Vilamoura - Things to do & see!
Vilamoura is without a doubt one of those truly special places that almost anyone visiting always instantly falls in love with! Located in southern Portugal, this jewel in the Algarve region, is well known for its gorgeous beaches, large marina, water sports & outdoor activities as well as world class golf courses.
And at only around 200 kilometres from Portugal’s capital, Lisbon, making for a roughly 2h30 min drive, Vilamoura is top on my list of suggested places to stay or visit in the Algarve.
But what exactly makes Vilamoura so appealing as a premier Portugal travel spot? In this guide I’ll layout all the top things to do in Vilamoura, Portugal, and hopefully inspire you to consider paying this gem a visit sometime soon!
Vilamoura, and in fact the entire Algarve region, is a stunning beach destination offering up absolutely gorgeous beaches throughout. Even more so due to the beautiful golden sand beaches and the out-of-this-world rugged orange and gold cliffs that make the landscape even that much more dramatic.
In Vilamoura itself, you can easily walk from the town center to some of the close-by beaches. Here you will also find a lot of activities both in the water and out.
Most beaches (although not all) have fantastic facilities including beach bars, restaurants and lifeguards on duty (more so during the peak summer months). The access to parking is good, including for anyone with limited mobility. If you have ever wondered what to do in Vilamoura, then first and foremost, visit one of its beautiful beaches. Some of my favourite beaches include:
Praia de Vilamoura beach
This is in fact the main Vilamoura beach, known as Praia de Vilamoura. It is a fairly large sized beach found right at the forefront of the city. This golden-sand beach is fairly well developed with all the required facilities, beach bars and restaurants, toilets & shower facilities, parking, lifeguards during the summer months and sunbeds for rent. Praia de Vilamoura is also within walking distance to the Vilamoura Marina with its various shops, restaurants and bars too.
Praia de Quarteira
About 3kms east you will find another beach not to miss. Praia de Quarteir is a long stretch of beach right in front of Quarteira. This was one of the first areas to be developed along the Algarve coast and there are loads of hotels, restaurants, shops and bars that line the beach all along the promenade. This is also another well-established beach with all the necessary facilities you may come to expect.
Praia da Falesia
About 25mins drive west of Vilamoura you will find Praia da Falésia, located in Olhos de Água. Although it’s a short drive out of Vilamoura, I’m including this beach for the simple fact that it was named in Trip Advisors Top 25 Beaches in the World, coming in at number 11 and being the only Portuguese beach listed. Not only did it rank in at no. 11 but was also named the 3rd best beach in Europe.
So, as far as beaches in Vilamoura go, I think it’s well worth the trek to go check this one out. It is a large beach encompassing over six kilometres and is particularly breath taking thanks to the miles and miles of endless golden ragged cliffs that line this beach. Praia da Falésia also offers up most facilities you will find at some of the others already listed.
Do take note though, having been listed on TripAdvisor for two years running now, it has become quite popular. So be sure to get there early to get grab your perfect beach spot!
Praia do Almargem
6km east of Vilamoura, and just a short walk from Quarteira beach is the much quieter and smaller beach known as Praia do Almargem. The area is completely unspoilt, with its neighbouring lagoon and only one restaurant on the beach itself. If you are more interested in seeing sand dunes than high-rise apartments, this is probably the beach you’d want to explore.
Lastly, if you have a car and looking to explore other areas, and especially some of other amazing beaches of the Algarve, then I would highly recommend paying Lagos in the far west a visit. Travel from Vilamoura to Lagos is just under an hour and you’ll be able to see some of the most beautiful beaches here too. Go read our post on the 8 Best Lagos, Portugal Beaches. You will not be disappointed!
Vilamoura golf - a golfers paradise!
The Algarve has long since been regarded as a premier golfing destination and this is certainly top of the list of things to do in Vilamoura if you are an avid golfer yourself. It offers up an ideal climate for enjoying golf almost all year long. There is a nice range of fantastic Vilamoura golf courses to choose from. It’s no wonder the region is considered a golfer’s paradise. You can play golf on fairways with cliffs, bunkers and lakes with the standard of holes exceptionally high.
Below are just a few of the Vilamoura golf courses to consider.
Victoria Golf Course
When the Victoria Golf Course was first built, it was considered one of the most challenging golf courses Portugal had ever seen. Arnold Palmer is the golfing legend responsible for designing the project. The course encompasses just shy of ninety hectares of land. This is one of the most complete golf courses you will find anywhere in Europe. The Victoria Golf Course was an obvious choice for a lot of the top international tournaments such as the World Cup Championship and the Portugal Masters.
The Old Course
The Old Course Golf Club is located right in the center of Vilamoura. This is one of the first layouts established in the region and highly ranked amongst many golfers.
The Pinhal Golf Course
The Pinhal Golf Course was established in 1976. This was the second golf course built in Vilamoura and you will no doubt absolutely love the panoramic views stretching out from the clubhouse, looking out over the practice ranges and facilities. Perfect for relaxing in the Portuguese sun, drink in hand after a long day of golfing.
Laguna Golf Course
The Laguna Golf Course is another option to consider when looking at where to play golf in Vilamoura. Designed by Joseph Lee, this is quite a unique course compared to its other neighbours with far less trees and many water hazards making this an interesting play.
Millennium Golf Course
The Millennium Golf Course, inaugurated in 2000 is one of the new courses on offer and is regarded as having helped endorse the region as one of the top golfing destinations in Europe. This is definitely regarded as a good option if you’re looking for a luxury golfing breakaway.
Vila Sol Golf Course
The Vila Sol Golf Course, which was opened in 1991and designed by Donald Steel, is another world class golf course located in Vilamoura. It is managed by the Pestana group and offers up a Hotel and Golf resort and situated only about 6km’s from the Vilamoura Marina.
Other nearby courses
Of course, you will find fantastic, high standard golf courses scattered all throughout the Algarve region. Some most notable include Vale do Lobo Ocean & Royal Golf Course (20 mins drive from Vilamoura), Quinta do Lago (a 25min drive) and Monte Rei Golf & Country Club (an hour drive) to name but a few. This, making Vilamoura an ideal location to be based if you’re planning an Algarve Golfing holiday.
Vilamoura Sights & Attractions
Apart from the glorious beaches and golfing, Vilamoura has so much more going for it, making it a well-rounded destination offering up something for everyone.
The Vilamoura Marina
The Marina complex, in the heart of Vilamoura is one of the largest in Portugal and lined with super expensive and luxurious yachts. The area around the marina includes a lovely boardwalk, lots of hotels, shops, bars and restaurants and is especially popular at night, making it well worth a visit.
Cerro da Vila
You will find the Roman ruins of Cerro da Vila located in Vilamoura showcasing the remnants of a Roman village, dating back to the 1st / 2nd century when the Algarve region was under the control of Rome. Here you can see the ruins of salt tanks, patterned mosaics in black and white, sunken baths and a burial tower. The Cerro da Vila Museum also showcases Roman artefacts from the settlement in addition to relics from Moorish and Visigoth colonies that occupied the site later on.
Is lady luck on your side and fancy your chances on winning big? Or just want a fun night out with lots of entertainment and dining options? Then why not visit the Vilamoura Casino, one of only a few located in the Algarve. Found in the heart of the city, the casino is not only meant for gamers, but also has a couple of restaurants, a bar and shows running too.
Other Vilamoura things to do - tours & activities
The Benagil Cave & Dolphins Boat TourDeparting from the Vilamoura Marina to the Benagil caves, this tour is an absolute must and probably one of our highlights of visiting the Algarve. Travelling all along the coast line, admiring the stunning golden cliffs and beaches and finally arriving at the amazing Benagil Cave, this boat tour is amazing!! And you may even get the chance to spot some Dolphins on the way too! View rates and availability the Benagil Cave & Dolphin Boat Tour here.
3-Hour Guided Bike TourWhy not enjoy the beautiful landscapes and scenery of Vilamoura and neighbouring Quarteira on this 3 hour bike tour. During the tour you will visit various points of interest including a stop at the fish and fruit market as well as the Old Town. You will also pass along wetlands and see some of the fauna and flora of the region. View rates and availability the Guided Bike Tour here.
ParasailingAre you an adrenaline junkie like me? Then why not take flight on this parasailing experience where you’ll get to enjoy some stunning views over the beautiful coastline whilst parasailing 200 meters in the air? It’s worth noting that the time spent on the boat will be around an hour whilst the actual parasailing time last around 10 mins. View rates and availability Vilamoura Parasailing here.
Jet SkiIf parasailing didn’t provide you enough of an adrenaline kick, then why not rent a jet ski and enjoy the power and rush as you ride through the waters outside the Vilamoura Marina. Rentals last for 30 minutes and you’ll be briefed by a professional team of instructors, so prior experience is not required to enjoy this activity. View rates and availability Jet Ski rentals here.
FlyboardingOne of the more unique Vilamoura activities, is flyboarding, being propelled up into the air where you’ll hover around 30 feet above water. This is a really fun activity and isn’t as daunting as it seems. After only a couple of minute’s instruction you should comfortably be able to master the basics and be able to enjoy your 30 mins flyboarding experience. View rates and availability Flyboarding here.
Jet Boat ExperienceFeel the need for speed?! The Jet Boat Experience is certainly not for the faint hearted and definitely only suitable for those who can stomach high speeds, twists, turns and sudden breaks. If this all sounds like your cup of tea, then why not book a 30 min Jet Boat Experience and enjoy all the thrills of this roller-coaster on water! View rates and availability for the Jet Boat Experience here.
Private Speed Boat HireDon’t feel like joining a crowd of strangers on a boat tour? I completely get that, sometimes you just want to be able to break away and do your own thing! In that case this 1 hour private Speed Boat hire is perfect for you. On this experience you make the rules, choosing what to explore and where to stop, allowing you complete freedom to create your own Algarve adventure. Watch the sunset and take in the romantic views out over this beautiful coastline. View rates and availability for the Private Speed Boat Hire here.
Vilamoura & Quarteira Seaside Segway TourThe Vilamoura and Quarteira Seaside Segway Tour is a one and one-half hour tour where you’ll travel along visiting some of the beaches and sights. Enjoy stunning ocean views and take in all the scenery on offer in Vilamoura. View rates and availability Seaside Segway Tour here.
Where to stay in Vilamoura
Vilamoura is a a true jewel in the Algarve’s crown and has it all going for it. With so much on offer, you definitely not be let down if you decide to base yourself in this beautiful region.
I hope this guide has given you some good insights into all the top Vilamoura, Portugal things to do!
Have you already visited Vilamoura and what did you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts and tips, so please feel free to share and comment on this post.