Almancil, Vale do Lobo and Quinta do Lago form the Golden Triangle, so named due to the triangular region formed by the three localities, which combines unique climatic conditions and stunning natural beauty.
Almancil, with its green spaces and cultural history, offers visitors a more picturesque Algarve, embedded in a traditional Portugal location. At a mere 10 minute-drive from the beach, Almancil manages to provide the idyllic beach holidays and at the same time the rest of rural and country landscapes.
Quinta do Lago, a quiet and secluded resort often chosen by many celebrities for their vacations, is world-renowned for its fantastic golf courses which are built close to the beach or lagoons, allowing golfers to enjoy the sea between blows and breathe the marvellous morning sea breeze. Quinta do Lago is also visited by several tourists who wish to stroll around the Ria Formosa Natural Reserve and by those who wish to do birdwatching.
Vale do Lobo is the largest luxury golf and beach resort in the Algarve and one of the most prestigious in Europe. With golf courses built on top of cliffs, on the edge of the beach, magnificent villas and beaches with warm and transparent waters, Vale do Lobo is a pearl amongst the Algarve paradise.
Where to stay?
Almancil – Almancil offers several types of accommodation, from simple rooms that can be found through Airbnb, to villas or 5 star hotels at modest prices, especially when compared to those practiced in the areas of Vale do Lobo or Quinta do Lago. The proximity of Almancil to the beach and the countryside offers those who stay in this area the best of both worlds. Almancil is also ideal for those looking to enjoy a quiet and discrete holiday, but at the same time within close distance to the main poles of interest in the Algarve.
Quinta do Lago – Quinta do Lago is home to the most beautiful villas in the Algarve. These large houses with lovely gardens and almost all, without exception, with swimming pools, flourished in the Quinta do Lago area. Many of Quinta do Lago’s rooms have views facing the sea or the green golf courses.
Vale do Lobo – This tourist resort has several hotels, apartments and villas. The higher prices reflect an unbridled demand for the excellent quality of accommodation in Vale do Lobo, which due to their geographical location are ideal for those looking to spend a relaxed summer vacation.
What are the beaches like in the Golden Triangle area?
Praia do Ancão – This beautiful beach, which actually consists of an extension of Praia de Faro, is the most sought after and visited beach in the area of the Golden Triangle. The vast amount of sand is much coveted by families as there is plenty of space for children to play football or beach rackets or volleyball without anyone being bothered.
Praia do Garrão – With a calm sea and white sand, Praia do Garrão offers wonderful days of pure relaxation while listening to the sound of the waves.
Praia das Dunas Douradas – Named for its golden sand, this charming beach makes us believe that we are in some Greek lost island watching the sunset and enjoying the beauty of nature.
Praia da Quinta do Lago – Located just in front of Quinta do Lago, this is a more discrete and secluded beach, offering the chance to spend a relaxing day by the sea, far from the crowds of other beaches in the Algarve.
Praia de Vale do Lobo – Like Praia da Quinta do Lago, this is also one of the most discrete beaches in the Algarve, which managed to be kept away from the hordes of tourists that visit the region every year. The water of the sea acquires a warm blue colour inviting visitors for long and calm swims in it.
Which beaches in the Golden Triangle area have a Blue Flag?
All beaches in the Golden Triangle area have a Blue Flag and lifeguards.
Blue Flag means that the beach has been assessed based on environmental standards, water quality and beach cleanliness, and also on important facilities including toilets and lifeguards.
In the Algarve, lifeguards usually work from July 1st to September 30.
What is there to do in the Golden Triangle?
The area of the Golden Triangle offers many of the activities that make the Algarve an idyllic holiday destination such as surfing, bodyboarding, sailing, kayaking and tennis. You can also spend the day on one of the beaches of the Golden Triangle.
Golf – The Algarve is known as one of the best places to practice golf, with its more than 300 days of sunshine a year, pleasant temperatures, and breath–taking scenery. Within the Algarve region itself, some of the best courses lie within the Golden Triangle. If you are a fan of this sport or are just considering experiencing it, we highly recommend spending a morning enjoying the pleasure of playing golf on one of the magnificent courses that the area has to offer.
In this area you can find some Championship courses like Pinheiros Altos, with 27 holes that may provides a thrilling challenge with many degrees of difficulty.
In Quinta do Lago, San Lorenzo Golf Course is considered one of the best courses in Portugal and in Europe.
Buggy Safari – Who ever wanted to drive a buggy down off-beaten paths? In the Golden Triangle you will have the opportunity to drive a buggy along the paths of the Ria Formosa Natural Reserve, where several species of birds migrate every year because of the hot weather.
Boat trips – Enjoy a boat trip on the Algarve coast to explore the underground caves and secluded beaches (some of which are only accessible by boat) from the surrounding area.
Boat trip to see dolphins – Boat trips to see dolphins are among the most popular attraction in the Golden Triangle area. This activity for the whole family will leave you with a smile in your face, after seeing these restless and pesky animals jumping in the Atlantic Ocean. A large choice of boat trips is available at Vilamoura.
Church of São Lourenço de Almancil – Check out this beautiful church in Almancil with its tile-decorated interior. This church was first built by Arabs and its main attraction is the altar decorated in gold.
Karting in Almancil – Almancil, one of the locations that make up the Golden Triangle, is known for having the oldest karting track in the Algarve. This epic track has provided many moments of happiness to groups of friends who choose to test their nerves and reflexes behind the wheel of these karts
What is the best time of the year to visit the Golden Triangle?
Summer – Summer is undoubtedly one of the best times to spend a holiday in the Golden Triangle. The temperatures warm up and the sun shines with an intensity that fills the whole area with contagious joy. It is also during this time that most tourists visit the Golden Triangle, giving encouragement to shops, restaurants, cafes and bars to stay open late
Winter – Spending a holiday in the Golden Triangle area is certainly a great way to escape the glacial cold that is felt throughout central and northern Europe. Temperatures are around 11/12ºC, and the absence of other tourists makes the Algarve region quiet and ready to be enjoyed in an intimate way, impossible to achieve during the summer months. Take a stroll along the seafront or go watch the sunset on an esplanade accompanied by a cold beer.
Spring/Autumn – Spring and autumn are good times to visit the Golden Triangle, as temperatures approach those of summer, but at the same time keeping distance to the scorching heat of the August peak. Because tourism has not yet reached its peak yet, you will be able to enjoy the best the Algarve has to offer away from crowds
What is the weather like in the Golden Triangle area?
The Golden Triangle area has a warm and temperate climate.
The average annual temperature is 17.0ºC. The hottest month of the year is August with an average temperature of 23.3ºC and the coldest month is January with an average temperature of 11.6ºC.
July is the driest month of the year with the amount of precipitation being close to 1 mm and January is the month with the most amount of rain with an average of 89 mm of precipitation.
The following graph shows the monthly average temperatures and the monthly rainfall average for 2017:
What are the best places to eat in the Golden Triangle?
2 Steps – Situated in the dunes of Praia do Ancão, this beautiful wooden establishment with a superb view of the ocean will enchant you with the delicious dishes that the Algarve has to offer.
Figueiral – With a fresh and innovative atmosphere, this restaurant has a very attentive and professional staff and divine food. Living up to its name, Figueiral never disappoints, allowing its visitors to constantly try new Mediterranean flavours.
Arco 31 Ristorante Italiano Pizzeria – With the best Italian cuisine in the Algarve, this delicious restaurant is already a landmark among the best restaurants in the Golden Triangle. With a picturesque and charming atmosphere, this restaurant will transport you to Italy.
Gourmet Natural Restaurant – The kind of indoor patio where you eat is lovely and the food superb. Please note that it is difficult to get a table, so be prepared to call in advance to make a reservation.
What are the best places to go out at night in the Golden Triangle area?
Families – The Vale do Lobo area is best suited for those who are looking for a family outing. Several ice-cream parlours and cafes with live music offer a quiet and relaxed night perfect for the whole family.
Couples – Couples looking for a romantic evening should head to The Vale do Lobo Beach Bar or the Julia’s Restaurant, Beach Bar & Lounge where starry nights and the sound of the shores will create the perfect setting for a night out next to your romantic partner.
Groups of friends – The Golden Triangle zone has several clubs and bars, ideal for a night spent with friends. We recommend sites like the T Clube, responsible for livening up the nights during the summer, the Melting Pot or the St. James Club.
How far is the Golden Triangle from…?
Faro’s Airport – 15 km (aproxx. 20 min drive)
Albufeira – 30 km (aproxx. 30 min drive)
Lagos – 80 km (aproxx. 1hr drive)
Portimão – 60 km (aproxx. 50 min drive)
Sagres – 105 km (aproxx. 1hr10 drive)
Tavira – 45 km (aproxx. 30 min drive)
Lisbon – 270 km (aproxx. 2hr30 drive)
Seville – 200 km (aproxx. 2hr10 drive)
Spanish Border – 70 km (aproxx. 45 min drive)
All distances have been rounded up and are calculated from the centre of the Golden Triangle.
Where are the bus and train stations?
Golden Triangle’s closest train station is located in Almancil at Rua de Vale Formoso, nº23.
The Golden Triangle area doesn’t have a bus station, with the closest bus stations being located in Faro or Albufeira.
How much does a taxi from Faro Airport cost?
The price of a 4-person uber from Faro’s Airport to the area of the Golden Triangle is usually around 15€. A taxi that covers the same distance for the same number of people is more expensive and costs 25/30€ each way (50/60€ return).
If it is a private taxi or a van the price will tend to be higher, however, depending on the number of people it carries it might end up being cheaper per person.
Please note that if the trip takes place during the night, the price will be higher because a special night rate is charged
For further information you might also enjoy our article:
Seven Wonders: Plan your visit to Ria Formosa Natural Park