Monte Gordo

Holiday at the seaside in Monte Gordo near the Spanish border: Hotels & holiday apartments, camping ground, weather, beaches & water sports, restaurants, biking tours, golf, casino, excursions & points of interest
Monte Gordo
  • District: Faro > Municipality: Vila Real de Santo António > Parish: Monte Gordo
  • Population: 3.308
  • Distances: Faro Airport 61 km, Lisbon Airport 320 km
  • Tourist Info: Posto de Turismo de Monte Gordo

Monte Gordo, the best known destination for seaside holiday of the Eastern Algarve, is located on the coast of the Gulf of Cadiz near the Spanish border. The wide sandy beach, protected by dunes provides excellent conditions for families with smaller children. The flat landscape invites to biking tours, and golfers will find great golf courses on both sides of the river Guadiana. In spring Monte Gordo is a popular place for international athletes to prepare for the summer season in the nearby stadium of Vila Real de Santo António.

Monte Gordo location and access

On the coat of the Gulf of Cadiz near Spain

Monte Gordo is a parish (freguesia) in the municipality of Vila Real de Santo António, in the district of Faro (Algarve), the southernmost region of continental Portugal. Monte Gordo is located directly on the Atlantic, near the mouth of the Guadiana River, which forms a natural border with Spain.

Monte Gordo is just a few minutes’ drive from the A22 motorway (exit 17). The EN125 from Tavira to Vila Real de Santo António passes nearby the village. Coming from Seville in Spain, one arrives at the town via the A49 motorway E1 crossing the International Guadiana Bridge. Traffic on the border stretch of the A22 motorway is not subject to tolls. In the northern outskirts of Monte Gordo there is a station of the Linha do Algarve. This single-track railway line crosses the region from Lagos in the west and ends at Vila Real de Santo António in the East. EVA Transportes provides better and easier links to other towns and cities by bus.

Sports and leisure in Monte Gordo

Beaches & water sports, biking tours, golf courses

No doubt, the biggest attraction for holidaymakers is the fantastic beach at Monte Gordo. The wide sandy beach provides safe conditions for families with small children. It is pleasant to swim and play around in the water, because the winds from the Levant warm the water more than in the Western Algarve. The promenade is lined with cafés, bars, kiosks and restaurants with the Casino as a backdrop and it is surrounded by hotels and apartment complexes. The beach stretches nearly ten kilometres from the mouth of the River Guadiana to the eastern end  of the Ria Formosa lagoon system near the hamlet of Cacela Velha.

Golf is a recent activity in the East, but there are already six courses within just a 15km drive from Monte Gordo plus three other courses over the border in Spain. International athletes come to Monte Gordo, using the excellent training facilities of the nearby stadium in Vila Real de Santo António to prepare for the forthcoming season. Excellent bike paths are leading across the flat terrain in the area and most hotels offer bicycle hire.

Casino Monte Gordo attracts those who enjoy gambling. There are two other casinos in the Algarve in Vilamoura and Praia da Rocha, all belong to the Solverde Group. There is a large campsite in the middle of a pine forest that extends to the banks of the Guadiana River on the eastern edge of the village.

Shopping and gastronomy

Eating out and shopping in Monte Gordo

The centre of the village has many smaller streets and squares where you can stroll peacefully along.  Large hotels and resorts dominate the main thoroughfare that separates the beach area and the promenade from the centre. Most of the shops, boutiques, cafes, restaurants and bars are found here.

Benches on the beach promenade, lined by palm trees, invite you to sit down and look out over the endless golden beach with its many beach restaurants and bars. Different from the uniform coastal buildings in the Western Algarve they have retained their individual character.

If you are looking for a special dining experience, do not miss the famous fish restaurants on the outskirts of the village of Praia Verde, a nice beach resort a few miles west of Monte Gordo.


The surroundings of Monte Gordo: Vila Real, Castro Marim and the Ria Formosa

The nearest town to Monte Gordo is Vila Real de Santo António on the River Guadiana. Taking a boat trip upriver towards Aljezur is an enjoyable journey. Upstream is Castro Marim with its massive castle that can be seen from afar. The salt marsh (Sapal de Castro Marim) is a protected area, where sea salt is extracted. The marshland is also a refuge for many species of birds and it is a beautiful destination for a trip out, especially in the spring and autumn.

To the west of Monte Gordo is Praia Verde, one of the nicest beaches in the area which takes its name from a pine forest on top of a small hill that shelters the beach and is home to a small holiday village. Some of the best restaurants are close to the beach. With its famous fish dishes, customers come from near and far, including from Spain.

Near Cacela Velha, further west, the lagoon landscape of the Ria Formosa begins with a line of islands that extends to Faro. There are boat trips available from Tavira to discover the flora and fauna of this unique ecological habitat.

Monte Gordo, located near the border with Spain, is an ideal starting point for excursions to the neighbouring country.  A ferry crossing the river Guadiana is commuting between Vila Real and Ayamonte on the Spanish border. It is  a less than one hour drive to Huelva, and Seville with its historic monuments is only 150 km away. In case you don’t want to take your car, you can coach with EVA Transportes,  who runs regular bus routes to Seville.


The history of Monte Gordo: from a fishing village to a touristic hot spot

Some twenty years after the 1755 earthquake and subsequent tsunami, Marquês de Pombal, Prime Minister of Portugal at that time, decided to build a new city on the banks of the River Guadiana to give new homes to the people affected by the disaster. In record time Vila Real de Santo António was built, but many fishermen from Monte Gordo were opposed to the forced relocation and emmigrated instead to Spain.

Monte Gordo enjoyed the life of a quiet fishing village until the 1960s, when one of the first modern hotels in the Algarve was built there. The immaculate and extensive beach and the town’s proximity to Spain drove the development of tourism in Monte Gordo which has now became a notable seaside resort.

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