Vale do Lobo & Quinta do Lago
Many homebuyers look to the Central Algarve when starting their property search as they are more familiar with famous tourist locations such as Vilamoura and Albufeira and the international millionaire's coastal destinations of Quinta do Lago and Vale do Lobo.
There are many benefits to being in the Central Algarve area mainly due to its proximity to Faro International Airport (the only international airport currently serving the whole of the Algarve). As well as the Airport, the Central Algarve has easy access to good transportation links and is serviced by an array of buses, trains, taxis and the major road networks in the Algarve including the single carriageway EN125 lined with shops and businesses, the A22 Toll Motorway both running across the width of the Algarve from Lagos on the West to the Vila Real Sto Antonio on the East Coast next to Spain's SouthWest Coast, also the A2 (to Lisbon/Porto) and N275 backroads to Loule main town.
The main Council in the Central Algarve is Loule, which is one of the biggest and wealthiest Councils of the Algarve as it includes the luxury coastal resorts of Vale do Lobo and Quinta do Lago. There is a vast difference in the neighbourhoods within the Council of Loule, from inland farms, small villages with traditional Portuguese homes and lowrise apartment buildings and luxury sea view villas. Major towns within Loule include Quarteira, Loule, Boliqueime, Almancil, Vilamoura, Vale do Lobo and Quinta do Lago.
Both Vale do Lobo and Quinta do Lago are the most prestigious exclusive coastal towns in the Algarve, mainly holiday homes for the rich and famous, accessed via Almancil to the North and East and Quarteira to the West. Hence why this is known famously as the Golden Triangle with Vale do Logo and Quinta do Lago as the base of the triangle on the coast and Almancil inland making the top of the triangle.
Here in Vale do Lobo and Quinta do Lago you will find the most expensive, luxurious millionaire mansions owned by an array of international, successful, wealthy business owners, sports personalities and celebrities and similar. Many traditional villas are being knocked down to be replaced with stream lined super villas with the latest technology and high end amenities. The palm tree lined well maintained roads and prestigiously presented roundabouts let you know you have arrived in the little California of the Algarve and the land of the Range Rover, Porsche and Ferrari.
The whole area is serviced by 24 hour surveillance with K9 and mobile security vehicles, for which the homeowner pays a premium. Also there is an annual service charge to maintain the upkeep of the very well kept neighbourhood. Properties are also assigned numbers mapped to their GPS locations for quick response time from the emergency services and a deterrent to criminals.
We have managed properties in this area for over 10 years providing a weekly garden maintenance, pool cleaning and maid and laundry service, paying all bills and undertaking maintenance and handyman jobs. When you have finally bought your dream home, we will be your personal Property Manager so you can rest assured we are on hand to take care of it when you are not here.
Most properties in this area have private driveways, pools, garages and are fully walled gardens. However as land is premium in this area, whilst properties are detached they tend to be quite close together so total privacy is a luxury that few villas have from the first floor of overlooking adjacent properties. It is not a normal everyday living neighbourhood, there are no public schools, hospitals, petrol stations, churches or 24 hour high street stores on your doorstep. The location is quite flat so unless you have a frontline property with sea views, the majority of properties will have a view of their own pool and garden.
For properties with larger gardens with more private space next to fields, farms with distance sea views, head to the hills of Loule and Boliqueime with more typical Portuguese communities, shops and public services.
The entrance to Quinta do Lago beach is quite extraordinary
The beaches are stunning including Vale do Labo beach and Quinta do Lago beach. The entrance to Quinta do Lago beach is quite extraordinary accessed across a long wooden pathway over a nature reserve Ria Formosa. Vale do Labo beach is lined with an array of restaurants including Sandbanks and Spikes. In high season the beaches offer lifeguards, sun loungers to rent and beach concessions with jet skis and most tourist beaches have restaurants with toilets and showers and paid car parks.
Just a short distance from Quinta do Lago Beach is a beautiful salt water lake, a private resort with a manmade white sandy beach, double cabana beds to rent, and children's water sports supervised by a professional team. Chilled beers, wines and cocktails are served with lunch and dinner beside the lake resort available from The Shack and Casa do Lago.
Designers such as Stella McCartney and Rolex Watches
The majority of the Championship Golf Courses can be found in Vale do Labo and Quinta do Lago, along with some of the most exquisite restaurants, 5 Star Hotels and designer shops in the boutique shopping centre Quinta Shopping for designers such as Stella McCartney and Rolex watches. Just a short drive away in Almancil are supermarkets including Portuguese supermarkets such as Pingo Doce, Aldi and UK supermarkets Iceland and Tesco and International Supermarket Apolonia.
Popular beachside restaurants include Julie's, Maria's and Sandbanks for lunch and dinner to a name few, often the chosen venues for the expats who live outside of the area to celebrate their birthdays.
For shopping you can head to Mar Shopping an indoor air conditioned shopping centre set over two floors with a Cinema, Restaurants (including Starbucks), Homeware Shops, Fashion and Beauty and a Supermarket Pingo Doce. Next door is the famous homeware superstore Ikea, DIY superstore Leroy Merlin and for designer shoes and clothes you have an outdoor shopping mall Designer Outlet Algarve with shops such as Adidas, Puma and Calvin Klein. A lovely town to visit is Loule town centre just 5 minutes from Mar Shopping where you can stroll along the high street shops, watch the world go by having a coffee, or enjoy a live show in the Theatre (in Portuguese) and pop into the daily fresh fruit and vegetable market open until 1pm (except Sundays). Just the market building itself is worth the visit with the extraordinary moorish influenced architecture with its two large red domes.
If you want to try your luck at a Casino, charter a private luxury yacht, fancy Chinese, Indian food or a pizza or the atmosphere of an Irish pub, then head to Vilamoura Marina. While you are in Vilamoura we can recommend the lively beachside restaurant Thai Beach for lunch or dinner and sometimes live entertainment.
We have included the Pros and Cons of living here, this is purely our own opinion to help you understand the area more.
The pros are English is widely spoken, you will own a property in a high-end holiday home resort, live next door to wealthy international neighbours, you will have 24 hour security, on your doorstep are the best beaches, golf courses, restaurants and beach bars. If you have a generous budget, a taste for luxury and high expectations then Vale do Lobo and Quinta do Lago are where you should be looking. Expect postcode envy when you tell your friends and family you own a property here. This is a destination perfectly built for a luxury lifestyle. If you want to feel safe and secure and live near the sea in an exclusive tourist resort, this is the place to be.
The cons of living in such a resort are it is going to be more expensive, you won't see the real Portugal or meet many regular Portuguese people. When you travel here outside of high season (low season is October to March) then it may be like a ghost town, with many properties empty and some tourist shops and restaurants closed. In high season (April to September) it is going to be noisey, busy and crowded, even sitting next to your private pool, the next door neighbours will have the noise of their gardeners or poolman or friends, family or paying guests in their pools screaming with excitment and partying. If you want to be part of the Portuguese community, surrounded by quiet countryside and nature, with traditional food markets, and shopping malls nearby, where you might not be recognised if you are well known, then Vale do Lobo and Quinta do Lago are not the places to be.
Thank you for reading this, we hope you found it helpful. Let us know what you think, if we have missed anything or if you have any questions. Please feel free to share this link if you feel it can help someone else with their home buying decision.
If you own a home in Vale do Labo or Quinta do Lago and are thinking of selling, we will happily be your Real Estate Agent get in touch.