Glamorous and upbeat
Vilamoura is an all-in-one seaside town in Portugal’s Algarve region. Life revolves around the huge marina that’s filled with million-pound yachts and lined with elegant bars and authentic Portuguese restaurants. You’ve got some history here, too, courtesy of the town’s Roman ruins. And it’s all neatly packaged between protected wetlands to the north and a long strip of sand to the south.
A beach duo
Vilamoura actually boasts 2 sandy beaches – Praia da Marina and Praia de Falesia. Sunloungers and umbrellas are dotted along both, and a long promenade between them brings in plenty of bars and restaurants. Where the sprawling Praia de Falesia ends, Praia Olhos d’Agua begins. It’s a 20-minute drive away, and the watersports centre offers snorkelling trips into the scalloped caves.
Roman ruins and golf
It may have a modern vibe to it, but just 100 metres from Vilamoura’s marina there’s the ruins of an ancient Roman fishing village, complete with old wall murals and a bathing complex. Back in the present, you’ve got 4 championship golf courses to the north of the town, plus over 50 outdoor tennis courts in the club next to the marina.
Daytrips to Loule and Faro
A half-an-hour drive takes you to the pretty town of Loule, popular for walks along the imposing walls of the 13th-century castle. And about the same time gets you to Faro. In the cidade velha – the old part of the city – there’s a cathedral that may not look much from outside but has colourful tiles inside. And from the top tower, you get a fantastic view of the 17th-century Bishop’s Palace, official residence to the Bishop of Faro.