Quinta do Lago-featured
Quinta do Lago is one of Europe's finest resort towns, located just 25 minutes from the Faro Airport. It was built around a lake between the 1970s and 1990s. Its mission was to be a luxury resort with opulent villas owned by the rich and famous, some of Portugal’s best hotels, and the continent’s largest golf area (with three world-class 18-hole courses).

Quinta do Lago is part of the so-called “golden triangle,” the trio of luxury resort towns to the west of Faro (the others are Vale do Lobo and Vilamoura) and one of the most expensive areas in the country. Although the most popular activity is golf, it’s also possible to play tennis, enjoy water sports, and walk around part of the Ria Formosa Natural Park. And if you follow a trail called São Lourenço, which takes you past salt marshes and lagoons, it offers you the opportunity to spot different bird species.

In this resort town, in addition to the 5-star accommodations, there are sophisticated restaurants and an upscale shopping mall, the Quinta Shopping.

Its pine-covered beachfront and sandy beach are public but feel exclusive and are a favorite retreat of international celebrities and heads of state.

Beaches by Quinta do Lago

Its beach is quite long, stretching for about 3.5 kilometers (over 2 miles). It’s right to the west of Praia da Ilha de Faro, which is the most popular beach in the Algarve’s capital but is very quiet and never crowded. It’s backed by dunes and accessed via a wooden 300m-long footbridge that crosses the Ria Formosa. The sunset view from the bridge is particularly beautiful. The sand is white and soft, and the water is usually relatively calm. There are lifeguards on duty in the summer.

Praia da Ilha de Faro
Praia da Ilha de Faro

This is a very clean beach, as certified by the Blue Flag. Most people who come here are tourists staying at the hotels nearby. There are parasols and loungers for rent, but if you prefer social distance, just keep walking to the right or left for a few minutes, and you’ll be all by yourself.

More active visitors can choose water sports instead. The Artur Watersports Academy rents jet skis, banana boats, kayaks, and paddles for stand-up paddleboarding. Hikers can also follow the São Lourenço trail which starts by the parking lot by the access to the beach. To go and return, you’ll need to walk for 3.4 kilometers (2.1 miles), taking about one hour and 30 minutes. It’s quite an easy walk, just don’t forget to take water and sunscreen.

For meals, there’s a very famous restaurant right on the beach. It’s called Gigi’s, is known for its seafood, and was one of the first in Quinta do Lago. After decades in business, many people now refer to the beach as Praia do Gigi.

Praia do Gigi
Praia do Gigi

For a luxury resort atmosphere similar to Quinta do Lago, head to Vale do Lobo instead, less than 15 minutes away. Alternatively, drive for 20 minutes to Vilamoura, the other upscale resort of the “golden triangle,” but with a much more crowded beach and slightly less exclusive.

Vale do Lobo
Vale do Lobo

Golf Courses in Quinta do Lago

Quinta do Lago is among the favorite destinations of the world’s golfing elite. The place was awarded a title like ‘Europe’s best golf destination’ and ranked its golf courses among Europe’s top 100. Its courses:

  • South Course

Singled out as Portugal’s best golf course at the World Golf Awards, it was designed with 18 holes in 1974 and renovated in 2021. It’s set among 6.5 kilometers of pine trees and lakes and overlooks the Ria Formosa Natural Park. Although it hosted the Portuguese Open several times, it’s for golfers of all levels, not just pros.

  • North Course

Redesigned in 2014, it’s 6.1 kilometers long and surrounded by pine trees and undulating greens. It has 18 holes and is also for players of all levels.

  • Laranjal Course

Two years after it opened in 2009, it was voted Portugal’s best golf course. Originally an orange grove, it’s now covered in orange, oak and pine trees, and there are five beautiful lakes. It’s 6.5 kilometers long, has 18 holes, and is quite challenging, so for more advanced players.

How to get to Quinta do Lago

There’s no public transportation to Quinta do Lago. Most people staying at its hotels use private shuttle transfers to get there from Faro Airport.

If you’re driving from Faro or any other town nearby, take road N125 and exit towards Almancil. You just need to follow the signs to Quinta do Lago from there.

If you’re just going for a day at the beach, you’ll find parking by the footbridge.

Hotels in Quinta do Lago