The southernmost region of mainland Portugal, the Algarve spans an area of 5,000 square kilometres and is home to a permanent population of 450,000. The Algarve is one of Europe’s most popular tourist regions, welcoming 3.7 million tourists a year.
Central to the appeal of the Algarve is its excellent connectivity to the rest of Europe. Faro airport serves the Algarve and annual passenger numbers reached 7.6 million (2016 ANA Aeroportos de Portugal), an increase of 40% on the previous decade. The airport provides direct links to 80 destinations across Europe, of which 23 are to UK airports. Frequent services coupled with a flight time of under three hours (and a short transfer to the resorts) make the Algarve a viable weekend retreat. Faro airport is undergoing a €32 million expansion and remodelling programme that will result in a 25% increase in peak passenger flow capacity. Its completion is scheduled by the end of 2017.
The Algarve’s geographical position gives it some special bioclimatic features. Although situated by the Atlantic Ocean, it has a temperate climate with Mediterranean characteristics, more than 3,000 hours of sunshine a year and a low annual average rainfall. The region enjoys average summer highs on the coast of 32°C. Voted the World’s Best Golf Destination by the World Golf Awards for the third year in a row (2014, 2015 and 2016), Portugal has a wide range of courses with characteristics to suit dfferent levels of ability and budgets. In the Algarve there are 39 golf courses.
Situated in the Algarve’s Golden Triangle, 20 minutes west from Faro airport, Vilamoura belongs to the city of Quarteira, to the municipality of Loulé and Albufeira and to the district of Faro. It is one of Portugal’s most popular holiday resorts, a blend of luxury hotels, villas and apartments, supported by an extensive infrastructure and all the community services required in a residential area.
The story of this famed destination begins in 1966, when Artur Cupertino de Miranda launched the largest tourist complex the Algarve region had ever seen. Vilamoura was established on a 1700-hectare coastal site, at the very heart of the region. Over the decades and through a series of amendments to this Master Plan, Vilamoura has grown into the vibrant destination it is today.
Vilamoura offers a carefully considered urban-coastal experience, subtly integrated into the landscape. Its defining ethos of quality and variety can be seen throughout. Meeting the aspirational needs of residential and tourism clienteles, the destination enables a host of lifestyle choices and leisure opportunities, in which facilities and amenities have been developed sympathetically into the surroundings. A feeling of quality pervades, revealed initially through excellent infrastructure and continuing into leisure and residential structures. Developed as a place to live, visit and holiday, Vilamoura has so much to offer. 10,000 permanent residents live in Vilamoura’s villas, townhouses and apartments. Vilamoura attracts 500,000 visitors and the Marina has an annual footfall of 3,000,000 per year. Residents and visitors can rely on an extensive service infrastructure, which includes a health centre, several chemists, an international school, post office, crèches and a veterinary clinic. For leisure and sport, it’s hard to beat: five renowned championship golf courses, world-class equestrian facilities, water and land-based sports facilities, spas, and two of the finest beaches in Europe. Lifestyle choices are further enhanced by more than 100 restaurants (including a Michelin Star holder), an enviable line-up of bars, lounges and beach clubs and a casino.
Vilamoura’s defining structure is its internationally-lauded marina. The largest and most important in Portugal, with 825 berths, Vilamoura Marina has the Five Gold Anchors Award and was voted ‘International Marina of Distinction’ 2015-2017. The extensive range of services and fully equipped boatyard ensure its landmark status for boat owners, while the restaurants, bars and shops around it provide a central attraction for the destination.
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Three kilometres of golden sands lay directly before Vilamoura. To the west of the Marina entrance, the much photographed Falésia beach with the stunning beauty of its colourful sandstone cliffs stretches into the distance. To the east, in front of the main hotel group, the sands hum with activity.
When not simply soaking up the sun, you can swim, windsurf, waterski, para-sail, jet-ski, scuba dive or snorkel, rent a paddleboat, or simply enjoy leisurely walks along the waters edge. The beaches are pollution free and blue-flagged. An assortment of beach restaurants and bars make dining and socialising on the beach a pleasure for all.
The Algarve is consistently recognised as one of the leading golf destinations in the World. Vilamoura has five renowned championship golf courses, including Oceanico Victoria which is the home of the European Tour’s Portugal Masters and former host of the World Cup of Golf. With five golf courses owned by Oceanico Golf it is not surprising that Vilamoura attracts thousands of visiting players each year.
Find out more at: http://www.oceanicogolf.com
Vilamoura has developed into an international equestrian centre. As the venue of the Vilamoura Champions Tour, it is a destination for world-class events. For those who wish to explore the spectacular scenery on horseback, instruction is available.
The Vilamoura International School (Colégio Internacional de Vilamoura - CIV) is the most prestigious educational institute (Pre-school, Primary School and Secondary School) in the South of Portugal, encompassing the Portuguese National, British (adapted) National and the Cambridge International curricula.
Find out more at: http://www.civ.pt/en
One of the top 10 best and most engaging things to do and see during a trip to the Algarve region is Cerro da Vila museum and archaeological site, it’s a glimpse of roman and islamic history in the cosmopolitan Vilamoura.
A vibrant mix of restaurants and bars, lounges, live music events and fashionable nightclubs, make Vilamoura one of the liveliest nightlife destinations.
Located in the centre of Vilamoura, the casino enjoys a privileged location and is a tourist attraction, offering high quality, exciting gaming rooms, international entertainment and dining for discerning tastes.
A variety of multipurpose halls, allows for corporate functions, congresses and events.
Find out more at: http://casinovilamoura.solverde.pt/en/