The best guide to Quarteira

by Giddioso Travel Guides

Quarteira Portugal Guide

Quarteira was one of the original resort towns to be established along the beautiful Algarve coastline, and to this day it has a loyal following of visitors especially with Portuguese tourists. The beach of Quarteira is one of the best of the central Algarve region but the town’s appeal suffered with the development during the 1970-1980’s of huge characterless apartment blocks.

Quarteira beach

Quarteira may not be the most scenic of holiday destinations but it’s great location cannot be beaten. The vast beach of golden sands and calm sea waters stretches the length of the town while it is only a short walk to the exclusive resort and golf courses of Vilamoura.

Quarteira portugal

The beach front of Quarteira

The town is experiencing a resurgence based upon the increased popularity of the Algarve. During the summer months the town has a bustling and lively atmosphere, filled with families and couples from across Europe. This guide will provide an introduction to Quarteira and is designed for visitors who are considering or planning a holiday to the region.

Why Visit Quarteira?

Quarteira is rarely the first choice as a holiday destination but this would be unfair to a town that offers a fantastic beach and great tourist facilities including many excellent seafood restaurants. Quarteira is a popular family destination; the beach has calm, clean sea waters suitable for children while families are welcome in all restaurants and cafes.

Quarteira portugal

Quarteira is a relaxing holiday destination

Quarteira has good public transport links therefore the town can be used as a base from which to explore the surrounding area. There are direct buses to Faro and Albufeira and the town of Vilamoura is only a short walk away. For a guide to the best activities in Quarteira please click here.

Who should visit Quarteira?

Quarteira is suited for visitors who are looking for a relaxing, low key holiday destination; where the majority of the day is spent lounging on the beach and the evenings spent socializing in the restaurants and beach bars. This type of holiday would perfectly suit young families, slightly more mature couples or retirees.

Quarteira fishing harbour

Quarteira has a busy fishing harbour

The nightlife of Quarteira is subdued and calm, being focused around the late night cafes or restaurants, and is not suited for party-goers or stag do’s. Quarteira is relatively modern and has few historical monument or sights, so the town is not really suited for visitors who wish to discover the history or heritage of southern Portugal.



When to Visit Quarteira?

Quarteira and the Algarve have long hot summers and warm, dry spring and autumns. The winter months are mild but the weather can be unpredictable. The height of the tourist season is from June through to August and most accommodation does get fully sold, but Quarteira is one of the last resort town to be fully booked. If planning a summer holiday to southern Portugal always book accommodation and flights well in-advance.

weather Quarteira Portugal

The average weather of Quarteira Portugal

The weather of Quarteira is suitable for spending time on the beach from mid-May until the end of September and the mid-seasons can be a great time for a bargain holiday. Tourist facilities in Quarteira closes down for winter in October and reopen for Easter. During the closed season the region will feel very quiet but there is enough of a permanent population that most restaurants and cafes stay open.

Does Quarteira have a good beach?

Quarteira has an amazing beach, with the wide stretch of golden sand extending the entire length of the town. The sea waters are clean and calm making them suitable for children to bath in and during the summer the beach is supervised by lifeguards.

Quarteira as a Budget Destination

Quarteira could be classed as a budget destination and prices for eating out and socialising are significantly cheaper than many of the other resort towns of the Algarve. These lower prices are in part due to the popularity of Quarteira with Portuguese tourists who demand similar prices to their home towns. For a guide to the best hotels in Quarteira please click here.

Quarteira portugal

Quarteira beach front is lined with apartments and hotels

Quarteira as a last minute destination

Quarteira is virtually unknown by foreign tourists as it is not widely sold by tour operators or travel agencies and some of the guide books do not even reference it! This semi-anonymity can work to the advantage of tourists, especially when trying to secure accommodation close to the summer season. Quarteira will often be one of the last towns to sell out and the large number of residential apartments means there are a lot of holiday rentals. Outside of the summer season Quarteira will provide great value for accommodation as hotels try to attract visitors from the more established towns.

Day trips from Quarteira

From Quarteira there are many interesting day trips to the surrounding region and these are all easily accessible by the inexpensive and regular bus network. Popular day trips from Quarteira include Faro, Loule and Albufeira.


Faro is the pretty and historic administrative centre for the Algarve. Faro has a delightful old town which is surrounded by ancient Moorish walls, while the city centre is pedestrianised with open air cafes and restaurants. From the harbour they are tours of the Ria Formosa natural park, a series of salt lagoons and waterways that are a haven for migratory birds.

Faro is a historic city

Faro is a historic city

Loule is a bustling market town that is inland from the beach resorts and provides an opportunity to experience daily Portuguese life. The town is centred around the North African inspired covered market, which on Saturdays spills out onto the surrounding streets and is the largest market in the Algarve.

city walls of Loule

The city walls of Loule

Albufeira is the largest resort town of the Algarve, boasting a beautiful beach and an old town crammed full with countless restaurants, bars and shops. Albufeira is a buzzing and hectic town during the summer and has a very different atmosphere to the much calmer Quarteira.

Quarteira for a Golfing Holiday

Quarteira is a great destination for a golfing holiday and it is only a short journey to some of Portugal’s finest golf courses. Transport to the golf courses can be organised from Quarteira and golf clubs can be hired from the town or from Faro airport. Quarteira is very close to the five excellent golf course of Vilamoura, which include the Victoria (18holes used for the Portugal Masters), Pinhal (18holes Par 72), the Old Course (18holes Par 73), Millennium (18 holes Par 72) and Laguna (18holes Par 72).

Vilamoura  golf

Vilamoura has five great golf courses

All of the golf courses in Vilamoura are operated by the Oceanico Golf company and they have a reputation for excellent facilities and the highest standards. Green fees vary depending on the course and the season. Prices for June 2016 range from €83 for the Pinhal course through to €137 for the Victoria. Generally, green fees are at their most expensive during October and November, when the weather is most suited for golf.

Quarteira or Vilamoura for a Holiday?

Quarteira and Vilamoura are located along the same stretch of beach but are very different destinations. Vilamoura was a purpose built beach and golfing resort town, which is still one of the largest private complexes in Europe. The town boasts a beautiful marina complex surrounded fine restaurants and designer hotels and shops, while inland are championship grade golf courses.


Quarteira beginnings are much humbler, first as a former fishing village, then as a residential town for Vilamoura, and now as a low key tourist town that primary caters for Portuguese visitors and ex-pats. Quarteira has a much more laid back and less pretentious atmosphere than Vilamoura. The restaurants that line the beach serve more traditional and much better value food, while the hotels of Quarteira may not be as glamourous but are comfortable and modern.

Quarteira beach

The memorial to the fishermen and Quarteira beach

In general, most tourist to the region would prefer to stay in exclusive Vilamoura, as it offers better tourist facilities. The main issue with Vilamoura is that prices are designed for the top end market and are vastly more expensive than the rest of Portugal. During the summer the hotels in Vilamoura do sell out rapidly while there may be space available in Quarteira.

marina of Vilamoura

The marina of Vilamoura

Even though Quarteira and Vilamoura cater for vastly different tourists the two towns are very close together and it is only a 15minute walk between them or a 5Euro taxi fare.

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The best guide to Quarteira