Praia da Rocha, Portimão, is a popular pet-friendly tourist resort in the central Algarve, Portugal. The main strip on Avenida Tomás Cabreira is often full of dog owners strolling along with their pooch, or sitting outside in one of the many dog friendly cafes, bars and restaurants watching the world go by. You’ll meet plenty of other friendly, dog lovers here, especially on the main strip, or when you explore the stunning Praia da Rocha beach. There’s a great choice of pet friendly apartments and accommodation in Praia da Rocha too.
Praia da Rocha beach is dog friendly over the winter period, usually between November – April. Over the summer period, locals tend to walk their dogs before 9am or after 7pm, which is normally allowed, although it is a risk. During winter, once the concession beds and umbrellas have been removed, the ‘no dog’ signs go down, and it’s a free for all!
The beach stretches out for over 1km of flat, golden sand, and is very wide. It can be accessed by the numerous steps padded out along the strip leading down to the golden sand. Or you can access it by ramp, just beside the Jupiter Hotel. On the eastern edge of the beach stands the Fort of Santa Catarina, 17th century fortress built to defend vessels passing through the mouth of the Arade River. Now a popular tourist attraction accessible directly from the beach or the road above.
Just beside Santa Catarina fort, is the Praia Da Rocha Pier and Lighthouse, stretching out across the Atlantic Ocean, with the Rio de Arade just over to the left. Around this area, you may be lucky enough to spot dolphins during the winter months. The Arade flows along the Portimão riverside, after the Praia da Rocha marina, and it’s long promenade is a dog friendly paradise. You can even catch a boat ride across the Arade to Ferragudo for the day.
At the Praia de Rocha end of the beach, some caves split the main area from from another smaller, but equally stunning beach. You can go through the caves to enter each part of the beach. Here, you’ll discover an abundance of stunning rock formations, and caves to explore.
You can walk the whole length of the beach, from Praia da Rocha to Praia do Vau when the tide is low, about 2.5km of sand and scenery each way. Just make sure to have plenty of water for yourself and your dog! In Praia do Vau, there’s a boardwalk nature trail, that takes you to the neighbouring town of Alvor, another dog friendly town in Portugal. Alvor is much quieter than Praia da Rocha, and tends to attract an older crowd, but still plenty of dogs!
By law, dogs aren’t allowed off lead in Portugal in public spaces, but many dog owners do let their dogs run free on the beach. As long as this isn’t done during the day over the summer months, it tends to go un-noticed.
There’s a few cat colonies along Praia da Rocha strip, so take care to not let your dog disturb them. You’ll no doubt spot the same familiar furry faces during your stay, the cats are friendly and will be your bestie for some leftovers!
Remember to leave a review if you visit Praia da Rocha with your pet, and be sure to read our complete guide to travelling to Portugal with a cat or dog, to familiarise yourself with local laws.
Always protect your pet against vector borne diseases when travelling internationally.
- Global Airline Pet Travel Policies
- Dog Friendly Beaches & Parks
- Dog Friendly Hotels
- Pet Cargo Companies & Road Couriers
- 8 Essential Pet Travel Items
- Are you a Pooch Pampering Champ or a Dog-gone Disgrace?!
- 7 Acts of Animal Altruism