If you think of Portugal, Vilamoura in Algarve does not come up first in mind. But, this is where I went in 2012 to attend a robotics conference. And, it was a trip to remember. Algarve is located in the southernmost region of continental Portugal and is famous for its beaches, coves and calm atmosphere. Here’s a video which shows the natural scenic beauty of the place.
Our conference was in Vilamoura, which is regarded as one of the largest single tourist complexes in Europe. The nearest international airport is in Faro which is around 25 Kms from Vilamoura. The conference venue was in the marina among luxury hotels, a large casino, wonderful beaches, and restaurant / bars. There are beautiful golf courses around and golf is such an inherent part of the people here, that the hotel I stayed in, had a golf simulator where people can play lofty shots and the simulator projects the ball’s trajectory on a screen displaying actual golf courses. Obviously, Vilamoura had options for various water sports as well.
The highlight of my first day at Vilamoura was the dinner which had a flaming Chouriço (Pork sausage). It was delicious and unique at the same time. Here’s a picture to whet your appetite 😛
The walk by the water-body in the marina is so beautiful that almost everyday I used to go there in the evenings. There were open restaurants lined up on the side of the road. And, the sunset was mesmerizing.
At nights, I used to walk to the beach with a bunch of friends and just spend some quality time there. The road from my hotel to the beach had patches of paddy fields on the side and the nights turned out to be a nice contrast to the tech-heavy day in the conference.
Though I could not participate in any of the water sports during my short stay there, I did go to watch Dolphins in the North Atlantic ocean and saw a couple but only from very far 😦 However, we got to see some beautiful rock formations and coves 🙂
All in all, Vilamoura was a nice and calm destination. It was undoubtedly different from the other city-life robotics conference venues. If you are looking for a relaxing time, Vilamoura is a great place to visit !