Vale do Lobo Guide: Golf, Bars, Restaurants & Other Great Things to Do

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Written by: | Last updated on December 21, 2023 | Est. Reading Time: 8 minutes

Located in the heart of the sun-kissed Algarve region, around 25 minutes’ drive from Faro, Vale do Lobo is one of Portugal’s most prestigious and luxurious resort towns, boasting a rich legacy that spans over 50 years. A part of the “Golden Triangle” that comprises of Vale do Lobo and Quinta do Lago, Vilamoura, and Almancil, this expansive coastal community stretches across 450 hectares and is adorned with verdant pine forests, exquisite residences, world-class facilities, and two of the most scenic golf courses in Southern Europe.

Bordered by the Atlantic’s golden shores, the pristine beaches of Vale do Lobo are a haven for sun-seekers. The amber cliffs that line the coast provide a dramatic backdrop to the sapphire waves, making every sunset a picturesque moment. Beyond its natural beauty, Vale do Lobo has cultivated a reputation as a centre for luxury, with its elegant villas, upscale restaurants, vibrant nightlife, and an array of leisure amenities, from tennis to spa retreats. Over the years a number of celebrities have stayed here including David Beckham, Hugh Grant, Cristiano Ronaldo, and José Mourinho.

Yet, amidst its opulence, Vale do Lobo has retained a sense of community. Regular cultural events, festivals, and children’s activities mean it’s not just a resort, but a thriving, dynamic locale where both visitors and residents can immerse themselves in the finer aspects of Algarvian life. Home to two 18-hole championship golf courses, Ocean and the incredibly famous Royal Golf Course, this is a golfer’s paradise – so much so that it even hosted the Portuguese Open, a part of the PGA European Tour, in 2002 and 2003. Of course, there’s more to Vale do Lobo than just golf. Other facilities include a tennis academy, boutique shops, spa and wellness centre, art gallery, bars, and Praia de Vale do Lobo (Vale do Lobo Beach). Whether you’re a golf enthusiast, a luxury traveller, or a family in search of the perfect holiday retreat, Vale do Lobo promises a blend of relaxation, recreation, and Portuguese charm.

next tee signpost vale do lobo

Useful Resources for Your Trip to Vale do Lobo

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

  • Accommodation: Booking.com and Airbnb are the two most comprehensive websites for finding hotels, hostels, apartments, and other types of accommodation in Vale do Lobo. 
  • 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 Vale do Lobo. 
  • 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 Vale do Lobo is Faro Airport. 

Handpicked accommodation in Vale de Lobo

  • Vale do Lobo Resort – Choose from a range of accommodation options at Vale do Lobo resort including apartments, villas, and studios.
  • Dunas Douradas Beach Club – Featuring a number of outdoor swimming pools, sauna, and hot tub, this hotel is ideal for those planning a relaxing trip to the Algarve.
  • Dona Filipa Hotel – Located just 200 m from Vale do Lobo Beach, this hotel offers a range of facilities to guests including spa and massage services, tennis courts, and an outdoor swimming pool with views of the Atlantic Ocean.

Want more options? Check out the handpicked list of the best hotels in Vale do Lobo (as well as a few apartments and other accommodation options as well). 

Golf Courses Vale de Lobo

Vale do Lobo is home to two golf courses: Ocean and Royal.

Royal

Renowned as one of the Algarve’s crown jewels of golf, the Royal Golf Course in Vale do Lobo offers players an exhilarating experience amidst a captivating landscape. Designed by the legendary golf architect Rocky Roquemore and based on the drawings of Sir Henry Cotton , the course is set against the dramatic backdrop of the Atlantic Ocean, with its iconic 16th hole being one of the most photographed in European golf – requiring a challenging cliff-top carry over the ravines to reach the green. Beyond its breathtaking vistas, the meticulously manicured fairways and challenging greens make the Royal Golf Course a must-visit for avid golfers and those looking to experience the pinnacle of golfing luxury in Portugal.

Ocean

A testament to the allure of Algarve golf, the Ocean Golf Course in Vale do Lobo is a mesmerising blend of rolling fairways and serene sea views. Designed by Sir Henry Cotton, the course artfully incorporates the natural undulations of the terrain and the shimmering beauty of the Algarvian coastline. Its fairways meander through umbrella pines, fig trees, and the verdant beauty of lakeside landscapes, offering players a balanced blend of challenging play and scenic relaxation. With its blend of natural beauty and thoughtful design, the Ocean Golf Course remains a favourite destination for golf enthusiasts seeking a touch of coastal splendour with their game.

Although Ocean hasn’t had the same amount of photo publicity that Royal has had, it’s still a very prestigious golf course and one of the most popular places to play a round on the Algarve. 

Other facilities at Vale do Lobo

As well as the two 18-hole golf courses, other facilities at Vale do Lobo include: 

  • Beach – Two kilometres of white, golden sands with beautiful red, sandy cliffs as the backdrop.
  • Swimming Pools – A selection of adult and children’s pools with facilities and amenities that include lockers, changing facilities, and a poolside bar.
  • Spa – The Royal Spa at Vale do Lobo offers a wide range of facial and hydro treatments as well as massage and holistic therapies.
  • Restaurants – With more than 10 different restaurants offering everything from Portuguese to Japanese food, there’s always a new restaurant to try out.
  • Bars – A wide selection of bars, from traditional pubs to cocktail bars, means there’s something for everybody.
  • Boutique shops – Vale do Lobo is home to a wide range of boutique and brand name stores: the perfect place to a little holiday retail therapy.
  • Tennis Academy – Vale do Lobo is one of the largest tennis facilities in Portugal with 10 hard courts, 4 synthetic grass courts, a mini-tennis court, and a paddle tennis court.
  • Art Gallery – A diverse range of artwork and sculptures for Portuguese and international artists.

Getting to Vale do Lobo

There are several ways to get to and from Vale do Lobo, particularly from Faro Airport. 

  • Flying: The nearest airport is Faro Airport, which is just 30 minutes by car, and which offers flights from many other European countries including the UK, Germany, Ireland, and Germany. 
  • Driving: Renting a car is recommended. Although you will have everything that you need on the Vale do Lobo resort, including restaurants, a beach, bars, and more, you will need some form of transportation if you want to take day trips to any of the nearby towns or beaches. Taxis are one option, but renting a car will give you a lot more flexibility. You can either rent a car at Faro Airport or, if you only plan to use the car for a day or two, it’s also possible to rent cars from suppliers based in Vale do Lobo.
  • Airport Transfers: Several Airport transfer companies, including Welcome Pickups, operate at Faro Airport and offer transfers to Vale do Lobo with a journey time of around 20-30 minutes.
  • Taxis (and Ubers): Taxis and Ubers are available from outside of Faro Airport. These are typically more expensive than a pre-booked airport transfer but may be more convenient for those that don’t want to book anything in advance. Restaurants and hotels in Vale do Lobo will happily phone you a taxi if you need one. Otherwise Uber is available in Vale do Lobo and is usually more affordable than local taxis.
  • Bus: There is very little public transport to and from Vale do Lobo with the exception of the Vamus Bus service that connects Loulé with Almancil, Vale do Lobo, and Quinta do Lago. There is a Vale do Lobo resort shuttle bus service that takes guests to 11 stops around the whole of the resort including a stop at the beach. The bus is available to Vale do Lobo Card holders (Resort Members, Family, Guest and Welcome card holders).

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