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Vilamoura, Portugal - A Tourism Guide to the Algarve
Vilamoura is one of southern Portugal’s finest resort towns - offering so much more than just stunning beaches and a glorious climate. Vilamoura was envisaged in the 1980s as an exclusive beach resort and elite golfing center, and today the town has matured into a stylish and modern holiday destination that boasts celebrated golf courses and outstanding tourist facilities.
The majority of visitors stay within the trendy marina development, with it’s fine restaurants, stylish cocktail bars and chic nightlife, and from here it is only a short stroll to the pristine beaches or drive to the championship grade golf courses.
The main tourist centre of Vilamoura Portugal
Vilamoura is unlike any other Portuguese town, gone is the dilapidated charm, replaced with striking perfection, which is simply expected by the super-rich who moor their million dollar yachts in the marina.
The Algarve, and especially Vilamoura is experiencing an unparalleled resurgence with new business opening, massive investment and a re-discovered confidence not seen since the financial crash of 2007. Vilamoura is expecting a spectacular sell-out 2017 summer season with thousands of new couples and families discovering this wonderful holiday destination.
So why have a holiday to Vilamoura?
Vilamoura has world class hotels, stunning beaches, and a fantastic tourist centre that is based around the marina complex with its varied selection of excellent restaurants and stylish bars. There is a lot to do within the region including boat tours, waterparks, historic towns to explore, and of course golf. The five 18-hole golf courses make Vilamoura arguably the best location for a golfing holiday in the Algarve.
The fine restaurants of Vilamoura
The beaches of Vilamoura are beautiful, with soft golden sands and crystal clear sea waters that are safe for families, while the motorised water sports (jet skis, banana boats and parasailing) will entertain “children” of all ages. The Algarve is great for teenagers and older children, who will adore Zoomarine or the waterparks of Aquashow and Slide and Splash.
For those tourists wishing a more cultural holiday could visit the historic city of Faro or the market town of Loule, both of which can be reached independently via the inexpensive bus network. In all, there is a lot to see and do in Vilamoura and for a guide to the major sights and activities of the region please click here.
The large marina of Vilamoura
Is Vilamoura an expensive location for a holiday?
Portugal is a comparatively inexpensive country; with food, accommodation and transport much cheaper than many of the other established holiday destinations, especially when compared to the Balearic Islands or Greece. Vilamoura has the reputation for exclusivity but is only marginally more expensive than many of the other popular resort towns of the Algarve.
Vilamoura is expecting a sell-out summer season for 2017, following the success of 2016, which does mean that to secure the best prices, accommodation and flights must be booked far in advance. Fortunately, many of the hotels reserved via the larger booking websites do not require a deposit, therefore negating any monetary penalty if plans are changed. Our advice is, if you are seriously considering a holiday to Vilamoura book accommodation now as the best places will sell out, for a summary of the best hotels in Vilamoura please click here.
Who should visit Vilamoura?
Vilamoura is suited for visitors who are looking for a refined and stylish holiday destination, with a preference to quality over cost. Vilamoura is great as a family holiday destination as there are many excellent family hotels, while in the town children will be welcomed in all restaurants, shops and cafes.
The beautiful beach of Vilamoura
Vilamoura does not (or want to) attract large groups who are on stag/hen do’s or simply looking for a cheap drink holiday, for this sort of holiday head to Albufeira. Certain visitors may find Vilamoura devoid of Portuguese charm and character, this is a purpose built resort town that focuses on outstanding tourist facilities and services. For a more traditional Portuguese holiday location consider the historic city of Lagos or the charming town of Tavira.
When to Visit Vilamoura?
Vilamoura has long hot summers, pleasant spring/autumns and winters that are mild but unpredictable with an equal number of bright days as wet days. The height of the tourist season is from July through to August and this is when the beaches are packed and hotels are sold out. June and September tend to be popular months with couples, being outside of the school holidays and without the hordes of children, but there is still fantastic weather and a buzz about the town.
The weather of Vilamoura Portugal
The weather of Vilamoura is suitable for spending time on the beach from mid-May until mid-October and the two ends of the season provide excellent value, with last minute deals and cheaper flights. Tourist facilities in Vilamoura close down for winter at the end of October and fully reopen for Easter. There is a large permanent population in Vilamoura so that most restaurants and cafes in the marina complex stay open year round but during the off-season the region will feel very quiet. The one exception to this is Christmas and New Year, when there is a lively atmosphere.
Vilamoura as a Golfing Holiday
Vilamoura is one of the best destinations in the Algarve for a golfing holiday and the town is ideal for golfers. In the marina complex there are agencies that rent quality clubs and provide transport to all of the major courses throughout the Algarve. There are five golf courses in Vilamoura and include the Victoria (18holes used for the Portugal Masters), the Old Course (18holes Par 73), Pinhal (18holes Par 72), Millennium (18 holes Par 72) and Laguna (18holes Par 72). All of the golf courses directly in Vilamoura are operated by the Oceanico Golf company and they have a reputation for the highest standards and excellent facilities.
Vilamoura has five wonderful golf courses and is ideal for a golfing holiday
Green fees reflect the quality of the golf courses and are season dependent. Prices in June 2016 range from €137 for a round on the Victoria through to €83 for the Pinhal course. Generally, green fees are at their most expensive during October and November, when the weather is most suited for golf.
Vilamoura Airport and Transfers
The main airport of southern Portugal is Faro airport which is located 25km to the west. Faro is a major airport with flights covering the whole of Europe, but there is a shortage of seats/flights in the summer so always book well in advance to secure the best prices.
Air Tap is the national carrier of Portugal
There is very limited public transport from the airport to Vilamoura and the route requires two bus journeys and takes between 1.5-2hours depending on connections. Most visitors pre-book a transfer and from the airport and these can be a private transfer or shared (mini bus or coach), prices range from €50 for private to €25 for shared. For a guide to traveling from the airport to Vilamoura please click here.
Day Trips from Vilamoura
From Vilamoura 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 Vilamoura include Loule, Faro and Albufeira.
The covered market of Loule
Loule is a bustling market town that is inland from the beach resorts and provides an opportunity to experience normal Portuguese daily 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.
The city walls of Loule
Faro is the pretty and historic capital of the Algarve. Faro has a delightful historic centre which is surrounded by ancient Moorish walls, while the city centre is pedestrianised with open air cafes and restaurants. From the harbour there 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
Albufeira is the largest resort town of the Algarve, boasting a beautiful beach and an old town crammed full with countless restaurants, themed bars and shops. Albufeira is a buzzing and hectic town during the summer and has a very different atmosphere to the much trendier Vilamoura.