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Vila Real de Santo Antonio

(3.6/5 based on 480+ reviews for 5 attractions)
Things to do: beaches, sightseeing, golf
Vila Real de Santo António is a city, civil parish, and municipality in the Algarve, Portugal. The population in 2011 was 19,156, in an area of 61.25 km². It is one of the few municipalities in Portugal without territorial continuity: its territory comprehends two parts, with the municipal seat located in the eastern part. Both the city and the municipality are the southeasternmost of Portugal. Vila Real de Santo António was founded after the 1755 Lisbon earthquake, and largely expanded in 1774 using the same architectural and construction techniques employed in the reconstruction of Lisbon after the disaster.The city is situated next to the Guadiana river. Before the construction of the Guadiana International Bridge it used to be the easiest access to Portugal from Andalusia . Nevertheless, international movement of people and goods is still intense and much visible in the city.HistoryThe history of settlement in the region pre-dates the Pombalinan community of the 18th century. The coastline area of Vila Real was inhabited by Megalithic tribes who constructed beehive tombs in the around Nora, near Cacela. The Romans, and much later the Arabs, made the settlement of Cacela an important village during their occupation of the territory, constructing fortifications to protect them from invading bands.In 1240, Paio Peres Correia, master of the military Order of Santiago established Cacela as his point of departure for the reconquest of the Algarve, during the Reconquista. Small settlements were eventually established near the Cacela, including many medieval fishing villages, such as Santo António de Arenilha along the coast.
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