Vila Real de Santo Antonio is a port town in Algarve (southern Portugal) with total area approx 61 km2 (24 ml2) and population around 20,000. The port is actually located on Guadiana River
The town was established after Lisbon's earthquake in 1755, and largely expanded in late-18th century. Prior to 1991 when was completed Guadiana International Bridge (connecting Ayamonte Spain with Castro Marim Portugal), Vila Real was the main gateway to Portugal from Andalusia (via ferries from Ayamonte, across the river).
Local economy is based on tourism and commercial fishing and fish processing (mainly tuna and sardine) and agriculture. By late-19th century, Vila Real was a major canning centre and its port handled numerous ships navigating on Guadiana River.
Since the 1960s, tourism quickly became city's prime industry, attracting both international and domestic tourists. Vila Real features a premium marina (serving yachts, pleasure boats, luxury cruise ships), several kilometres long beach (stretching towards Manta Rota), Praca Marques de Pombal (large town square with cafes, restaurants, shops), museum (Museu de Manuel Cabanas - painter and wood engraver born here). Ayamonte (on the river's opposite bank) is a travel destination of itself, often visited for tapas lunches and shopping. Regularly scheduled ferry service connects both towns (crossing time ~15 min).