All of the sights in the historical town are a short walk from the port. On the way up the hill, turn right at the small church on Largo do Desterro for great views over the bay to the wild Ilha do Livramento. It's possible to take a boat from the port to the island for a closer look.
Rua Grande, which runs from the Praça da Matriz to the Igreja do Carmo, is the best-preserved street in the town, with a beautiful row of two-story houses.
In the greater Alcântara area there are some 30 beaches to explore, most of which are totally deserted; there are also numerous interesting communities, some of which are dedicated to traditional crafts.