Quarteira – the complete guide (2020)
The lovely town of Quarteira is a popular holiday destination, especially among Portuguese people. It used to be a small fishing village, but has turned into a holiday resort with high-rise apartments near the sea. The town has a great location, in between Faro and Albufeira. Quarteira has a beautiful beach, which is the main attraction of the town. Behind the beach you can find a splendid promenade filled with palm trees. Here you can enjoy a walk or bicycle trip whilst overlooking the sea. And there are plenty of other things to do. After reading this article, you will be the tour guide when visiting Quarteira.
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Contents of this article
Praia de Quarteira
Praia de Quarteira is the main beach of Quarteira. This beach stretches for almost 2 kilometres and is perfect for all sun seekers and families with children. The sea is calm and the sand is ideal to lay and walk on. You enter the beach from the boulevard of palm trees that is very popular for leisurely strolls and bicycle trips. The beach consists of several parts, each divided by small piers made of stone.
If you like taking long beach walks, the beach of Quarteira is perfect. You can walk to the east, all the way to the prestigious resort of Vale do Lobo. Or you could walk to the west, to the beach of Vilamoura.
There are a couple of great restaurants in Quarteira. Most of them serve Portuguese food, but there are a couple of restaurants offering other cuisines as well. Since Quarteira is a popular holiday destination for Portuguese people, the prices of the restaurants have to be right and they have to provide value for money. Quarteira specializes in excellent seafood. If you want to try some local specialties, try clams drenched in garlic and olive oil, octopus with tomato salad or crabs bigger than your plate. Or if you like meat, you can indulge your taste buds with grilled chicken piri piri and pork. If you are looking for fine dining options, it is better to go to nearby Vilamoura. Below you can find our favourite restaurants of Quarteira.
- BJ’s Oceanside. This restaurant serves amazing fresh fish and seafood. It is also a great place to have some drinks and enjoy the sea view. Located on the beach, to the east of Praia de Quarteira.
- La Cabane. This Portuguese restaurant has excellent food and an extensive wine list. The restaurant has a pick-up service, which means that if you are in Quarteira or Vilamoura, they will come and pick you up, as well as bring you back. Located in the centre of Quarteira.
- Shalimar. This restaurant serves traditional Indian food in a nice atmosphere. Their curry is amazing. The food has just the right amount of spice, but you can make it more spicy if you prefer. The service is also very good.
- Wild Fire Smokehouse & Grill. If you like American barbecue and smoked food, you will love this restaurant. They serve some of the best steaks in the area. There is a cosy indoor area, but also a nice outdoor dining area.
What to see
Behind Praia de Quarteira you can find a beautiful boulevard with palm trees. The name of this street is Avenida Infante de Sagres. Around this promenade you can find many restaurants, bars and shops. You will see many people walking, running or cycling here. It is a great place to feel the freshness of the ocean.
The promenade is about 2 kilometres in length. At the western end of the boulevard, you will find the fish restaurant Rosa Branca. From there it is only a short walk to the fruit and fish markets. At the eastern end of the boulevard, you will find a beach bar called A Gaivota. This is also where the boulevard ends. If you want to continue walking from here, you can walk on the sand in the direction of Vale do Lobo.
Along the boulevard you can see several fitness stations. You can work out here for free if you want. In fact, it is one of the largest street workout parks of Portugal. Staying fit and healthy is very important to the inhabitants of Quarteira. You will see people exercising and working out throughout the day and evening. Sometimes you can even witness local competitions where young athletes test their strength and endurance.
Mercado (local market)
Near the western end of the promenade you will find two indoor markets in traditional white buildings: a fruit market and a fish market. On the walls near the entrance you can find beautiful mosaic tiles.
At the fruit market you can find locally produced fruits, vegetables and other local produce. There is also a butcher, selling meat. The quality of all products here is better than in the supermarket.
At the fish market you will find fresh fish sold at fair prices. There is a great variety of fish and seafood on display in this market. Most of the fish you see is caught that morning by the fishermen. There is also some imported fish (like salmon), but the local daily catch is the best. It doesn’t get much fresher than this. The pricing of fish here is always per kilo, so make sure to ask for the exact price prior to your purchase. This fish market supplies the many restaurants in the surrounding area with fresh fish and seafood. The fish market in Quarteira is known as one of the best in the Algarve. Make sure to arrive early, since most fish is already sold by midmorning.
Every Wednesday, there is a gypsy market on the edge of Quarteira. There are plenty of stalls, each selling something different. It is a perfect place to pick up some souvenirs, like handbags or holiday clothes. Prices are already quite cheap, but on this market you can actually negotiate the prices. If you are looking for the best bargains, the best thing to do is to arrive as early as possible. You can park on the side of the road, since the nearby carpark is usually quite full.
Next to Quarteira you can find the luxury resort area of Vilamoura. This area is centered around an exclusive marina, where you can see expensive yachts. Vilamoura attracts tourists from all over Europe, mostly from the middle and upper class. In Vilamoura you can eat in one of several superb restaurants, enjoy different water sports or go to the casino. Also make sure to visit the Roman ruins of Cerro da Vila. These ruins still have some well preserved mosaics, which are quite beautiful.
Vale do Lobo
Vale do Lobo is a first-class holiday destination, popular among tourists of the upper-class. In Vale do Lobo you can find some of the most stunning and expensive villas of the Algarve. The beach of Vale do Lobo is backed by magnificent red rock formations. The walking distance from Praia de Quarteira to Vale do Lobo beach is only 5 kilometres. The main entrance of the beach of Vale do Lobo is a beautiful square with a fountain. Around it you find exquisite restaurants and beach bars for the perfect view, music and dining experience.
Are you a fan of playing golf? There are many good golf courses near Quarteira. The best golf courses of the Algarve can all be found in the area of Quarteira, Vilamoura, Vale do Lobo and Quinta do Lago. Here you will find the most renowned, challenging and varied golf courses. Try for example one of the oldest courses in the Algarve: the Oceânico Old Course in Vilamoura. Or try the Vale do Lobo Ocean course, which allows you to step from the golf course right onto the beach. If you wish to learn golf, you can take classes from Golf Integrated Academy, Lesters Golf or the Vila Sol Golf Academy.
In Quarteira you can also find the water park Aquashow. This is the largest water park of the Algarve. The park is only open during the summer. Young and old come here to enjoy a nice day out. If you like adrenaline and water, this park is definitely worth a visit. The only downside is the high entrance fee. Entrance costs € 29.
If you stay in the area of Quarteira, you have many hotel options. Below you can find our favourite hotels in the area.
- Hotel Quarteirasol. This four star hotel has everything you need for a great holiday in Quarteira. There is a lovely garden and an outdoor swimming pool. Moreover, there is a gym on-site. Located 50 metres from the beach.
- Dom Jose Beach Hotel. This hotel has a great location, right in front of the beach. Rooms are very comfortable and some rooms have a beautiful sea view. The hotel has a nice outdoor swimming pool and you can enjoy a barbecue lunch on the hotel terrace. During high season, there is a private area of Quarteira beach just for hotel guests.
- Hostel Conii & Suites Algarve. This hostel offers private rooms as well as beds in a mixed dormitory room. The staff makes you feel very welcome. The hostel has a great terrace, providing views over the town. Good value for money.
After the busy summer season of last year, we recommend to book your hotel now, as it will probably sell out. Below you can find a map with the location of hotels in Quarteira. By changing the date of your holiday, the map will show you the current prices.
Marchas dos Santos Populares
Every year in June, there is a party in Quarteira in honour of the popular saints: Saint Anthony, Saint John and Saint Peter. Literally, Marchas dos Santos Populares means Marches of the Popular Saints. You will see colourful customes parading through the streets. There is music and entertainment. This is one of the most typical cultural events in Quarteira. It is a lot of fun. Moreover, entrance is free.
The area around Quarteira and Vilamoura is really beautiful. However, there is so much more to see in the area. For example, what about seeing the coastline of the Algarve by boat? Or you could go dolphin watching on a boat. Some of these excursions you can already book online. Below you can find our favourite excursions in the area of Quarteira.
Quarteira – general information
Quarteira is a small town with a population of about 22.000 people. It is located in central Algarve, in between the cities of Faro and Albufeira. The distance from Faro Airport is about 22 kilometres. This former fishing village became one of the first tourist destinations in the Algarve. Quarteira is popular for its golden beaches and its beautiful boulevard. Nowadays, tourism and golf are very important for the local economy of Quarteira.