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Vilamoura - Sights and activities, things to do and see
Vilamoura is a stylish resort town that is situated on the beautiful Algarve coastline. The town is centred around an exclusive marina, which boasts world-class hotels, fine restaurants and chic bars, while the region offers pristine beaches and championship-grade golf courses. Vilamoura makes for a fantastic holiday destination and has so much more to offer than just stunning beaches and a glorious climate. This guide will detail the most popular sights, activities and things to do for a holiday to Vilamoura.
There's always something going on in the harbour of Vilamoura
Golf – Vilamoura things to do
The Algarve is famed for its golf courses and Vilamoura is the heart of the golfing scene, with five excellent golf courses and equally good facilities. In the marina complex are golfing agencies who can organise transport to all of the major courses, provide club hire and advice on prices or availability. Popular golf courses within the Vilamoura region include, Millenium, the Old Course, Vila Sol, Pinhal and Victoria. If your primary reason to visit the Algarve is for a golfing holiday, then there is no better destination than Vilamoura.
Vilamoura's golf courses are world class
Water Parks – Vilamoura activities
Vilamoura is a holiday destination for the whole family and one of the best activities for entertaining teenagers (and adults!) is a trip to one of the water parks. These vast water parks offer gravity defying flumes, colossal rubber ring rides and near vertical slides – all perfect for the adrenaline junkie. The only downside are the overly inflated entrance fees of around €27/€19 (adult/child), which dampen the bill payer’s spirits. There are three major water parks within the central Algarve; Slide and Splash, Aqualand and Aquashow and all provide transport from Vilamoura. Links to the English websites are:
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Eating and drinking – Things to do
The marina is surrounded by designer restaurants and uber-chic bars, which serve up fine cuisines and glamourous cocktails; there is no better location for an evening meal of freshly caught fish than the marina. As a holiday destination Vilamoura tends for the more discerning visitor but with over 200 different eat and drinking establishments every cuisine, taste and preference is catered for.
The fine restaurants of Vilamoura
Eating out in Portugal is significantly cheaper than back at home and most small cafes have lunch time offers, such as meal of the day. When choosing a hotel, it is advisable not to go all-inclusive as this will severely limit the options of when and where to eat.
The beaches – Sights Vilamoura
The Algarve is renowned for its beautiful beaches and Vilamoura is situated at the eastern edge of one of the largest beaches of the central Algarve, the 6km long Praia da Falésia. To the east of Vilamoura is the Praia de Vilamoura that extends to the fishing harbour of Quarteira. The beaches around Vilamoura provide soft golden sands and crystal clear waters that are clean and safe for children to swim in. At the beach parasols and sun loungers (10€ per day) can be hired along with all of the typical beach water sports, including paragliding, banana boats and inflatables.
The beautiful beaches of Vilamoura
Boat trips, tours and fishing trips – Vilamoura things to do
Departing from the marina are an assortment of different boat trips, which include tours of the coastline, dolphin spotting and deep sea fishing. For the more adventurous are speed boat tours, jet boats or jet-skis, while for a total indulge charter a private yacht for a sunset cruise. Typical cost are:
• 3 hour caves/coastline tour €26/€17 (adult/child)
• 2 hour Dolphin tour €35/€25 (adult/child)
• 3 hour deep sea fishing (20-30m) for snapper, mackerel, grouper €35/€25 (adult/child)
The Vilamoura boat tours
Day Trip to Loule
Loule is a charming and traditional Portuguese market town that makes for an enjoyable day trip from Vilamoura. Loule has a pretty daily market (except Sunday) that is housed in a North African inspired covered market, while the pretty cobbled backstreets are filled with quaint house and small shops. Loule has a distinctively Portuguese ambience, with locals socialising in open air cafes, women gossiping in doorways and old men sat all day on the same bench – Loule is wholly different from Vilamoura. For a guide to Loule please click here.
The town hall of Loule
The nightlife of Vilamoura is varied, with an ecliptic mix of bars ranging from themed to uber-chic and trendy. One of the most popular venues is Vilamoura casino which has nightly shows and a great atmosphere. For a big night head to Bliss night club, where you can party under the night stars to banging music and big name DJs.
A banging night in Vilamoura
Zoomarine – Vilamoura sights
Zoomarine is wonderful marine park that specialises in dolphins, marine life and topical birds. In the marine park there is a diverse selection of activities including dolphin shows, aquariums, and a good water park with slides, wave pools and rapids. The animals of Zoomarine are kept in modern facilities and all are well cared for. The variety of attractions means Zoomarine is ideal for both families and young couples but again has a steep entrance fee of €29/ €19 (adult/child).
Try Portuguese Food
Vilamoura is an ideal location to try local and traditional Portuguese cuisines. Portuguese foods tends to be heart and filling (often served with rice, chips and bread as a starter) and Algarve specialities are based around freshly caught fish or shellfish.
A delicious seafood Cataplana
One dish to try is Cataplana, a seafood rice stew, that is both cooked and served in a large copper dish that resembles the key ingredient, clams. Cataplana is designed to be shared, with the copper dish being placed in the centre of the table. Locally produced wines are the perfect accompaniment for any meal!
Day trip to Faro
Faro is the largest city of the Algarve and is a surprisingly unhurried and interesting destination, ideal for a day trip from Vilamoura. Within the ancient walled section of Faro is a fortified cathedral, castle ruins and Baroque city hall, while the pedestrianised shopping streets of central Faro are lined with open air cafes. Faro is the gateway to the Ria Formosa Natural Park, a series of salt water lagoons and waterways that are a haven for migratory birds and marine life. There is a direct bus service from Vilamoura to Faro so is possible to visit without the use of a rental car.
Faro is a historic city
There is an excellent go karting circuit at Almancil Karting, whose course is a scaled down version of the F1 course in Rio. The karts are fast, the track is good and the whole experience is great fun. There are a range of prices with discounts for groups but prices start from €25 for 20 minutes.
The go karts in Vilamoura are fats!
A Bit of history - the Cerro da Vila Roman Vila
The Cerro da Vila is a 1st century Roman Villa that is on the edge of the marina complex and contains an interesting museum. Few of the ruins are much higher than ground level, with most being excavated, but there are still beautiful mosaics patterns and images, mainly of fish. The entrance fee is only €3.
The marina in Vilamoura