Recreio da Fraga swimming pools, São Miguel de Poiares, Portugal

Many people in the Vila Nova de Poiares neighbourhood learned to swim in the swimming pools at Recreio da Fraga leisure complex (nicknamed Fraggle Rock in our house) but it became neglected and was closed down for many years.

Thanks to the efforts of the local council and local investment, the space was fully renovated in 2013. Since then, this impressive complex of river-fed swimming pools and surrounding leisure areas has been a favourite spot to cool off in the summer months.

Better still, it’s free to enter although you’ll have to pay a small fee if you want to use the umbrellas or sunbeds.

Recreio da Fraga swimming pools and football pitch, São Miguel de Poiares, Portugal
This is the deepest pool with sun loungers to the left, a football pitch in the background and hopefully a restaurant on the right.

The onsite café offers reasonably priced food or drink but you can take a picnic if you want.

There are several swimming pools of differing depth and size so if you get bored or find one pool too crowded, go and check out one of the others. The fact that you can see the bottom, and that there are steps or ladders to access the water makes them appealing for those who are wary of swimming in a river.

Not surprisingly, the complex is extremely popular in summer and it’s not the place to come for serious swimming although it’s quieter in the mornings. If you’re looking for a place to swim as exercise, try a different river beach.

If you simply want a fun place to hang out with local people and cool off on hot summer days, this is it.

Shallow river fed swimming pool, Recreio da Fraga swimming pools, São Miguel de Poiares, Portugal
It’s a lot busier than this in the afternoons!

Practicalities for visiting Piscinas da Fraga

Recreio da Fraga leisure complex is open from 10 am to 8 pm every day, at least throughout the summer (typically June 1st to September 15th but check the local council website as this changes every year). When there’s live music, it’s open until midnight.

Follow the brown signs leading you off the EN 17 from São Miguel de Poiares. There’s plenty of free parking above the complex if you can’t find a space near the entrance.


  1. Hello Julie, parabens to your lovely site, very much appreciated! Could you help me to find a swimming pool with a slide and a jumping-tower that is open end of february/beginning of march, best would be towards the south i guess for warmer weather…

    1. Author

      Hi Tanja, I doubt you’ll find anything outdoors, even in the Algarve that’s open at that time of year. It’s winter here and many hotels don’t even fill their pools until Easter at the earliest. Try asking the water parks in the Algarve but I wouldn’t hold your breath.

  2. Drat. The site tells me that it’s bandwith has been exceeded !! Looks to be a lovely place. How ‘warm’ is the water ? I have found even in this heat in the aqua parques the water is often freezing !! BTW … would it be possible for you to put a little map on these wonderful posts of yours so we can tell where they are ??

    Thanks ….

    1. Author

      The kids got straight into the water with no fuss but I’m more of a baby when it comes to cold water so had to ease myself in gently. It’s not too bad though and once you’re in, it’s warm enough to stay there for as long as you want.

      I’ll look into the maps. Thanks for the suggestion.

      1. OK .. one day I will try to get down there! It looks such fun. And I am a baby with cold water too – I rather prefer it to be like tepid soup !!! lol!!

        Thanks for looking into the map thing .. that would be so helpful !!

  3. I really loved reading your posts, makes me miss Portugal even more. 🙂

    1. Author

      Thank you! I’m glad you enjoy reading them, even if they do make you homesick.

  4. Looks very inviting, Julie. There’s a nice one at Sao Bras de Alportel, not too far from Tavira too.
    Reminds me- must get back to my A-Z’s! I’ve been sidetracked lately. All well with you?

    1. Author

      I know all too well how easy it is to get sidetracked, Jo. I haven’t forgotten my A to Z though and have a couple of posts lurking in the wings. Hope all’s well with you, too.

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