Where do I start with this review?
We booked a last minute 4 day getaway (from the election) leaving 5th May returning 9th May - picked up a real bargain and thought a 1 bed apartment for 4 days anywhere would be ok. Well upon arrival we were met by the wonderful Laura who had our room ready (earlier than advertised) we were walked from reception across to the block of apartments and shown our 1 bed room apartment!!! This room consisted of a ground floor that had a fully equipped kitchen including a washing machine (first time ever for me in an apartment), dining area, settees (including a bed settee) and a tv (which surprise surprise in Portugal showed Portuguese programmes along with CNN news - not sure what people expect? BBC and ITV?? - see a previous review) , we were then led upstairs to our upper complex that had 2 bathrooms and 2 separate bedrooms - this1 bed apartment could have slept 6 people comfortably.
With only 4 days in Portugal we were determined too see as much of the area as possible. Praia da Rocha beach front is a 5 minute walk away, the beach is huge, access either down a ramp (near the police station) or one of the many steps. At the East end of the resort there is a Marina - you can walk from here along the beach the full length of the beach to Praia da Vu (you have to leave the beach at 1 location). Another glorious place to visit is Alvor we walked along the cliff to Alvor via Praia da Vu - it took about 2 1/2 hours and we later found that it was about a 8 mile walk, locals had told us it was 45mins away!! they meant by bus which is how we returned (via Portimao). In Alvor you will find a quaint fishing village with a lot of restaurants - we had "lunch" at the restaurant at the bottom of the village next to the quay, we ordered sardines, potatoes and salad at 6euro each, well this lunch consisted of 6 mackerel sized sardine each along with the salad and potatoes - this was supposed to be lunch!! needless to say we didn't need a large evening meal.
Lots of places to eat in Praia da Rocha (every cuisine you can think of), we wanted to try typical Portuguese food (so thanks to Trip Advisor) we ate at Ju and Casa da Rocha just turn to the right as you reach the main strip both are located near to the fountain - both of these restaurants are not the cheapest but are excellent food. If, like me, you have never been to Portugal and have tried piri piri chicken in the UK then don't be fooled by the gravy boat of piri piri sauce the bring to the table - in Ju they served 6 pieces of chicken and I thought 2 spoonfuls over the chicken would do as a tester!! Lips and tongue tingled for quite a while after that - thankfully there is good supply of cold beer and ice cream for your desert. It is nothing like the piri piri you are used too but is very very nice - You have been warned!! Portuguese style steak is another recommended meal, it is served in a bowl with gravy and potatoes (my description isn't doing the dish justice), also any fish dish is a must. Cataplana is the local dish (served in a covered round dish) we didn't have time to try this dish but will do when we return.
Lots of places do 6.90euro 3 course specials if you are on a tight budget and there are plenty of 1 or 2 euro a pint places (prices on the main strip down near the police station are 3 or 3.5 euro a pint).
Local transport is very cheap. A day ticket (which you purchase on the bus) costs 1.5 euro each, you keep this ticket show it to the bus driver and can then travel anywhere all day, we found out too late that we could have used the bus to get to Albufuria or Lagos for this price - you just get the bus to Portimao and there are buses to lots of places. Portimao has a nice Marina, when we were there (Saturday) it was the speed boat Grand Prix which was interesting to watch the time trials - the main race was on the Sunday.
Too sum up I'd thoroughly recommend Praia da Rocha to all as everyones tastes will be catered for (food, drink, entertainment etc). Most of all though I can't recommend highly enough the Apartamentos Castelos da Rocha and especially Laura (who is a very talented artist) who cannot do enough for you - she makes your holiday.
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- Also Known As:
- Apartamentos Castelos Da Rocha Hotel Praia Da Rocha
- Apartamentos Castelos Da Rocha Praia Da Rocha, Portugal - Algarve