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Best things to do in Vilamoura and Quarteira: 1-day Itinerary from Albufeira or Faro

If you are looking for excursions from Albufeira or Faro, consider taking a day trip to Vilamoura on the central Algarve coastline in Portugal. It is a modern resort town and is relatively new as it was constructed in the 1980s when many golf courses were built.

And while you are in Vilamoura, visit Quarteira, a small fishing village adjacent to Vilamoura. The small town is charming and has a popular gypsy market.

Between all the beaches, marina complex and outdoor markets, there are plenty of things to do in Vilamoura and Quarteira. Follow my one-day itinerary and learn how you can see all the best highlights of Vilamoura and Quarteira in one day.

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What you need to know before taking a day trip to Vilamoura and Quarteira

Before you start your Vilamoura and Quarteira day trip, take a look at some of these useful travel tips first:

  • The best day to visit Vilamoura and Quarteira is on Wednesday because the Gypsy Market is only open on Wednesdays from 8 am to 2 pm.
  • Start your Vilamoura day trip early. Try to arrive in Quarteira by 9:00 am so you can comfortable follow my 1-day itinerary below.
  • The best way to see Vilamoura and Quarteira is on foot.
  • Bring cash if you plan on doing a bit of shopping at the Gypsy market.
  • Install and set up the Uber app on your phone just in case you you don’t want to wait for the bus at the end of the day.
  • Time your visit to Vilamoura with these festivals and events:
    • Carnival in Vilamoura – it’s actually in Quarteira during the second week of February. Similar to the Brazilian carnival, this carnival in the Algarve has massive floats, parties and lots of celebration.
    • Fisherman’s Festival – seafood lovers can enjoy a vast array of seafood at the end of May in Quarteira.
    • Festas dos Santos Populares – honouring the three Catholic saints, St Anthony, St John and St Peter, with big parades and street barbecues in June. Portimão, Ferreiras and Castro Marim have similar celebrations at the same time.

How to get to Vilamoura Portugal

Vilamoura is a small coastal town between Faro and Albufeira. And right next to Vilamoura is Quarteira, a small fishing village. You can easily take a day trip to both places from neighbouring towns like Albufeira or Faro.

From Albufeira or Faro, the easiest way and cheapest way to Vilamoura is to take Vamus bus 9. This bus travels between Albufeira and Faro and stops in Vilamoura and Quarteira in both direction. Just make sure to check the bus timetable because they run on a specific schedule.

FYI – this itinerary starts at the Gypsy Market just north of Quarteira. The bus stop name is Fonte Santa (Rotunda) (see location), which is between Quarteira (Terminal Rodoviário) and Quarteira (Terminal Rodoviário).

Day trip from Albufeira to Vilamoura

  • Vamus Bus 9: from Terminal Rodoviário de Albufeira to Fonte Santa (Rotunda)
    • Time: 60 minutes 
    • Cost: €4.35 (pay bus driver or buy at bus station)
    • Check the bus schedule below

Day trip from Faro to Vilamoura

  • Vamus Bus 9: from Terminal Rodoviário Faro to Fonte Santa (Rotunda)
    • Time: 40 minutes 
    • Cost: €3.55 (pay bus driver or buy at bus station)
    • Check the bus schedule below
Vamus Bus 9 Schedule (click to enlarge)

Top things to do in Vilamoura and Quarteira: one-day itinerary

There are many things to do in Vilamoura and Quarteira that you might feel overwhelmed. But if you follow my one-day itinerary, you can see all the best attractions in Vilamoura and Quarteira efficiently and effortlessly.

All you have to do is follow the numbered red pins on the interactive map and read the descriptions below.

Are you ready for your Vilamoura and Quarteira day trip? Here we go!

1. Shop for cheap souvenirs at Mercado da Fonte Santa

On Wednesdays, many vendors set up temporary stalls at the the Mercado da Fonte Santa (Quarteira Gypsy Market) at the edge of town. Basically it is a big dusty parking lot with lots of vendors selling many items like clothing, shoes, accessories, household items, toys, Portuguese souvenirs, etc. The quality is just okay but everything is pretty cheap.

I didn’t find too many things but it is still worth visiting. Also, this flea market has several food trucks. You can get donuts or bifana (sliced pork) sandwich for breakfast.

Address: EM527-2 621A, Quarteira | Hours: 8:00 am to 2:00 pm Wednesdays only

2. Visit Praia de Quarteira

From the Gypsy Market, walk down the Av. da Fonte Santa (main road) to Praia de Quarteira. It’s a bit of a walk – about 25 minutes. But the good news is it is all downhill.

This is your first opportunity to spend a bit of time at the beach. At Praia de Quarteira, there is a cute swing for an Instagram photo, several cafes on the boardwalk if you want a snack or coffee, and of course, a beautiful golden sandy beach.

You can even rent a standup paddle board or a kayak from Decathlon on Avenida Infante de Sagres if you want to spend some time here.

Address: Praia do Quarteira, Quarteira

3, 4, 5 & 6. Wander around the town of Quarteira

Continue walking on the boardwalk or the beach towards the town of Quarteira as there are several attractions worth checking out.

First, visit Mercado do Fazendeiro, a local farmer’s market opens on 8:30 am to 2:00 pm on Wednesdays only. Vendors sell vegetables, fruits, and locally made products like honey. It might be a good time to pick up some snacks and fruits here.

If you are in Quarteira on the first Saturday of each month, check out Feira de Velharias de Quarteira, an antiques fair held at the exact location as Mercado do Fazendeiro. If you like old vintage items, this might be a good place for you to rummage through.

And because there is a fishing heritage in Quarteira, there is a thriving Mercado do Peixe (Fish Market) near the beach. It is worth checking out. And also take a look at Mercado da Fruta (Fruit Market) next door too.

Mercado do Fazendeiro Address: 8125-507, Quarteira | Hours: 8:30 am to 2:00 pm on Wednesdays only

Feira de Velharias de Quarteira Address: 8125-507, Quarteira | Hours: 8:00 am to 1:00 pm first Saturday of each month

Mercado de Peixe Address: Largo do Mercado 3, Quarteira | Hours: 7:00 am to 3:00 pm (closed Sundays)

7. Walk across Praia de Vilamoura

Although Praia de Vilamoura is a nice beach that has several beachfront cafes, I would suggest you to walk across the beach and continue the rest of the itinerary.

It is still very nice to see the sandy beach but there’s not much else to do other than suntanning and eating at one of the cafes. And also, its better to walk across the beach than to walk across the semi-developed neighbourhood.

Address: Praia de Vilamoura, Quarteira

8. Walk around the perimeter of Marina de Vilamoura

At the end of Praia de Vilamoura, turn right and you’ll arrive at Marina de Vilamoura.

The modern marina is the first marina built in Portugal. Since its construction in 1974, Vilamoura marina has earned many awards and recognition including the “Best Portuguese Marina” for the past 11 years.

Follow the pedestrian walkway and see all the luxury yachts docked around the marina. And you can find an array of international cuisine lining the perimeter. I wasn’t particularly hungry the day I visited the marina so I opted for pancakes and ice cream at Gran Sorvete. Yum!

Address: R. do Oceano Atlântico, Quarteira | Hours: 9:30 am to 8:00 pm

9. See an archeological site at Cerro da Vila

Cerro da Vila is a museum and an archeological site near Vilamoura marina.

The museum area has Roman and Islamic artefacts related to architecture, sculpture, and etc. And you can see a typical Roman maritime villa, including some of the typical “rooms” like bedrooms, peristylium, warm/cold water pools, water cistern and much more.

Plus, there is a small archeological site at the back which showcases ruins of a Roman village.

But Cerro da Vila is closed temporarily. Check the website and see when it is open again so you can plan your day trip to Vilamoura accordingly.

Address: Av. Cerro da Vila, Quarteira | Hours: temporarily closed | Admission: €4

10 & 11. Walk the entire length of Praia de Falésia

From Cerro da Vila, walk west on the main road for about 14 minutes. Cross the Ponte Pedonal da Praia da Rocha Baixinha (bridge) and arrive at Praia de Falésia, the best attraction in Vilamoura.

Most beaches on the Algarve are absolutely stunning. But Praia de Falésia is something else! It is a 8km picturesque beach with the most mesmerizing reddish-orange cliffs along the entire length of the beach.

I saw Praia de Falésia from sea level and at the top of the cliffs. It is possible to hike the top parts of the cliff but be careful. FYI – there are three sets of staircases to the top of the cliff throughout the entire length of the beach.

For this itinerary, walk the entire coastal beach walk from Vilamoura to Olhos de Água (east to west). It will take about 2 hours or so depending how often you stop for photos or breaks.

If walking the entire length is too much for you, you can backtrack part way and return to Albufeira or Faro with bus 9 from Vilamoura.

Address: Praia da Falésia, Albufeira

12 & 13. Finish the day in Olhos de Água

Walk to the west end of Praia de Falésia and you’ll arrive at Praia do Barranco das Belharucas. There is a road behind the cafe and a set of stairs on the left which will lead you to the small roads in Olhos de Água.

Keep walking west until you arrive at the main road, Estrada de Albufeira.

Walk west on the main road until you reach Torre da Medronheira bus stop in Olhos de Água. And this is where you can wait for vamus bus 9 to take you back to Albufeira or Faro.

Time-saving tip: if you don’t want to wait for bus 9 (because it runs on a specific schedule so you may end up waiting for a long time), order a car through Uber. It is not expensive to use Uber in the Algarve. It costs about €6 from Olhos de Água to Albufeira.

Address: Torre da Medronheira bus stop, Olhos de Água

Other things to do in Quarteira and Vilamoura

There are many more things to do in Quarteira and Vilamoura other than the attractions mentioned in the day trip itinerary. If you are spending another day in the area, here are a few more things to see in Vilamoura and Quarteira (see blue pins on the map):

  1. Golfing – some of the best golf courses in the world are in Vilamoura.
  2. Casino de Vilamoura – try your luck at the casino. But if you are not into gambling, there are restaurants, bars and shows at the casino.
  3. Aquashow Park – spend the day at the wave pool and slide down the 32m free fall slide at the largest waterpark in Portugal.

Are you ready to take a day trip to Vilamoura and Quarteira in the Algarve?

I hope so! I really enjoyed spending the day in both Vilamoura and Quarteira. Initially I didn’t plan to go but after a bit of research, I’m so glad I did. I really enjoyed the outdoor markets and walking the entire length of Praia de Falésia.

And most of all, I felt safe going to Vilamoura and Quarteira as a solo traveller. Taking the public transportation wasn’t an issue and I felt safe the entire time I was there.

Let me know in the comments below if you will take a solo day trip to Vilamoura and Quarteira or if you have any questions about either town.

Thank you for reading my Vilamoura Portugal post

You might also like these other posts on solo travel in Portugal:

Lisbon posts
Porto posts
Algarve posts

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About Author

Hi, my name is Queenie, and I've been a solo traveller for 18+ years and currently based in Hong Kong. Follow me on my adventures through Instagram and my blog!

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