The most prestigious address in the Algarve
Quinta do Lago is a luxury estate nestled in the Ria Formosa just 20 minutes from Faro Airport. The resort combines privacy and seclusion with many facilities. It is easy to see why Quinta do Lago is the most prestigious address in the Algarve and popular with residents and holiday makers alike.
The estate offers an extensive range of sporting and leisure activities from tennis to kite-surfing. For golf lovers Quinta do Lago is a premium golf destination with three championship courses. The North course, South course and Laranjal. These distinctive courses are considered some of the best in the Algarve.
Lying within Quinta do Lago are many luxury villas, most with their own private swimming pools to while away the long sunny days. There are also many resorts within the estate, each with their own amenities and restaurants; Monte da Quinta, Four Seasons, Encosta do Lago and Vilar do Golf. Private villa rentals are dotted throughout the resort in Parque Atlantico, Monte Golfe, Atlantico Norte, Golfe Leste and Golfe Sul. Apartments and townhouses are located within each of the resort and offer every standard from budget to luxury.
At the entrance to the estate is the upmarket Quinta do Lago plaza. This open air shopping mall has a number of designer boutiques as well as a wide selection of child-friendly restaurants. Adjacent to this is Buganvilla centre with a full supermarket for all your shopping needs.
Lying south of the estate is Quinta do Lago beach with 3 kilometres of blue flag beach and plenty of water sports to keep the family entertained. The famous Lago Watersports Centre located on Quinta do Lago lake offers classes and courses from kayaking to sailing.
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The Lago WaterSports Centre provides equipment hire and training on both Quinta do Lago lake and the nearby Atlantic beach. In this section we will address the many lakeside activities. You will find information about the beach below.
On the lake there are no fast, polluting speedboats or jet skis. People here really believe in preserving the pristine and rare environment of the lake for everyone, including the wildlife, which means you and the kids can also enjoy a safe time on the water. Families often rent a pedalo (in the shape of a giant swan, no less), to head out on the water with gentle grace and in a certain style. Then there are classes and courses available for people of all ages and stages in water sports ranging from canoeing, kayaking, sailing (in small boats and catamarans), or windsurfing. The centre hires out carefully maintained equipment, wetsuits and buoyancy aids, and issues certificates to people who successfully complete one of their short courses.
For the less adventurous, sunbeds and shades are available so you can while away the hours in a beautiful setting, or keep an eye on the kids in comfort. Alternatively, the adjacent Fishing Centre hires out fishing gear, and can advise on the best places to catch the lake's various resident fish, including sole, bream and even eel.
Finally, the WaterSports Centre offers Eco Tours of the area on foot or bicycle, with knowledgeable guides to help you understand this unique environment. Many different kinds of migrating birds use this area as a rest point in their travels to and from Europe and Africa, for example. The more you discover about the Quinta do Lago and Ria Formosa area in particular, and the Golden Triangle in general, the more amazed you will be!
We mentioned the land-based Eco Tours which are available at the Quinta do Lago lake-side water sports centre, but the team at the Beach-side centre also offer an extensive range of powerboat tours, enabling you to fully appreciate the stunningly beautiful coastline of the Ria Formosa Natural Park area from the ocean, or to enjoy a secret desert island beach picnic, go sea fishing or snorkelling away from the beach.
On the beach, which is 3km of gorgeous golden-white sand backed by low dunes and the lovely environment, there is an even wider range of water sports provided by the same highly-qualified team. Here you will find: jet skis, ringo and banana rides, powerboating, water-skiing, windsurfing, kitesurfing, body-boarding and surfing, pedal-boating, kayaking and canoeing, sailing and scuba diving, as well as deep sea fishing and snorkelling. Truly something for everyone!
Power sports are carefully kept separate from the more sedate pursuits such as swimming or snorkelling, and in the summer months there are lifeguards constantly available during daylight hours.
As with the lake-side centre, fully qualified instruction and equipment hire are available for any activities which require you to have some skill or experience. Real newbies might prefer to learn something like kayaking on the still water of the lake and then transfer their new skills to the ocean; it just depends on your confidence level and experience.
Kitesurfing is a particular feature of the water sports scene in this area because of the highly suitable blend of gentle Atlantic breezes and small waves on which to work. Windsurfers and sailors too will appreciate this combination, seemingly made for small craft of all kinds.
The beach at Quinta do Lago has been the recipient of a highly prestigious European Gold Flag award for having consistently impeccable cleanliness and suitability for swimming and other water-based activities over a period of five years. This is a testament to the work that the resort and local people have done in working to preserve the natural environment here.
On the golden sand itself there are highly comfortable loungers and sun-shades available to hire, and you can expect sunshine on more days of the year than most, if not all, places in Europe. Which all adds up to a picture of sheer beach-side bliss!
The menu at Koko Lane Bistro might be simple, but don't let that fool you, that is its strength. With its mouthwatering range of wood-fired pizzas, delicious salads and regular daily specials, this place is a gem in the heart of Quinto do Lago. Conveniently situated beside the resort's driving range, Koko Lane is the perfect place to relax and unwind, or to reward yourself for all that golf practice with a warm chocolate brownie and vanilla ice cream. Meals are served here from breakfast at 8-11:30am, right through to dinner. Koko Lane is open every day of the year except Christmas Day, so you can be assured of a friendly welcome, excellent food, top notch coffee, and the delightfully laid back atmosphere here, all year round. Oh, and there's a simple kids menu too, packed with things the little ones will love.
Casa do Lago
On a lakeside scattered with palm trees, the tranquil and beautiful setting of Casa do Lago is not to be missed. The restaurant is open from 9:30am until 10pm, but book a table in the late afternoon and you can enjoy the often-spectacular sunsets over the lake as a backdrop to your delicious meal. The extensive and creative menu has locally caught fresh fish at its heart - look out for the grilled fish of the day served with new potatoes and lemon butter sauce - but also features an excellent selection of other options, including black Angus fillet steak, fresh lobster or tiger prawns. Casa do Lago has its own swimming pool, a poolside cocktail bar, plenty of seating indoors and out, and a fire pit surrounded by comfortable seating for those cooler days. We'd recommend booking ahead in the peak season as this place is justifiably popular!
If you like your cocktails, drinks and bar meals to have a stunning canvas of a lake and nature reserve behind it, then the Shack is definitely the place for you. One of Quinto do Lago's newest hangouts, the Shack boasts an extensive range of cocktails, wines, beers, liqueurs, spirits and champagne bubbles, including mixers and other drinks in jugs to share. Everything you need to unwind after a round on the golf course, or to get ready for an evening on the town, you will find here. The welcome is friendly and relaxed, and the food is tapas-based, making it easy to share in groups or with that special person. The building itself is based on a wooden fisherman's shack, complete with balcony, jetty and little boat. In our opinion, to sit and watch the Algarve sun dancing on the lake water with your favourite, expertly prepared, cocktail in hand, is to experience true relaxation!
To walk over the long wooden footbridge to this beach-side restaurant with its simple yet welcoming decor and distinctive yellow parasols, is to enter another world. Here you couldn't be closer to the ocean, and the fish who hitherto called it home. Irrepressible owner Gigi is a man of many talents; known for his daily dawn visits to the local market for fresh fish and shellfish, his superb taste in wines for the restaurant, and his singing of operatic arias! Open for over twenty years now, this is the place which many of Quinto do Lago's more famous residents and visitors quietly visit for the simply excellent food and atmosphere. Again, book ahead in the summer high season. Gigi's is only open for lunch, and due to its quality and friendliness, extremely popular.
Charming, intimate and with a seasonal menu which is an exquisite fusion of French, Portuguese and Mediterranean-influenced dishes, Casa Velha occupies a unique place among the many restaurants in Quinto do Lago. Here on a small hilltop overlooking the resort, you will find a timeless flower-filled farmhouse courtyard with a sparkling fountain, matchless hospitality, and a homely feel, which combine to make this the perfect place for a romantic dinner or special occasion.
French-trained Chef Yannick Guichaoua and his wife Celine ensure that not only the food is beautifully presented. Attention to detail is everywhere here, from the welcome at the door, to the attentive and knowledgeable staff, extensive wine list, and thoughtful amount of space around the tables, everything is designed to make your dining experience special. No less a culinary luminary than Michel Roux gave Casa Velha high praises after he dined here in2013.
A little way outside the main Quinto do Lago resort, nestled in the peaceful Vale Verde area, you will find the tropical garden, relaxed atmosphere and fine dining of Restaurante Florian, known to everyone as Florians. To give an idea of the French based, internationally-inspired cuisine found here, look no further than the delicious black Angus burger with truffle mayo and foie grass. A feast for all the senses! Other offerings depending on the season, include Berkshire pork; quail fillet with mushrooms; sushi; or sashimi of yellow fin tuna. Dutch owners Pieter and Karin do a superb job not only with the food but the ambience and the welcome you receive when you arrive. Book a summer evening in the garden, when everything is lit up like a magical wonderland, you won't regret it!
Jimmy Stewart Tennis Academy
The Jim Stewart Tennis Academy is the perfect home away from home in the Algarve for tennis players of all ages. The climate of the Golden Triangle is as suitable for playing tennis as it is for golf, although we would recommend booking in the evening during the height of summer as it does get hot in the day. Jim Stewart's Tennis Academy has over ten courts which feature different surfaces to play on, including hard courts, astro-turf and clay.
Recently they have also added the new American tennis-derived varient Pickelball, which we are told is a slightly less strenuous version of the regular game. What you will especially notice though is the extra-friendly welcome and helpful attitude of the staff here. Nothing seems to be too much trouble, from advice on racquet string tension to top-level coaching to help you improve your game. There is an extensive daily kids and schools programme for budding players, and a court-side cafe where the irrepressible Stewart serves up a storm (sorry, we couldn't resist that one!).
Quinta do Lago Plaza
During your stay at Quinta do Lago, it seems likely that you will either need to pick up a few everyday provisions or perhaps might fancy a little retail therapy. Quinta do Lago caters for both needs with two separate facilities which are very close to each other, and can be found at the entrance to the resort.
If it is designer items like clothes, sunglasses, jewellery, shoes, perfumes, homewares or gifts that you require (or simply the chance to while away some time with luxury shopping), then head for Quinta Shopping, the resort's boutique mall. Here you will find many luxury international and local brands in a comfortable and clean open air mall. There are also restaurants and cafes here, two hairdressers and a range of other services, including an estate agent and an excellent pharmacy (should you need it).
For more day to day shopping, head to the Buganvilla Plaza, on the other side of the car park from Quinta Shopping. The Buganvilla Plaza features a newsagent, supermarket, bank, more estate agents, and some other useful shops including places to buy quality linen, clothes and children's clothes.
Here you will also find a number of eateries, including the Tsuru Japanese-European restaurant which is part of T Clube, the resort's stylish and justifiably famous nightclub. The food here is excellent, as is the friendly welcome. T Clube is popular with the beautiful and famous of Portugal, and is large enough to accommodate a stylish Piano bar for cocktails and conversation, and a large palm-tree dotted lounge garden which is available for private parties. T Clube is open every day during July and August, and at weekends from 11pm-6am during the rest of the year, so you can truly dance the beautiful Algarve night away here.
The three world class championship golf courses at Quinta do Lago all have different visual and playing characteristics, but each is beautifully maintained, stunning to play on, and each offers a true challenge to the golfer at every level. Each course also makes use of and enhances its local natural environment. Adjacent to the Ria Formosa National Park and close to the Atlantic ocean, the weather at these golf courses is excellent for golf pretty much year round, with sunshine around 300 days of the year. Since golf is one of the hearts of the Quinta do Lago experience, you will find attention to detail everywhere here; in the design of the courses, in the welcome, in the grass which enables year round playing, to the facilities at the course which include pro-shops, clubhouses, practice greens, buggies for hire (with GPS), a TaylorMade Performance Centre, and the nearby exclusive training academy run by 2014 Ryder Cup winning captain Paul McGinley.
Golf at Quinta do Lago is an unforgettable experience!Read on for more information about the individual style of each course.
Quinta do Lago North
Re-opened on 1st October 2014 after an extensive revamp, which was carried out under the watchful eye of Ryder Cup winning captain Paul McGinley and American designer Beau Welling, the North course is a challenge, but not an overwhelming one. The emphasis of the redesign has been to enhance the playability and general appeal of the course, while still maintaining its stunning undulating landscape and unique atmosphere. Golfers will find that there are several approaches to each green on this new course, making it suitable for all levels and types of player. Winner of the World Golf Awards prize for the Best New Golf Course in Europe 2014, the North course at Quinta do Lago will not disappoint you.
Quinta do Lago South
The South course, designed by William Mitchell and opened in 1974, is justly famous for its beautiful landscaping and challenging play. Host to the Portuguese Open on numerous occasions, the South Course at Quinta do Lago won the prestigious World Golf Award as the best golf course in Portugal in 2014 and is still a feature on the European tour circuit.
Responding to the natural features of the Ria Formosa National Park, which it borders, the immaculate South course is lined with umbrella pines and wild flowers, and makes extensive use of water features as part of its challenge, particularly at the famous Par 3 15th hole, where the water of a lake replaces the fairway. If you have regularly read any Golfing magazine in Europe, it's likely that Quinta do Lago South is already on you dream golfing destination list. Book a visit! You won't regret it!
Laranjal, the newest golf course in the Quinta do Lago stable, opened in 2009 and is situated about 2km east of the main resort. Here you will find a more open landscape and broader vistas than at the North and South courses. As with the other two courses though, water still appears regularly as a feature on the Laranjal course, and there are also fearsome networks of linked bunkers on many holes to trap the unwary. Having said that, the greens run good and true and you will be playing in a former orange grove with orange trees still in evidence everywhere, so it is not too much of a hardship to play here! The staff at Laranjal are very friendly and always on hand to help you with any of your golfing needs. A golfing trip to Quinto do Lago is not complete without at least one round at Laranjal, perhaps more.