If you’re planning your trip to the Algarve, the South of Portugal, holidays in Vilamoura can be a good choice. In our point of view, Vilamoura is one of the Algarve’s finest resort towns. If you go for holidays in Vilamoura, you’ll get so much more than just amazing beaches and a pleasant climate.
In the 80’s, Vilamoura was envisaged as an exclusive beach resort and elite golfing center. Today you can still feel this “exclusivity” as the town has matured into a modern and stylish holiday destination known for glorious golf courses, a trendy marina and outstanding tourist facilities.
Where to stay during your holidays in Vilamoura
We recommend you to stay within the modern marina development. In the Marina of Vilamoura you’ll be surrounded by charming restaurants, fancy cocktail bars and a chic nightlife. In the Marina you’ll find some of the best things to do during your holidays in Vilamoura: boat tours and watersports. And from the Marina, it is only a short walk to the white sanded beaches. Also, it’s only a short drive to the championship grade golf courses around Vilamoura. Vilamoura, and specially the Marina, has world class hotels and fine apartments.
The best thing to do in Vilamoura
Unforgettable boat tours and watersports
Most likely, your holidays in Vilamoura will mostly be spent around the Marina. Boasting a 1,000-berth marina, Vilamoura has a lot to offer in terms of boat tours and watersports!
For the ones who prefer a serene day out in the Atlantic, there are dolphin watching tours or coastal tours of a half or full day. There are super speedy jet boats and jet skis for the ones who are looking for an adrenaline boost. Sailing is also an option. Fishing tours in Vilamoura are also very popular, from shark fishing to family fishing tours.
Only a few minutes drive from the Marina of Vilamoura, you’ll find the five 18-hole golf courses that make Vilamoura one of the best locations for a golfing holiday in Portugal. Vilamoura is one of the best destinations in the Portugal for a golfing holiday.
In the Marina you’ll find agencies that rent quality clubs and provide transport to all of the major courses throughout the Algarve. There are five golf courses in Vilamoura:
- Victoria (18holes – used for the Portugal Masters)
- Pinhal (18holes Par 72)
- The Old Course (18holes Par 73)
- Millennium (18 holes Par 72)
- Laguna (18holes Par 72).
All five golf courses are operated by the Oceanico Golf company. They have a worldwide reputation for the highest standards and excellent facilities.
Enjoy the beach
The beaches of Vilamoura are stunning. You’ll find soft white sands and crystal clear sea waters that are safe for families. You can enjoy and relax on the sun loungers while the water sports in Vilamoura (jet skis, banana boats and parasailing) will entertain “kids” of all ages.
There are two main beaches in Vilamoura:
- Vilamoura Beach (or “Praia da Marina”) to the east of the Marina
- Praia da Rocha Baixinha to the west of the Marina
Both of these beaches in Vilamoura have sun loungers to relax comfortably and lots of fun water sports to entertain the most active ones. There are plenty of beach bars for delicious fresh meals and refreshments. There’s a third beach ff you decide to spend your holidays in Vilamoura at the Tivoli Marina Vilamoura hotel. The Tivoli Vilamoura has a private Purobeach!
Have fun in waterparks
For the days that the ocean is too rough to enjoy a boat tour or do some watersports in Vilamoura, there are many alternatives. The Algarve is great for kids and teenagers, who will love Zoomarine (a marine park in Guia) or the waterparks of Aquashow and Slide and Splash (in Quarteira and Lagoa).
Taste local culture
Holidays in Vilamoura are also interesting for those wishing a more cultural holiday. Within a few minutes drive you could visit the historic city of Faro, the capital city of the Algarve. The market town of Loulé is also a nice day tour.
Who goes on holidays in Vilamoura?
Holidays in Vilamoura are great for families. There are many excellent family hotels and in the town children will be welcomed in all restaurants, cafes and shops. Large groups who are on stag/hen do’s or simply looking for a cheap drink holiday don’t usually pick Vilamoura. For this sort of holiday Albufeira is more adequate.
Given its modernity and exclusivity, some visitors may find Vilamoura devoid of Portuguese charm and character. This is compensated by its outstanding tourist facilities and services. If you’re looking for a more traditional Portuguese holiday destination, we recommend the historic city of Lagos or the charming town of Tavira for example.
Are holidays in Vilamoura expensive?
Holidays in Vilamoura are not the cheapest destination in Portugal. Holidays in Vilamoura are known for exclusivity, so is marginally more expensive than the other popular resort towns of the Algarve. In fact, Vilamoura is popular among travelers who are looking for a refined and luxurious holiday destination, with a preference to quality over cost.
In Europe, Portugal is a comparatively inexpensive country. In general, food, accommodation and transport are much cheaper than many other established holiday destinations like the Balearic Islands or Greece.
For the season of 2017 Vilamoura is expecting a sell-out summer, following the success of 2016. So, to secure the best prices, we suggest to book accommodation, flights and other things to do far in advance. In fact, our advice is, if you are seriously considering a holiday in Vilamoura, to book accommodation now.
When to go on holidays in Vilamoura?
Vilamoura has long warm summers. Spring and Autumn are pleasant and winters are mild but unpredictable. During the winter Vilamoura has an equal number of bright days as wet days.
The high season is from July through to August. During these months the beaches are packed and most hotels are sold out. June and September tend to be popular months with couples. These months before and after the high season are outside the school holidays and you’ll find a Vilamoura without the hordes of children. Weather is usually still fantastic during these months.
To enjoy the beach during your holidays in Vilamoura, we recommend traveling from mid-May until mid-October. The two ends of the season provide great value with last minute accommodation deals and cheaper flights.
During the winter season, tourist facilities in Vilamoura close down to fully reopen for Easter. Most restaurants and cafes in the marina complex stay open year round. However during the winter the region will feel very quiet excepting Christmas and New Year, when there is a lively atmosphere.
How to get to Vilamoura?
The closest airport to Vilamoura is the main airport of southern Portugal: Faro airport. Faro airport is located 25km to the west of Vilamoura. Faro is a major airport with flights covering the whole of Europe. As the Algarve is a popular holiday destination during the summer time, there is frequently a shortage of seats/flights in the summer. So, we advice to always book well in advance to secure the best prices.
Unfortunately, there is very limited public transport from the airport to Vilamoura. The route requires two bus journeys and takes between 1.5-2hours depending on connections. That’s why most visitors pre-book a transfer. Transfers from and to the airport can be a private transfer or shared (mini bus or coach), prices per person range from €50 for private to €25 for shared. Another option is of course to rent a car.
Holidays in Vilamoura are great if you’re looking for a real taste of Algarve luxury. Vilamoura is one of the biggest private tourism resorts in Europe and is know to be one of the most prestigious in Portugal. Even if you are not staying in Vilamoura during your holidays in the Algarve, it really is well worth a visit, just to see how much the Algarve has to offer.