Vila Real de Santo Antonio
Vila Real Santo Antonio (VRSA) is a border town and dates back to around 1762. It was completely re-built at this time, by the Marques de Pombal, since it was totally destroyed in 1755 by the tsunami which followed the devastating earthquake of 1755. Being a border town it is very good for shopping and also has several big supermarkets.
It is located just 52km from Faro Airport and is quite easy to get to from Faro. Taking the A22 east you will soon see the signs for Vila Real Santo Antonio popping up.
Both the bus and train from Faro to Vila Real are quite reasonably priced at around €4.55 each way. There is a regular ferry from Vila Real Santo Antonio across the Guadiana River to the neighboring town in Spain, Ayamonte.
During the 80’s and 90’s VRSA was a very busy and popular place as it was the last stop before Spain and the only way across the Guadiana River was by ferry, however since the construction of the Guidiana Bridge the town tends to be bypassed.
Places of Interest:
Farol – The lighthouse, is a landmark in the town and can be seen from far and wide. It was erected in 1923.
In the centre of the town you will find the most popular meeting place, the Obelisk, during high season there is often live music here.
The town also boasts a state of the art sports complex, and is host to many national and international events.
The local library," Bibiloteca Municipal" has free internet access.
The Manuel Cabanas Museum is dedicated to the work of Portugal’s greatest wood engraver of the 20th Century and is truly worth a visit.
The Reserva Natural da Mata, is an area which unites Vila Real Santo to Monte Gordo and is covered in pine trees offering a cool shade in the heat of the summer months. There are also some wonderful walks to enjoy here.
The other reserve is, The Reserva Natural do Sapal de Vila Real de Santo Antonio. (The salt marsh nature reserve). This reserve was created to protect the area which has exceptional characteristics and is a bird watchers paradise being home to some 153 species of birds.