The best guide to Albufeira

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Albufeira 1 Week Holiday -
A Suggested Itinerary and Tour

Albufeira is the Algarve’s most popular tourist destination and a holiday to the area provides fantastic beaches, great restaurants and lively nightlife. Most visitors come to the region to relax on the beaches and socialise in the evenings but for the more intrepid visitor the entire central Algarve can be easily explored from Albufeira. This guide will provide a suggested 1 week itinerary for a holiday to Albufeira.

Suggested itinerary for 1 week Albufeira

• Day 1 – Day trip to Silves

• Day 2 – Albufeira beach and the old town

• Day 3 - Day trip to Faro

• Day 4 – Zoomarine or Slide and Splash

• Day 5 – Day trip to Lagos

• Day 6 - Day trip to Loule (on Saturday)

• Day 7 – Portimão and Praia da Rocha

All of the day trips listed above can be easily reached via the extensive and inexpensive bus network, all of which departs from Albufeira bus station just north of the town. For this itinerary it may be worth considering the unlimited bus pass for 3 days or 7 days, which includes all EVA and Frota Azul buses.

Albufeira early in the evening

Albufeira beach

Day 1 – Day trip to Silves

During the Moors’ 11th century rule of the Algarve, Silves was the capital of the region and a major port and trading town. Today, Silves is one of the most scenic towns of the Algarve filled with remnants of this illustrious past. There are section of the imposing city walls, ancient churches and the magnificent red brick castle that dominates the skyline.

silves portugal

The pretty town of Silves and the imposing castle

Silves is situated on the banks of the slow flowing Arade River and the cobbled streets that led up to the castle are filled with open air cafes and restaurants. Silves has an infectious unhurried ambience and is as much an opposite of bustling Albufeira as possible.

Se Cathedral Silves

The Se Cathedral in Silves

Silves can be fully explored within half a day and is ideal for a day trip from Albufeira. Silves is connected to Albufeira by a direct bus service, which takes 40 minutes and a single ticket costs €4.30. If during your holiday you are only able to take one day trip then Silves should be the destination to visit.

Day 2 - Albufeira beach and the old town

The Algarve is famed for its beautiful beaches and no holiday would be complete without a visit to the beach. There are two main beaches in Albufeira the Praia do Peneco and Praia dos Pescadores and both are ideal to enjoy the glorious weather of the Algarve. If the sun gets too much parasols can be hired (15E per day) or take a dip in the freezing sea waters to cool off.

Albufeira beach

The stunning beach of Albufeira

For the remainder of the day it is suggested to explore the old town, with its winding streets and steep hills, from which there are amazing sea views. In the evening visit one of the many great restaurants and try a delicious fresh fish dishes.

Albufeira cat

The Albufeira cat luxuriating above the beach

Day 4 – Zoomarine or Slide and Splash

The suggestion for the fourth day is to experience one of the Algarve’s excellent theme or water parks. Slide and Splash is considered as the best water park in the Algarve with a wide selection of fumes, lazy rivers and pools. It may not be for all ages but for those who enjoy water parks will have a fantastic time.


Zoomarine is a combined wildlife park that specialises in marine animals and water park. The wildlife section is excellent, with well cared for animals and numerous shows throughout the day. Popular animal shows include the dolphin performance, two wild bird shows and the sea lions. Zoomarine is not cheap but is highly recommended for families. There are shuttle buses to both theme parks from Albufeira but expect both attractions to be busy during the summer months.

Day 5 – Day trip to Lagos

Lagos is the historic seafaring city that is situated on the western edge of the Algarve. From the harbours that now make up the marina, ships sailed to the furthest edges of the globe and brought back such riches as to transform Portugal into one of Europe’s most influential countries.

city walls of Lagos

The city walls of Lagos

Lagos has responsibly developed into a popular tourist destination by retaining its charming and heritage. The little fort stands at the mouth of the estuary while in the town centre are churches, traditional shops and buildings. In the heart of Lagos stands the old market which was once a slave market.

historic centre of Lagos

Lagos is a great day trip for 1 week in Albufeira

Close to Lagos is the Algarve’s best natural feature, the Ponte de Piede headland. The headland is exposed to the might of the Atlantic Ocean and the sandstone cliffs have been carved, caves, grottos and sea arches. The Ponte de Piede is best explored from the water and tour boats can be chartered from Lagos harbour.

Ponte de Piede

The stunning Ponte de Piede coastline

Lagos is the final stop of the Algarve railway but as Albufeira train station is not close to the main resort it is best to travel to Lagos by bus. The bus journey from Albufeira to Lagos takes 1h15 and a single ticket costs €5.50.

Day 6 - Day trip to Loule

Loule is a busy Portuguese market town that is to the north east of Albufeira. During the week (except Sundays) the market of fresh produce, fish and local delicacies, is housed within a distinctive Moorish styled covered market, but on Saturdays the market is much larger and fills the surrounding streets.

market building in Loule

The North African inspired market building in Loule

The Saturday gypsy market is a chaotic mixtures of sounds, smells and colours, with local produce sold next to junk and is a great place to experience the Portuguese way of life. The market is an early morning experience and most of the stalls are closed by lunch time.

castle walls of Loule

The castle walls of Loule

Loule is best visited on a Saturday to visit the market and should be avoided on Sundays when the covered market is shut. The direct bus from Albufeira to Loulé takes 30 minutes and a single ticket costs €4.30.

Day 7 – Portimão and Praia da Rocha (1 week in Albufeira)

There are two side to Portimão; the pleasant and traditional centre or the busy beach resort of Praia da Rocha, just to the south of the city. Portimão is very laid back for such a major town and has large open plazas, pleasant pedestrian shopping streets and a marina. Portimão has some of the best shopping of the central Algarve and is the place to pick up those last minute gifts. Apart from the pedestrian streets of the city centre there is a large 3 floored shopping centre called Aqua shopping.

beach of Praia de Rocha

The beach of Praia da Rocha

Praia da Rocha is busy beach resort that has a beautiful coastline and a large number of massive hotel complexes that line the tops of the cliffs. Praia da Rocha has many similarities to Albufeira and offers a great, social nightlife. The bus from Albufeira to Portimão takes 45 minutes and a single ticket costs €4.60.

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