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Portimão is the largest town in the western Algarve. It has been an important port since ancient times because of its location at the mouth of the river Arade. Today it is a busy provincial town and a commercial fishing port. During the summer month the quay on the town side of the river is lined with boats offering game-fishing trips and coastal and river cruises.

There are many outside restaurants specializing in regional seafood dishes close to the town end of the old iron road bridge spanning the river. As a shopping center, the main focus of activity is in the higher part of town, in the vicinity of Praça da Republica and Rua do Comercio, a pedestrian - only mall. There are bargains galore, everything from hairpins to horses, in a sprawling regional market by the side of the railway station on the first Monday of each month. Starting in the thirties, Portimão was rediscovered as a holiday resort, gaining a reputation among English intellectuals, attracted by the exotic beauty of Praia da Rocha.

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