Vilamoura on a budget: Cheap things to do in the Algarve

Visiting Vilamoura on a budget isn't impossible. Although it's one of Portugal's premier holiday spots, known for its golden beaches, beautiful golf courses, cool nightlife, breathtaking views and Michelin star restaurants, there are plenty of hidden gems that you can experience for free.

Vilamoura on a budget © Fraser Valley Pulse & Metro Vancouver Pulse
Vilamoura on a budget © Fraser Valley Pulse & Metro Vancouver Pulse

Vilamoura on a budget: cheap things to do and see

The Algarve is a well known holiday destination on Portugal's southern coast with something for everyone, but what if you want to experience one of the region's more luxurious resorts without splashing the cash? As well as finding great value holidays and cheap flights from the likes of Monarch, Thomson and Jet2, there are some top attractions that won't break the bank. Read on to discover how to do Vilamoura on a budget and still have a fantastic time.

Vilamoura Marina, Algarve © Bahnfrend - Wikimedia Commons
Vilamoura Marina, Algarve © Bahnfrend - Wikimedia Commons

Chill out in the Marina de Vilamoura - free

This is the largest marina in Portugal with more than 800 berths, and recently took the title of Marina of the Year 2015 at this year's Yacht Harbour Association awards. As such, it is a landmark on the international boating scene, and a sight not to be missed. While it's free to enter and watch the world sail by, there are plenty of shops, terraces and bars to keep you entertained.

Enjoy the sun, sea and sand of Vilamoura's beaches - free

Right near the marina you'll find some of Vilamoura's best beaches: try the majestic Praia da Falesia or the lovely Praia da Marina where you can enjoy eating or drinking from nearby bars, or simply relax in the sun. On the western side of the city is the paradisiacal Praia da Rocha Baixinha, which has a long boardwalk with beach bars as well.

Riding in the Environmental Park - photo courtesy of Marina de Vilamoura Resort
Riding in the Environmental Park - photo courtesy of Marina de Vilamoura Resort

Explore the Environmental Park - free

This Agricultural & Ecological National Reserve is a protected area made up of 200 hectares. It was established to protect and promote local wildlife and countryside. Of special interest are the wetlands with lagoons and a reed bed, the largest in southern Portugal, that attracts several important bird species during migration. It also provides a home for other creatures such as otters and reptiles including tortoises.

Visit the Cerro da Vila Museum - €3 entry, kids under 13 go free

Cerro da Vila Museum charts the history of what used to be an old Roman fishing village providing an insight into Vilamoura's past. You can visit the ruins, which include baths, two rectangular tanks that were used to salt fish, and the atrium. You can also see mosaics, tiled floors as well as other relics from two thousand years ago.

Ride the tourist train - €5 p/d for adults, kids under six go free

What better way to see the town's main attractions than by the playful tourist train? It's also sure to be a hit with kids happy to take the weight off their feet while enjoying the ride. The route ticks off all the main spots including the Family Golf Park, Praia da Falesia, Cerro da Vila Museum, Praia da Marina, and central Vilamoura among other stops.

Looking back towards Vilamoura © experience Madeira, Algarve, Lisbon & Brazil
Looking back towards Vilamoura © experience Madeira, Algarve, Lisbon & Brazil

Cycle through Vilamoura - €9 p/d bike rental

Vilamoura has loads to offer curious holidaymakers, and exploring the town by bike is a great way to really get under its skin. There are plenty of bicycle paths and boardwalks where you can enjoy long rides while taking in the fresh sea air. To save even more money, you could try the same routes on foot.

Family Golf Park, Vilamoura - photo courtesy of www.familygolfpark.pt
Family Golf Park, Vilamoura - photo courtesy of www.familygolfpark.pt

Head to the Family Golf Park - €16 p/p, kids under six play for free

Vilamoura has six different golf courses, and in autumn the Oceanico Golf Course plays host to the Portuguese Masters. If you're keen to play a round or two, you can do it in Vilamoura on a budget: families should head to the Family Golf Park, which has a range of special offers.

Take a foodie tour of Portugal - €15 to €23 p/p

It's true, you really can eat out in Vilamoura on a budget. Especially good value restaurants include O Colonial and A Broa, which are known for offering authentic Portuguese cuisine. O Colonial also offers gluten free options, and its famous piri piri sauce is a must-try.

Stay in Vilamoura's only hostel - €35 p/n for two

Located just a few minutes' walk from the Marina and roughly 14 miles from Faro International Airport, this hostel with a nautical themed decoration provides different types of accommodation, from dorms to private rooms, while guests can enjoy the fragrant garden filled with lemon trees. Free Wi-Fi is also included, check Booking.com for current cheap rates.

Falesia Beach, Vilamoura © Raul Lieberwirth - Flickr Creative Commons
Falesia Beach, Vilamoura © Raul Lieberwirth - Flickr Creative Commons

Is it possible to visit Vilamoura on a budget? If you're looking for a relaxed holiday in the sun without spending a fortune, it certainly is. Are you tempted to discover Vilamoura on a budget for yourself in 2015/2016? Check out our Algarve holiday guide for more information, read up on the region's weather and when to visit, or head over to our deals and discounts section for all the latest online offers.

Please note: all prices are correct as of the date of publication, although these are subject to change.

Sofia Vasconcelos

Sofia Vasconcelos
Posted on Thursday 16th July 2015 in: City Europe Money saving tips

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