Albufeira is a city in Algarve, in the south of Portugal. Once a small fishing village it has now developed to be a very touristic area. Many holiday makers return year after year because of the lovely beaches, very good climate and the many restaurants, bars and pubs.
The town is divided into two parts, 'The Old Town' and the 'STRIP', or newer town, including Montechoro, Arias de Sao João.
The train station (Albufeira - Ferreiras) is 6km from the centre. There is a city bus that can take you into town. A small number of taxis are also available, and are generally timed with the train stops. Be sure to grab one quickly, as it may be a while before another one turns up. Although no Wi-Fi is offered at the station itself, a small café nearby offers free Wi-Fi for its customers (and surprisingly delicious pastels de nata!).
Trains to Lagos and Faro take about one hour each. The train to/from Lisbon takes 3-4h. There is now a rapid train that takes 2.5h but with more limited runs. A student fare costs €17 (for Portuguese students only).Timetables and Prices
Long distance buses are also available in the city centre.
If you're travelling by plane, you can also ask for a private faro airport transfer.
There are local buses that run throughout town - ask your hotel for a timetable.
Taxis are available and can usually be found in the city centre.
Car rental facilities are located in the city centre and include major international chains (Hertz, Europcar) as well as local ones. Even for the expert driver, getting around can be quite challenging in Albufeira as there are no street signs to navigate you through the maze-like structure of the endless roundabouts, making maps similarly difficult to interpret. Coupled with the high cost of car rentals, taxis or buses may be simpler modes of transportation.
- Castelo de Almoáda, Paderne, . Moorish 12th century castle. Free. (37º09'25.85'',08º12'00.34)
- Dolphin Watching, . Albufeira has become a very popular destination for dolphin watching. One company that specializes in this is Dream Wave World
The main attraction of the Algarve is the extended coast line with its numerous beaches. Especially during the busy summer holidays, you will find the larger beaches filled with beach chairs and parasols and usually one or more places where you can book water sport activities like parasailing and jet-skiing. Most beaches have life guards on duty during the summer period.
In Albufeira there are a great variety of beaches:
- Praia dos Pescadores (Fishermans Beach) – next to the old town of Albufeira. Here you can find a boulevard with many restaurants
- Praia do Peneco – Also in the old town. At the end of Rua 5 de Outubro, straight ahead through the Tunnel
- Praia da Oura – At the end of the well known “ Strip” (Avenida Sá Carneira) you keep walking down, until you reach the waterfront.
If you don't like the large crowds, there are many smaller secluded beaches, ideal if you travel with small children or just if you like something more characteristic:
- Praia dos Arrifes & Praia de São Rafael – in São Rafael (minutes away from the Marina of Albufeira)
- Praia da Coelha, Praia do Castelo, Praia do Evaristo – here you can see the large rock formations and little basins where the kids can enjoy the sea
- Praia do Lourenço & Praia da Galé – in Galé (about a 10min drive from the city of Albufeira)
- Zoomarine, EN 125 65KM (Guia), . (Lat. 37.7.37 N,Long. 8.18.50 W)
- Balaia Golf Course, Sitio da Balaia (Albufeira), ☎ 00351 289 570 200.
- Pince Cliffs Golf, Praia da Falésia, Apartado 644, Falésia (Sheraton Algarve, Albufeira), ☎ +351 28 950 0377 (fax: +351 28 950 1311).
- The Strip, Avenida Sá Carneira. Road with many souvenir shops, where you will find for example portuguese pottery, beach articles, jewellery and much more!
- Avenida da Liberdade, Old Town of Albufeira. Road with many souvenir shops, where you will find for example Portuguese pottery, beach articles, jewellery and much more!
- Rooster of Barcelos, Any souvenir shop. A typical Portuguese souvenir, supposedly bringing you "good luck"
There are many restaurants to choose from, with many of them offering traditional Portuguese fare as well as a wide variety of fresh seafood. Dishes involving different preparations of codfish are plentiful, and the Cataplana styled dishes are well known in this region. Shellfish such as prawns, lobster, and crab tend to be very expensive, while fish is much more affordable. For a break from seafood, try the chicken piri-piri (roasted chicken with a sort of spicy sauce).
As a general rule, places near the beaches tend to offer average to downright bad quality food for 'touristy' prices, but as you go uphill the quality gets better. Unfortunately the touts outside most restaurants tend to be very pushy and will stand in your way and try to engage you in conversation about their menu/prices etc. This makes walking through the Old Town a real chore, especially in the evening.
- A Ruina, Cais Herculano (Fishermans Beach), ☎ +351 28 961 2094. Superlative food, a little bit more expensive than the surrounding tourist traps but it's worth it. Very knowledgeable waiters, nice wine list and a killer view out over the ocean. The filet steak is stunning and they have a bottle of the real good stuff, 120 proof Aguardente de Medronhos that would make Hemingway proud and will put some serious hair on your chest. They might give you a glass if you ask nicely.
- Blue Sky, Areias S. João, 63-8200 Albufeira (When you are on the Strip, walk towards Liberto´s night club, take the street on the left and walk about 300 meters. On your right you will find the restaurant), ☎ 00351 969134801. Specialities include Seafood rice, Chicken Piri-Piri, Cataplana and much more. Excellent quality, friendly staff. An English name but it´s a restaurant where you can experience the typical Portuguese atmosphere.
- Cabana Fresca, Cais Herculano (Fishermans Beach), ☎ +351 28 958 5456.
- Casa da Fonte, Rua João de Deus 7 (Albufeira), ☎ +351 28 951 4578.
- Dream Wave, Albufeira (Albufeira Marina), ☎ +351 96 200 3885.
- Bom Garfo, Estrada de Sta Eulalia (Albufeira Oura area), ☎ +351 28 954 1627.
- Teodosio, (Guia), ☎ +351 28 954 1627. Specialized in Chicken Piri-Piri
- Vila Joya Restaurant, Praia da Galé, ☎ +351 28 959 1795, . One of the top Michelin Restaurants in Portugal, Vila Joya resembles a small oriental palazzo and is nestled in a breathtaking garden setting on a cliff with stunning views facing the sea.
Nightclubs, cafés and snack bars are abundant in both Old Town as well as The Strip. Since 2009, prices have been reduced considerably due to the European recession.
Everything is a bit more expensive in the discos at night, so many holiday makers will drink in the bars and go to the disco after 1am (they are open until 06:00 in the summer!)
- Apartamentos Marina de Albufeira, Galeria Comercial da Orada, Lt. 6, Nº 35 Marina de Albufeira (27km from Faro Airport.), ☎ +351 28 958 2044, . All rooms with kitchen, dining area, washing machine, balcony and TV. Restaurant, bar, outdoor swimming pool, tours/ticket assistance, room service, airport shuttle, car rental and laundry service. €145.98 and up.
- Varandas de Albufeira, Rua do Indico 14, ☎ +351 28 954 0850, . checkin: 14:00; checkout: 10:00. Rooms equipped with cable TV, air-con and kitchenette. Restaurant, bar, game room, billiards, outdoor swimming pool, safe deposit boxes and housekeeping. €26 and up.
- Valmangude Jardim, Rua Dunfermline, Lote 5/7, ☎ +351 28 958 0820, . All rooms have air-con, cable TV and kitchenette. Bar, pool bar, outdoor swimming pool, billiards, 24h front desk, safe deposit boxes, high-speed internet access and housekeeping. €78 and up.
- Perola do Algarve, Rua do Pacífico, Lote 24, ☎ +351 28 954 0850, . checkin: 14:00; checkout: "10:00. Rooms equipped with cable TV, air-con and kitchenette. Bar, pool bar, restaurant, games room, outdoor swimming pool, air-con public areas, billiards, 24h front desk and housekeeping. €45.50 and up.
- Vila Galé Cerro Alagoa, Rua do Munícipio, Lote 26 8200-916, ☎ +351 28 958 3100 ([email protected]), . On the banks of the Ria Formosa, the interior is said to have an Arabian ambience of old southern Portugal. On-line booking
- Vila Galé Atlântico, Praia da Galé, Lote 7 - Apartado 108 8201-902, ☎ +351 28 957 0800 ([email protected]), . Close to Praia da Galé and only 6km away from the centre. On-line booking
- Vila Galé PRAIA, Praia da Galé, Lote 33 - Apartado 2204 8201-917, ☎ +351 28 959 0180 ([email protected]), . Located right at Praia da Galé, 5min away from Albufeira. On-line booking.
- Porto Bay Falésia, Quinta do Milharó, Olhos d´Água, ☎ +351 28 900 7700 ([email protected]), . Located over the red cliffs and with direct access to the beach.
There's also a pascha which is very nice, only €3 to get in!
- Eden Resort, Vale de Santa Maria, ☎ +351 28 900 2700 ([email protected]), . A condominium with luxury villas and apartments.
- Encosta da Orada, Rua Jose Ramos Pimenta, ☎ +351 28 938 1551, . Rooms equipped with TV, kitchenette, refrigerator and microwave. Swimming pool, casino, garden, tennis court, golf course, room service, dry cleaning, parking, bicycle rental and airport shuttle. €145.98 and up.
- Jardins de Santa Eulalia, Estrada de Santa Eulalia (500m from Santa Eulália Beach), ☎ +351 28 938 1551, . Rooms equipped with in-room safe, kitchenette, refrigerator, fireplace, television and dining area. Bar/lounge, garden, outdoor swimming pool, airport shuttle, laundry service and car rental service. €145.98 and up.
Lagos, Silves, Lagoa, Tavira, Evora, Milfontes, Troia, Lisbon.
From the Old Town to the railway station the easiest route is by taxi (it's 6km). This can be bought quite reasonably for 8-10€, and the journey time is 5-10min. The first train leaves for Lisbon at 07:19 and takes 2h 40min, other services take 3h 20min so be sure to check when the trains arrive/depart. Definitely book and print tickets in advance, (there's an English version, just click the flag). Return journey cost €32 for a regular class seat. It's well worth the money and you see lots of Portugal on the way.
Sand Sculpture Festival Algarve
- Alte - known for its Springs, typical Algarve village
- Castle of Silves - Silves, about 19km (12 miles) from Albufeira
- International Sand Sculpture Festival - Each year 25 May-25 Oct in Pêra (about 28min drive from Albufeira )