The prestigious area between Faro and Albufeira is host to three world famous holiday and golf resorts: Quinta do Lago, Vale do Lobo and Vilamoura. These three resorts have cemented the Algarve’s reputation as one of the best golf destinations in the world. Since the 1980s the so called „ Golden Triangle“ of the Algarve west of Faro has established a legendary reputation in the Algarve as an exclusive golf and holiday destination. The properties in the three world-renowned golf and holiday resorts of Quinta do Lago, Vale do Lobo and Vilamoura on the Atlantic coast belong to the most sought-after second homes in Europe. Golfers from all over the world can enjoy 14 unique golf courses built and maintained to the highest international standards. The most important cities in the Golden Triangle are the municipality of Loulé in the interior, Almancil and Quarteira.
The hilly landscape of the Serra covers more than half of the area of the entire Algarve
The hilly landscape consists of two distinct geological formations of volcanic origin: shale up to 300-400 m and in the more elevated areas syenite, a kind of granite that is quarried near Monchique as Foiaíte.
The line of hills is divided into three different ridges:
- Serra de Espinhaço de Cão with a height of up to 300 m, located in the far west near the Costa Vicentina
- Serra de Monchique located in the western Algarve, the highest mountain range in Southern Portugal with the Fóia (902 m) and the Picota (774 m)
- Serra do Caldeirão (Serra do Mú) situated in the central and eastern Algarve with a height of up to 590 m.
The Golden Triangle: Almancil, Loulé and Quarteira
The village of Quarteira is situated directly on the Algarvian coast adjacent to Vilamoura. Its municipal market hall near the fishing port is said to be one of the best places in the entire Algarve to buy fresh fish and seafood.
Almancil in the backyard of Quinta do Lago and Vale do Lobo is home to many excellent restaurants and has a superb supermarket selling regional and international gastronomic specialties. Loulé, the centre of that municipality, is located a few miles inland, in the fertile so called Barrocal region between the coastal strip and the hilly Serra.
The capital of the Algarve, Faro, is situated to the east of this area – you can walk from Quinta do Lago along the sandbars of the lagoon of the Ria Formosa to Faro international airport.
Sports & Leisure
Sports and Leisure in the Golden Triangle
The area around Almancil and the neighboring Quarteira is an all year round paradise for golfers: Quinta do Lago, Vale d Lobo and Vilamoura have 13 fabulous courses between them. Some of them have been venues for international tournaments such as the Portuguese Open and the Portugal Masters.
The coast between Quinta do Lago and Vilamoura stretches alongside the backdrop of dunes, and, further to the west, spectacular red sandstone cliffs, heavily marked by erosion. Endless sandy beaches with award winning facilities entice visitors to swim, sunbathe or stroll, even outside of the summer season.
The famous marina at Vilamoura, the first and largest of its kind in the Algarve, is the ideal starting point for various water sport activities. You can hire a boat for a tour along the coast to Albufeira to explore the unusual rock formations and grottoes and to watch dolphins or go big game fishing.
The go-cart track situated on the western exit of Almancil was inaugurated in 1992, by Ayrton Senna, who had a holiday home in Quinta do Lago. The popular water park AquaShow between Almancil and Quarteira is the largest of its kind in the whole of Portugal.
The interior of the Golden Triangle: Loulé and the Serra de Caldeirão
Loulé is well known as the so called carnival capital of the Algarve. The picturesque historic old town is also the venue of several street parties during the summer months. The market hall is the signature landmark of the city; every Saturday farmers from the region and the Alentejo offer their produce, attracting locals as well as tourists.
The hills of the Serra de Caldeirão are situated to the north of Loulé. The area between Querença and nearby Tôr is famous for its abundance of water, because of the many springs originating here. Further to the west the picturesque village of Alte is said to be the most unspoilt and typical village in the Algarve, if not in the whole of Portugal