Monte Gordo Holiday Guide

Monte Gordo is a large town close to Vila Real de Santo António in the eastern Algarve. It’s a popular family destination thanks to its beautiful beach that’s backed by sand dunes, rather than the cliffs seen in the western Algarve. The region is blessed with a mild climate, wide pedestrian streets and a wide variety of accommodation, ranging from four star hotels to rental apartments.


Archaeological remains suggest the area has been inhabited since prehistoric times, but the origins of the city itself go back to the medieval fishing town, St. Anthony Arenilla. It was destroyed by rough seas and floods, but rebuilt in the 18th Century when it quickly grew to be a prosperous tuna fishing town. It was in the 1960’s that the construction of the first hotels here in Monte Gordo signified the beginning of the Algarve tourism craze.

Monte Gordo Beach

Whether you enjoy getting active in the water or simply kicking back and basking in the sun, Monte Gordo Beach is always a good option for any relaxing break. While the beach is popular, it’s easily large enough to accommodate the numbers. The water here is slightly warmer than other beaches in the area, making it ideal swimming or paddle boarding.

Igreja de Nossa Senhora das Dores (Church of Our Lady of Sorrows)

Igreja de Nossa Senhora das Dores is an absolutely ancient church, so old that its origins are unknown. The church was a place of worship for fishermen and its history is intertwined with that of the village. On the second Sunday of September, there’s a procession of Our Lady of Sorrows that runs through the bay, accompanied by fishing boats. This procession celebrates the divine protection from the Lady to their decorated boats and industry.

Reserva Natural do Sapal

This is a salt marsh nature reserve between Monte Gordo, Castro Marim and Vila Real de Santo António, which is home to some 153 species of birds, notable amongst which there are flamingos. You can also spot some reptiles, amphibians and over 400 different species of plant.

Cacela Velha is a charming traditional Algarvean village, complete with whitewashed buildings. It’s situated on the waterfront with stunning views across the nearby Manta Rota Beach.

Food, Drinks and Shops

Monte Gordo has plenty of tasty places to eat and drink, with bars and restaurants where you can enjoy the delicious fish and seafood dishes. You’ll find restaurants and shops running along the main road and along the beachfront promenade.

Other Activities

Monte Gordo is a great spot for cycling, so why not rent a bike from one of the town’s cycle hire operators. You can cycle all the way to Vila Real de Santo António under the shade of beautiful pine trees. When you arrive, why not make the most of it with a trip to the local Casino, a round of golf or water sports such as kite surfing or wind surfing.

Guide to Exploring Monte Gordo

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