The best independent guide to the Algarve
The best independent guide to the Algarve
Vilamoura is a modern and sophisticated holiday destination that is situated on one of the finest beaches of central Algarve.
Vilamoura was constructed in the 1980s as an elite golfing centre, and today the town boasts five exceptional golf courses, along with outstanding tourist facilities. At the heart of Vilamoura is the exclusive marina complex, where million-dollar yachts moor and visitors can dine at gourmet restaurants or socialise in the chic bars.
Vilamoura is unlike any other Portuguese town; gone is the dilapidated charm, to be replaced with striking perfection, the expectation of the super-rich who frequent the marina.
For beaches, Vilamoura cannot be beaten. There is the stunning Praia da Falésia with its 5km of pristine golden sands, while the pretty Praia de Vilamoura beach leads to the fishing harbour in Quarteira. The region surrounding Vilamoura is culturally rich and can be discovered with day trips to the historic city of Faro or the market town of Loule.
Vilamoura is a wonderful destination and this guide will explain why you should take your holiday in this amazing area of Portugal.
The marina of Vilamoura is always a hive of activity during the summer
Highlight of Vilamoura
• The glorious Praia da Falésia beach
• Fine dining and the romantic setting overlooking the marina
• A round of golf on the famed "The Old Course"
• The buzzing nightlife of chic lounge clubs and lively themed bars
• The fantastic summer holiday atmosphere
• The touch of class Vilamoura offers, which is not found elsewhere in Portugal
Highlights of a holiday to Vilamoura
• The excitement of the central Algarve’s theme and water parks
• A day trip to Loule, a traditional market town and authentically Portuguese
• A dolphin watch tour and boat tour along the beautiful coastline
• Exploring the historic city of Faro and Parque Natural da Ria Formosa
• The hedonistic nightlife of the “The Strip” in Albufeira
• A delicious fish meal based on the fresh catch from Quarteira fishing harbour
Related articles: Sights and activities in Vilamoura - 1 week holiday in Vilamoura
The Praia de Vilamoura is a beautiful beach but expect it to be busy in the summer!
Vilamoura is the most refined of all the Algarve resort towns and provides world-class hotels, stunning beaches and a fantastic tourist centre.
For a holiday, there is an abundance of activities, including boat tours, watermarks, historic towns, and of course, golf. The five 18-hole golf courses make Vilamoura arguably the best location for a golfing holiday in the Algarve.
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 central Algarve region is ideal for older children and teenagers, who will adore "Zoomarine" or the water-parks of "Aquashow" and "Slide and Splash".
Vilamoura can make for a cultural trip too; close by is the historic city of Faro, the market town of Loule or the charming old quarter in Albufeira.
In summary, you won’t be short of things to do during your holiday to Vilamoura.
Related articles Day trips from Vilmaoura - Vilamoura beach guide
Fine dining restaurants overlook the marina
Below is an interactive map of the tourist attractions and beaches in the Vilamoura region. The centre of Vilamoura, where most of the bars and restaurants are found, is highlighted in yellow and is marker 1. (Note: zoom out to see all of the markers)
Sights: 1) Vilamoura centre (bars, restaurants and shops) 2) Aquashow Park (Water Park) 3) Casino Vilamoura 4) Vilamoura Marina 5) Quarteira fishing port 6) Family Golf Park 7) Cerro da Vila (ruins of Roman Villa) 8) Quarteira (town) 9) Lick (nightclub)
Beaches: 10) Praia de Vilamoura 11) Praia da Rocha Baixinha 12) Praia da Falésia 13) Praia de Quarteira
Golf courses: 14) The Old Course 15) Victoria Golf Course 16) Millennium Golf Course 17) Vila Sol Golf 18) Pinhal golf course
Vilamoura is a fantastic holiday destination and it will appeal to a range of tourists. Families, golfing trips, and couples, will discover a magical destination waiting for them. The town is perfectly suited for visitors who wish to spend relaxed days on the beach and social nights in the waterside restaurants and bars.
Vilamoura does not (or want to) attract large groups who are on stag/hen/group holiday or purely a drink-fuelled holiday; for this sort of trip 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. If you are after a more authentic Portuguese experience, consider the historic city of Lagos or the charming town of Tavira.
Related Articles: Tavira guide - Lagos guide - Albufeira guide
The Tivoli hotel has one of the prime locations in Vilamoura
Vilamoura has long, hot summers, pleasant spring/autumns and winters, which 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, but there is still fantastic weather and a buzz about the town.
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 exceptional value. Tourist facilities in Vilamoura close-down for the winter at the end of October and fully reopen for Easter.
There is a large permanent population in Vilamoura, and this means most restaurants within the marina complex stay open year-round, but during the off-season the town will feel very quiet. The one exception to this is Christmas and New Year, when there is a lively atmosphere.
Related articles: When to visit Vilamoura?
Vilamoura is expecting a sell-out summer season for 2021, as more visitors seek holidays to safe and established destinations within Europe.
As with many other tourism destinations, the Algarve was severely hit by the events of 2020, but by the time you visit the difficulties of 2020 will be a distant memory.
As Vilamoura is expecting a sell-out 2021, we strongly advise you to get your flights and accommodation as soon possible before they increase and sell out.
Use the map below to discover the best accommodation in Vilamoura, if you adjust the dates to your holiday it will display current prices and availability.
Vilamoura is one of the best destinations in the Algarve for a golfing holiday and the town is ideal for golfers. 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 the golf courses in Vilamoura are operated by the Oceanico Golf company and they have a reputation for the highest standards and excellent facilities. Within the marina complex are golf shops that hire clubs and provide transport to all the major courses throughout the Algarve.
Green fees reflect the quality of the golf courses and are season dependent. Prices in June 2021 range from €145 for a round on the Victoria through to €90 for the Pinhal course. Generally, green fees are at their most expensive during October and November, when the weather is most suited for golf.
The Dom Pedro Golf website can be found here: https://www.dompedrogolf.com
Vilamoura has five wonderful golf courses and is ideal for a golfing holiday
Vilamoura is a great destination for young children and families as there are many excellent family hotels, while in the town children will be welcomed in all restaurants, shops and cafes. We recommend Vilamoura and the central Algarve for a family holiday based upon:
• English is widely spoken by all who work within the tourism industry, and language will never be an issue.
• The beaches are safe, with clean and calm sea waters, and are supervised in the summer.
• The Portuguese are a very family focused nation and children will be welcomed in all restaurants.
• Supermarkets stock all common items, and pharmacies are widely available all minor ailments.
• There is only a short transfer from Faro airport to Vilamoura.
There are many interesting day trips from Vilamoura including the towns of Loule, Quarteira, Faro and Albufeira. All these towns are connected to Vilamoura by inexpensive bus services and can be easily visited independently.
Loule is a bustling market town, with a distinctly Portuguese feel and ambience. The covered market is Arabic inspired, and the diverse selection of stalls sell local produce, fresh fish and regional handicrafts. On Saturdays, the town comes alive as a large gypsy market held on the edge of the town.
Faro is the laid-back capital of the Algarve, and has a charming historic centre surrounded by ancient Moorish walls, while the pedestrianised city centre is filled with cafes and restaurants. Departing from the harbour are boat tours of the Ria Formosa natural park, a series of saltwater lagoons and waterways that are a haven for migratory birds and marine life.
Albufeira is the largest resort town of the Algarve, boasting a beautiful beach and an attractive Old Town crammed full of restaurants, themed bars and shops. Albufeira is a buzzing and hectic town during the summer and has a very different atmosphere to the much more stylish Vilamoura.
Related articles: Day trips from Vilmaoura - Faro day trip - Loule guide - Albufeira guide
Warning, please read
There have been a number of sham residential letting websites that have appeared on the internet, with bogus or copied listings (often of real apartments). These websites look professional (with guarantees and refund policies) and the prices are significantly cheaper.
Only ever book an apartment through a trusted website (booking.com, homeaway.co.uk etc) and never pay for accommodation by bank transfer. For more details please see the TripAdvisor forum post:
(link opens new link)
Note: This type of scam is not just limited to the Algarve but is found in all major tourist destinations. The Algarve is just ripe for it, as demand for accommodation outstrips supply.
The main airport of southern Portugal is Faro airport, which is located 25km to the east of Vilamoura. Faro is a major international 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.
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 (minibus or coach), prices are €50 for a private transfer or €15 for shared transfer.
Related article: Faro airport to Vilamoura.
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 a reputation for exclusivity but is only marginally more expensive than many of the other popular resort towns of the Algarve.
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