Why is Vilamoura great for family holidays?
Vilamoura is great for a family holiday because…
- Short flight time from the UK
- No time difference meaning babies and childrens’ routines aren’t out of synch
- Short transfer time from the airport – only 30 minutes drive
- Resort is almost completely flat and has ramps everywhere – perfect for buggies and wheelchairs
- Great weather but not overly hot
- 2 superb Blue Flag sandy beaches, one on each side of the marina – Praia da Falésia and Praia de Quarteira
- English-speaking, family friendly staff in all of the restaurants, bars and cafes
- Wide variety of accommodation options – from self-catering villas, to 3-5 star hotels
What kind of resort is Vilamoura?
Vilamoura is a reasonably upmarket resort, with a large focus on the golf market, but that’s also perfect for family holidays.
It was purpose built in the early 1970s, which means all the facilities are well thought out and modern. Whilst it’s not overly ‘authentic’, it can provide a super destination for young families. Although the resort is quite upmarket, it has a great family feel
Packed with bars and restaurants, the large marina area is the focal point of the resort, and allows for superb people watching and great views over a meal or drink.
The central areas of Vilamoura are incredibly buggy friendly and the resort is almost entirely flat, making this the perfect destination for families with younger children.
Where is Vilamoura?
Vilamoura is situated in the Algarve, the southern coastal region of Portugal. Vilamoura is a holiday resort located about a 30-minute drive west of Faro Airport. Right on the coast, the resort is focused on a sizeable marina which attracts some of the biggest and best yachts in the Mediterranean. Don’t let the fancy boats fool you though; this is the perfect family holiday destination.
Being just 30 minutes drive from Faro, Vilamoura is about a 35 Euro taxi journey from the airport. Shared or private shuttles will provide a cheaper option from about 5 Euros per person for a shared transfer. As one of the closest resorts to the airport, shared shuttles often drop of here early on in their journeys.
How long does it take to get to the Algarve from the UK?
The Algarve region is served by Faro Airport, with most of the key resorts including Vilamoura and Albufeira situated to the west of Faro Airport.
The flight time from the UK to Faro Airport and the Algarve varies between about 2 hours 40 minutes, to around 3 and a half hours depending on your departure airport. Faro is served year-round from many of the larger UK airports, and almost all UK regional airports have services throughout the summer season.
Which Airlines fly from the UK to the Algarve?
In 2019, the following airlines operated flights from UK airports to Faro:
- British Airways
- Aer Lingus
- Norwegian Airlines
For top tips on entertaining kids on a plane journey, see our advice here.
Getting around Vilamoura on a family holiday
Vilamoura is extremely walkable but for some of the hotels and vilas further out from the marina you may want to consider a hire car or taxis, which are plentiful. For younger children, a buggy is probably best as you’ll enjoy a walk around the marina area. Check out the best holiday buggies here!
Another fun way for families to explore the resort is the Tourist Train, which runs a couple of different routes around the town including up to the Old Village, both beaches and around the marina. It’s a ‘road’ train rather then running on train tracks and can be a fun way to entertain younger children. It’s not the fastest mode of transport around the town though – more of a novelty!
Where to stay in Vilamoura on a family holiday?
Here at the Family Travel Pro, we have stayed in a number of the main Vilamoura hotels. Here are our thoughts on the best hotels in Vilamoura for families:
- Crowne Plaza Vilamoura – this 5 star resort is right on the beach and just an 8 minute walk to Vilamoura marina. Complete with kids pool, a great pirate-themed playground, indoor spa pool with opening hours when kids are allowed and a small kids club, this is our favourite Vilamoura hotel for families looking for luxury. The breakfast is superb!
- Dom Pedro Vilamoura (formerly Dom Pedro Golf) – right next door to the Crowne Plaza, this hotel has wonderful gardens and a good kids pool. Better for families with babies and toddlers, rather than older kids due to the room types available, this hotel gives you a prime location without a high price tag. The Dom Pedro group have two other hotels in central Vilamoura too, including some self-catering options.
- Four Seasons Vilamoura – a super aparthotel in the Old Village area of Vilamoura, with self-catering apartments from Studio to 3-bedroom size. This hotel is about a 15 minute easy walk to the marina or a 5 minute taxi ride. The tourist train also stops at this hotel. We loved it as a family for it’s great shaded play park, it’s beach-entrance pool, it’s proximity to Old Village bars and restaurants and the flexibility of self-catering facilities.
Although we haven’t stayed ourselves, we have also heard great things about the Hilton Vilamoura As Cascatas (voted Portugal’s leading resort in the 2019 World Travel Awards) and The Lake Resort Vilamoura for a family holiday.
Where to Eat in Vilamoura?
You will be spoilt for choice of places to eat on a family holiday in Vilamoura!
The marina area is home to around 50 bars and restaurants, from traditional Portuguese food, to Italian, Indian, Thai and Swedish cuisines. You can also find more traditional pub-grub, a Haagen Daz ice cream shop and prosecco bars. We have rarely had a poor meal on the marina in over fifteen visits to Vilamoura.
Away from the Marina though is where you’ll find some real stand-out restaurants. Although you won’t have the view you would down on the marina, the quality and the value of the food in a small square behind the marina is hard to beat. Look out for:
- Braganca Mar – a Portuguese restaurant where the owner, Ceasar, seems to remember all his guests and serves up spectacular fresh fish and steaks.
- A Broa – right next door to Braganca Mar, A Broa serves a similar menu but with a fun ‘couvert’ of fresh sausages that you cook yourself at the table. Great fun!
- Natraj Indian Restaurant – brilliant Indian restaurant with good kids menu.
What’s the weather like in Vilamoura?
Temperatures in the Algarve and Vilamoura are mild in the winter months with day time temperatures around 15-20 degrees. From April onwards, the temperatures tend to rise to the mid twenties, up to around 28-30 degrees or so in the peak summer months of June – August. September and October usually are a bit cooler – mid 20s – but we’ve experienced 30+ in October before!
The sea breeze keeps the humidity down and without excessively hot temperatures, the weather can make Vilamoura perfect for a family holiday.
What can older kids do in Vilamoura?
With two great beaches and great hotel pools, you could be forgiven for not leaving the resort area at all! However, the Algarve is home to some great attractions for older children, including Zoo Marine and Slide & Splash.
The Family Travel Pro team particularly enjoyed Zoo Marine and would definitely recommend a day out there, with kids from around 4 years old. Kids under 1 metre tall are free though. We loved the shows, lazy river and swimming pools!
For more information…
For more information on Vilamoura and the Algarve region, check out:
Here are some other posts from Family Travel Pro that you might enjoy too!
- Covid 19 Update – Where is Open for Family days out in Northern Ireland?
- Where to Visit Santa in Northern Ireland 2019
- Top Family Days Out in Northern Ireland – Animal Encounters
- Rainy Day Activities for Kids in Northern Ireland
- Free Family Activities in Northern Ireland