In the midst of a miserable UK winter, what’s the best thing you can think of doing for your family? How about taking them to Portugal for some fun in the sun?
Vilamoura, in the Algarve’s so-called ‘Golden Triangle’, is one of the most popular resorts in the country. Its sun-drenched beaches and busy marina provide a host of opportunities for visitors to take advantage of the many water sports activities on offer. And the best thing is that, with plenty of cheap transport and accommodation deals at this time of the year, it’s not going to break the bank to treat the family to a mid-winter escape.
Get Out On the Water in Vilamoura
Set around a delightful harbour, it’s no surprise getting out and about on the water is big business here. The luxury marina is the vibrant heart of the resort, and at peak times there can be more than 1,000 vessels berthed here – owned by both locals and tourists.
There are myriad ways to enjoy the ocean around Vilamoura, so here are some suggestions you might like to add to your itinerary.
Sea Cave Tour
Set a course for adventure along the stunning Algarve coastline on the Sea Cave Tour, aboard the catamaran Liana. This half-day cruise meanders along the picturesque coast up to Gale, from where you’ll take a speedboat deep into the fascinating Xorino sea cave.
The Sea Cave Tour leaves from the marina every day at 9:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. You can get a quoted price by calling (+351) 289-114-913.
Sailing and Motor Yacht Charters
Based at the marina, Vilamoura Sailing and Motor Yacht Charters offers a huge range of options for the experienced and not-so-experienced family of sailors. Half-day, full-day, and private chartered cruises are available on whatever kind of vessel takes your fancy, including catamarans, luxury yachts, powerboats, and fishing boats of all shapes and sizes. You’ll be able to see dolphins, go fishing, visit gorgeous beaches only accessible by boat, and even learn to sail a yacht yourselves – all against the spectacular backdrop of the Algarve coastline.
Fully skippered half and full day charters are available on a variety of vessels, starting at €150, seven days a week.
Fancy your chances against the famous big fish of the Atlantic? Game fishing specialists like Cruzeiros da Oura will take the entire family on a thrilling recreational deep sea fishing expedition – no matter what your skill level. Blue Marlin, Dorado, Swordfish, Tuna, White Marlin, and shark are abundant in the waters around Vilamoura, and a half or full day expedition is an incredible way to extend your skills or get a taster of a brand new sport. If you’re going to fish, this is the way to do it!
A full-day Family Fun Cruise with Cruzeiros da Oura starts at €40 per person. Situated at Cais Q – Office 3, Marina de Vilamoura.
AlgarveXcite Water Sports Centre
At the resort’s premier water sports centre, AlgarveXcite, older members of the family can get the adrenalin pumping with jet skiing and parascending, while everyone can enjoy biscuit rides, zodiac rides, dolphin watching, the Aquashow, and the thrilling General Lee jet rider speedboat.
AlgarveXcite, like a host of other watersports companies, is located down at the marina. Prices for activities start at €20.
Treat your family to a week in Vilamoura and one thing’s for certain – there’ll never be a dull moment. Or a dry one! And if all those energetic activities wear you out, find yourself a babysitter and take yourselves on a date night aboard a Champagne Cruise along the coast at sunset. The fun never ends in Vilamoura…
Getting to Vilamoura
It couldn’t be easier to get to Vilamoura from the UK. A number of budget airlines fly into nearby Faro, which is just 30km away. You can get to Vilamoura from Faro Airport by public bus (there’s no train connection), but you’ll need to check the schedule as timetables can change without notice. If you want the simplest and most convenient way to get the entire family and luggage right to the door of your accommodation, you can book one of the private or shared Faro transfers with Shuttle Direct. Our friendly local drivers will meet you at the airport and you can be at your resort by the sea in around 30 minutes.
If you’re planning to drive from the UK to Portugal, you can choose a route via Spain or France. While the French ferry crossing is cheaper, the ensuing drive is longer, and most people report that, economically (factoring in ferry fees, fuel, and road tolls), going via Spain is a cheaper option. Either way, you’ll need to set aside at least two days’ travel time.
Where to Stay
Algardia Marina Parque – In the heart of Vilamoura and just a few minutes from the marina and all those fabulous water sports, the comfortable Algardia Marina Parque is the perfect family-friendly budget accommodation. The family-sized apartments are spacious and modern, and the kids will love the huge pool and garden setting. The complex is also not far from the nature park and a horse-riding centre. Non-stop fun for families!
Luna Olympus – Situated on the doorstep of the vibrant marina, you’ll wake up to the sounds of the Atlantic at the lovely Luna Olympus. Flooded with light and with views to die for, you can soak in the panorama from your private balcony while the children splash around in the complex’s two pools or the separate lounge area of these spacious apartments.
The Lake Resort – For the ultimate family holiday in Vilamoura, The Lake Resort feels like you’ve stepped into a fairy tale. Just minutes from the beach and marina, it’s set within magical surrounds overlooking a natural lake. You’ll fall in love with the opulent décor and fine touches like the private library and onsite spa, while the children will be entranced by the three swimming pools and the dedicated Koala Kids Club.