Ferragudo is directly across the Arade River from Portimão. This town escaped the overdevelopment of its neighbor and maintained much of the charm of a fishing village. It is mostly visited for a day trip. Ferragudo has cheaper accommodation, so those on a budget and interested in exploring the beautiful beaches of the Lagoa region might want to stay here.

It is a family-friendly destination, with a small but pretty Old Town, and a couple of picturesque beaches divided by a 17th-century castle. You can see almost the entire town from the harbor, on Rua Infante Dom Henrique.

The main attractions are the castle and a small church standing on the town’s highest point. The main square is Praça Rainha Dona Leonor, surrounded by outdoor restaurants.


What to see in Ferragudo?

Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Conceição

Ferragudo’s church was built in 1520 and this is where the local fishermen made promises to Our Lady of Conception, in the hope of protection at sea. However, like much of southern Portugal, the original building was destroyed by the earthquake in 1755, but it was rebuilt with a plain exterior. The inside preserves images from the 16th to 17th centuries and a gilded retable.

Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Conceicao
Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Conceicao, Ferragudo

Castle of São João de Arade

In the 15th century, King João II built a small castle at the beach, which was fortified in 1640 to protect the city of Portimão from pirates. Miraculously, the castle suffered little damage in the 1755 earthquake and saved the coast until 1896. It was sold at a public auction and is now private property. It’s been a classified monument since 1974 but is not open to the public. You can always get a close-up view of that from the beach.

Castle of São João de Arade
Castle of São João de Arade, Ferragudo

Praia Grande do Ferragudo

Ferragudos’s main beach faces the Portimão skyline and is where you find the Castle of São João de Arade. It’s very picturesque, but with so many beaches in the area, it attracts very few tourists, except those staying at the hotels nearby. It’s mostly frequented by local families with kids, they enjoy the calm waters and the small playground. Even on the most crowded days, you can find a quiet spot. There are good restaurants and bars behind it, which remain open outside the bathing season.

Praia Grande do Ferragudo
Praia Grande do Ferragudo

Praia da Angrinha

Separated from Praia Grande do Ferragudo by the castle, this is an even quieter beach. It’s even closer to the center of Ferragudo but has no facilities, so most people prefer the neighboring beach. The few people you’ll see here are fishermen and local families, who enjoy the view of Portimão and the calm waters in peace.

Praia da Angrinha
Praia da Angrinha, Ferragudo

Walking trail in Ferragudo

From Praia Grande do Ferragudo, you can walk along the coast and over the cliffs for 6 km (close to 4 miles), all the way to Carvoeiro. Along the way, you’ll find displays explaining the vegetation and geology, and will pass by the Ponta do Altar lighthouse from 1893 (which is not open to the public) and several headlands sheltering small beaches. The first one is the tiny Praia do Molhe, which is divided in two by a pier (“molhe”) that gives it its name. It’s accessed via a stairway and is very popular with local families due to the very calm waters.

The second beach is Praia do Pintadinho, close to the lighthouse and also very popular with locals. It has a large cave on the northern end and calm waters for children. After you pass the lighthouse, you reach the bigger Praia dos Caneiros, which is highly recommended to visit. It has a restaurant where you can stop for drinks and a meal. Continuing east, you’ll see a number of beaches that are only accessible from the sea, before ending your walk at Praia do Paraíso in Carvoeiro. This hike takes about three hours and is not recommended for children. You should keep a safe distance from the edges of the cliffs, take proper footwear, and not forget water.

How to get to Ferragudo
Vamus bus n°110 travels between Portimão and Lagoa and stops in Ferragudo. However, this is a very infrequent service, with just eight departures on weekdays and four on weekends.
By car, Ferragudo is 10 minutes from Carvoeiro and 15 from Portimão. There’s a parking lot behind Praia da Angrinha, but it’s not difficult to find parking on the streets.
During the summer, there’s an inexpensive water taxi from Portimão, and you can always go by taxi or Uber from the neighboring city.

Hotels in Ferragudo