These notes are to help those who would like to
watch a live game while visiting the Algarve. I have been to many
of the grounds myself.
Page updated 6th October 2018
This is the Portuguese football set-up in
descending order for season 2018 - 2019. National Leagues consist
of three tiers. The fourth and, where they exist, fifth tiers are
the regional leagues. Promotion and relegation operates between
This English language website http://www.portugoal.net/
covers the top level and national team. Some information seems not
be updated regularly, so treat with caution. There are these
English language 'blog' type websites which predictably
concentrate on the top division, but make an interesting read for
those wishing to keep in touch -
Another good website, with areas in English and
several other languages, is www.zerozero.pt which, among a lot of
information has results, league tables and fixtures for all levels
of the game in Portugal.
There is only one website specifically for
Algarve football, the official Algarve FA website www.afalgarve.pt in
Portuguese only but easy enough to navigate and make sense of.
In Portugal, there is little or no recreational
or 'park' football as we know it in the UK. Most organised
football is played on enclosed grounds with 'proper' referees and
There are also national and regional set-ups for
U-19 etc type football. There are some unofficial veterans
You will be pleased to hear that admission charges are a lot less than in the UK for the comparable level of football. Tickets are readily available apart from, for example, Benfica v Sporting or Benfica v Porto. In most top level grounds and all those below that level you can pay on the day.
No league games are scheduled over the weekend
between the Christmas and New Year Holidays, or over the two
weekends at all if those holidays fall on a Friday, Saturday or
Sunday. At Easter there are no matches on Easter Sunday, they are
mostly played on the Saturday instead.
Would you like a football tour to the
Algarve? Algarve Football Tours can organise games at any level,
from full professional down to veterans and school-aged teams.
The company deals with top level and
semi-professional teams from Germany, Sweden, Norway etc during
their winter break and also arranges pre-season training matches
for top British and other clubs. Matches can be arranged against
suitable local opposition and also on a tournament basis between
visiting teams. Qualified referees are arranged for all matches
and those at higher level will be provided with appropriate people
from the Portuguese or Algarve Football Association lists.
Semi - professional clubs can also have suitable
matches arranged pre-season against local opposition. All matches
at such levels require official sanctions from the relevant
For those at the lower levels of the game, we
can organise end of season and pre- season tour games against
local teams of ex-pats, short end-of-season tournaments between
visiting teams, also trips for school age teams during the winter
and Easter holidays. Intending school aged teams should be
aware that most weekday matches would be played in the evenings on
3G pitches under floodlights. We ensure that age appropriate match
arrangements are in place.
It is not easy to organise anything in July and
August as it is too hot. The local football season, apart from the
top two divisions, ends in mid-May and resumes in late
September. Veteran's and school aged games are normally good
until the end of June.
For smaller groups, we have access to 3G pitches
with floodlights (and a bar adjacent!) for five a side and
seven a side matches, often in a short tournament format.
The Algarve is regularly visited not only by
teams from the UK but from Ireland, Holland, Belgium, Sweden,
Norway, Iceland and the USA. A chance to meet different
Algarve Football Tours will make all the
arrangements necessary to make your trip a successful event -
except booking flights and the essential insurance! Hotels,
transport to and from matches, training venues (if required) and
other off the field and non football activities can be organised
Click the logo below to visit our website for
more information, testimonials and contact details.
As Women’s football gathers momentum and
popularity, we are delighted to offer Portugal as a great
destination for Women’s Football Tours offering bespoke packages
including matches or tournaments. Throughout Portugal we have
women's/girls teams providing ideal opposition for all levels,
amateur to Semi Professional. Selected hotels offer full training
facilities for the more serious, or we can create a tailor made
package based in a lively resort to make a perfect football
We can create a tailor made package for your women’s and girl's football teams with hotels/accommodation to suit your requirements, training facilities and those all important matches or tournaments. In the Algarve, Lisbon or Porto we have great conditions, venues and opposition choices to be sure your team has a great football experience in Portugal.
If your prefer your tour to be a more sociable event, you can be based in one of the Algarve’s lively resorts, to enjoy beautiful beaches, good restaurants and nightlife based around your football.
Women's Futsal tours with matches and tournaments can also be arranged.
Futsal in Europe has a long history in the sport and Portugal is host some of the best players and teams. Take the chance to test your skills on the European stage. Our package of accommodation, training facilities and matches all set in a lively resort means you and your team can enjoy a great tour in the Algarve.
Please click here
to make an enquiry for more information about football trips for
women. See also http://futebolfemininoportugal.com/
Strictly for the over 50's, we are now able to help you with
visits and competitions for walking football teams. There are a
growing number of active walking football teams in the Algarve.
Contact us if you would like a one-off game or perhaps we can
organise a small tournament. Our second such successful venture
will take place in Albufeira on 20th March, featuring twelve teams
on three pitches, with a mix of locals and teams from UK.
Season 2018 - 2019.
(the team based in Portimão) finished a creditable 10th in
Portugal's top league
about their ground -
They play in Portimão's city centre municipal
stadium, a short walk from buses and trains. It is an 'old
fashioned' ground in that there are steep terraces close to the
pitch and no running track etc around it. To be honest it would
barely pass muster in the UK National League (5th tier) let alone
the top division of a national competition. Spectator facilities
are minimal, there are few toilets, one portable bar on the
non-members side, no match day programmes etc.
Their website is www.portimonense.pt.
The stadium holds about 5,000. If it's looking like rain, be aware
that the entire stadium, apart from the executive area, has no
roof cover. Average attendances this season just ended were around
the 2,500 mark ie stadium about half full, or half empty depending
on now you look at it.
Note for visitors - children under 6 years old
are not allowed in. The price of tickets for this season seemed to
be €15 in non-members areas, but is increased for the big games.
They have been selling tickets on line via the official website
but not for every match. Except for the big games, ticket office
opens 2 hours before kick-off. There are cafés and bars in the
area in which to wait, there is NOTHING inside the ground in the
way of spectator amenities before the game starts.
The Lisbon based teams of Benfica, Sporting and Belenenses are about 3 to 4 hours drive from the Algarve or between 4 and 5 hours by bus or train. That includes the time spent in the city getting to the ground. It is impossible to travel to and from their games by train unless staying overnight. If going by coach (bus to non UK readers) you will have a long wait (until 0100) before your return journey! ALL top flight matches are shown live on TV and are therefore mostly played in the evenings, sometimes kicking off as late as 9.15pm even on Sundays.
Games are scheduled for television purposes and
are played over Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday evenings. Very
rarely does a team play at 4pm on a Sunday afternoon, the
'default' time for kickoffs.
Dates and times of matches are confirmed four to six weeks in advance, except at the end of the season when certain games are ordered to be played at the same time, sometimes at less than a week's notice! Fixture dates and times can be found on the official Superliga website which also has links to the club websites.
There is virtually no midweek football (ie
Tuesday or Wednesday) anywhere in Portugal below the top two
Apart from games involving the 'big three' and
the honourable exceptions of Braga and Guimarães, crowds often
number less than 5,000.
Farense, the team of Faro and the only Algarve team in this Division, play in the renovated city centre São Luis stadium, which has a capacity of about 10,000. The stadium is about 15 minutes walk from the railway and bus stations. There is no cover from the elements on the non-members side of the stadium.
Last time they played at this level attendances
were around 1,000 for most games, so there is never any trouble
They have a web site page http://scfarense1910.blogspot.co.uk/ but the quality seems to vary from week to week. It's only in Portuguese despite the UK web address.
The Portuguese FA Cup is open to all
teams in the National setup, including those in Madeira and the
Azores. Almost all games are played at the weekend, as the leagues
mostly consist of between 12 and 16 teams, thus creating plenty of
spare dates. The only regional teams allowed to enter are,
generally, the league runner's up and the regional cup
winners. The fixtures can be found at www.zerozero.pt
but kickoff times are harder to find and will have to be checked
Only one Algarve team, Farense (who play in the
third division) reached the 6th round stage last season - the last
eight. They drew a short straw and faced a midweek trip
to Caldas da Rainha where they lost.
Four lower level Algarve teams have qualified
for the third round where they will be joined by Portimonense. The draw
will take place on 10th October. The system here is that the lower
ranled team plays at home.
The League Cup (Taça CTT) is played by
the Superliga and Segunda Liga teams only. Both Algarve teams are
Last season, after yet another change in
format, the third tier was split into five regional sections
each of sixteen teams. The Algarve was included in section E. The
five league winners, plus the three best runners-up went into a
knockout series to determine which two teams were promoted to the
These Algarve teams are the League this
season : Olhanense (Olhão), Ferreiras, Louletano
(Loulé), Lusitano VRSA (Vila Real de Santo António) and
Armacanenses (based in Armação de Pêra).
Various websites and newspapers publish the
fixture list, but rarely are kickoff times included. Up to date
League tables plus last and next games can be seen here in English - external link.
Games are usually played on Sunday afternoons at
3pm (4pm in April and 5pm in May and early September), but check
kickoff times locally as they may vary. Changes have this
season been made with as little as 48 hours warning! There are no
midweek matches unless there is a postponement to be rescheduled.
Admission is normally 7 Euros. Attendances for
the Algarve teams are around 150, 200 at the most.
The best place to check for fixtures and
kickoff times is Portuguese FA Website
mostly play in the town centre stadium, but have played a couple
of times in the 28.000 seat Algarve Stadium. That easily
accommodates their average crowd of 120.
Olhanense play at the Estadio José
Arcanjo in Olhão. This is near the centre of town, not far from
the main N125 road and McDonald's. The tall floodlights can be
seen from a long distance. There is little cover from the elements
on one side, none at all on the other. There is a car park outside
and street parking a few minutes walk away. They do have a
small number of resident British fans who meet before the game in
a bar opposite the main entrance.
OFFICIAL WEBSITE and UNOFFICIAL
WEBSITE both only in Portuguese.
This is a semi-professional league, roughly the
equivalent of a good English county FA league. Matches
are normally played on Saturday afternoons, although some games
are moved because of ground sharing.
First Division -
season started Saturday 22 September
The First Division consists of 12 teams and the
programme is split into two phases. After a first round of
matches ending on 23rd February, the top six play another round of matches between them
to determine champions and promotion. The bottom six play each
other again to avoid relegation.
Admission to matches is €2,50, attendances
rarely exceed 100!
11 Esperanças (play in Faro)
Lusitano VRSA - play in Vila Real de Santo António
Messinense - - play in São Bartolomeu de Messines
Moncarpachense - play in Moncarapacho
Quarteira SC - play in Quarteira Municipal Stadium, shared with Quarteirense.
Quarteirense - ground share with the other team
Algarve League games are normally played on
SATURDAYS normally at 3pm (4pm In April, 5pm May) but as before
fixtures can change, often at short notice. Best check locally if
you can. Some kickoff times are changed because of ground sharing.
The local FA website usually publishes changes
to the fixture lists with confirmed kickoff times on the TUESDAY
prior to the weekend concerned. The local press does not list
kickoff times in their information.
A problem is that kickoff times and even match
dates are altered with as little as a week's warning. It is
difficult therefore to keep up to date as none of the clubs has an
official website and the FA website does not highlight any
changes. So if I forget to look...
Fixtures (with kickoff times) can be seen
then click 'Jogos a realizar' for the date you need. Fixtures and
current league table can also be seen here.
Reminder that ko times for more than 2 or 3 weeks ahead are
subject to change.
I list all fixtures with kickoff times each
Monday or Tuesday at www.albufeira.com/forum
(Albufeira) play in the Municipal Stadium just outside
the town centre. Location Map here.
For Imortal's results and fixtures click here. Most other grounds are pretty well in
the centre of the town or village and are not hard to find.
The Algarve Cup is the regional cup
competition and most teams enter, including those in the national
Leagues. Most matches are played midweek.
The first round will take place on Wednesday
Many bars in the Algarve, especially those run
by British people, have UK satellite dishes or internet streams.
In the Algarve you will almost always be able to find somewhere
showing the football. Some bars will also show Scottish games, but
you may have to look rather harder!
If you are coming to the Albufeira area and need to know a good bar in which to watch a game near where you are staying, go to www.albufeira.com/forum and ask there for a recommendation.
With the demise of the satellite signal that
allowed most UK channels to be easily received here, it is no
longer simple for some bars to show matches screened on BT Sport,
BBC, ITV etc. Most now have devised various internet based
solutions of varying quality and quantity. Sky Sports channels are
still available through satellite, but we understand they will
soon also go.
Portugal's Sport TV channels show English
Premier League matches each weekend and during midweek,
including the 3pm Saturday matches not available to UK viewers.
English language commentary is not currently available. This and
other subscription channels on SportTV also show FA Cup and League
Many bars in tourist areas (ie the Algarve) have
access to various satellite channels, notably Bein Sport also US
and Canadian channels, which show many English Premier League
games with English commentary, also some have Eir Sports (Irish)
channels. You can find bars showing three games at the same time
on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon.
Portugal's SportTV also shows live US Major
League, Dutch, Italian, French, German and Spanish games fairly
regularly. You may also get Brazilian games late at night.
If you have a car while you are here, you might
be able to get over to Huelva or Seville. Seville play in the
Spanish First Division (La Liga) of course as do the other team in
Seville, Real Betis.
The local team just across the border in Huelva,
called Recreativo, are in the third division.
You can get fixtures from an English Language website at www.soccer-spain.com; which also has information about kickoff times and ticket sales generally. Beware that in Spain, many games are scheduled for TV purposes only a few days in advance of the weekend concerned. Tickets are therefore not normally available until a few days beforehand. Many games kick off as late as 10.15pm.
The city of Seville is easily accessible from
the Algarve by car, but there are no trains and by bus it is very
hard work! Click here for
public transport information Algarve - Seville
Very little women's 11-a-side football in played in Portugal. The
whole Algarve Region has just one active team, that of Guia FC.
They play in the regionalised second tier of the national
setup. Last season they also just missed out, losing their
final two games. Games are normally played on Sunday
Season is underway early, however they do not necessarily play