Albufeira, a former fishing village in the southern Algarve, is a major tourist destination.
It is a lively and popular resort town with stunning beaches, a beautiful climate, and scores of restaurants and bars, and is renowned for its buzzing nightlife.
Albufeira is popular with travellers of all kinds from youthful revellers to family holidaymakers.
High season, and the hottest months are July and August. October marks the end of the holiday season and winter falls during December and January.
This popular tourist resort is situated 40 km west of Faro Airport. Travel by car on the toll road takes approximately 36 minutes.
It’s worth noting that airport shuttles booked with accommodation usually stop at a selection of hotels.
When staying in Albufeira it’s not actually necessary to hire a car.
Parking can be difficult during the summer months and there’s the convenience of a tourist train that runs between Areias de São João and the old town.
There’s also the excellent local mini-bus network – Giro.
The old town
Albufeira’s old town is the most interesting part of the city and offers a relaxed and charming atmosphere. Panning out from a delightful main square, the old town is filled with pretty cobbled streets lined with coffee shops, cafés, restaurants, clothes shops, leather goods shops, gift shops and street stalls.
There are many bars in the old town, which stay open until late.
Meandering streets are lined with whitewashed houses and many alleys have pavements laid in pretty patterns.
Below the old town, on Rua 5 de Outubro, there’s a foot tunnel through the rock that takes you out to the beach.
This part of Albufeira is full of historic and notable buildings.
The city’s castle, along with most of the town was destroyed in the infamous 1755 earthquake.
The Torre do Relógio (clock tower), which was built on one of the old castle towers in the old town, is normally lit up on festive occasions.
Igreja de Santa Ana (the church of St. Anne) is a must-see for any visitors to Albufeira. The 18th century church is the most visited historical sight in the city. It is situated near to the Bell Tower on Rua Miguel Bombarda.
Visitors to Albufeira are spoilt for choice when it comes to eating out.
There are over 500 eateries, ranging from high standard restaurants to budget cafés.
Albufeira is the ideal place to try traditional Portuguese cuisine, but there are many other cuisine styles available.
Cataplana, the Portuguese seafood and rice stew, is a must to try here.
On the western outskirts of town, you’ll find Albufeira marina. With its bright candy-coloured apartments, you can’t really miss it.
It’s a great place to while away an afternoon people watching from one of the many cafés and bars overlooking the marina’s walkway.
Take a stroll along the walkway and admire the boats in the marina and check out the interesting dolphin statues along the way.
The marina is also the starting point for popular boat trips, fishing trips and diving excursions.
Albufeira’s Areias de São João area is the hub for the party crowd. Home to “the strip” or Avenida Dr Francisco Sà Carneiro, this is the loud and bustling part of Albufiera where you will find a plethora of bars and nightclubs and everyone in the party spirit.
If neon lights and late-night partying aren’t for you, it is better to stay nearer to the old town.
The Albufeira coastline stretches along 30km of the Algarve.
The two main beaches in Albufeira are Praia dos Pescadores (Fisherman’s beach), which is probably the best known, and the adjoining Praia do Túnel (Albufeira beach).
While you can walk straight onto Fishermans beach, there are steps down to Albufeira beach. Both are overlooked by a variety of restaurants.
There are many other dune-backed beaches and delightful coves stretching along the coastline away from the main centre of the resort.
Located between Vilamoura and Albufeira is Praia da Falesia, one of the longest beaches in Portugal.
Another popular beach in the Albufeira area is Praia de São Rafael. Set about 2km from the main resort, this beach is far enough away not to be overly busy, but is still within easy reach.
Set in a pretty bay, Praia de São Rafael, is flanked by pretty rock formations and offers shallow, crystal clear waters.
There are many companies in Albufeira arranging kayak, canoe and stand-up paddleboard excursions.
Between beaches, the Albufeira coastline is dimpled with caves only accessible by water.
The waves on Albufeira’s western beaches are breezier and on most days offer perfect conditions for surfing, windsurfing and kitesurfing.
While there aren’t any water parks in Albufeira itself, there are many tour operators in Albufeira offering trips to the popular Zoomarine, Aquashow Park and Aqualand Algarve at reasonable prices including transport.
They pick up from designated hotels in Albufeira.
The water parks contain lots of gravity-defying slides and wave pools, with something for all ages to enjoy.
Zoomarine offers marine animal demonstrations, as well as a water park.
You’ll also be able to see alligators and tropical birds here.