Porches Guide: The Best Things to See & Do

/ Last Updated: September 20, 2023 / 3 Comments

Nestled in the heart of Portugal’s sun-drenched Central Algarve, the charming village of Porches emanates a quiet allure distinct from the region’s bustling tourist hubs. With its narrow streets lined with whitewashed houses adorned with bougainvillea and the fragrant aroma of almond and orange blossoms wafting through the air, Porches is the very epitome of traditional Algarvian serenity. The town itself has a population of around 2,000 people, and is very small and quiet with just a few bars, restaurants, and small shops.

Historically, Porches is renowned for its pottery and ceramic traditions, with roots that delve deep into the region’s Moorish past. Artisans in the village have been crafting exquisite earthenware for centuries, and today, visitors are captivated by the workshops and studios that showcase beautifully hand-painted tiles, plates, and various ceramic artefacts. Each piece not only reflects the rich tapestry of Algarve’s history but also tells a story of the craftspeople who’ve meticulously preserved these age-old techniques.

Beyond its artistic pedigree, Porches offers an idyllic retreat for those seeking a more tranquil Algarve experience. Despite the town’s small size, Porches is home to many high end and popular restaurants like O Leão de Porches and VILA VITA Parc Biergarten. If you’re looking for somewhere to come and just eat, Porches is definitely worth considering. Porches is located inland and, although it lacks easy access to a beach, the nearest beach (Praia da Senhora da Rocha) really isn’t very far away: around 4.7 km or 7 minutes by car.

Beyond its artistic pedigree, Porches offers an idyllic retreat for those seeking a more tranquil Algarve experience. Overlooking the sparkling Atlantic, the village’s pristine beaches are tucked away in coves sheltered by impressive limestone cliffs, providing the perfect backdrop for relaxation or a gentle stroll. While it might be lesser-known than its bustling Algarvian neighbours, Porches, with its blend of cultural richness and natural beauty, is a gem waiting to be discovered.

It’s perfect for those that don’t want to be right on the beach and favour the quietness of village life over being on the bustling Algarve coast. 

Handpicked accommodation in Porches

  • Casa Bela Moura – Boutique hotel with swimming pool, hot tub, and bar that’s situated 3 km from Porches Town Centre and just 1.5 kms from the nearest beaches: Praia do Vale do Olival and Praia de Nossa Senhora da Rocha.
  • VILA VITA Parc – Award-winning luxury hotel with 10+ restaurants, including the 2-Michelin star Ocean restaurant, 4 km from Porches Town Centre and 700 m from the nearest beach: Praia da Cova Redonda.
  • Villa Paraiso – Adults Only hotel with swimming pool and hot tub that’s situated 1.3 km from Porches Town Centre.

Things to do in Porches

Go pottery shopping

Porches Pottery

Esteemed for its distinctive designs, vibrant colours, and meticulous craftsmanship, Porches pottery has garnered accolades and admirers from across the globe. Along the N125 between Lagoa and Porches, you’ll find plenty of pottery shops including the most famous of all: Porches Pottery.

Visitors to the town often find themselves enchanted by the local ceramic workshops and boutiques, where artisans can be observed shaping, painting, and firing their creations, preserving a centuries-old art form. These ceramic treasures, ranging from decorative tiles and ornamental pieces to functional tableware, embody the Algarve’s spirit and make for cherished souvenirs, ensuring that a piece of Porches travels with you wherever you go.

pottery statues porches

Note: although these shops just 1 km from Porches, they’re on the side of a busy road. You’ll either need to drive or take a taxi.

Visit the Igreja Matriz de Porches

Igreja Matriz de Porches steps

Situated in the heart of Porches, the Igreja Matriz de Porches stands as a testament to the village’s rich historical tapestry. This charming parish church, with its whitewashed facade and traditional Algarvian architecture, dates back to the 16th century, though it underwent significant restoration in the 18th century following the 1755 earthquake. Inside, visitors can marvel at the intricate woodwork and beautifully adorned altars, while its exterior boasts a striking Manueline portal — a distinctive style from Portugal’s Age of Discovery. The church not only serves as a place of worship but also as an emblem of Porches’ enduring connection to its past, making it a must-visit for anyone exploring the village’s historical landmarks.

Aside from the altar, the interior of the church is fairly simple with white walls that are partly tiled with blue 18th-century tiles. 

Wine tasting & art browsing at Galeria de Arte

Just a 5-minute drive from Porches, LIR Galeria de Arte combines art exhibitions and wine tasting. The wines are locally-produced, and the gallery showcases work from local Algarve artists. You can buy a wine flight and try several different wines or there’s a café if you want something more driver-friendly. 

Fort and Chapel of Nossa Senhora da Rocha

Nestled on a dramatic clifftop overlooking the azure Atlantic, the Fort and Chapel of Nossa Senhora da Rocha in Porches is an iconic symbol of the Algarve’s rich heritage. This ancient fortification, with origins believed to date back to Roman and Visigoth times, was primarily established as a defensive bulwark against pirate incursions, offering a strategic vantage point over the vast ocean expanse. Adjacent to the fort stands the modest yet historically significant Chapel of Nossa Senhora da Rocha. This small white-washed sanctuary, with its humble bell tower, houses a revered statue of Our Lady of the Rock, the protector of fishermen.

Together, the fort and chapel provide not only a poignant reminder of the region’s storied past but also some of the most breathtaking panoramic views along the Algarve coast, making them favoured destinations for both history enthusiasts and nature lovers.



Located just 4 minutes’ drive from Porches lies one of the most popular attractions for families visiting the Algarve: Aqualand. One of several waterparks in the Algarve, including Slide & Splash and Aquashow, Aqualand’s most famous rides include Crazy Race, Hydra, Rapids, and the Flying Mattresses. Amidst the fun, visitors can also find relaxation zones with sun loungers and a variety of eateries to recharge. A day at Aqualand promises endless aquatic fun, making it a perfect escape from the Algarve heat.

Getting to Porches

  • Flying: The nearest airport to Porches is Faro Airport, which is located around 50 minutes by car from the village centre. At Faro Airport, it’s possible to rent a car or get a taxi or Uber. 
  • Train: There is no train station in Porches. You can get a train to Tunes and then get a taxi onto Porches. 
  • Bus: While there are regional buses to Porches, if you’re travelling by coach from further afield you may need to take a bus to nearby Armação de Pêra and then get a taxi or Uber to Porches. 
  • Car: The easiest way to get to and from Porches is by car. Most major car rental companies, like Hertz and Europcar, have a presence at Faro Airport and you can easily compare prices using comparison sites like Rentalcars.com or discovercars.com.