Boca do Rio

Villa - Roman Period (272)
The archaeological site of Boca do Rio is a Roman villa, located on the cliff of Boca do Rio beach, on the eastern edges of the Parque Natural do Sudoeste Alentejano e Costa Vicentina, south-east of Budens settlement. This location site, favourable to the exploitation of maritime resources, impairs the preservation of the archaeological vestiges due to coastal erosion. The visible archaeological structures are compartments belonging to a residential space (pars urbana) facing the sea, with mosaic pavements that reveal geometric decorations, walls with painted stuccoes, a thermal area with small pools with mosaic-lined steps and a domestic service area (with fireplace and food containers - amphorae and dolia in its original location). In the back and under the dunes, a workshop for the production of fish products was identified, consisting of a significant set of cetarias (tanks) with various stages of construction and use. About 380m west of the villa, a Roman grave was found that can indicate a necropolis area. Close to the residence, there is the possibility of the existence of a pier associated with the maritime flow of the fish-salting products produced in these workshops (possibly associated with the underwater find of an amphora). The identified archaeological materials allowed to frame the occupation of this villa between the end of the 1st century AD and the first decades of the 5th century AD, the stage of its greater development happening around the 3rd century AD. The location and the architectural characteristics of this villa fit into the classic model of the "maritime village", with resemblances with the Abicada (CNS 72), Praia da Luz (CNS 4499), or Quinta do Marim 3 (CNS 583) sites. This archaeological site has been known since the 18th century, since its vestiges were uncovered by the tsunami caused by the great earthquake of 1755.


Archaeological site integrated in the Vila do Bispo Municipality Route, associated with the Boca do Rio Biodiversity Station.

Visit conditions

Free entrance




    How to get there? Best practices

    Best practices

    Good practices when visiting archaeological sites

    To visit an archaeological site is to connect with our origins, to understand our path and evolution as a species integrated in the environment, and to respect and safeguard our heritage so that future generations can also visit and enjoy it.

    Walking the paths and enjoying the structures and archaeological pieces that survived over time, fosters the understanding of what is different, but also of what is common among different populations: basically, what identifies us as Homo Sapiens.

    More than just vestiges and ruins of the past, archaeological sites showcase our capacity for creative thought, adaptation, interconnection, comprehension and resilience. Without these traits we would not have been successful as cultural beings participating in an ongoing evolutionary process. These sites also allow to consider choices made in the past thus contributing for decisions in the present to be made with greater awareness and knowledge.

    Archaeological sites are unique and irreplaceable. These sites are fragile resources vulnerable to changes driven by human development. The information they keep, if destroyed, can never be recovered again.

    As such, the Directorate-General for Cultural Heritage (DGPC) invites all visitors to enjoy the beauty and authenticity of these sites, while helping to preserve them for future generations by adopting the following set of good practices:

    • Respect all signs; 
    • Do not try to access fenced areas; 
    • Do not climb, sit or walk on archaeological structures and remains; 
    • Respect areas where archaeological excavations are being carried out, not disturbing them; 
    • Do not collect materials or sediments;
    • Do not write or make graffiti on archaeological structures; 
    • Put the garbage in appropriate containers. If none exist, take the garbage with you until you find a suitable container; 
    • Leave the archaeological site as you found it; 
    • Do not drive bicycles or motor vehicles over archaeological sites; 
    • Respect and protect the plants and animals that live in the areas surrounding archaeological sites;
    • Report signs of vandalism or destruction to DGPC or Regional Directorates of Culture (DRC);
    • Share the visiting experience and the archaeological sites, as a way of raising awareness to their preservation and making them better known;
    • Do not buy archaeological materials and report to public security authorities, DGPC or DRC, if you suspect that archaeological materials may be for sale.

    Further information:

    AIA / ATTA (2013) – Guide to best practices for archaeological tourism. 

    Raposo, J. (2016) – Código de conduta para uma visita responsável a sítios arqueológicos. In Sítios arqueológicos portugueses revisitados: 500 arqueossítios ou conjuntos em condições de fruição pública responsável. Al-madan, 2ª série, p. 20 – 77. 

    DGPC contacts

    Phone: +351213614200 | Email:


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