Quarteira is a city that grew by the sea and has a 2km seafront for visitors to explore.
The first mention of Quarteira goes back to the Roman Empire and for many centuries it was just a small fisherman’s village.
In the second half of the 20th century Quarteira started to grow and take advantage of its huge beach with a growing number of tourists coming to visit, as well many people buying holiday homes in the area. This growth continued and in 1999 Quarteira became recognized as a city.
Where to stay in Quarteira
There is a lot to love about Quarteira. The town is situated between Faro and Albufeira and is the neighbour of Vilamoura meaning there are many facilities and places to visit nearby.
Quarteira has grown considerably in the last few decades, and the fishing village has given way to a tourist resort with many hotels, aparthotels and private houses or apartments.
The Avenue Sá Carneiro, a multi-lane road which passes through the city, separates the old and raised part of the centre from the tourist properties along the seafront. In the vicinity there is also a shopping area.
On the west side of Quarteira, between Quarteira and Vilamoura there are some new resorts where you can enjoy the ocean or alternatively try to improve your golf handicap at one of the courses.
At the East end there are some quieter areas and villas near Almargem Beach and Cavalo Preto Beach. Here you are little further from the centre so its ideal for someone simply looking to relax and enjoy the sun and sea.
Quarteira has became a resort town with many hotel complexes to choose from such as Hotel Dom José, Hotel Atismar or Zodiaco all near the beach and just a couple of Kilometers’ from the fantastic Vilamoura Golf Courses or Aquashow Water Park.
Beaches in Quarteira
Quarteira’s beaches are some of the most popular in the Algarve and are loved by both Portuguese and international tourists; many of whom return year after year!
Quarteira beach extends from Vale de Lobo along the Quarteira town section of the beach where there is a pleasant beachfront promenade which makes the beach easily accessible to everyone.
To the west of the fishing harbour you can find another the sandy beach, Praia de Vilamoura, which leads to Vilamoura’s famous marina.
Praia de Trafal
Trafal Beach, also known as Praia do Cavalo Preto, has a long beach which starts by the Carcavai river. The cliffs here hide some history including a grave dating from the time of the Romans.
The dunes are bordered by two very distinct scenarios: the Northwest, through the swampy terrain of the fields and the Northeast, by the Royal Golf Course that serves the luxury resort of Vale do Lobo.
Praia de Loulé Velho
The beach of Loulé Velho is surrounded by an extensive pine forest. When the sea leads to the sand, it exposes ancient Roman fish salting tanks and soils from an ancient estuarine-lagoon system, traces of a time when the sea level was lower. Here there are also ruins of a Carthaginian fishing village, which are submerged. The beach also has a nice bar / restaurant.
Praia do Almargem
On this beach the red cliffs characteristic of the Algarve coast accommodate the final area of the Almargem river, which sometimes allows the water to flow to the sea. It creates some quiet waters which are visited by many birds. It is possible to be on the beach and also enjoy watching birds such as herons and flamingos fishing and bathing in the waters.
Praia do Forte Novo
Praia do Forte Novo has a large beach, bounded to the west by a pontoon that marks the urban front of the city of Quarteira. The low-rise cliffs have an orange hue and at its top is a green pine forest creating a beautiful scenery.
During low tide, it is possible to see the ruins of the former Fort New, erected under the seal of Dom João II.
The beach is guarded and has areas for sunbeds and umbrellas.
Where to eat & drink in Quarteira
In Quarteira there are many great places where you can eat & drink. Here you can find an English breakfast and others touristic meals, or you can find some of Portuguese dishes popular with the locals.
On Quarteira’s backstreets you can find small characteristic restaurants that offer great fresh fish and seafood just caught from the sea and cooked very simply but where you can almost taste the sea flavours.
In Quarteira you can find as well a lot of tapas & snack bars right near to high quality restaurants such as Rosa Branca where you can also enjoy some Algarvian Wine.
Markets, Fairs & Festivals
Quarteira is quiet during the winter season, but during the festive season there is a New Year’s Eve party near the beach with fireworks and live music concerts.
At the end of May there is the Fisherman`s Festival where some local restaurants get together and do amazing fish dishes. While this is not a contest, there are a few restaurants and places with some fame now. Here at this festival they honour the Fisherman and to revive fishing traditions Quarteira visitors can indulge in typical seafood dishes prepared by the local fishermen’s families at their eateries.
In the evening people can listen to live music and performances, with popular singers like Quim Barreiros and fado.
Every year in June, there is Marchas dos Santos Populares (March of the Popular Saints) parade that is one of the most typical and cultural events of the city of Quarteira. You’re sure to enjoy the costumes, songs and dance choreographies of the participating groups.
The Carnival in February is also a big attraction each year, and always attracts lots people along the avenue to see this fun parade.
Every Wednesday Quarteira has one of the largest markets in the Algarve with many fruits, vegetables and other food. In the past, this market was mainly aimed at local farmers, however over time it has extended to sell many other products.
Attractions & Activities in Quarteira
There is plenty to do and see in the Quarteira area.
You can travel between Quarteira and Vilamoura on a relaxing Segway tour, allowing you to take in the expansive beaches or local culture as you cruise along the promenade.
Just a few kilometers from Quarteira, you can find one of the best water parks in the Algarve, Aquashow, that has something for every member of the family to enjoy. This park has a dedicated part for young children with small slides, and also one of the highest slides in Europe for older visitors.There is also the spectacular rollercoaster which is a must for anyone who enjoys some adrenaline!
Also for adrenaline lovers, in Almancil, just 7 or 8 kilometers from Quarteira, you find Almancil Go Karting, where with the family or a group of friends you can have a day of fun. Here children can take a part in the fun going on a Junior Kart or for something different they’re sure to love the trampolines, mini boats and radio controlled cars. Alternatively if you want to try the dirt roads and tracks of the Algarve countryside you can go on a buggy safari for an off-road adventure experience.
To go on a spectacular boat trip to see the caves or dolphins just head to the luxurious Vilamoura Marina, just a couple of kilometers from Quarteira and get on the boat to experience this amazing trip for a full day with beach BBQ, or just for a few hours to cruise along the coast.
How far is Quarteira from…?
Faro Airport – 30 km (approx. 30-minute drive)
Vilamoura – 4 km (approx. 5-minute drive)
Zoomarine – 30 km (approx. 30-minute drive)
Aquashow Water Park – 5 km (approx. 6-minute drive)
Mar Shopping Algarve, Almancil – 16 km (approx. 20-minute drive)
Spanish Border – 75 km (approx. 1-hour drive)
Sagres – 108 km (approx. 1hr 20 drive)
Lisbon – 275 km (approx. 2hr 45 drive)
Seville – 211 km (approx. 2hr 15 drive)
Where is the bus station and train station in Quarteira?
The nearest train station is not located in Quarteira, but is only 10 Kilometers away near Loulé. By taxi, traffic allowing, it normally takes about 15mins and cost about €5-€10 depending on where you’re staying.
The Bus Station in Quarteira is located on the main Avenida Francisco Sá Carneiro which passes through the town so it is very easy to find.
How much is a taxi from Faro Airport to Quarteira?
From Quarteira to the airport is approximately 30km and 30 minutes away.
As a guide for the price if you take a taxi from the rank outside the airport its about €40 each-way (€80 return), or by pre-booked private transfer about €25-30 each-way (€60 return) so it’s well worth booking in advance if possible.
Some taxis charge extra (€2-€5) if you take the toll road which is a little quicker. Larger vehicles, such as 8-seater mini-buses also cost a little extra however it does work out significantly cheaper than 2 normal (4-seater) taxis.
If you are on a budget there are shuttle buses available or you can use the train, but note that you need to go to Loulé and then get a taxi to your accommodation in Quarteira so it may not prove cost effective.