Vilamoura is the crème de la crème of the Algarve. It’s the ‘Marbella’ of the Algarve.
Just as Spain’s Marbella attracts the wealthy, the yachtsmen, golfers and celebrities to Spain, Vilamoura does the same in Portugal. Vilamoura, one of the biggest private tourism resorts in Europe, is a prestigious holiday destination.
Filled with luxury hotels, privately owned villas, and golf course complexes with apartments, this is a must-see place to visit or to enjoy a holiday.
This stylish resort town boasts exceptional golf courses and outstanding tourist facilities, as well as stunning beaches.
The super-rich moor their grand yachts in the marina here. Vilamoura is a luxury purpose-built resort, so don’t expect any of the traditional old charm found in many other resorts with a historical old town centre.
However, there are some pretty and historic villages you can visit nearby.
High season in the Algarve centres around July and August. It gets very busy here during the summer months.
Vilamoura is located virtually in the middle of the Algarve coast.
Faro airport is located 25 km to the west of Vilamoura.
If you wish to hire a car, the usual car rental companies, such as Avis, Budget and Hertz, have service counters in the arrivals area.
Many of Vilamoura’s hotels have shuttle buses going from the airport.
Alternatively, you can pre-book taxis or rent a driver with a private car.
Public transport from the airport to Vilamoura is limited and requires two bus journeys.
The chic resort of Vilamoura is set on a wonderful coastline with two main beaches.
Praia de Vilamoura lies to the east and Praia da Falésia stretches to the west.
The marina estuary and the Ribeira de Quarteira river separates them.
Set between the marina and the fishing port, Praia de Vilamoura is the most popular beach and is closest to most of the hotels. It gets very busy in the summer months.
Praia da Falésia is the better beach, but is further from the main tourist centre. The beach extends over 5 km, all the way to the fishing village, Olhas d’Agua. The cliffs are most pronounced at this end of the beach.
It’s worth noting that the sea along this coastline is much colder than that of the warmer Mediterranean Sea. If you are planning to spend time in the sea here, a wetsuit is a must.
The swell and waves on the Algarve coastline make this a great place for body boarding and surfing.
At the marina you can book a variety of adrenaline-pumping boat rides, including banana boats, ringos, para-sailing and jet skiing.
The heart of Vilamoura is its marina. There are many exclusive restaurants and bars here, as well as nightclubs and designer shops, and some chic hotels.
Although the marina is always busy, you can enjoy a peaceful stroll admiring the luxury yachts moored in one of the 1000 berths here.
You can book many excursions and boat trips at the marina, including coastal trips to Lagos, dolphin watching boat trips, and big game fishing.
Vilamoura has trendy nightclubs, live music venues and a dazzling array of fabulous restaurants. There’s something for everyone here.
The young can party all night at the biggest and best-known nightclub on the Algarve, Kadoc, which has a capacity for around 7,000 clubbers, and attracts some of the world’s best DJs. Agua Moments, located in the marina, is another popular entertainment venue hosting night parties.
For those wishing to chance their luck at gambling, the Casino Vilamoura has a gaming room with over 20 tables, and more than 500 slot machines.
As you would expect from a high end resort town, there are a huge selection of spectacular restaurants in Vilamoura.
With so many cuisines to choose from, eating here is an adventure in itself. All the restaurants want you coming back for more, so expect exceptional customer service.
Many restaurants boast plush interiors and well-executed themes.
While there are restaurants to suit all budgets, be warned, to secure a table at many of the best eateries, you’ll need to book in advance.
This is one of the best destinations in the Algarve for a golfing holiday. Agencies in the marina provide club rental and transport to the major courses throughout the Algarve.
Vilamoura prides itself on having five fabulous golf courses, including the Victoria (used for the Portugal Masters).
All of the courses, including Millenium, Laguna, Pinhal and the Old Course are world class with a reputation for exceptional standards and facilities.
If you want to head out of the luxurious bubble to get a more traditional feel of the Algarve, head to Loulé, famous for its Saturday gypsy market and Brazilian-style carnivals.
Loulé is an interesting town with a 13/14th century castle.
To the west of Loulé is the pretty hillside village of Alte. Here you can wander around narrow, pretty cobbled streets lined with whitewashed houses.
There’s a church in the centre and a spring at one end of the village.