Vilamoura is one of the most coveted tourist destinations in Europe!
It is a modern urbanistic complex, with luxury infrastructures. The beaches are paradisiacal, the golf courses incredible and the nightlife excellent. There is no lack of 4 or 5 star hotels, or, if you prefer, villas and apartments for rent. For recreation you can also count on The Best Marina in the World, a fantastic casino, an equestrian center, a tennis club, a sports center, a shooting center and all kinds of leisure services.
In Vilamoura you have at your disposal everything you need to spend an elite vacation or a more financially restrained one.
WHERE IS VILAMOURA?
Vilamoura belongs to the municipality of Loulé. It is located in the middle of the Algarve coast, in the south of Portugal, between the cities of Albufeira and Faro. In the capital of the Algarve (Faro), is the nearest airport, less than 30 km away. The trip from the airport to Vilamoura, by cab, has the approximate value of 30€.
If you live in Lisbon, it will only take you 2H32 (via the highway) to get to Vilamoura.
WHAT TO SEE AND DO IN VILAMOURA?
In Vilamoura there is no room for boredom, the offers are endless and for all tastes. You can simply enjoy the magnificent beaches and you will have won the day. In Vilamoura Marina you have several possibilities to choose from. You can choose a trip to see dolphins or to explore the caves and rocks along the coast. But out on the water there are also plenty of things to do: golf, buggy rides, quad bike rides, a wine tasting and much, much more. Below is a long list of activities and suggestions and a map showing the location of some of Vilamoura’s many attractions. We hope you find it useful.
SPEND THE DAY AT VILAMOURA BEACH
Simple and winning tip! In Vilamoura you can simply spend your day at the beach and it will be a winning option! There are several beaches in Vilamoura (and nearby too) that you can use (a little further down in this article you will find all the beaches in the area). A day spent between the warm waters of the Algarve, sunbathing on the sand and a drink in one of the many supportive bars you will find in Vilamoura!
DOLPHIN WATCHING IN VILAMOURA
Few people (Portuguese and foreigners) know that it is possible to see dolphins and whales in the seas of the Algarve! To see these animals up close in their natural habitat, you just have to embark on a tour that will also let you know about the natural caves of the Algarve. Embark on this journey aboard a RIB, a small boat that gets very close to the animals. A trip that will stay forever in your memory!
RIDING A JET SKI IN VILAMOURA
If you simply feel like hanging out with your friends, you can rent a private boat or board a sailboat, letting the wind carry you and stopping occasionally for snorkeling or diving. As sometimes there is nothing better than quality personal time, you always have the possibility of ripping through the seas on a jet ski.
WATER SKIING IN VILAMOURA
Do you like adrenaline? Have you ever tried Water Skiing? Then you must try it because you will be a fan! Water Skiing is for everyone, regardless of your skill level. Go to Vilamoura marina to find an operator that will take you by boat to a place where you can try or practice this modality. There is only one danger you should be aware of, water skiing is highly addictive!!!
SEGWAY RIDE ON VILAMOURA BEACH
A pleasure on two wheels! It may not seem like it, but Segways are super easy to use. Suitable for adults and teenagers. Besides being able to ride a Segway by the sea, you can also use the machine to travel along the various walkways in Vilamoura. The most famous of these is surely the footpath between Vilamoura and Quarteira. Try it, you won’t regret it. It’s a delight!
AQUASHOW (near Vilamoura)
For the delight of children (and adults), 9 minutes from Vilamoura, we find the Aquashow Water Park. Open from 1st May and 30th September. An aquatic park with a huge diversity of slides and a large wave pool. In Aquashow you will also find the biggest Water Roller Coaster in Europe! It has several support services: bars, souvenir stores, kiosks and lockers.
STAND UP PADDLE IN VILAMOURA
Does stand up paddling mean anything to you? Stand up Paddle is a fairly new activity and an innovative way to combine physical activity with exploring the Algarve’s beautiful rock formations. Perfect for young and not so young alike. Imagine yourself on top of a long, wide board, paddling peacefully through the no less tranquil Algarvian sea. The usual rental period is 2 hours. Dare to try it!
KAYAKING IN VILAMOURA
If you like or want to try kayaking, know that there are options for you in Vilamoura too! Individual kayaks, kayaks for two and kayaks for three people. Another adventurous (but perfectly safe) way to combine physical activity with leisure and exploration of Vilamoura’s rocky natural heritage. The kayak tours last 3 hours, perfect for an adventurous afternoon!
PARASAILING IN VILAMOURA
For those who like adrenaline! A mix of skydiving and paragliding while being towed by a recreational boat. The boats leave from Vilamoura Marina and guarantee you maximum safety, comfort and excitement. The boats and the staff who operate them comply with all safety rules. You have nothing to fear! All you have to do is enjoy one more of those experiences that will stay engraved in your memory forever!
ROCK CAVES BY BOAT DEPARTING FROM VILAMOURA
A tour lasting 3h30 heading west in order to get to know the magnificent rock formations (caves) until you reach the famous and spectacular Benagil cave. Along the way you will also have the opportunity to visit the chapel of Nossa Senhora da Rocha, Marinha Beach, Capitães Cave and many other natural rocky attractions. The boat departs from Vilamoura Marina and the trip ends at Benagil cave.
SUNSET BOAT PARTIES IN VILAMOURA
If you like to dance, then take note of this option. The boat leaves from Vilamoura marina and the music is provided by a professional DJ. A different night to the sound of good music and well watered with alcohol. A good option for those who don’t feel like jumping from bar to bar. At the end of the night, if you have any energy left, there is still an after party! Tickets usually include two drinks!
Vilamoura Marina is the largest and most remarkable Marina in Portugal. For the tenth consecutive year, in 2020, it received the title of Best Marina of Portugal, awarded by Publituris, at the Portugal Trade Awards event. It was also recognized by The Yacht Harbour Association, which distinguishes the best marinas in the world, winning the International Marina of the Year 2019/2020 award.
This marina has 825 berths, and can accommodate boats up to 60 meters in length. It also has a very well equipped boatyard and a training center for professional sailors. The Vilamoura Marina has been awarded two important environmental certificates, the Quality and Environment Certificate and the Blue Flag for Marinas. The primacy of quality services and infrastructures make Vilamoura Marina a space of excellence in the context of nautical recreation.
CERRO DA VILA MUSEUM in VILAMOURA
The Cerro da Vila museum is 14.9 kilometers from Vilamoura Marina (20 minutes by car). There you can find the archaeological remains of a once important Roman settlement. It will have existed from the year 27 BC to the year 14 AD. In these archaeological ruins, you can distinguish an opulent villa – the name for a country house in Ancient Rome. This villa was an economic center fostered from fishing and agriculture. The most important product produced here and exported to all regions of the Roman Empire was garum, that is, canned fish.
This archaeological site is open to the public from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm and from 2 pm to 6 pm. For more information contact the Cerro da Vila Museum on the following number: (+351) 289 312 153.
PLAY MINI GOLF IN VILAMOURA
18 holes and the guarantee of an afternoon well spent! At the Family Golf Park in Vilamoura there are two very curious courses for those who like to play mini-golf. The courses are demanding enough to keep the more experienced players going. And they are also accessible enough for those who are picking up a golf club for the first time. When you finish your game, you can still grab a drink at the bar or go to the game room for some more fun. You also have the possibility to take a small train that will take you from this place to the main attractions of Vilamoura. The mini golf facilities are in a perfect state of conservation!
CYCLING IN VILAMOURA
Walking and cycling are, in my opinion, the best ways to explore and get to know a new place. If you opt for a bike ride, you can easily follow the path that connects Vilamoura to Quarteira. A healthy option that will allow you to get to know this part of the Algarve very well. Another valid option are bike rides along the Ria Formosa (which is a short distance from Vilamoura). You can take a guided tour (distance of 10 kilometers). If you do it with the help of a professional, you will learn a lot of new things about the Ria Formosa.
FOUR-WHEEL MOTOR RIDE (departing from Vilamoura)
Another activity for adrenaline lovers. A good opportunity to get to know another Algarve, an alternative Algarve far away from the tourist routes. To do it, you just need to have a driving license. An activity suitable for beginners and experienced drivers. The quad bikes are “powerful beasts” that will give you a feeling of strength and freedom that you have probably never experienced. In the center of Vilamoura you will find a few operators offering this service. The trip starts in Vilamoura.
WINE TASTING IN THE VILLAGE OF TÔR (near Vilamoura)
It is 23 kilometers from Vilamoura to the village of Tôr (a distance that can be covered in 23 minutes). The wine village is in the municipality of Loulé and is the perfect place to learn a lot of new things about Algarve wine production. There are different types of tours at your disposal: the standard tour, the Syrah tour and a third option that allows you to get to know the Quinta’s most famous wines.
BUGGY TOUR – VILAMOURA
Also in Vilamoura you will find operators that offer off-road buggy rides. The adventure (the tour) passes through Algarve roads that are traveled by the drivers of the World Rally Championship. To do this, you don’t have to have any previous experience. All you need is your driver’s license to drive a buggy through the most hidden paths in southern Portugal.
The Casino is the exponent of Vilamoura’s nightlife. It has a modern and refined environment and a wide range of services: games, bars, restaurants, disco and shows. You can have dinner at Salão Miralago, enjoying a delicious menu and a privileged view over the beach. The saloon has 500 seats at your disposal and presents exceptional shows, which can be enjoyed between a glass of wine and a bite to eat. For the gaming enthusiasts, the casino has 500 Slot Machines, three French Bank tables, nine Poker tables, five American Roulette tables and four Black Jack tables. At Vilamoura Casino you will also find the Black Jack Club nightclub with a fabulous terrace, perfect for relaxing with friends. The VIP zone is extremely pleasant and spacious, with an area suitable for 100 people. Famous are the theme nights and Ladies Night, every Thursday.
GOLF IN VILAMOURA
The Hotel Resort & Golf D. Pedro Vilamoura has five fabulous golf courses at your disposal. If you are a golf enthusiast, this is the ideal place for your beach and golf vacations. Find out a little more about these courses.
The Victoria Golf Course covers some 90 hectares and is one of the most exceptional golf courses in Europe. From the outset, it was designed with a view to being able to host the most prestigious international golf competitions. And so it has come to pass. This golf course in Vilamoura has already hosted the World Cup Championships and, since 2007, it has hosted the Portugal Masters. The Old Course Golf Club is one of the best known Portuguese golf courses internationally. It is particularly appreciated for its remarkable integration in the natural landscape, where the numerous pine trees stand out. The Millenium Golf Course presents a very charming setting. The course is mostly open, but it also has areas with pine trees and others where nature has not been touched. Pinhal Golf Course, as the name suggests, is distinguished by its leafy pine trees. Among Vilamoura’s courses, this will be one of the most challenging, but the difficulties are more than made up for by the superb view over the sea. Laguna Golf Course is the most distinctive of the Vilamoura courses. The terrain is wide and there are no major unevennesses. Water is the dominant element, creating a very pleasant environment and demanding maximum skill from players.
BEACHES in VILAMOURA
Vilamoura presents a great diversity of beaches, each with its own attractions. The most vibrant is Vilamoura’s central beach. But between the marina and the town of Albufeira there is an extensive stretch of sand with several magnificent beaches, blue flagged, watched and with excellent infrastructure. Below is a description of the beaches in the vicinity of Vilamoura and also a map to get your bearings.
Vilamoura Beach is located in the center of the resort. It extends from the eastern pontoon of the marina, along a magnificent golden sandy beach that spills over the calm blue waters of the sea. This beach has extraordinary infrastructures that include a parking lot, adapted facilities for people with reduced mobility, tiralô (a tricycle adapted for people with reduced mobility), thatched hats and sun loungers with mattresses, and the rental of pedal boats and kayaks. For the convenience of users, there are also sanitary facilities and hot and cold showers.
ROCHA BAIXINHA BEACH
Praia da Rocha Baixinha is on the western pontoon side of the marina, about 30 minutes walk (it is between Praia da Falésia and Vilamoura). It is also an excellent beach with great infrastructures. Being a little further away from the center of Vilamoura, it has a calmer and quite family atmosphere.
Following the sandy beach of Praia da Rocha Baixinha in the direction of Albufeira, Praia dos Tomates appears. In the past, next to a path to the beach, there was a tomato plantation. The plantation no longer exists, but the name of the beach keeps its memory. This beach is still close to the excitement of Vilamoura, but it is a more secluded space, which is perhaps why it is so sought after by public figures such as footballers and politicians.
This beach is a little further away from Vilamoura, a few kilometers from Praia dos Tomates, but on the extension of the same sands. As you can guess from the name, this beach is sheltered by an immense cliff, of a particular beauty, accentuated by the red and white contrasts of the cliffs, topped by the green of the pine trees. Do not let yourself be intimidated by the cliff, because there are no rocks on the extensive sandy beach or in the sea, it is an excellent beach for bathing and walking.
Quarteira beach presents itself with a very clean sandy beach. It has crystal clear, calm water (no waves) and often with a temperature of 23 or 24 degrees. Next to the beach there are many cafés, restaurants and various stores. During the summer the affluence to the beach is massive, which makes parking difficult. There are two less positive aspects to mention. First, if you like beaches with few people, this is not the best solution. Second, when you enter the sea you will find many stones.
VIRTUAL TOUR TO VILAMOURA
WHAT TO VISIT NEAR VILAMOURA?
As you can see from the long list of “things to do in Vilamoura”, the hardest thing is to choose! But if you have some time and energy left, then we suggest you visit two other cities within walking distance: Faro and Albufeira.
From Vilamoura to Faro is a distance of 26 kilometers (28 minutes by car). The capital of the Algarve is a city often forgotten by tourist routes. But the truth is that the city is clean, sober and with an interesting historical heritage to explore. If you choose Faro, don’t forget to see: the Arco da Vila, the Sé Catedral de Faro, the Praça dom Afonso III, the Arco do repouso, the Faro Marina, the Manuel Bivar garden, the downtown and the Algarve regional museum.
If you like Vilamoura, chances are you’ll also like Albufeira! To get to Albufeira (from Vilamoura), you’ll need 27 minutes (18 kilometers). In summer, Albufeira is full of sun, heat, people, parties and alcohol! Portuguese and foreigners mingle, and Albufeira turns into a giant party venue! But if parties, noise and alcohol are not what attracts you, you will also find other, calmer and more cultural attractions in Albufeira. If this is your case, be sure to see the old town (historic center), the gates of the defensive walls, the national museum of archeology, the chapel of misericórdia, the church of São Sebastião, the museum of Sacred Art, and the Matriz church.
HISTORY AND EVOLUTION OF VILAMOURA
Vilamoura was once a small port without much relevance. The architectural project of Vilamoura began in 1965 and was developed with the marina as the epicenter, in place of the old port. A magnificent tourist resort was designed from the ground up, with all kinds of undertakings designed to make the stay of its clients a pleasant one.
GASTRONOMY IN VILAMOURA
Gastronomy of the Algarve coast smells and tastes like the sea. In Vilamoura there is no shortage of delicious options, from traditional dishes, such as fish soup or shellfish cataplana, to innovative gourmet creations. You only have to take a stroll around the marina to find a variety of welcoming restaurants and bars with good service, but the offer is not exhausted here. Today we leave you with a suggestion, the Âncora Douro restaurant!
ÂNCORA DOURO RESTAURANT
It has a Google rating of 4.7 stars (out of a maximum of 5) and 24 reviews on Google. The restaurant excels in traditional Portuguese dishes. It is not the quantity of proposals on the menu that impresses, but the quality of the dishes presented, which drink from the northern and southern Portuguese gastronomic roots.
HOTELS IN VILAMOURA
In Vilamoura the offer is so vast that the hardest part is choosing. We have chosen to make two recommendations. The first, a medium/high cost option for those who want a more sophisticated solution. The second, a cheaper solution but with a good relationship between cost and quality.
DOM PEDRO VILAMOURA, HOTEL RESORT E GOLFE
4 star hotel, with over 1000 reviews on Google and an overall rating of 4.4 stars. Guests highly praise the friendliness of all the staff, the location, the extreme cleanliness, the coziness of the rooms, and the quality of the food (mentioned very insistently by several guests).
MOURABEL PARK HOTEL
3 star hotel in Quarteira (3.7 kilometers drive from Vilamoura). A 3 star hotel with more than 800 reviews on Google and an overall rating of 4 stars. It presents good value for money. Guests highly praise the cleanliness, location and pool. The rooms are simple but have the essentials. A good solution for one person, a couple or small families.