Guide to Vilamoura, Algarve
Vilamoura is purpose-built luxury resort with a wealth of outstanding facilities and entertainment.Vilamoura is one of the most prestigious leisure resorts in Portugal. Purpose-built in the 1970s, Vilamoura was designed to provide a wealth of activities and entertainment to visitors of all ages. As well as an award-winning marina, Vilamoura is home to some of world’s best golf courses, outstanding leisure facilities, stunning beaches, nature trails and cycle paths.
What to see and do
Vilamoura Marina: At the heart of Vilamoura, this stunning marina has twice been awarded the title International Marina of the Year, by The Yacht Harbour Association (TYHA). Take a stroll around the Marina any time of day or night – there’s always a great atmosphere and plenty to see.
Golf until your heart’s content: If you’re a keen golfer, Vilamoura is the perfect destination for you. There’s a choice of six superb golf courses on your doorstep, including the championship Victoria Golf Course - Dom Pedro Golf – famous for hosting the Portugal Masters leg of the European Tour. If you’re looking for a golf-themed family day out make sure Family Golf Park is on your list.
Celebrity spot: Vilamoura is popular with celebrities. Many familiar faces have been spotted around the Marina. Footballer Luis Figo and Portuguese jet setter Paulo China own Sete Café, and Portuguese footballer Cristiano Ronaldo owns property in the resort and you can visit this CR7 fashion shop on the Marina.
Try your luck: If you’re feeling lucky, check out Vilamoura Casino, where you can play a wide range of table games such as Blackjack and Roulette, plus there are over 600 gambling machines. If you’re not a gambler, it’s still worth going along to experience the upbeat atmosphere, music and entertainment.
Enjoy the ocean: There are plenty of companies offering water sports and boat trips – from fishing charters and dolphin watching, to sunset cruises.
Eat, drink & be merry: From chic restaurants to chill out beach bars, laid back cafes and live music hot spots, there’s no shortage of places to simply eat, drink and enjoy the lifestyle.
Take advantage of the tennis facilities: Vilamoura has its own tennis academy offering tuition by experienced coaches. The academy boasts nine hard courts, four of which are floodlit, so you can play even when the sun has gone down. There are also padel courts, and mini tennis and football for the kids.
Saddle up: Vilamoura Equestrian Centre hosts several equestrian events throughout the year - the Centre offers excellent facilities for both horse riders and spectators.
Get the ball rolling: Vilamoura Lawn Bowling Club is the European Leading Bowling Holiday Centre and welcomes visitors and beginners.
Enjoy live music: The Portuguese love live music and so do the Irish, perhaps that’s why you’ll find some of the best Irish music bars right here in Vilamoura. Every night is music night at O’Neill’s and there’s music most nights at The Irish Pub too.
Buy a holiday home: Love Vilamoura so much that you want to live here? There’s plenty of property for sale in the area and the buying process in Portugal is simple and secure. Whether you’re looking for a holiday getaway, or a home to relocate to, speak to a registered real estate agent here in the Algarve.
Learn about the local history: A short walk from the Marina will take you to Cerro da Vila, where you can see an amazing archaeological site and museum displaying the remains of a Roman villa and relics from Roman, Visigoth and Moorish civilizations.
Explore: The local landscape is generally flat, so walking and cycling are great ways to explore the area. You’ll find companies offing bike rentals and Vilamoura operates a Public Bikes Scheme, with over 200 bikes that can be rented and returned to any of its 35 stations. However, if you don’t own property in Vilamoura, you will need to register with Infamoura to use the public bikes. Some hotels hold cards for guests’ use and there’s an Infamoura office next to the police station.
Where to eat
You’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to dining in Vilamoura; from Thai to Tapas, authentic Algarvean to a traditional British breakfast.
Here are a few suggestions:
Quality and style
Willies – If you’re looking for an eatery that can serve up a gourmet meal, you’re looking for Willies. Experience Michelin star cuisine in an elegant and refined atmosphere. An excellent choice any time of year and superb on warm Algarvean summer nights!
Akvavit - a long time favourite and one of the best restaurants on Vilamoura marina. Enjoy a range of international cuisine and scandinavian delicacies.
Wildfire - at Vilasol, this is a fabulous steakhouse. Cosy in the winter, in the summer the actions moves outside to the large deck. There is also a great play area and supervised children's entertainement here.
Great for families
Capriccio - fabulous Italian restaurant and Gelataria, serving delicious homemade ice creams.
BJ’s Oceanside – offers a wide choice of dishes in the perfect setting for a long lunch or relaxed dinner, with live music Friday and Sunday afternoons.
O’Neill’s Irish Bar – a great place for lunch or a quick bite by day and a fantastic music venue by night.
Pão e Pão – Sample the best chocolate cake in the world and more!
NewsCafe – A superbly elegant restaurant, pizzeria and lounge bar - perfect any time of day.
The practical stuff
Driving and parking
All the roads in and around Vilamoura are driver-friendly and an efficient traffic management system is in place in the town. There are plenty of designated parking areas in the town and close to the beaches. You’ll find a large free car park behind McDonald’s and several alternative free parking areas. However, Pay & Display parking is in force on many streets, so do check before you leave your vehicle, as you will be fined if you park without a ticket, or in a disabled or loading bay.
Wild-camping is illegal in Portugal. If you are travelling in a motorhome it’s best to pre-book a pitch. Further information is available on the Visit Portugal website, where you can download a brochure of recognised sites.
If disabled access is a priority for you, Vilamoura is a good choice. The layout of the town, beaches and marina provide excellent access for wheelchairs, mobility scooters and for those with reduced mobility. Vilamoura Marina and beach, and neighbouring Quarteira beach carry the Praia Acessivel flag, meaning that they comply with access requirements such as ramps, footpaths and walkways, adapted toilet facilities and parking places. Vilamoura and Quarteira beaches also offer amphibious chairs so people with reduced mobility can enjoy bathing in the sea. If you would like the use of an amphibious chair, you need to contact the local lifeguard when you arrive at the beach.
There’s a tourist office in where you can ask for help and information and pick up the current guide to what’s on in the region.
T: (+351) 289 389 209
Taxis operate from official taxi ranks. There’s a rank outside the casino and one on Rua do Clube Náutico. Alternatively, hotels, resorts and restaurant will be happy to call a taxi for you. If you need transport to and from Faro Airport, you’ll probably get a better deal by booking ahead with one of the transfer companies.
There’s a good public transport service in Portugal. EVA offers a regular bus service across the Algarve and to Lisbon, and is a cheap way to get around. The EVA website is available in English.
The local council operates a loop bus route around Vilamoura and Quarteira called the Linha Verde (Green Line). Buses run about every 30 minutes and you buy tickets from the driver - it’s a cheap and convenient way to get around.
Vilamoura has its own tourist train service, which operates from the beginning of March to the end of October. The tourist train starts at Praia da Marina (Hotel Vila Galé) and stops at a number of key locations. The service runs on the hour from 10am.
Portugal has an excellent rail network too, which offers a low cost way to travel. The nearest train station is in Loulé - about 20 minutes by taxi from Vilamoura. You can get more information and use the easy online booking system on the Comboios de Portugal website (available in English).
If you’d rather hire a vehicle, there are numerous hire companies offering good deals.
Supermarkets - Pingo Doce is the largest local supermarket. It’s located on the A369 just as you leave Quarteira and stocks a broad range of goods including fresh fish, fresh meat and bakery products. It also sells good take-away food. Pingo Doce is open from 8.30 am until 9pm daily.
There are many smaller supermarkets and stores in Vilamoura: Jafers Supermercardos have shops at Aldeia do Mar, Old Village and Marina Mar. Opening times are 8am to 8pm in the winter and until 9pm in the summer.
WiFi - Many of Vilamoura’s cafes and restaurants offer free WiFi . O’Neill’s and Vilamoura Family Golf Park provide free WiFi to clients.
Banks - There are a number of banks in Vilamoura; most have cashpoint facilities. Santander Totta on the Marina has an external ATM.
Police Station – The GNR (Guarda Nacional Republicana) office is situated on Rua das Laranjeiras (north of the marina) T: 289 381 780.
Medical care – The local Centro de Saúde is located in Quarteira on Rua da Paz. The Centre is open from 8am to 8pm, Monday to Friday.
The nearest accident and emergency unit is in Faro - Centro Hospitalar do Algarve.
If you’re visiting from an EU country, always remember to carry your EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) which entitles you to emergency treatment in all EU countries.
There are also a number of private clinics in Vilamoura, including Clínica Particular de Vilamoura, Rua das Amoreiras, nº 1, which is open from 9am to 8pm daily and has an emergency department. T: 707 28 28 28
Veterinary care – If you’re travelling with pets, you may need a vet. There are a number of veterinary surgeries in Vilamoura that are open during normal working hours. Clínica Veterinária de Vilamoura on Av, Eng João Meireles provides a full veterinary service including a 24 hour emergency service.
Consultations T: 289 312 709. Emergencies T: 919 004 050.
Post Office – There is a post office in Vilamoura (CCT Vilamoura) on Praça Copertino Miranda (at the top end of Av Tivoli). It provides all the normal mail services and you can also pay A22 Toll fees over the counter – just take your vehicle registration number.
Payshops – you’ll spot a few shops displaying the ‘Payshop’ sign. Payshops provide a range of useful services: you can also pay A22 Toll fees here, top up Portuguese network mobile phones and even buy a Lotto ticket! Tabacaria Duarte III, Sítio do Semino (Pingo Doce) is a Payshop agent.
Enjoy your visit!
For information on other areas of the Algarve read our Algarve Travel Guides.