Albufeira – highlights
Top attractions in Albufeira:
• A beautiful old town
• Vibrant nightlife in the Strip area
• Beautiful beaches
• A modern marina
Albufeira – general information
Albufeira is a popular city in the Algarve, with a population of more than 40.000 inhabitants. Originally, it was a small fishing village, but nowadays it has developed into a popular tourist destination. There are many hotels, restaurants and bars in Albufeira. As such, Albufeira is also famous for its nightlife. However, even with a big amount of tourists every year, Albufeira has somehow retained the look and feel of an old fishing village.
Albufeira has two main areas: the old town and the Areias de São João, also known as ‘The Strip’. The old town has a lively center, with small streets between traditional white houses. There are many shops, bars and restaurants. You will also find street artists here, that entertain the crowd. The Strip is a relatively more modern area, full of bars, clubs and restaurants. The Strip is very much geared towards nightlife and is located near the Praia da Oura, a beach that is popular among tourists.
Albufeira – what to see
Visting the old town
Our suggestion is that you start the visit of Albufeira at the belvedere of ‘Pau da Bandeira’ on the eastern side. Here you can enjoy the best panoramic view over Albufeira and take good photographs. From here you see the whole town with its white houses, the beach with fishing boats, and the sea.
Walking down to the beach ‘Praia dos Barcos’ you can see the colourful fishing boats and the fishermen unloading fish or mending their nets. Near the beach, in front of the famous restaurant ‘A Ruina‘ you can see the building of the fish auction. From here you can walk up the street ‘Rua da Bateria’ and enjoy the beautiful views over the bay. Take the street ‘Rua da Igreja Velha’ (right) into the old town, to see its typical narrow streets and old houses.
At the end of this street you find the palace of the former northern entrance to the castle and some remains of the castle wall. To your left you have the street ‘Rua Henrique Calado’, where you can see the gothic portal of the old Lodging House building (nr. 9), another gothic portal of the Misericórdia Chapel and the old hospital (dated from 1885).
Now turn to your right and on the left you will see the hotel Sol e Mar. Take the staircase on the right to access the main street ‘Rua Cinco de Outubro’. Here you find the tourist information office. From this street you can access the beach (through a tunnel) and the main square (to the right), called ‘Largo Duarte Pacheco’, the meeting point of old and young, and central point of the evening scene.
The most important satellite developments are situated to the east of Albufeira and are Montechoro, Areias de São João and Oura. In these areas there are plenty of hotels, bars restaurants and discos.
Nightlife in Albufeira
In and around the city there are lots of bars and discos. In both the old town and the ‘Strip’ area, there are all kinds of bars, including bars with live music, karaoke and bars where you can dance. Most clubs don’t get going until 1AM and do not close until sunrise. If you would like to enjoy nightlife, Albufeira is the right place.
The superb beaches around Albufeira are surrounded by high sandstone cliffs, providing shade in summer and protection against the wind in the winter. The beaches are usually populated by tourists and colorful fishing boats.
The beaches west from the town are São Rafael, Castelo and Galé, three of the most beautiful beaches in central Algarve. Some of the best beaches east of the town are: Praia da Oura, Balaia, Santa, Eulália, Olhos de Àgua and Praia da Falésia.
Albufeira has a relatively new marina, which is located west of the center of the town. Here you can walk around and see the many boats in the marina, surrounded by colorful buildings. It has a different atmosphere than the rest of the city.
Guia is another village in the municipality of Albufeira. In this village you can eat the delicious piri-piri chicken. The chicken is barbecued on the charcoal and spiced with hot chili sauce. It can be served with a delicious tomato salad and chips. Piri-piri chicken is a delicious and cheap Algarvean specialty. Guia, a village 6 km far from Albufeira has specialised in piri-piri chicken.Try it in the restaurant O Teodósio.
Albufeira – Secret tips
From Albufeira you can take an excursion by boat to see dolphins. While seeing a dolphin is no guarantee, it can be quite impressive when you see one. the chance of seeing at least one dolphin are about 50/50, but also depend on the weather, the wind and the water currents. And when you don’t see a dolphin, at least you have enjoyed a nice boat trip, with amazing views of the cliffs of Albufeira. Be sure to bring sun cream on your boat trip, because on sun can be quite strong.
You can take a diving course in Albufeira. There are courses for beginners and for the more advanced diving students. Diving is done in small groups and all groups are accompanied by an experienced PADI professional. Dives start from 35 euros. You can for example the diving course from the company Indigo Divers.
There are several golf courses situated near Albufeira. Examples of golf courses are Balaia Golf Village, Salgados Golf Course and Pine Cliffs Resort Golf Course.