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Days of Discovery at the Portimão Museum in the Algarve

Ancient Portuguese Civilisations, Sardines and the River Arade

Opening Times & Admission Fees

15th September – 14th July
Tuesday: 14.30 – 18.00
Wednesday to Sunday: 10.00 – 18.00

15th July – 14th September
Tuesday: 19.30 – 23.00
Wednesday to Sunday: 15.00 – 23.00

Admission for Adults is €3, Children €1.50 with Free Admission every Saturday: 10.00 – 14.00.

Bustling Portimão is the beating heart of western Algarve, famed for its extensive shopping, outstanding golf and vibrant nightlife; but the prosperity of the town is owed to an unlikely source… sardines!

Visitors to the museum will discover all about the town’s rich history, and find themselves on a fascinating journey covering the economic, societal and cultural developments of Portimão. Expect exciting exhibits, archival objects and a great day out. Furthermore, the Portimão Museum – located just 12 minutes from Penina Hotel & Golf Resort – combines minimal admission fees with a year-round programme; providing for an inexpensive day out that can be enjoyed by the whole family.

A Brief History to Portimão and its Museum… and What Not to Miss

Since the earliest days of civilisation, through to modern day society; the River Arade has been fundamental to life in Portimão. Prehistoric settlers used the river as a means of survival… and in the 20th century, life in Portimão would undergo a radical change with the emergence of the sardine canning industry; bringing with it previously unfounded economic growth – which would give birth to Portimão as the thriving leisure hub it is today.

The grandparents and great grandparents of many of Portimão's current residents earned their living in the numbering factories; with entire families of men, women and children all playing their part in the sardine canning process. However, knowing that the legacy of Portimão’s past would soon be lost with this generation of factory workers, the municipality of Portimão decided to preserve local history through means of the Portimão Museum; housed in what was one of the main sardine canning factories on the Arade – complete with many of the original machines used in the industry.

What Not to Miss – A great way to start your visit is by viewing the black and white film which explains each step of the sardine canning process, in all its gory details. The film itself offers an intriguing insight into Algarvian life in 1946 – vividly displaying the values that were prevalent in society, at a time when Portugal was under a right-wing dictatorship.

In partnership with the Ocean Revival Project, visitors to the museum can also experience the thrill of exploring the Ocean Revival Underwater Park. This virtual addition to the Portimão Museum allows you to see an artificially constructed reef, just off the coast of Portimão; complete with sunken battleships, including one of the Portuguese navy’s most famous vessels – the Oliveria e Carmo – in a bid to create a unique, artificial array of ecosystems in the depths of the ocean.

‘Portimão, Territory and Identity’

‘Portimão, Territory and Identity’ is the Main Exhibition of the museum, situated within the industrial halls of the former factory – where you can discover the development of Portimão from prehistoric times, through to the present day; with an inherent focus on economic, cultural and societal factors, which is divided into three well-laid out tours.

Origin and Destiny of a Community – Beginning with the ancient Alcalar settlement near Portimão, the tour then looks at the Roman and Islamic communities that once resided on the River Arade; before turning its attention to the river itself and its position as a gateway between the Mediterranean and the Atlantic. Focus then diverts to the various industries (besides sardine canning) which rose to prominence in the area, including: logging, shipyards and smokehouses – before looking at the ‘Rural World at the Start of the Industrial Era’. The tour concludes with a tribute to Manuel Teixeira Gomes; the traveller, writer and resident of Portimão, who would ascend to the helm as the 7th President of Portugal.

Industrial Life and the Challenge of the Sea – This tour looks at facets of the canning industry, and the close historical relationship between the River Arade and the Atlantic. This section also highlights the role of men and women in the Algarve’s former most important economic industry, before the change to a new paradigm – tourism. This tour is also home to the sinister sounding ‘Beheading Room’… but don’t worry, it’s a referral to the decapitating of sardines rather than unruly employees.

From Under the Water – This tour allows you to discover the factory’s old water cistern, where rainwater was collected and reused for supplying the brine tanks and boilers. Moving images of the underwater fauna and flora of the Rio Arade and the Portimão coastline can also be observed.

Ultimately, the Portimão Museum is your one-stop, cultural hub in western Algarve; providing an all-encompassing look into ancient civilisations, the prevalent sardine canning industry and the River Arade and their significance to the development of Portimão and the Algarve. With hands-on exhibits, original artefacts and virtual demonstrations… a day at the Portimão Museum is guaranteed to be a day well spent – as demonstrated by the hundreds outstanding reviews on Trip Advisor

Fishing in the Algarve
Fishing in the Algarve

Local Activities near Penina Hotel

There is a children's park and trails through the beautiful Ancão Nature Reserve which borders onto the Atlantic Ocean and is a mere 750m away from the Resort.

Local Activities
'Ria de Alvor' © Joao Alves | CC License
'Ria de Alvor' © Joao Alves | CC License

Ria de Alvor Nature Reserve

Located just 4km from Penina Resort, Ria de Alvor's stunning lagoon and 1,454 hectares of protected wetlands provide a scenic home to many species of wildlife. Miles of wooden boardwalks allow easy exploration of the area, while an array of family-friendly water activities are on offer in the local fishing village.

Ria de Alvor
Algarve Beach
Algarve Beach

Praia de Alvor

Boasting soft, white sand, crystal clear sea and a wealth of exciting leisure activities, Praia de Alvor is a key beach destination for locals and visitors alike. Located a short 10 minute drive from Penina, this sun-soaked stretch is also home to the five-star resort’s Dunas Restaurant, which serves up a delicious taste of Algarvian cuisine including an array of freshly caught fish.

Praia de Alvor
Benagil Cave in the Algarve
Benagil Cave in the Algarve

Activities in the Algarve

Alongside boasting some of the world’s most sought-after golfing facilities, the Algarve can also offer a whole host of exciting activities off the green. From family-friendly days out to heart-stopping extreme sports and unique cultural experiences, there will be something to suit every interest and age group. Use our guide to some of the region's many highlights to plan an outstanding luxury holiday in the Algarve.

Algarve Coastline
Algarve Coastline

Portimão: The Best Golfing Destination in the Algarve

Portimão is a charming Portuguese town in the Algarve. Known today as the centre for golf breaks, Portimão and its many courses are enjoyed year-round. Here are five reasons Portimão is the best place for a golfing holiday in the Algarve.


History of Golf in the Algarve

Since the 1960s the Algarve has become a hugely successful holiday destination for both golfers and families. However, most people are unaware of the rich history that surrounds this beautiful coastal destination. From its fascinating Geographical structure, to the golden age of exploration… through to the Algarve’s current standing as one of the finest holiday destinations in the world.


San Lorenzo Golf Course

The Algarve is home to some of the most beautiful golf courses in the world. If you are looking to experience a round of breathtaking golf further afield than Penina Hotel & Golf Resort, we can recommend the best courses… and secure you preferential rates and tee times. Take a look at what San Lorenzo Golf Course has to offer.

San Lorenzo

Pinheiros Altos Golf Course

Regarded as one of the most exclusive golf courses in the Algarve, the 27 Championship hole Pinheiros Altos Golf Course, offers great golf to both beginners and seasoned experts. Penina Hotel & Golf Resort can secure you preferential rates and tee times for this exclusive club… and if you’re looking to experience other courses in the Algarve, we highly recommend it.

Pinheiros Altos