Are you considering a Vilamoura holiday?
Well that’s great to hear – it’s a lovely destination and I enjoyed a lovely holiday there.
Read on for everything I learned during my holiday in Vilamoura including things to do, a fabulous circular drive and two great hotels that I stayed in.
First off let’s deal with a common question visitors ask;
Is Vilamoura Nicer Than Albufeira?
For a holiday experience that is a bit quieter and calmer then Vilamoura is a better choice than Albufeira. There are great facilities, a lovely marina and lots of green spaces. Vilamoura is still within easy reach of Faro airport, and still on the Algarve coast. It is less touristy than Albufeira, but still very easy to visit. It is also just 10 miles to Albufeira making it possible to have the best of both worlds.
Vilamoura is a great base for exploring the Algarve coast, whether heading East or West.
Read on to discover everything I learned during my gorgeous holiday there, starting with how to get there!
1. Vilamoura Holiday – Getting There From the UK
The main airport in the Algarve is Faro airport. It’s set a little outside the town of Faro, which is worth a visit if you get the time.
Jet2 have lots of holidays flying into Faro. Given the popularity of Algarve holidays it’s no surprise to see plenty of flight availability.
Skyscanner currently have direct flights listed to Faro from the UK flying from the following airports;
Cheapest flights for the upcoming year currently range from £19 to £73 one way.
Faro Airport is small and therefore easy to navigate.
The flight time is 2 hours and 50 minutes from Luton.
Below are flights from London to Faro airport.
2. Vilamoura Holiday – Weather During the Year
Check out the weather in Vilamoura through the year.
Given Vilamoura is on the coast there is also the cooling breeze coming off the Atlantic to consider too.
Here are the sunny hours for the Algarve region of Portugal.
Below is the current weather for the Algarve region of Portugal.
3. Vilamoura Holiday – Vilamoura Location
Vilamoura is located in the Algarve region of Portugal on the coast.
It is on the mainland.
4. Vilamoura Holiday – Hiring a Car at Faro Airport
For our Vilamoura holiday we hired a car from Faro airport.
We hired it from Goldcar and I have to say it was a pretty grim experience collecting the car. Firstly, there was quite a long delay. At the collection desk the reservation agent was pretty grumpy that I wasn’t taking the car hire excess insurance cover, but that’s because I always buy a policy in advance which is much cheaper.
Having received the keys I went out to find the car which had a large number of scratches and dings. Given that no one had come out with me to the car I took photos and headed back into the office to let them know about the state of the car – I didn’t fancy a large bill at the end of the hire period. Again there was another long queue.
After what seemed like a very long time we finally got the keys and headed off to our hotel.
Check car hire prices for companies at Faro Airport
5. Vilamoura Holiday – Getting to the Vilamoura Garden Hotel
The Vilamoura Garden Hotel is 30 minutes away from Faro airport.
If you want to stay off the motorway you can take the IC4 and the N125 to Vilamoura.
5. Vilamoura Holiday – Location of the Vilamoura Garden Hotel
The address of the Vilamoura Garden Hotel is;
R. da França 951153, 8125-507 Quarteira, Portugal
The telephone number of the Vilamoura Garden Hotel is;
+351 289 247 150
The Vilamoura Garden Hotel is located near a golf course and not far away from the older part of Vilamoura and the harbour area.
The hotel has free parking onsite.
The Vilamoura Garden hotel is located at the corner of a road junction with the hotel facing inwards and set around a pool area.
6. Vilamoura Holiday – Cost of Vilamoura Garden Hotel
4 nights at the hotel including flights from the UK was £250 for two people.
On arrival we upgraded to a suite which gave us a separate bedroom as well as a lounge area and of course a bathroom.
Check prices now for your travel dates and find the best deal online for the Vilamoura Garden Hotel;
7. Vilamoura Holiday – Bedroom at the Vilamoura Garden Hotel
- The hotel was nicely furnished and spacious.
- The separate bedroom was large with a Kingsize bed.
- The bedlin was crisp and clean.
- The whole room was spotless.
- The room faced the front, overlooking the road and the roundabout.
Since our stay the hotel has reconfigured it’s bedrooms and now offers a variety of rooms including family rooms and pool view rooms.
8. Vilamoura Holiday – Vilamoura Garden Hotel Facilities
The Vilamoura Garden hotel has a range of facilities which make it an ideal spot for your holiday in the Algarve including;
- Ground floor bar open all day serving teas and coffees
- Lift to all floors
- Groung floor restaurant
- Swimming pool
- Massage service
- Airport shuttle service
- Games room
- Bike and car rental
- Business centre
9. Vilamoura Holiday – Vilamoura Garden Dining
The Vilamoura Gardens has a Tapas bar which serves lighter snacks and drinks through the day.
The Garden Cafe is where buffet breakfast is served as well as dinner. There is seating outside by the pool when the weather allows.
10. Vilamoura Holiday – Vilamoura Garden TripAdvisor Reviews
Rated 4.5 out of 5 Excellent from 306 Reviews
- 4 out of 5 for Location
- 5 out of 5 for Cleanliness
- 5 out of 5 for Service
- 4.5 out of 5 for Value
Check out the Vilamoura Garden TripAdvisor reviews
11. Vilamoura Holiday – Pestana, Vila Sol Hotel
Due to a parting of the ways with my travel companion I during my Vilamoura Holiday I moved from the Vilamoura Garden hotel to the Pestana Vila Sol hotel.
This was less than 10 minutes drive away.
The Pestana Vila Sol is a large golf and spa resort set in 370 acres. It feels open, spacious and relaxing.
It is a 5 star hotel.
12. Vilamoura Holiday – Location of the Pestana Vila Sol
The address of the Pestana Vila Sol is;
Alto do Semino, Morgadinhos, 8125-307
The telephone number of the Pestana Vila Sol is;
(+351) 289 320 320
13. Vilamoura Holiday – Cost of the Pestana Vila Sol
3 nights at the Pestana Vila Sol cost just over £100.
Check prices for your travel dates and find the best prices available online for the Pestana Vila Sol.
14. Vilamoura Holiday – Pestana Vila Sol Bedroom
On arrival I was upgraded and checked into a little bungalow style room. It was super cute and included;
- A lovely comfy bed in a colonial style
- Tea and coffee facilities (not always common in European hotels)
- Ensuite bathroom with nice fluffy towels, robe and slippers plus toiletries
- Lovely terrace with loungers and a great view across the garden area
- Free WIFI
15. Vilamoura Holiday – Pestana Vila Sol Facilities
- Low level accommodation spread throughout the grounds
- Adults outdoor pool
- Childrens outdoor pool
- Indoor pool with whirpool
- Pool bar
- Clubhouse with bar and restaurant
- 27 hole golf course
- Jogging circuit
- Kids club for children 4-11
- Spa (this is 1km from the hotel itself)
- Games room
- Shuttle to beach from June to September
- Airport shuttle service
- Boutique shop and newsagents on site
- Free parking
The gardens are lovely and filled with tropical type plants including palm trees.
Water features dot the gardens and my room looked over a pond with a waterfall and palm trees.
There was also a restaurant in the main building that did evening meals. This has a nice terrace area which looked over another water feature outside.
As it was November the outdoor pool wasn’t in use but the weather was still warm and pleasant. It was nice enough to sit outside in the evening – although that might just apply to those of us from the Highlands as I was the only person doing so!
16. Vilamoura Holiday Pestana Vila Sol TripAdvisor Reviews
Rated 4 Very Good out of 1559 Reviews
- 4 out of 5 Location
- 4.5 out of 5 Cleanliness
- 4 out of 5 Service
- 4 out of 5 Value
Check out the Pestana Vila Sol TripAdvisor reviews
Vilamoura is a small resort set in the Algarve area of Portugal.
It is 25km from Faro airport.
Vilamoura is popular with golfers and it also has marina area with restaurants, cafes and shops around it. A Vilamoura holiday gives you a great location to get to everything in the Algarve area with a slightly quieter feel compared to other locations in the Algarve.
Vilamoura has plenty of things to do and is within easy reach of all the main attractions of the Algarve area.
18. Vilamoura Holiday – Museo De Cerro Villa
I decided to spend some time exploring Vilamoura itself. My first stop was the Museo De Cerro Villa, where you could visit Roman remains. The remains are actually of two Roman villas, and date from the time that the Romans were in their heyday in the area, around 27BC.
There is a small museum next to the remains themselves with some interesting interpretation boards. It was very quiet when I visited, with me as the only visitor until a school group arrived.
Looking round the museum and the site took just over 1 hour.
The entry fee was 3 Euros and the museum is open in the mornings and the afternoons with a lunch break in the middle of the day.
19. Vilamoura Holiday – Vilamoura Marina
The Marina was quite quiet, given the time of year I guess as I was there in November.
By the number of restaurants it was clearly a busy place in the summer season, with all sorts of cuisines available.
Given the fewer restaurants available I took a wander around the old streets and shops.
I then headed further along the marina and found a hairdresser where I got my haircut. It was, as it always is when having a hair cut abroad, an interesting experience and I learned a bit about local life.
20. Vilamoura Holiday – A Fabulous Circular Drive!
If you have seen some of my other posts already then you will know I am a big fan of a circular drive!
Having got my map out I planned a circular drive from Vilamoura, travelling on the smaller and more rural roads.
I was a little nervous about driving, having not done so much driving overseas for a few years but it really was like riding a bike.
I headed North out of Vilamoura and picked up the local road the N125 and headed West. This road runs to the South of the main motorway, the A22 which links the East and West areas of the Algarve.
The N125 is a normal single lane carriageway road, so it is a little easier to enjoy the views along the way.
I then headed North on the N270 heading towards Paderne.
It was lovely to get away from the more touristy areas and out into the hills where I felt like I was seeing a bit more of local life. The villages I passed through were pretty and I stopped in a couple to take some photos.
I then turned onto the N124 and started to head East towards Alte.
21. Vilamoura Holiday – Alte
I don’t know what made me stop at Alte, I hadn’t researched it too much and kind of stumbled into it. I managed to park up beside the river and walk back into the small town itself.
The river had a variety of terraces, bridges and a bar set right beside it. It was clearly a popular spot for locals to walk as well.
It was extremely quiet and very pretty.
I followed my nose into the centre of the small town and found a tiny cafe that was open and serving coffees. It was run by two very sweet elderly people and it was clearly a local’s cafe, given the chatter that was going on between the owners and the customers.
I sat outside, with the sun on my face and I have to admit I had a little cry.
It was such a beautiful spot and I was enjoying a lovely coffee. I had managed to find my way there, in my own little car, and having been a bit terrified at the thought of solo travel initially I felt a huge sense of freedom and knew this was something I wanted to do more of. It was a really memorable moment in my travelling life.
The town had a few small shops, and again because it was November it was very quiet. I can imagine Alte has a great atmosphere in the summer when it is busier, although I loved it when it was quiet.
I continued through Benafim and Salir, still on the N124. The road had climbed higher and the views were really lovely. The Algarve countryside was lush, green and the road gave views across it.
I turned South on the N396 and headed down through Querenca and continued into Loule.
22. Vilamoura Holiday – Loule
Loule is a lovely town, which I had visited before when I had taken a coach trip there from a nearby hotel that me and my group were staying in.
This meant I was able to navigate through Loule and find my way through to continue on the N396 which brought me back to Vilamoura.
It was a very pleasant and easy drive, which took most of the day (starting around 10am and getting back around 4pm).
It was a fantastic way to experience the local area and I really enjoyed it. Infact it was the highlight of the trip for me.
If you are staying in Albufeira there is a great trip that takes in Loule market on a Saturday and Vilamoura! Check out the details below
23. Vilamoura Holiday – Walking from the Pestana Vila Sol
I decided to spend a day exploring on foot so headed out of the Pestana resort to try and reach the local town. I walked South and headed through lots of holiday accommodation, these seemed to be mainly holiday villas.
There were a couple of restaurants and shops along the way before I reached the Pingo Doce supermarket.
From here I headed along the road, which several people seemed to do as there was no pavement. This was slighty terrifying given the speed of the drivers!
This brought me down into the fish market area of Quarteria and the beach. I have to say I wasn’t such a fan of this area. It was clearly popular with visitors in the summer so after having some breakfast I headed back to the hotel.
On the way I found a nice coffee at the Vila Sol Cafe. Infact it was so nice I went back for breakfast the next day!
24. Heading Out to the Beach from Vilamoura
For my final day in Vilamoura I decided to head out in the car again.
I headed out to Praia Do Almargen which is a local sandy beach popular with locals. It had a cafe right on the beach which I was looking forward to visiting.
The beach was reached by travelling down a tiny, bumpy and pot holed road. There were little farms along the way together with plenty of cats!
Unfortunately the cafe was closed due to it being November but it was still nice to see the views.
I looked for somewhere to eat but couldn’t find anything that suited me open, so I headed back to the hotel after stopping off at Pingo Doce and getting in some things to eat and drink so I could spend the rest of the day relaxing on my lounger with nice snacks and drinks!
25. Vilamoura Holiday FAQs
What is Vilamoura like in Portugal?
Hopefully this post has given you a feel for this pretty little coastal town. It is a friendly, welcoming spot with lots of green spaces around it and a lovely marina. It is less touristy and quieter than some other parts of the Algarve, particularly when compared to Albufeira.
Does Vilamoura have a beach?
Yes it does. The beach, like most in the Algarve, are sandy and wide. The beach area is known as Praia De Vilamoura. Check out these photos of Praia De Vilamoura.
How safe is Vilamoura?
As a solo female traveller I felt very safe in Vilamoura. I walked alot around the area and I also headed off in the car for a day exploring the countryside.
26. Vilamoura Holiday – Some Places to Visit
I’ve been lucky enough to take several Algarve holidays, but also to take guests on Algarve holidays when doing tours of Portugal.
It’s a really interesting part of the country with lots to discover including;
The Eastern part of the Algarve – Tavira, Olhau and the Ria Formosa area. Lovely beaches, lovely town and nice markets too! There are some good spots for birdwatching – I still remember seeing a Hoopoe from the coach when in this area.
The Western end of the Algarve Sagres is very interesting, particularly the maritime school set up by Henry the Navigator. Lagos is also lovely with a very interesting museum and a very pretty town centre also. It’s well worth a day at least.
Loule is lovely and on Saturdays they have a large market sprawling through the town centre with both gypsy and farmers markets. There are lovely restaurants and the market hall building is lovely too. It’s a great place to pick up some treat and souvenirs at the same time.
If you do want to get out into the hills then why not do a circular route like I did? It’s easy to drive and you are bound to find some interesting villages along the way.
27. Vilamoura Holiday – Want to Stay in Vilamoura?
Check out prices across the whole of Vilamoura and find the best deals on the internet super quick. Just click on the price so see a bit more information about the hotel, and click again if it sounds interesting.
If you want to find the best deals available for hotels in Vilamoura then check these out;
28. Further Reading – Book Recommendations
This guidebook describes 33 walks in the beautiful Algarve in southern Portugal. Boasting good weather, easy access, stunning scenery and some great hiking trails, the region is a perfect destination for a walking holiday. It is best known for its spectacular coastline: the coastal trails presented here afford ample opportunity to admire the plunging sinkholes, striking sea-cliffs and rock-hugged beaches. However, the interior is every bit as beautiful and other walks explore the forested slopes of Monchique and the tranquil countryside between the mountains and coast.
Marco Polo Pocket Guide Algarve: the Travel Guide with Insider Tips Explore the Algarve with this handy, pocket-sized, authoritative guide, packed with Insider Tips. Discover boutique hotels, authentic restaurants, the region’s trendiest places, and get tips on shopping and what to do on a limited budget. There are plenty of ideas for travel with kids, and a summary of all the festivals and events that take place in this southern area of Portugal. Let Marco Polo show you all this wonderful region has to offer…
If you found this Vilamoura Holiday article useful then you might like;
Hotel Sol E Mar Albufeira review
Vidamar Resort Algarve hotel review
Douro River Cruise in depth review
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