Albufeira: Where to Stay and Where to Play
A vibrant resort town located about a 30-minute drive from the Faro
Airport, Albufeira is a great place to stay if you are looking for a fun
and exciting holiday.
Once a fishing village, the area was
turned into a resort community in the 1960s. With a number of beautiful
beaches, warm climate, and nearby golf courses, it isn’t hard to see
Here’s a look at everything you need to know to get the most out of your trip to Albufeira and the Algarve coastline!
What to do in Albufeira
There is never a dull moment in Albufeira. It may be a town of
only 40,000 people, but there’s lots to see and lots to get up to. Here
are some of our favorites:
Visit the Old Town
The historic center of Albufeira is an interesting glimpse into the
past. Here, the narrow streets are laid out in intricate cobblestone
mosaic patterns leading to you through the many alleyways and squares.
main square in Old Town is known as Largo Duarte Pacheco. This plaza is
surrounded by many cafes, restaurants, bars, and shops. If you are
looking for a place to sit, sip a cold beverage, people watch, and even
catch a street performance or two, you’ve found it! It is also near
here, on Rua 5 de Outubro, that you will find the tourist information
The Old Town is the best place to see the traditional
Portuguese whitewashed houses. And, given that this section is located
on high ground, it is not unusual to turn a street corner and catch a
stunning view of the sea and Praia do Túnel!
If you follow Rua 5 de Outubro you will find a foot tunnel through the rock to the beach.
Hit the Beach
The Algarve is known to have some of the best beaches in Portugal and
when it comes to beaches, you have many to choose from in Albufeira and
each one has its own unique charm and attributes.
The following are just 5 of the area’s best!
Praia da Gale
Just 4km west of town, this beach is divided into two parts: east and west.
eastern side of the beach (on the left if you’re looking at the sea!),
is narrow with many rock formations. The water is quite shallow and
forms small pools in the rocks. This makes the eastern side of Praia da
Gale the perfect beach for small children. And, for those who enjoy a
good investigation, there are a few caves to explore and, if you look
closely enough, you may even find some fossils in some of the rocks!
western side of the beach is much larger and is perfect for water
sports like surfing and jet skiing. This side of the beach also has many
nearby bars and restaurants and you can rent sun loungers to make your
beach visit more comfortable!
Praia dos Pescadores
Known as the “Fisherman’s Beach,” once upon a time, you’d see many a
fishing boats here with fishermen repairing nets on the short. Now,
it’s a popular sun and fun spot. Located along the Old Town, this is one
of the most popular beaches in Albufeira.
The sand here often
contains pieces of shells so you might want to consider wearing flip
flops or water shoes when up and about.
The location of this
beach makes it a convenient place for a quick dip in the Atlantic or to
do something more adventurous like parasailing.
Behind the beach
you will find a square that easily connects you to the Old Town. There
is always activity in the square so if you get bored lounging around,
you don’t have far to go to find a little excitement.
Praia do Túnel
Separated from Praia dos Pescadores by a protruding rock, Praia do Túnel is obviously another very conveniently located beach.
water here is clear but be careful because it can get deep in a real
hurry. In the summer, there is an inflatable water park so if you are
visiting this, or Praia dos Pescadores, with children, there is plenty
to keep them occupied.
This is the perfect beach for long walks and at low tide, you can see many incredible shells!
this beach, you can walk to the cave of Xorino. This cave was used by
the Moors as a hiding place after the Christian conquest of Albufeira in
the 13th Century. Just walk west. You’ll see a promenade and at the end
of it will be the cave.
Praia da Falésia
Praia da Falésia is not only considered one of the best beaches in
Portugal, but it is also believed to be one of the best beaches in the
Found near Olhos de Agua this beach is about a 20-minute
drive from Albufeira. Surrounded by gorgeous red cliffs, this beach is
more than worth the trip.
The beach itself is 6km long so no
matter how busy it is, you can still be comfortable. There are many
nearby restaurants and a snack bar located on the western side of the
beach near the car park.
Paragliding, scuba diving, snorkeling, and surfing are all available closer to the eastern end of the beach.
is a hiking trail that runs along the clifftops and offers absolutely
breathtaking views. If you can swing it, try to take in a sunrise or a
sunset from the cliff tops. There are few places on earth where you’ll
find a more spectacular display.
If cliffs aren’t your thing and you’d rather walk the beach, it will take about 2 hours to do the whole thing.
Praia São Rafael
Like Praia da Falésia, Praia São Rafael is iconic and well known for its surrounding rock formations.
sand here is a beautiful golden color and while the beach is often
crowded, it isn’t hard to find a little bit of it for yourself.
of erosion from the wind and water have lead to some very unique rock
formations. Take a moment or two to explore the grottos that have formed
along the shore.
If you are interested in snorkeling, the water
here is warm and crystal clear, making it the perfect place to go
looking for interesting sea life!
Party on The Strip
For a real taste of nightlife in the Algarve, head to the Strip!
nightlife found in the Strip stands in stark contrast to what you will
find in the Old Town. The Old Town offers lovely seafood restaurants and
bars where you can drink regional wine and enjoy the conversation of
your companions. The Strip, on the other hand, is a 2km stretch loaded
with bars and nightclubs that just scream “good times found here!”
Strip is not for the faint of heart, however. Most clubs don’t really
get going until about 1am and they often stay hopping until sunrise!
There are many really great golf courses and golf resorts around
Albufeira. The closest courses are Pine Cliffs in Olhos de Agua,
Salgados in Guia, and Balaia which is close to the center. Pine Cliffs
and Salgados both have incredible views of the Algarve coast.
you want to play and stay, or travel a little farther afield for your
round, there are two fabulous golf resorts just a short drive away.
Vale do Lobo
Vale do Lobo is a resort that contains TWO championship courses:
Ocean and Royal. Ocean is one of the oldest courses in the Algarve and
has some spectacular ocean views. The Royal is famous for its 16th hole
that carries a clifftop! In fact, it is one of the most photographed
holes in all of Europe! You’ve got to see it to believe it!
Quinta do Lago
This place should be on the bucket list of every golfer. The World Golf
Awards has twice named it Europe’s best golf destination and Golf Digest
has twice given it the “Editors’ Choice Award for Best International
Resorts.” Three courses and all the amenities you could want. Is there
Visit the Theme Parks
Albufeira is situated near two fabulous theme parks: Zoomarine and Parque Aventura.
has been voted the best theme park in Portugal and offers fun for the
whole family. With a waterpark as well as live animal shows featuring
dolphins, seals, and sea lions as well as demonstrations with tropical
birds and birds of prey, it is impossible to have a bad day at this
Parque Aventura is, as the name would suggest, and
adventure park that has zip lines, high rope courses, and paintball! If a
day of active fun is on the agenda, head to Parque Aventura!
Tour Paderne Castle
Just a short drive from Albufeira lies the ruins of the medieval Paderne
Castle. It was built by the Moors in the 12th century and captured in
1248 after a massacre carried out by the conquering Christians.
There are plenty of interesting elements to explore here despite being in ruins.
Castle is one of the castles featured on Portugal’s coat of arms! It
would be a shame to be so close and not pay a visit!
Take a boat tour
Boat trips are one of the best ways to see the beauty of the Algarve.
Some of the most amazing features of the coastline in Albufeira is the
rock formations and cliffs. While they look great from land, they look
even better by sea.
There are boat trips leaving from the
Albufeira marina that will take you to view the popular Benagil Sea
Cave, or, you can take a 2-hour combined dolphin watching and cave tour.
If you have a little more time, you can take a tour of Ria Formosa
Natural Park. This particular excursion will require a full day as the
tour will pick you up in Albufeira and transport you to where the boat
launches. The boat tour itself is 4 hours long.
Where to stay in Albufeira
As a popular holiday destination, there are lots of great places to stay
in this area. If you’d like to book an apartment we have several
options for you to choose from.
Whether you want to stay in a 5-star hotel or go on a camping adventure, you’ll find it in Albufeira.
Here are a few of the more popular places to stay:
This hotel is located near Praia da Falésia and has great ocean
views. The hotel has 2 restaurants, a swimming pool, a fitness center, a
steam bath, and a wellness center. Simply put, it has everything you
need to for an incredible holiday.
Vila Joya is one of the most exclusive hotels in the region.
Overlooking Praia da Gale, this hotel is conveniently located and full
of luxurious amenities. With a two star Michelin restaurant you can
enjoy fine food after spending a day relaxing by one of the many
swimming pools or taking advantage of the spa facilities.
Where to eat in Albufeira
There are plenty of culinary delights to be found in Albufeira! Whether
you’re looking for traditional Portuguese food or something else
entirely, you’ll find it here.
Here are some can’t miss restaurants:
This is a traditional, family-run establishment that serves up some of the best Portuguese food in town! Try the rabbit stew or the cataplan-cooked seafood stew. Located a little outside the touristy part of town, this restaurant offers incredible food at very reasonable prices.
Castelo do Mar
This restaurant is on a hill overlooking the harbor in an old, renovated
building. It offers incredible, fresh, local cuisine. But if you aren’t
feeling like Portuguese fare, there are some British and European
dishes on the menu as well. If you want to savor a view while savoring a
meal, this is the place for you!
If in the Algarve, it is hard
NOT to visit Albufeira. With so many beaches, nightlife, resorts,
sights, and nearby activities, there is something to suit all holiday
makers. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing beach getaway, a little
adventure, or a wild, celebratory party atmosphere, be sure to plan a
stay in Albufeira.