With a big, long sandy beach and the 2 km long palm tree-lined promenade that runs behind it, Quarteira is a popular resort town in the Central Algarve.
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.
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.
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
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.
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 to (and around) Quarteira
Renting a car
If you’re mainly coming to Quarteira for the beach, you mightn’t need to rent a car for your trip. The town is easily walkable and you can even walk to Vilamoura from Quarteira. There are also always taxis (and Ubers) nearby, and you can get to places like Faro and Loulé by public transport.
If you’re planning on exploring some the area, though, hiring a car at Faro Airport is definitely a good idea. While it is possible to get around the Algarve without a car, bus services from Quarteira only go to a few towns on the Algarve. To get to everywhere else, you will need to change buses at Faro.
- Read the guide to Car Hire at Faro Airport.
Quarteira without a car
Getting to (and from Faro Airport)
There isn’t a direct bus between Faro Airport and Quarteira: you’ll need to take the airport bus (#16) into Faro first and then take a connecting bus to Quarteira.
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.
- Eva Bus provides services to other towns on the Algarve including Faro, Loulé, Almancil, and Vilamoura. If you need to go anywhere else, you’ll just need to change at Faro.
- Rede Expressos provides long distance services to other towns and cities in Portugal including Lisbon and Porto.
- Taxis and Ubers are usually fairly affordable and ideal for short distance journeys to places like Vilamoura or nearby attractions like Aquashow.
Taxis (and Ubers)
Taxis are also easily available in Quarteira, either from the taxi ranks in the town centre of by calling the local taxi co-operative, ROTÁXI, on (00351) 289 895 799.
Ubers are also available or, if you’d prefer to order a licenced taxi by app, there is also MyTaxi.