The Best Things to Do in Vilamoura, Portugal 

Catch a stunning sunset on a trip to Vilamoura
Catch a stunning sunset on a trip to Vilamoura | © imageBROKER / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Sara Darling
26 August 2021

From family karting to sea safaris, there’s plenty to do in Vilamoura in Portugal’s Algarve region if you’re done sitting on the beach. Here’s our guide to the best activities Vilamoura has to offer.

You can be guaranteed sun – unless you’re very unlucky – as well as sea and sand on your Algarve holiday. But if you’re not smitten with the idea of lounging on Vilamoura’s golden beaches all day, there’s plenty to keep you on your toes, from boat rides to dolphin-spotting trips or a few rounds of golf at the Grande Dame of Algarve’s courses. Here’s our guide to the top things to do in Vilamoura.

Praia da Falésia

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Translated as the Beach of Cliffs, Praia de Falésia is characterised by its incredible red backdrop, giving you the impression you’re in a coastal Grand Canyon, faced with a crystal-clear ocean. Stretching all the way from Vilamoura in the east to Olhos de Água in the west, the coastal walk will take you two hours. At low tide you may spot people collecting small clams called conquilhas from the shoreline – they’re a local speciality.

Karting Almancil

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Portimao, Algarve, Portugal - May 2021 - Aerial drone view over karting racing track near Algarve International Circuit.
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Family-friendly Karting Almancil is the longest-running karting track in the Algarve, inaugurated by racing legend Ayrton Senna in 1992. Adrenaline junkies can whizz for 760m (830yds) around a replica of the Formula One Jacarepaguá track on high-performance karts, while less experienced drivers and mini members of the family have access to the Junior Karting circuit with mid-range 120cc karts, ideal for budding champions aged 6 to 12.

The Old Course – Dom Pedro Golf Collection

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The Old Course Vilamoura Algarve Portugal
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Often described as the Grande Dame of Algarve courses, Dom Pedro has been on the golfing circuit since 1969. Situated in the heart of Vilamoura, this Frank Pennink-designed, parkland-style layout is one of most renowned in the golfing world. This much-respected site meanders through a forest of pine trees, which add shade as well as a natural challenge and brings faithful fans back year on year.

Family Golf Park

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Kids love the ancient Roman theme of the Family Golf Park and adults can join in the fun by trying their luck with mini clubs on the two 18-hole crazy golf courses. Each course is themed with Roman pillars, columns and centurions, which are a nod to Vilamoura’s history. The park also offers a tourist train through the resort of Vilamoura – from the park, along the marina, to the beach and resort centre – perfect if a day of putting has worn you out.

Tope Fixe – Cruzeiros de Pesca

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pleasure boats at vilamoura marina
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It would be rude not to go fishing in the Algarve’s pristine waters, and you don’t even have to bring your rods. Join a boat trip with Tope Fixe from Vilamoura marina and local fishermen will whisk you out to the hotspots of the Algarve coast, where you are bound to catch something for dinner. The boats are equipped with sonar, GPS, radio and life jackets. The crew are on hand to help, however much – or little – experience you have.

Mercado do Peixe

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Mercado do Peixe ( fish market ) area in central Aveiro Portugal
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Every seaside resort has a fresh fish market, and the Mercado do Peixe in Quarteira is where local restaurants get their daily catch. This bustling market is open at dawn when all the freshly caught fish is hauled back to land and put on ice. Every Wednesday the weekly market brings local people and tourists to check out the produce and perhaps pick up some shrimp or sole for the barbie.

Nauticdrive Water Sports Centre

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Wind and waves have left impressive traces in the beach cave "O Algar" near Bengali. (undated picture) | usage worldwide
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This is the one-stop shop for all your aqua adventures, based on the sandy shores of Vilamoura’s central beach. You can book a romantic trip to the Bengali Caves at sunset or join a group of no more than 12 to explore the mysterious caves and spot dolphins. The professional staff can also instruct you on parasailing, airstreaming, flyboarding or aqua skiing. The Atlantic Ocean is a playground for watersports and Nauticdrive Water Sports Centre caters for all water babies.

Algarve Sea Safaris

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Dolphins swimming on the surface, photographed from experience boat on the coast of Albufeira, Algarve Portugal.
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It would be rude not to head out on a boat trip at least once in the Algarve – all that shimmering ocean is great for snorkelling, swimming and seeing wildlife. Algarve Sea Safaris are the original dolphin watching company and have been taking small excursions out to see the friendly creatures since 1999, so the tour organisers know where to find the nearest pod. The company is committed to marine preservation and ecology awareness so you can rest assured that your seafaring activities will not endanger the ecosystem.
These recommendations were updated on August 26, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh. This article is an updated version of a story created by Sara Darling

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