Paradisiacal beaches, warm temperatures, good food, fun and dancing until sunrise. If these are the ingredients for your dream vacation, then Albufeira is an excellent choice for your next summer getaway!
Table of Contents
Albufeira is a city in the Algarve internationally recognized as a tourist destination of great quality. It has countless beaches of great beauty, some of them located in the urban area, just a few meters from the city’s hotels. Besides its wonderful beaches, Albufeira is also known for the intensity and diversity of its nightlife. This way, you will always find ways to relax and have fun, any time of the day or night!
WHERE IS IT AND HOW TO GET TO ALBUFEIRA?
Albufeira is a city in the Algarve, in southern Portugal, and belongs to the district of Faro. For those already in Portugal, there are several ways to get to Albufeira. From Lisbon, the best option is the car, in a trip that takes two and a half hours. For those coming from abroad and arriving in Portugal via Faro airport, a drive to Albufeira takes just over half an hour. The Faro-Albufeira trip can also be made by train and bus.
WHEN TO VISIT ALBUFEIRA?
Albufeira is a very sunny city, with clear skies all year round. In the winter months the temperatures are lower (on average 12ºC) but the main obstacle when visiting the city at this time of year is the fact that many restaurants, bars and points of interest have reduced opening hours or are closed. If you want to avoid the crowds and don’t mind milder temperatures, the spring months can be a good time to spend a few days in this Algarve city.
AIR AND WATER TEMPERATURE IN ALBUFEIRA
The summer months are, without a doubt, the best time to visit Albufeira. In the summer, temperatures are around 30ºC and the city receives a pleasant sea breeze. The sea temperature is also very pleasant between June and September, with some places where it reaches 22ºC!
WHAT TO VISIT AND DO IN ALBUFEIRA?
BEACHES (PRAIAS) AT ALBUFEIRA
Albufeira is a beach (praia) destination par excellence. If you are planning to visit Albufeira, surely you want to do it to enjoy its wonderful beaches. We know that we don’t have to convince you to go and visit the beaches of this Algarve town. That said, our goal in the following paragraphs is to point out the best and most famous beaches in this region, as well as the strong points of each of them, to help you choose where you want to stretch your towel and work on your tan! Below is a map with the main beaches of the city. We hope it will be useful!
Praia dos Pescadores beach is located in the urban area of Albufeira, so the access to the beach is very simple. The beach received this name due to the constant presence of fishermen. It is a beach much sought after by tourists, especially British. Its fame is not surprising, since in the summer its waters reach 22ºC! On New Year’s Eve, the beach is the stage for several festivities and concerts. In recent years, the infrastructure and support has been improved, making this beach even more attractive!
Praia do Peneco is another of the beaches that are located in the urban area of Albufeira. The access to the sand is made through a tunnel, which connects the historic center of Albufeira to the beach. For this reason, it is sometimes also called Praia do Túnel. Due to its location, it is a very popular beach with bathers in the summer months. Sometimes it is crowded and it is difficult to find a place. This beach has several services and is well served by bars and restaurants in the vicinity.
If you are in the center of Albufeira, you only need ten minutes to get to Inatel Beach! This is one of the many blue flag beaches in the region, which has good support and services.
Despite being so close to the center, it has parking facilities. It is a beach much sought after by tourists staying in the hotels and resorts nearby. Its clear and calm waters make it an ideal beach for those traveling with children. The extensive sand makes it possible to carry out various sports activities and family games.
Praia da Oura is a wonderful blue flag beach, with a sandy beach almost one kilometer long! It is very well served by support services and shops. In addition, it is located near an area of tourist accommodation. These factors, combined with its natural beauty, make Oura Beach very popular with national and foreign tourists in the summer. Come and visit this beach and take a long walk by the sea!
It is a huge and imposing cliff that embraces this beach and gives it its name. But what really distinguishes this beach from the others is its size: Praia da Falésia has a giant sandy beach, more than 5km long! At the top of the cliff there is a pine forest that provides beautiful views of the beach and where you can go hiking. This beach is great for swimming, since it has no rocks. Access is via a wooden staircase and parking is available.
SÃO RAFAEL BEACH
São Rafael Beach has a relatively small sandy beach. On hot summer days it is common to get crowded. It is a very beautiful beach, with crystal clear water and white sand. It also stands out for its interesting rock formations. This beach has several supports and services. It is also important to mention that it is a beach with good accessibility for people with reduced mobility, with footbridges and a ramp that connects the parking lot to the sand.
OLHOS DE ÁGUA BEACH
Olhos de Água beach is located in a fishing village with the same name. Olhos de Água, or eyes of water, are small freshwater springs that come to the surface on the sand and make this beach different from others in the region and so special. Like the other beaches in the Algarve, it is characterized by a white sandy beach, crystal clear waters and jagged cliffs, where it is possible to observe the local fauna. This is a very popular and appreciated beach in the summer months. Next to the beach, there is an excellent esplanade area and also a tree-lined promenade.
Praia da Galé is an extensive sandy beach, much appreciated by Portuguese bathers. There is a cliff that divides the beach in two. However, it is possible to cross the cliff via a staircase and enjoy both sides of the beach. In the east the landscape is dominated by cliffs, while in the west the dunes are predominant. The water is a bit colder than at other beaches in the area. Still, we think this beach is well worth a visit and enjoy its almost wild beauty. We are sure you won’t regret it!
Albufeira was one of the last Islamic strongholds in Portugal. Its castle was the last to be recaptured by the Christians in 1249. The marks of the Arab presence in Albufeiram last until today, either in the very name of the city, either by its narrow streets with white houses. The earthquake of 1755 did a lot of damage to the town of Albufeira. A giant wave that was formed due to the earthquake completely devastated the lower part of Albufeira. Fishing was, since early times, one of the main economic activities of the region. In the 1960s, Albufeira began to develop as a tourist area and gained international fame. In 1986 it is elevated to the category of city.
STREETS AND DOWNTOWN ALBUFEIRA
Set aside a morning or afternoon to get to know the center of Albufeira. Below is a map to guide you.
OLD TOWN, ALBUFEIRA
Cidade Velha, also known as the old center, is the oldest part of Albufeira. It is situated on top of a cliff and is the ideal place for relaxing walks. In the Old Town of Albufeira we find elements of traditional Algarve architecture and some traces of the Islamic presence, such as a silo and cisterns. This is where the Clock Tower, one of the symbols of Albufeira, is located. From the top of the Tower you get beautiful views over the city. In this area, there is a wide range of bars and restaurants, as well as stores with local handicrafts.
5TH OCTOBER STREET (RUA)
Rua 5 de Outubro is one of the main streets in Albufeira. The floor of this street is made of Portuguese cobblestones, with intricate black and white patterns. It is a commercial street, where you will find several handicraft and souvenir stores. Here there is also a belvedere where you can enjoy the sea views and take some pictures of the landscape. At the end of Rua 5 de Outubro is the tunnel that leads to Praia do Peneco.
ENGENHEIRO DUARTE PACHECO SQUARE
Largo Engenheiro Duarte Pacheco is the address of Albufeira’s old power plant. Currently, this building houses the Pintor Samora Barros Art Gallery. This square is best known for being the starting point of Albufeira’s nightlife. It is here that, at nightfall, people gather and begin their journey between the various bars and clubs of the city. For this reason, it is a very lively and busy square, especially after sunset.
OTHER ATTRACTIONS AND ACTIVITIES
Whether you are traveling with family or friends, Albufeira offers a huge range of interesting activities that will provide you with unforgettable moments. We dedicate the following lines to present some unmissable activities in Albufeira, including some that you may not know and that will make you, at least, curious to know more. We hope you enjoy them!
Parasailing is an adrenaline activity that can be practiced individually or in groups. In Albufeira, there are several entities that offer the service. It consists of a trip in a boat that pulls a parachute. By moving at high speed, the boat allows practitioners to reach altitudes of 80 meters! This sport provides strong sensations of adventure and freedom, by making the practitioners hover in the air, in the middle of the ocean!
KAYAKING IN ALBUFEIRA
The Albufeira area is characterized by calm waters, which makes it ideal for kayaking! This is an excellent way to explore the interior of caves and go to beaches in more secluded areas in complete safety. It is, without a doubt, a unique opportunity that you should not miss! No experience or equipment is required. The activity lasts about two hours and is always accompanied by a specialized guide.
Zoomarine is a park that combines entertainment and education, whose main attraction are the dolphin shows. A visit to Zoomarine is a guarantee of a day well spent with the family, because this park offers activities and attractions for all tastes. Besides the famous dolphin shows, there are also other animals and pools of various types. Zoomarine has several services for you to visit with all comfort, and also has stores and restaurants.
RIDING A JET SKI
Jet-skiing is a very interesting activity for speed lovers, which allows you to fly over the waves and do acrobatics. This is one of the most popular water activities in the Algarve. In Albufeira, it can be practiced at the Marina or Praia da Oura. Instructors will teach you everything you need to know before you try it for the first time, and you can opt for a 15, 30 or 60 minute experience. Jet-skiing can be done individually or in pairs.
TRY FLYBOARDING IN ALBUFEIRA
Flyboarding is a sport that can be summed up in a single word: adrenaline! This recent radical sport combines elements of other activities, such as kitesurfing, wakeboarding and jet-skiing. The service is provided by the company Flyboard Algarve and is located at Praia da Oura.
The motto of this activity is “Fly like a bird, dive like a dolphin!” and that is exactly what you will do if you decide to try flyboarding! Flyboarding allows you to hover in the air and dive into the sea, with pirouettes and speed to mix. A unique experience!
GO TO A WATER PARK
A day spent at a water park is an excellent choice for family travelers. These parks have several amusements that provide a full day. There are different zones indicated for the most diverse age groups, attractions for adrenaline fans and others more suitable for those who prefer to relax. There are also restaurants, snack bars and picnic areas. Two examples of water parks near Albufeira are Aquashow and Aqualand. Floating water parks are located on beaches and in the marina and are the best option for those who want to enjoy the activities of this type of park but only for a few hours.
DOLPHIN WATCHING IN ALBUFEIRA
If you visit Albufeira, you should not miss the opportunity to see dolphins in their natural environment! There are several dolphin watching tours that leave from Albufeira Marina. You will be guided by experienced professionals who know where to find these animals. Dolphins are curious and intelligent animals and we are sure you will love to see them up close! Don’t forget to bring your camera to record this unforgettable experience.
DIVING IN ALBUFEIRA
If you have never experienced scuba diving, then your visit to Albufeira is the ideal occasion to do so! There are several companies that are prepared to give diving courses in the pool or in the sea and that provide the necessary equipment. For the more experienced, Albufeira is the perfect stage for a diving session! The beauty of this region is not limited to the surface. Underwater, you will find underwater caves and reef areas. In addition, along the coast there are several sunken ships, which will awaken your more adventurous side!
RIDE IN THE MINITRAIN, ALBUFEIRA
A ride on Albufeira’s tourist mini-train is a very fun activity, especially for those traveling with children. This funny train circulates through the main points of the city, which makes it a good way to get to know Albufeira. There are three stops where you can start the trip. The train runs between 9am and 11pm in the winter months, and between 9am and 1am in the summer months.
VISITING THE ADVENTURE PARK
Parque Aventura is a theme park for the whole family. This park offers two activities: paintball and tree climbing. Paintball is an activity that needs no introduction and that is practiced in a large forest area. As for tree climbing, it is an activity in contact with the trees, which consists of a route at height, passing through several obstacles. The safety conditions in the park are guaranteed and there is also a picnic area.
VIRTUAL TOUR TO ALBUFEIRA
GO OUT AT NIGHT IN ALBUFEIRA
Albufeira’s nightlife is one of the great draws of this Algarve town and makes it very popular with those who like to make the most of the night! Albufeira is a city that never sleeps, especially in the summer months, and there is live music all year round. Throughout the city, there is an endless supply of restaurants, bars and discos. In the restaurants you will find typical Portuguese food, but also gastronomy from other parts of the world, especially Asian cuisine. As far as bars and clubs are concerned, there is a strip that crosses several streets in town, stretching from Largo Engenheiro Duarte Pacheco to Rua da Oura. On this strip, you will find an offer for all tastes and establishments that stay open until dawn. In the summer months, the beach bars are open at night and there is no lack of entertainment!
MONUMENTS AND CULTURE IN ALBUFEIRA
Between going to the beach and going out at night, take a little time to get to know Albufeira better. Below, we give you some suggestions of cultural heritage that you can visit in this city in the Algarve, to make your vacation an even more enriching experience. Below is a map to help you organize your visits.
SAINT SEBASTIÃO CHURCH
The São Sebastião Church is located in the old part of Albufeira and dates back to the 18th century. On the outside, two very interesting portals stand out. One of them is in Manueline style and predates the 1755 earthquake. The other presents a baroque style and corresponds to the current construction. Inside the church there is a sacred art museum. This museum resulted from the gathering of several religious artifacts from the region in this church after the earthquake. The ticket to visit the museum costs only 2€.
MOTHER CHURCH IN ALBUFEIRA
Albufeira’s Mother Church was commissioned in the 18th century to replace the old church, which was totally destroyed in the 1755 earthquake. This church has a neoclassical style and a single nave. Above the main door of the church is a cross of Avis. This cross refers to the military order to whom the king gave Albufeira after the reconquest. Inside the Mother Church there is an altarpiece by Samora Barros, a painter born in Albufeira in the 20th century.
The Igreja de Sant’Ana is a small church dating from the 18th century. In its interior there are several points of interest, such as the altarpiece of Nossa Senhora das Dores, an image of a crucified Christ, and a wooden altarpiece in the main chapel. The church is currently in operation, yet it is open to visits from the public. Just be aware that you should not visit while mass is in progress.
VISIT THE ARCHEOLOGICAL MUSEUM, ALBUFEIRA
The Municipal Archaeological Museum of Albufeira is located in the old town hall and was inaugurated in 1999. The museum brings together the archaeological remains of the city, which are presented in an exhibition chronologically organized into four nuclei: Prehistory, Roman Period, Visigothic-Islamic Period and Modern Age. This museum also offers guided tours of the old town of Albufeira. The museum can be visited from Tuesday to Sunday between 9:30 am and 5:30 pm.