Armação de Pêra
Holiday in Armação de Pêra, one of the major tourist centres on the coast of the western Algarve in southern Portugal: Accommodation, beaches, golf courses, gastronomy, points of interest, surroundings, history,…
- District: Faro > Municipality: Silves > Parish: Armação de Pêra
- Population: 4.867
- Distances: Faro Airport 54 km, Lisbon Airport 262 km
- Tourist Info: Posto de Turismo de Armação de Pêra
Armação de Pêra is a parish (freguesia) in the municipality (concelho) of Silves. The village (vila) is located on the coast of the western Algarve and has evolved into one of the main tourist centres of the Algarve, Portugal. From afar you can see the remarkable silhouette of the village with its towering apartment blocks.
Location and access
How to get to Armação de Pêra
Armação de Pêra is situated on the western border of the bay Ria de Armação, a lagoon with salt marshes (salgados) almost untouched by civilization. Unfortunately this great habitat for a variety of bird species is nowadays threatened by the plans of short-sighted politicians in the municipality of Silves to approve the construction of several hotels and resorts.
The village can be accessed in a few minutes from the A22 motorway and the national road EN125 or the well constructed road N269-1. The bus line of EVA Transportes connects Armação de Pêra with other places in the Algarve.
Armação de Pêra Hotels
Hotels and holiday apartments in Armação de Pêra and surroundings
One of the most attractively situated hotels in the tourist centre west of Albufeira is the Holiday Inn hotel, located on the beach esplanade, offering breathtaking views over the limitless sandy beach stretching from the bay of Armação to the jagged coast at the western exit of the village. There the two exclusive luxury hotels and resorts Vila Vita Parc Resort & Spa and Vilalara Thalasso Resort are situated, both with direct access to private beaches in small rocky bays. One beach further along is the popular cliff top Pestana Viking Beach and Spa Resort with great views to the coast and the chapel Nossa Sra. da Rocha.
Within Armação de Pêra itself holiday makers will find a wide range of apartments in larger and often inexpensive holiday complexes, most of them within walking distance to the beach.
Sports and leisure
Activities in and around Armação de Pêra
The popularity of Armação de Pêra as a summer holiday destination is due to the fantastic sandy beaches, stretching for miles from the famous Praia Grande in front of the bay Ria de Armação along the seafront of the village. Further to the west visitors will find picturesque rocky bays encompassing smaller sandy beaches.
The golf course of Salgados, situated on the eastern border of the bay of Armação, provides challenges to golfers of every level. Water comes into play at each of the 18 holes, and breezes from the Atlantic Ocean may make your shots more difficult. Watching the water birds in their nearby habitat and listening to their calls will more than make up for the loss of one or two golf balls.
All year round the lagoon Ria de Armação has a lot to offer for a stroll. A boardwalk, separated from the beaches Praia Grande and Salgados by sandy dunes leads through the salt marshes, offering great opportunities to observe the abundant birdlife.
What to buy in and near Armação de Pêra
The neighbouring village of Porches is well known for its ceramic artworks. You will find there many shops and factories offering a large variety of handmade tiles (azulejos) and pottery. Some specialised places also sell antique tiles and amphoras (olharia).
Near the roundabout of the EN125 in Porches there is also a German butcher, selling Bavarian specialties.
Remarkable places near Armação de Pêra
The chapel Nossa Senhora da Rocha, situated on a small rocky outcrop west of Armação de Pêra is a remarkable landmark, surrounded by spectacular bays. On the was there you will pass one of the most beautiful holiday locations in the entire Algarve, the luxurious hotel Vila Vita Parc, very popular especially with German speaking guests. In 2011 the chef of its gourmet restaurant Ocean, Hans Neuber, was awarded two Michelin stars one of only two chefs in the Algarve to achieve this recognition. If you are looking for a more substantial meal you may prefer the German Biergarten in Porches.
Adjacent to the parish church in the centre of the picturesque neighbouring village of Alcantarilha a chapel of bones can be visited. At the western exit of the village there is a remarkable former mansion that has been converted into a rural hotel with a private museum Capela das Artes.
The best way to explore the cliffs and grottos of the rocky coast is by boat from the quayside. Grotto tours, dolphin watching excursions and big game fishing trips are on offer in many places.
A trip to Silves, the former Moorish capital of the Algarve located on the upper course of the river Arade is a must. The famous castle with its huge cistern now open to the public, is a place not to be missed. The archaeological museum and the Cathedral, erected on the foundations of a former mosque are also places of great historic interest.
Armação de Pêra: From a Roman settlement to a centre of mass tourism
The area around Armação de Pêra was settled during Roman times. Foundations of tanks have been excavated on the coast, where the Romans produced and stored the famous “garum”, a popular paste used to flavour various dishes.
As the name of the village indicates, this was the place where the local fishermen of Pêra repaired and stored their nets and other fishing implements inside their cottages (port. Armação). The village of Pêra is situated on an elevated position on the northern border of the bay. The eastern sector of the beach, where still today several fishing lodges and boats are located, is called Praia dos Pescadores (beach of the fishermen).
During the 16th Century a fortress was built to protect the bay against pirates. Like most other buildings this Forte de Santo António da Pedra da Galé was seriously damaged by the earth quake of 1755 and the following tsunami. Today only a few remains are left; the little chapel inside the fortress is dedicated to Saint Antonius.
Since the beginning of mass tourism in the mid 1970s, the village has evolved from a placid settlement of local fishermen, earning their living mainly with tuna fishing, to one of the busiest holiday centres of the Algarve. During high season up to 80 thousand tourists visit the hotels, apartments and camping grounds in and around Armação de Pêra.