Morgado do Arge (by Michael Bruxo) 31
Photo: Michael Bruxo/Open Media

Huge “eco-resort” planned for Portimão

Environmental impact study under public consultation

A massive €302 million tourism development planned to occupy a significant area of Portimão’s eastern riverside territory is currently up for public consultation.

Entitled Herdade do Arade, the so-called “eco-resort” is planned for the Morgado de Arge area, north of Portimão, and could pave the way for the construction of hotels, tourist complexes, theme parks, a nautical centre, a campsite, riding centre, sports centre and seven reservoirs, comprising a total of more than 3,000 tourist beds.

The project’s environmental impact study (EIA) can be consulted online on the Participa portal or on the website of regional development commission CCDR Algarve, and anyone with a view on the plans can present their case until the August 11 deadline.

The developer is Gravity Intuition S.A. backed by Fundo Vega, the same investment fund behind another tourist project to be carried out at Alvor’s Quinta da Rocha beauty spot.

The Herdade do Arade project has been in the pipeline for many years, previously under the name Morgado de Arge.

eco-resort planned for Portimão

In 2009, former Portimão mayor said that “there has never been an environmental project of this size in the Algarve”, while over a decade later in 2021, Joaquim Luiz Gomes from the asset management firm that manages Fundo Vega said that the goal is to turn the development into the Western Algarve’s version of Quinta do Lago.

“Our ambition is to transform Morgado de Arge in the equivalent, for the Western Algarve, of what Quinta do Lago is to the Eastern Algarve,” he told regional news website Sulinformação, stressing that the area of Morgado de Arge is double that of Quinta do Lago.

The project’s next step has now been taken with the opening of the public consultation period for the environmental evaluation of its Núcleo de Desenvolvimento Económico (NDE, or Centre of Economic Development).

“The NDE of Herdade do Arade is located within a rural property named ‘Morgado de Arge’. The NDE’s area differs from this property’s area as it excludes the areas without territorial contiguity to the west of the EN124 and the A22 bypass area,” the report reads.

Also left out of the evaluation is the area comprising a photovoltaic power plant, which received its licensing as part of a separate project and has already been built, as well as the seven reservoirs, which require “autonomous usage licences”.


In other words, the territory is divided into three areas: the Morgado de Arge rural building, with 1,408 hectares; the Herdade do Arade NDE area, with 1,376 hectares, and the area subjected to an environmental impact study, with 1,241 hectares.

However, the developers state that only 111 hectares of the land will be used for construction.

The NDE includes plans for the construction of several tourist developments (hotels, tourist villages, and a luxury ‘glamping’ campsite), comprising a total of 3,238 tourist beds.

Also planned is a residential condominium (105 houses for 655 residents), commercial establishments, restaurants and bars, as well as theme parks, and a nautical recreation centre on the bank of the Arade River, with 10 moorings for vessels up to eight metres and three berths for maritime-tourist vessels.

The project also foresees an agricultural area and agricultural facilities (such as an equestrian centre, winery, and production of honey, liqueurs and brandy).

To compensate some of the “negative effects” identified in the study – such as soil erosion, changes to sound levels, the impact of the project on fauna, and the visual impact of the project – a 675-hectare area devoted to nature conservation (Espaço Natural do Arade) is due to be created.

Herdade do Arade is also due to feature a one-hectare sports centre including pitches and courts for football, futsal, padel and tennis, and a spa and wellness facility.

eco-resort planned for Portimão

“The development and modernisation of the municipality of Portimão needs highly qualified projects that offer new skills, whether in the fields of tourism or in other associated areas that contribute to the national and international recognition of the region and the municipality as a destination of quality,” the developers say in the report.

“The concept of the project to be developed at Herdade do Arade meets all the requirements that the municipality of Portimão intends to see gathered in the projects to be carried out in its territory. Nature tourism, despite the potential of the region’s endogenous resources, is almost non-existent in the Algarve. This is the general concept of the Herdade do Arade project,” they add.

The construction of the resort is expected to generate 480 jobs, followed by around 800 jobs once the development is completed (or 1,800 jobs, taking into account direct and indirect jobs).

The “initial investment” required is around €302 million, the developers say, adding that the resort is expected to take 11 years to be completed in five phases.

By Michael Bruxo
[email protected]