Holidays in Vilamoura cater perfectly for families and couples looking for a memorable break in the sun. One of the largest and most prestigious tourist complexes in Europe, Vilamoura is located on the southern coast of Portugal’s Algarve. The main source of activity in this stunning community is the marina, which is lined with the finest bars, restaurants and designer shops. The picturesque town of Loule is no more than a half-hour drive away and here you can spend the day rummaging around the quirky gypsy markets or visiting the medieval castle which dates back to the 13th century.
Vilamoura is ideal if you’re a fitness fanatic boasting multiple walking and cycling trails as well as several championship golf courses. The Blue Flag beaches are a great place to spend quality time with loved ones basking in the rays of the sun. Why not take a Champagne cruise or go parasailing? Once the sun goes down maybe you will hit the casino to win the jackpot or enjoy a romantic meal in a candlelit restaurant.
At a glance
- Time Zone: GMT +
- Average flight time: 2h 55m
When to go
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The pretty market town of Loule is just a car-ride away and here you can visit the Saturday market which is filled with stalls full of local craftwork, handmade goods, fresh fruit, and artisan meats and cheeses. Be sure to get there early as this place is spilling out onto the streets by noon. Take time away from the heat of the day to wander through these narrow, cobbled streets, before sitting down to a spot of lunch and a coffee from one of the many cafés and bars dotted around.
The ancient city of Faro is buried in history and here you can visit the 13th-century cathedral and admire the intricate works of art and gilded carving that fills this historic construction. Forum Algarve is a shopping mall situated near to Faro airport, and has a fabulous selection of bars, restaurants and shops to mill about in.
With an ample array of cafés and restaurants to dine in, you certainly won’t go hungry in Vilamoura. Portugal is famous for its chicken dishes, so why not drop into popular restaurant Marufo 1 for a tasty meal of spicy peri-peri chicken and salty fries. As Vilamoura is a fishing port, you must try the fresh seafood. Tempura chilli prawns in spaghetti and cracked black pepper salmon are on the menu. Most eateries serve a variety of cuisines, from traditional Spanish tapas, to pizza and juicy steaks. Willie’s restaurant has a superb wine list and gives a sophisticated and elegant dining experience to visitors. Most places offer a vegetarian and gluten-free option, too, and the portion sizes are more than generous. After dinner, why not have a glass of Port, the infamous wine of Portugal? Vilamoura is heaving with quaint little cafés and restaurants serving fresh tuna salads and spicy chicken wraps for a lunch-time break.
For a memorable experience, it doesn’t get any better than a holiday to Vilamoura. For a fun-filled day, head to Aquashow Park. Jam-packed with gravity defying slides and daring black holes, there’s something for all ages, including a wax museum, bird shows and mini golf. The establishment prides itself on its cleanliness, and tasty food and drinks. Once you’ve entered, you won’t want to leave for hours.
Take a wild excursion in the shape of a tour of the Algarve countryside in a chauffeur-driven 4x4. The trip takes you through hilly creeks and through stunning orange and fig groves, whilst you take in the breathtaking views of rare flowers and birds of the Algarve. This tour gives a true insight into the natural beauty of Portugal in all its glory. Then stop off after a quick lunch before going to see how the locals make their famous ‘medronho’ liqueur, used with berries of the arbutus tree.
Action & Adventure
If you enjoy walking, you’ll enjoy the many walking and hiking trails here in Vilamoura, taking you on a journey through the beautiful Algarve for a chance to explore the area in all it’s beauty. Golfers can take refuge in any of the golf courses here which are praised time and time again by the tourists. So while the boys are away playing golf, the ladies can catch up and gossip with a Cosmopolitan on the marina.
A holiday in Vilamoura isn’t complete without a trip to the beach. The two main beaches here are Praia da Vilamoura and Praia de Falesia. Both beauty spots have earned a Blue Flag status and are ideal for unwinding whilst spending time with loved ones. Praia da Vilamoura is the most popular beach among tourists and this stretch of golden sand is around a kilometre long. Here you can hire out a peddle boat, or simply lie back and enjoy the calming atmosphere. Take a break in one of many beach bars for a bite to eat and an icy beverage before returning to your lounger to top up your tan. Praia de Falesia can be found just west of the Algarve and the ancient cliffs are a perfect barrier against the wind. Littered with pretty pine trees, this beach is a truly unspoilt beauty spot and is around six kilometres long. This area is ideal for those wanting to get away from the hustle and bustle of the busier areas of Vilamoura.
Vilamoura holidays lend themselves perfectly to night lovers. This cosmopolitan town is blanketed with cocktail bars and friendly pubs come nightfall. This sophisticated complex steers more to cool-chic than party animal. Try your luck at the glamorous casino or, if gambling isn’t your thing, sit back and enjoy the glitzy cabaret show. Sete Café and Deck Lounge is a trendy cocktail bar located right near the water’s edge on the marina. Here you can enjoy a cool glass of lager or a sharp margherita before dancing the night away on the roof terrace. O’Shea’s Irish Pub is the perfect place to have a beer and banter with the lads. Head into Loule or the ancient town of Faro for a more relaxed atmosphere, or take a stroll around the calming marina with your partner to walk off your evening meal. Take the children for a mountainous chocolate ice cream sundae or for a night cap of creamy hot chocolate.
A Champagne cruise is the way forward whilst holidaying in Vilamoura. Sail around the coast on a five-star luxury yacht for a taste of super stardom. Serving only the finest Champagne, the boats can be hired for however long you like, and whatever the weather you’re sure to have an enjoyable experience. Vilamoura marina is the ideal place to sample some great food. Why not try a traditional Spanish tapas with your partner whilst watching the sun set over the glamorous marina? Take up a water sport at Praia de Falesia in the shape of parasailing, wakeboarding or even waterskiing. This experience is one to take home and if you don’t fancy being so active, why not lounge under your parasol and get buried in a book? At night, drop into one of the many intimate cocktail bars or cafés for a sweet strawberry daiquiri or a refreshing mojito. If you’re fine dining, you can’t leave without enjoying a glass of Port before strolling home hand-in-hand ahead of another romantic day.
For a chance to get to know the heritage of Portugal, you can’t miss the Marchas dos Santos Populares in Quarteira. This three-night festival is full of vivid colour and energetic music. This parade is the Portuguese version of the Rio de Janeiro festival. Watch the dancers in their glittering and feathery outfits dance down the streets entertaining the locals. It’s free to watch, so get on down for a meal of barbequed treats and a cold beer. Swamped in history, the architecture here – particularly in Loule and Faro – is simply breathtaking, and the natives of this land pride themselves on their brave and fascinating ancestry.