Quarteira Guide: The Best Things to See & Do

Nestled on the sun-soaked southern coast of Portugal, Quarteira offers a blend of Algarve’s golden beaches and rich cultural experiences, making it a favourite among both tourists and locals. With its roots dating back to Roman times, this former fishing village has evolved into a bustling seaside resort without losing its authentic charm. While modern apartments and hotels line the seafront promenade, fishermen can still be seen mending their nets and returning with their daily catch, preserving the town’s rich maritime heritage.

Quarteira’s beach is undeniably its crown jewel: a long stretch of fine golden sand lapped by the azure waters of the Atlantic Ocean. The palm-lined promenade behind the beach, Avenida Infante de Sagres, buzzes with life as people stroll, jog, and revel in the beauty of the ocean views, often pausing to enjoy a meal or drink at one of the numerous restaurants and cafés dotting the avenue. Additionally, every Wednesday, the town comes alive with one of the Algarve’s most vibrant gypsy markets, where everything from handcrafted goods to fresh produce can be procured.

Venture slightly inland, and Quarteira reveals its more traditional side. Narrow streets, adorned with azulejo-tiled buildings, showcase the town’s history, while a variety of bars and eateries offer a taste of the local gastronomy. As a neighbour to the more renowned Vilamoura, Quarteira benefits from its proximity to world-class golf courses and marinas but manages to maintain a more relaxed, genuine atmosphere, making it a delightful destination in the Algarve.

Quarteira promenade

Quarteira’s main selling points are it’s long beach (it’s actually made up of several beaches), calm waters, proximity to Faro Airport and nearby historical towns like Faro and Loulé, and easy access to attractions like Vilamoura’s golf courses and Aquashow Water Park.

Quarteira Beach

It doesn’t have the historical attractions that many of the other towns on the Algarve have, but those towns are all just a short drive away. And even though Quarteira may be characterised by the tall apartment blocks rather than any historical attractions, there is still a certain culture to Quarteira – probably why it’s one of the towns, along with Armação de Pêra, that attracts more Portuguese than international visitors.

Remnants of the former fishing village still exist: you’ll see the fisherman working from several of the piers around Quarteira and statues dedicated to them along the promenade. Of course, the excellent fish and seafood market and the many great seafood restaurants around the two are probably the biggest examples that you’ll find.

Fallen in love with the Algarve? Take a look at these properties in Quarteira

Useful Resources for Your Trip to Quarteira

Here’s our top tips and tricks for getting the best deals for your trip to Quarteira. 

  • Accommodation: Booking.com and Airbnb are the two most comprehensive websites for finding hotels, hostels, apartments, and other types of accommodation in Quarteira. 
  • Car Rental: Discover Cars and Rental Cars are the two most useful sites for booking local car rental. 
  • Airport transfers: There are taxis and Ubers at Faro Airport, but you can also pre-book an airport transfer with Welcome Pickups
  • Tours & Things to Do: Both Get Your Guide and Viator list lots of local tours and activities in Quarteira. 
  • Luggage Storage: Luggage Hero and Bounce are two great sites for finding places to store your luggage in Portugal. Be sure to read out article on luggage storage options in the Algarve for a full list of options. 
  • Public Transport: Cp.pt is the main website for trains in Portugal. For longer distance buses, see Rede Expressos. Flixbus.pt often has cheap tickets between cities in Portugal. 
  • Flights: Skyscanner and Google Flights are the two most useful websites for finding flights to Portugal. The nearest airport to Quarteira is Faro Airport. 

Handpicked accommodation in Quarteira

  • Dom Jose Beach Hotel (Hotel) – Situated directly on the beach in Quarteira, this hotel has an outdoor swimming pool that overlooks the beach as well as other facilities like an onsite restaurant, mini golf, and gym. 
  • Aquashow Park Hotel (Hotel) – A 4-star hotel situated next to the Aquashow Park water park (6.4 km from Quarteira) with facilities that include both indoor and outdoor pools, a hot tub, and a well-equipped fitness center.
  • VIVENDA L’OLIVIER (Bed & Breakfast) – Small B&B with contemporary-styled double bedrooms that’s located just outside of Quarteira and a 20-minute walk from the beach. 

Things to do in Quarteira

Beach

Beach in Quarteira

The beaches of Quarteira are often hailed as some of the finest in the Algarve, offering visitors an idyllic setting for relaxation and water-based activities. The town’s main beach, Praia de Quarteira, stretches seamlessly over a length of golden sand, offering ample space for sunbathers to bask under the Mediterranean sun. The calm and crystal-clear waters of the Atlantic make it perfect for families with children, as well as those looking to take a refreshing dip.

Lined by a well-maintained promenade, visitors can indulge in leisurely walks, pausing occasionally at the many beachfront cafés and kiosks to savour local delicacies. For those in pursuit of a more active beach day, a variety of water sports, from jet-skiing to paddleboarding, are readily available. With its blend of natural beauty and modern amenities, the beaches of Quarteira provide an essential experience for any visitor to the region.

Quarteira Gypsy Market

Dresses at Quarteira Gypsy Market

Quarteira “Gypsy Market” takes place every Wednesday for 8 am until 2 pm. Expect stalls selling cheap clothes, household goods, leather goods, and souvenirs as well as a few selling regional foods and cork-made products. 

It’s similar to a market in Asia, but a lot more expensive. In fact, a lot of the products can be bought in the Chinese shops on the Algarve for more or less the same price. 

Still, the size of the market is pretty impressive and you never know: you might just find something worth buying. The market is listed on Google Maps, and there are always taxis outside the market if you decide to go there by taxi. 

Aquashow

Slides at Aquashow Park

One of three waterparks on the Algarve (along with Slide & Slash and Aqualand), Aquashow is one of the most popular attractions in Quarteira. 

It features a number of hair-raising rides including the 32-metre high Freefall, Wild Snake, Speed Race, and The Twin Space Shuttle rollercoaster that reaches heart-pumping speeds of more than 70 km/h.

Tickets for Aquashow can be bought from a number of outlets including GetYourGuide.com

Getting Here

  • Flying: The nearest airport is Faro Airport, which is around 30 minutes by car. At the airport, you can either rent a car or hop in a taxi or Uber. There isn’t a direct bus between Faro Airport and Quarteira, so if you want to take public transport, you’ll need to take the airport bus (#16) into Faro first and then take a connecting bus to Quarteira.
  • Train: Because Quarteira doesn’t have a train station (the nearest one is Loulé station), the easiest way to get to and from other Algarve towns is by bus.
  • Bus: Local bus services are offered by Vamus. For longer distance coaches from Lisbon and other parts of Portugal, see Rede Expressos or Flixbus.pt 
  • Car: You won’t need a car in Quarteira but if you’re planning on exploring the surrounding area, renting a car at Faro Airport is definitely a good idea. 
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