A holiday in Vilamoura is an enticing mix of old and new, with Roman ruins side by side with the modern marina crowded with waterfront bars, designer shops and restaurants. If you can bear to leave the two Blue Flag beaches, there are championship golf courses, tennis courts and a natural park to explore, or head inland to Boloquieme to experience a traditional Portuguese village. All the attractions of the Algarve are within easy reach, from Albufiera and its beaches, to the cobbled streets of Faro.
Vilamoura has two excellent sandy beaches, Praia da Marina and Praia de Falesia, both of which have deservedly been awarded Blue Flag status. The trendy Purobeach beach club offers luxury daybeds and cocktails by day, and dinner and dancing by night. Water sports are widely available, and there are a good selection of beach bars and restaurants. The Algarve is known for its excellent beaches, and these stretch along the coast past Albufeira, less than a half an hour drive away
Things to Do
The Roman ruins of Cerro da Vila near the marina are interesting and well worth a visit. Here you can see the remains of a Roman village, including baths and a mosaic. There are four championship golf courses and numerous tennis courts in the area, as well as Ria Formosa Natural Park, a haven for birdlife which can be explored by kayak or on foot. For a taste of the traditional Algarve, Loule and Boloquieme are easily reached, while kids will love the thrills and spills of the Aquashow water park.
Eating and Drinking
There is a wealth of restaurants in Vilamoura, from Michelin star establishments to traditional Portuguese eateries. Throughout the Eastern Algarve, you will find Portuguese restaurants serving up grilled fresh fish and seafood stew with rice—and both Monte Gordo and Albufeira also have piri-piri (spicy seasoning) chicken restaurants. Local vineyards at Tavira and Albufeira produce deep-coloured, fruity rosé wine, but crisp, cold vinho verde (young wine) from the north of Portugal is a popular choice on a hot summer’s day. Try local desserts made from almonds and figs, and finish with a shot of Monchique’s medronho, a spirit distilled from the fruit of the ‘strawberry tree’.
Nightlife and Entertainment
Vilamoura’s marina is buzzing with sophisticated bars which appeal to the yachting set, and is the perfect spot to enjoy a drink with a waterfront view. Footballer Luis Figo owns the popular Café Sete, with a football-themed interior and good cocktail menu. Get dressed up and take in a show at Vilamoura’s casino, and perhaps have a flutter if you’re feeling lucky, or for a change of pace head to Albufeira’s strip, just a short drive away.