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 August 2020
This is the Portuguese football set-up in
descending order for season 2020 - 2021. 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 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.
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. A 30 team tournament took place in
Ferreiras on 1st and 2nd April 2019. A similar event is now set in
the calendar for 20th and 21st April. This is now fully subscribed
with 48 teams entered, also to be at held at ferreiras Football
Club near Albufeira.
This website will be of interest to visitors - https://walkingfootballalgarve.com/
not connected with us, this is the site of the East Algarve
Walking Football club.
Season 2020 -
2021 proposed to start 12th September with finish at the end of
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.
They were promoted from the Second Division last
The stadium is located on the north side of the
city near the large hospital, 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. Attendances were
averaging 3,000+ towards the end of the shortened season, so the
ground was almost half full. Car parking in the area is
scarce. Official website https://www.scfarense.pt/modalidades/futebol
Tickets for most games will be in the €15 - €20
range. They are not normally sold via websites. However tickets
for the big games against Benfica, Sporting and FC Porto will
almost certainly be restricted to members only.
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
Apart from games involving the 'big three' and
the honourable exceptions of Braga and Guimarães, crowds often
number less than 5,000.
Season 2019 - 2020 under way, ends mid-May 2020
(the team based in Portimão) were relegated from top league last
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 5,500. 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 will be €10 - 15 in
non-members areas. Tickets are not sold on websites etc. 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.
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
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
may take place before the League Season begins. The format for
2020 - 2021 is as yet unknown.
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), Moncarapachense 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
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
have been playing most games in the 28.000 seat Algarve Stadium,
several km from the town. 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.
There is no officlal website, just this UNOFFICIAL
WEBSITE only in Portuguese.
It is thought that the 2020 - 2021 season will
begin late September / early October
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.
The First Division consists 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 for several seasons has
been fixed at €2,50, attendances rarely exceed 100!
11 Esperanças - based in Faro, play at the
Almancilense - play in Almancil
Culatrense - based in Faro, also normally play at the Penha 'stadium'.
Louletano B - play mostly at the Loulé Municipal Stadium
Lusitano VRSA - play in Vila Real de Santo António
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 http://www.afalgarve.pt/index.php/comunicacoes/jogos-no-algarve
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 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.
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.
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. 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.
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. 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
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.