The best independent guide to Albufeira
The best independent guide to Albufeira
Albufeira is the Algarve’s premier resort town, which boasts glorious beaches, a charming old quarter and a buzzing atmosphere.
Albufeira is often purely regarded as a beach holiday destination, but there is a surprising amount to see and do within the surrounding region. This guide will detail the most popular sights and activities for a holiday to Albufeira.
Related articles: Albufeira introduction – Albufeira day trips – Algarve top 10
Albufeira is a wonderful destination and as it is able to cater for a wide variety of tourists. The following is a quick summary of the best activities depending on the style of holiday you are planning:
Note: all links open new tabs
The remainder of this article will detail the sights and activities of Albufeira in greater depth.
You will be spoilt for choice when choosing where to eat, as Albufeira boasts over 500 eating establishments, covering every style, cuisine and budget.
Extending for 2km from the Old Town is a stretch of golden sands, and clear seawaters, which is always a hive of activity in the summer. The Praia dos Pescadores, is the most popular section of this beach and originally fishing boats were pulled on to the sands.
The Praia da Oura is to the east of Albufeira and is situated at the base of “the Strip”. This is another beautiful beach, with an assortment of beach activities, and a great place to recover after a big night out!
Related articles: Albufeira beach guide
You will be spoilt for choice when choosing where to eat, as Albufeira boasts over 500 eating establishments, covering every style, cuisine and budget. Algarve regional dishes tend to be based around freshly caught fish or shellfish.
One dish which you must try during your holiday is Cataplana, a seafood rice stew. The dish is cooked and served in a large copper pot, which resembles a clam, and is designed to be shared.
Albufeira contains an eclectic mix of bars ranging from tacky and themed through to uber-chic and style lead. Within the town are two very distinct nightlife areas; the Old Town and The Strip.
The Old Town is more family and conventional holiday focused, with patrons entertained by live music and socialising over a beer or glass of wine.
The Strip is for wild nights, excessive-drinking, and banging tunes until the sunrises. Clubs on the Strip include Heaven, Kiss and Vida while Kadoc (halfway between Albufeira and Vilamoura) is the Algarve’s biggest and best nightclub.
Departing from the marina are an assortment of different boat trips, which include tours of the coastline, dolphin watching and deep-sea fishing. For thrill seekers, there are speedboat tours, jet boats or jet-skis, while for stag or hen do's there are party boats with unlimited drinks.
The Algarve sea waters are the migratory route for dolphins heading from the warm Mediterranean to the food-rich Atlantic Ocean. There are daily sightings of dolphins in their natural environment, and fortunately, they are also not too far from the shoreline.
Note: The Portuguese respect their wild dolphins, and will never cause distress to them just to please tourists.
The boat tour prices vary depending on the length of the tour, the novelty of the boat, and additional activities, typical cost are:
• 3-hour coastline and dolphin watching tour €35/€20 (adult/child)
• 30-minute jet boat ride (€30 adult)
• 3-hour deep sea fishing for snapper, mackerel, grouper €35/€25 (adult/child)
• 3-hour sunset party boat (including drinks) €30
Over the last 6 years we have worked with GetYourGuide.com, and some of their best tours from Albufeira include:
There are three excellent water parks close to Albufeira; Slide and Splash, Aqualand and Aquashow. These water parks contain gravity-defying flumes, near vertical slides and wave pools, and provide excitement for children of all ages.
The only downside to all of this fun, are the expensive entrance fees (€27/€19 adult/child), links to the English websites are:
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Silves is the best day trip from Albufeira. During the Moors era (9-12th century) Silves was the capital of the Algarve, and trade flowed down the Arade River to cross the Mediterranean to North Africa. Protecting the Moorish town were some of the strongest walls ever built in Portugal, while standing high above the town is the imposing red brick castle.
Silves is incredibly scenic with pretty cobbled streets and traditional Portuguese houses. Silves is connected to Albufeira by a direct bus (€4.30, 40 minutes).
Related articles: Silves introduction
Zoomarine is a wonderful marine park that specialises in dolphins, marine life and tropical birds. In the park, there is a wide selection of activities including dolphin shows, aquariums, and a recent water park with slides, wave pools and rapids. The animals of Zoomarine are kept in modern facilities, and all are well cared for, while the park activity promotes conservation and rehabilitates rescued animals.
Zoomarine is an outstanding excursion and the variety of attractions means the park is suitable for all ages. The entrance fee is €29/ €21 (adult/child) and transfers from Albufeira can be organised. Their official website is https://www.zoomarine.pt/en/
Can you escape from a creepy hostel basement in only an hour, using purely your wits and intelligence?
The Escape Room in Albufeira (Mission Masters) is highly recommended and great fun. The hours' puzzle-solving, and mystery costs €50/75/90 (1-2/3-4/5-6 players), and the two rooms are in English. Further information can be found on their website:
Loulé is a charming market town, which provides an authentic Portuguese experience. The town has a pretty daily market (except Sunday), which is housed in a North African inspired covered market. Surrounding the market are pretty cobbled backstreets filled with quaint house and small shops.
Loulé has a distinctively Portuguese ambience, with locals socialising in open air cafes, women gossiping in doorways and old men spending all day sat on the same bench; Loulé is wholly different from Albufeira. Loulé is connected to Albufeira by a direct bus service.
Related articles: Loule introduction
For those very infrequent wet days a trip to the cinema may be the perfect day time activity. The latest movies are shown with English audio, as Portuguese movies have subtitles (and not dubbed), the only exception are children’s movies. Albufeira’s cinema is in the Algarve Shopping complex, and the latest listings can be seen of the Nos Cinema website:
(link opens new tab, which unfortunately is only in Portuguese, the Algarve cinema is called "Forum Algarve")
The Algarve is famed for it’s wonderful golf courses and though Albufeira is not a common golf based holiday destination, it is very easy to both hire clubs and travel to the courses. The three golf courses close to Albufeira are Salgados (18hole), Pine cliffs (9hole) and Balaia (9hole).
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