by Namrata Majithia 10th March 2021
From Hemel Hempstead, UK to Vilamoura

Sometimes, a holiday is just a holiday, but sometimes it’s the start of something else entirely…

When Justin and Tracy booked a last-minute week in Vilamoura back in October 1998, they had no idea that their rather chilly and rainy week in the Algarve would one day lead to a new life in Portugal.

But the couple are trading life in Hemel Hempstead for a new adventure in Vilamoura with their three-year-old rescue dog, Stanley.

The couple purchased a second-floor apartment in Vilamoura back in 2016, which they have been using three to four times per year since then, as work permits. Now, with a plan to take early retirement in 2022, Justin and Tracy intend to relocate permanently to their home in the sun.

We work hard and we work long hours and feel it’s time to take a step back and enjoy each other and a slower pace of life,” explains Justin.

Tracy and Justin’s Portuguese home is a traditional apartment on a small development with lots of green space and a good-sized pool.

It is a 20-minute walk from Vilamoura’s award-winning marina (at 825 berths, the largest in Portugal), so very quiet, yet just a short stroll to everything they need.

The couple may negotiate part-time remote working arrangements before their move, but this isn’t a necessity. Once settled in Portugal, they plan to undertake voluntary work, perhaps at an animal rescue centre.

Looking ahead to the move, the couple cite not being ruled by time as one of the biggest things they are looking forward to, along with the better diet and weather than Vilamoura offers. Justin comments:

“Vilamoura is where our heart is; we love it – we love the people and of course the food. Take a look at TripAdvisor and see how many restaurants rated 4.5/5.0 are listed. We try new places every time we visit.”

The couple were never into long-haul trips. Over the years they holidayed in Spain, Croatia and Cyprus (rescuing Stanley from Xante along the way), but something kept drawing them back to Vilamoura. The town’s easy access from Faro airport is a major plus point, as is the fact that both the marina and the beach are within walking distance.

While they will inevitably miss family and friends, Tracy and Justin feel that the past year has prepared them well for maintaining FaceTime-based relationships. And the Algarve is only a short flight from the UK, at any rate. All they need to focus on, then, is helping Stanley get used to the climate – and to living in a second-floor apartment.

Despite staying in many hotels, villas and apartments over the years, both with and without friends, Justin and Tracy ended up buying an apartment that was just a five-minute walk from the block they stayed in during their very first trip to Vilamoura back in 1998.

Indeed, it was with delight that they realised, only a couple of years ago, that they can actually see that block from their balcony. Some things are just meant to be.


Properties for sale at Vilamoura World

Uptown Vilamoura, Vilamoura, Algarve, Portugal


Uptown Vilamoura is located near Vilamoura’s west entrance, adjacent to the Victoria Golf Course, home of the Portugal Masters.

The 31 individual homes and apartments at Uptown Vilamoura are close to construction completion.

Uptown’s architecture has typical Portuguese flair and integrates perfectly into the landscape, using materials and solutions that adapt to the climate and to how the home is used.

The first phase of Uptown, includes both apartments and villas consisting of two and three bedrooms. A two-bedroom villa is available from €399,000.

For more information, please contact Vilamoura World on +351 914 071 129 or visit


About Vilamoura World

Vilamoura World (VW) is the Master Planner of the touristic town of Vilamoura a popular and attractive destination in the Algarve. VW is responsible for the promotion of residential, touristic and hotel plots within the Vilamoura estate of 1,700 hectares.

VW offers a range of land plots ready for development and master planned to complement existing amenities. VW also offers unique turnkey residential units for sale. VW´s land bank available for development comprises of a total buildable (Gross Construction Area) of 569,000 square metres of residential, touristic, hotel and retail accommodation.

VW owns the centrepiece of Vilamoura, the long-term concession to operate Portugal’s largest Marina with 825 berths which has a multi-international award-winning track record. VW also owns one of Europe’s leading equestrian (show jumping) facilities covering 25 hectares.

In partnership with the local infrastructure company Inframoura and the local council of Loule, VW delivers comprehensive, long-term focused management of the town of Vilamoura.