Vila Real de Santo Antonio: A River, A Beach And Plenty Of History!
Vila Real de Santo Antonio is located in Portugal Algarve region, at the mouth of the Guadiana River that divides Portugal and Spain. Completely different in its architecture as compared with other towns in the Algarve, this place was eroded by the sea in the 17th century, but in 1774 by the King’s appointment the Marques de Pombal had the main structure of the town built in only 5 months, as per the latest street planning system using a grid system. That’s why finding one’s way in town is really easy, as all roads follow a rectangular street pattern and getting lost can be difficult!
Vila Real de Santo Antonio is known for its large town square, named Praca Marques de Pombal after its founder, that is surrounded by orange trees along the periphery with low-rise whitewashed buildings, cafes, restaurants, and shops. An old market converted into an exposition center, the cultural center Antonio Aleixo stands behind the square and the museum Manuel Cabanas, showcasing works of a town’s painter and wood craftsman, is nearby.
Vila Real de Santo Antonio is a quiet and peaceful town and the perfect escape destination for those wanting to get away from the stress of everyday life. It’s quaint, charming, and has plenty to see and do and the best way to get around this flat area is by walking and/or cycling.
The town is part of the 3 municipalities, in Algarve, known as the Baixo Guadiana region and is linked by River Guadiana links with the other two municipalities – Castro Marim and Alcoutim. All these 3 places are known for their wonderful environment, nature, and seashore. Vila Real’s nearby crispy sandy beaches stretch for many kilometers, offering an uninterrupted shoreline towards Manta Rota.
In this Algarve region visitors can also find two nature reserves – Ria Formosa Natural Park and the Natural Marsh Reserve, that are thriving ecosystems for many species of birds, reptiles, mammals, and flora and fauna.
For those wanting to explore the surrounding areas around Vila Real De Santo Antonio, a must visit place is Cacela Velha. This small village, located 15km west of town, is known by its whitewashed homes, typical to the Algarve, centered by a church and a castle by the river. The surrounding views and the natural peaceful environment are a powerful balm to those who need a rest from everyday busy lifes.
Visitors can also take a boat ride along the River Guadiana to Alcoutim (the eastern point of the Algarve). The ride takes one along verdant countryside and the change of scenery from flat to hilly with abundant vegetation is a treat for the eyes. Alcoutim has a castle perched on the hill that is well worth a visit.
Come to Vila Real de Santo Antonio for its warm waters, isolated and peaceful beaches, beautiful traditional architecture, gastronomical delights, and the inviting sunshine. It can be visited all year round and can be reached via A22 highway from Faro.