FOOTBALL (Soccer) IN THE ALGARVE 2019/2020

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 1st October 2019

Background to the setup in Portuguese football

This is the Portuguese football set-up in descending order for season 2019 - 2020. National Leagues consist of three tiers. The fourth and, where they exist, fifth tiers are the regional leagues. Promotion and relegation operates between all tiers.

  1. Liga NOS - Benfica, Porto, Sporting etc;
  2. Liga Pro - Segunda Liga
  3. Campeonato de Portugal (Naçional Seniores) - Regional divisions
  4. Regional and District Leagues - semi-professional

This English language website 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 - and

Another good website, with areas in English and several other languages, is 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 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 linesmen.

There are also national and regional set-ups for U-19 etc type football. There are some unofficial veterans leagues.

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.

Football tours to the Algarve

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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 Football Associations. AFT banner at Guia FC

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 opposition!

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.


Women's Football Tours to Portugal

algarve_women's_football_1As 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 holiday.

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. Algarve_women's_futsal

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


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. A 30 team tournament took place in Ferreiras on 1st and 2nd April 2019. A similar event is planned for April 2020, with more than 40 teams from all over Europe taking part.

This website will be of interest to visitors - not connected with us, this is the site of the East Algarve Walking Football club.

Liga NOS (Superliga) - eighteen teams

Season 2019 - 2020 under way, ends mid-May 2020

Portimonense (the team based in Portimão) finished 12th in Portugal's top league last season.

A bit 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 The stadium holds about 5,500. If it's looking like rain, be aware that the entire stadium, apart from the executive area, has no roof cover. Average attendances last season were around the 3,000 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 seems 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 surrounding area in which to wait, there is NOTHING inside the ground in the way of spectator amenities before the game starts.

There is a fairly large free car park outside, which does get full as it also serves two large apartment blocks. There are other places to park nearby. For those coming by bus, the ground is 4 minutes walk from the main bus stop area on Avenida Guanaré. The railway station is about 15 minutes walk. However, given TV schedules, many games are played at times not allowing journeys by train or bus.

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 21.15hrs 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 Divisions.

Apart from games involving the 'big three' and the honourable exceptions of Braga and Guimarães, crowds often number less than 5,000.

Segunda Liga - Liga Pro

Season 2019 - 2020 under way, ends mid-May 2020

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 on hte north side of the city near the large hospital. There is no cover from the elements on the non-members side of the stadium. Attendances are around 1,500 for most games, so there is rarely any trouble getting in.

Official website

They have fans web site page but the quality seems to vary from week to week. It's only in Portuguese despite the UK web address.

Portuguese FA Cup/ League Cup

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 but kickoff times are harder to find and will have to be checked locally.

The third round is scheduled for the weekend of 19 and 20th October

The League Cup (Taça Allianz) is played by the Superliga and Segunda Liga teams only. The top teams are obliged to play their a majority of Under-23 players. Early rounds take place before the League Season begins.

Campeonato de Portugal

The third tier is split into four regional sections each of sixteen teams. The Algarve is included in section D. The league winners  and runners-up will go into a post season knockout series to determine which two teams are promoted to the Segunda Liga.

These Algarve teams are the League this season  : Olhanense (Olhão), Lagos, 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, August and early September), but check kickoff times locally as they may vary. Changes have in the past been made with as little as 48 hours warning! There are no midweek matches unless there is a postponement to be rescheduled.

Admission is around 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

Louletano do play in the town centre stadium, but have been playing many games 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 (no longer working) and UNOFFICIAL WEBSITE both only in Portuguese.

The Algarve League

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 began 28th September ends mid May

The First Division will consist of 12 teams and the programme split into two phases. After a first round of matches ending on 7th March,  the top six play another round of matches between them to determine champions and promotion. The bottom six will play each other twice again to avoid relegation.

Admission to matches is €2,50, attendances rarely exceed 100!

The teams for next season following relegations and promotions :

11 Esperanças - based in Faro, play at the Penha 'stadium'
Culatrense - based in Faro, play at the Penha 'stadium'.
Imortal Albufeira
Louletano B - play mostly at the Loulé Municipal Stadium
Lusitano VRSA - play in Vila Real de Santo António
Moncarpachense - play in Moncarapacho
Quarteira SC - play in Quarteira Municipal Stadium

Algarve League games are 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 kick-off 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 kick-off times) can be seen at  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 kick-off times each Monday or Tuesday at

Imortal (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 Quarteira SC stadium is a bleak all-purpose municipal facility on the border between Vilamoura and Quarteira. It's only 6 or 7 minutes walk from the McDonalds in Vilamoura. The buses from and back to Albufeira call at a stop about 5 minutes walk away. Map here.

Ferreiras play in their neat ground in the centre of the village, 4km from Albufeira. Alas, they were relegated to the Algarve League after a very poor season.

Second Division season starts 12th October - fourteen teams playing each other twice

Because of ground sharing, the 'default' time for matches in this Division will be 6pm /1800hrs on Saturdays. Most of these grounds have all weather synthetic grass.

Confirmed teams for next season

4 ao Cubo – Associação Desportiva de Olhão - Estádio Municipal de Olhão  - the little ground in the town
Ass. Farense - apparently playing in the main São Luis stadium
Carvoeiro United - play in Estombar
Campinense - based in Loulé
Clube Desportivo Maritimo Olhanense - Estádio Municipal de Olhão
Clube Desportivo Odiáxere - Campo das Eiras
Internacional Almancil
Mentes do Desporto - play in Bellavista Stadium, Parchal
Messinense - - play in São Bartolomeu de Messines
Padernense Clube - Estádio João Campos, Paderne
Quarteira 1937
Sambrasense (play in São Bras de Alportel)
Sharks United - playing at Estombar

Teams 'lost' from last season other than those that dropped out midway through are Ferreiras B and Sport Faro e Benfica.

Algarve Cup

The Algarve Cup is the regional cup competition and most teams enter, including those in the national Leagues. Most matches are played midweek.

The grounds

This map shows the various grounds used by the professional and semi-professional clubs based in the Algarve. Zoom in to see a more precise location, click the marker to see who plays there. Many towns have no active senior football clubs, hence the big gaps in the map!

Thew two marked in red are those of Portimonense and Farense, the two top level teams of the Algarve.

 Those marked in yellow are, so far as I know, used only by junior age group teams. For interest I have marked, in grey, some of the grounds I know and that are now not used by anyone.

English/Scottish football on TV

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 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. SportTV also show FA Cup and League Cup matches.

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 (subscription channel) also shows live US Major League, Dutch, Italian, French, German and Spanish games fairly regularly. You may also get Brazilian games late at night.

Spanish Football?

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; 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. Some 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 can be very hard work! Click here for public transport information Algarve - Seville

Women's Football

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 and two seasons running have finished in the top three of their group, but just missed out on the playoffs.  Games are normally played on Sunday afternoons, however they do not necessarily play every week. Next season will start mid October.

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