace right next to the church, faces the water and with its stunning views across the Arade River, Portimão’s waterfront and the mountainous region of Monchique, it makes for a great location to watch a scenic sunset.
Praia da Angrinha, one of Ferragudo’s beaches, is home to another iconic building, the Fort of São João do Arade. The Castle was originally built as only a watchtower, in around 1520, its purpose was to defend the peninsula from pirates. In 1640 during the Portuguese Restoration War, King John IV ordered the fortification of the structure, but after the Concession of Evoramonte the fort had fallen into disuse, got declassified by 1896 and in the same year was sold at a public auction for 600.000 réis. After being sold, a poet known as Coelho Carvalho renovated the inside of the fort to create a summer residence. Then finally in 1975, while the structure was still owned privately, the Instituto Português do Património Arquitectónico classified it as a historic building. Today the fort is still owned by the Portuguese state but is not open to the public.
On the other side of the fort you will find a beach called Praia Grande, and like the name promises, it is a big beach with a natural landscape stretching for over 2 kilometres. This beach is popular due to its calm and safe waters that are inviting to families and also anyone interested in kayaking.