The best independent guide to the Algarve
The best independent guide to the Algarve
Vilamoura is a stylish resort town that is situated in the heart of the beautiful Algarve coastline.
The town is centred around an exclusive marina complex, which boasts world-class hotels, fine dining and fashionable nightlife. To the south of the marina are pristine beaches and within the sprawling developments of Vilamoura are five 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.
Related articles: Vilamoura sights & activities - Day trips from Vilamoura
Vilamoura is at the eastern edge of the 6km long Praia da Falésia one of the most magnificent beaches of the central Algarve, while to the east of the marina is the beautiful Praia de Vilamoura. The beaches of Vilamoura provide soft golden sands, crystal-clear waters, and are safe for children to swim in.
On 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. On the Praia de Vilamoura is the uber-chic Puro Beach Club, and more details can be found on their website:
Related articles: Vilamoura beaches
Vilamoura is a holiday destination for the whole family and one of the best activities to entertain teenagers (and adults!) is a trip to one of the insane water parks. These vast waterparks offer gravity-defying flumes, colossal rubber ring rides and near vertical slides – all perfect if you are an adrenaline junkie.
There are three major water parks within the central Algarve; Slide and Splash, Aqualand and Aquashow and all provide transport from Vilamoura. Links to official website are:
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Departing from the marina are an assortment of boat trips, including coastline tours, dolphin watching and deep-sea fishing. For the more adventurous are speedboat tours, jet boats or jet-skis, while for a touch of exclusivity 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)
Over the previous six years we have worked with GetYourGuide.com and a selection of their best activities for Vilamoura include:
Loule is a charming and traditional Portuguese market town that makes for an enjoyable day trip from Vilamoura. Loule has an authentic daily market (except Sundays) that is housed in a North African inspired covered market, and there are stalls selling handicrafts, local produce and fresh fish.
Surrounding the market, are cobbled backstreets are filled with quaint house and small workshops. Loule has a distinctively Portuguese ambience, with locals socialising in open air cafes, and old men sat on the same bench all day.
Related articles: Loule guide
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 performances and a lively atmosphere: https://www.solverde.pt/en/casino-vilamoura/
For a big night head to Bliss nightclub, where you can party under the night stars to banging music and big-name DJs, Bliss’s listings are shown on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/blissvilamoura/
For more stylish beach parties head to NoSoloÁgua, for their legendary sunset parties. This daytime restaurant changes into an uber cool venue when the sun sets, and is postioned on the beautiful Praia da Falésia; full listings can be seen on their website: https://nosoloagua.com/nsavlm/en/homeen/
Zoomarine is a wonderful marine park that specialises in dolphins, marine life and tropical birds. In the marine park, there is a diverse selection of activities including dolphin shows, aquariums, and a decent waterpark 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 couples, further information can be seen on their website: https://www.zoomarine.pt/en/
The marina is surrounded by designer restaurants and uber-chic bars, which serve fine cuisine and glamorous cocktails. As a holiday destination, Vilamoura tends for the more discerning visitor, but with over 100 different eat and drinking establishments every cuisine, taste and preference is catered for.
One of the Algarve’s regional cuisines is cataplana, a delicious seafood stew, which is cooked and served in a large copper dish that resembles a clam. A Cataplana is designed to be shared, with the copper dish being placed in the centre of the table.
Faro is the largest city of the Algarve and is a surprisingly interesting destination for a day trip. 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 Parque Natural da Ria Formosa, a series of saltwater lagoons and waterways that are a haven for migratory birds and marine life. Departing from Faro harbour are boat tours of the Ria Formosa and the sand bar islands which line the park.
Related articles: Faro guide - Day trip to Faro
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 (390cc or 200cc), the track is good, and the whole experience is great fun. Prices are €15 (10minutes - 200cc) or €25 (10 minutes - 390cc), and further information can be found on their website: http://www.kartingalgarve.com/karting-almancil-eng.html
The go karts in Vilamoura are fast!
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.
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