The best independent guide to the Algarve
The best independent guide to the Algarve
Albufeira is the Algarve's most famous and vibrant resort towns. The town is crammed with all the tourist attractions and amenities needed for a fun-filled holiday, while still retaining much of its traditional Portuguese character.
Is Albufeira worthwhile a day trip?
Albufeira is a popular holiday destination, but it is often overlooked by day trippers: this is a shame as there is a lot that can be done in a day.
Found within Albufeira are picturesque beaches, a delightful historic centre, along with the many hundreds of bars and restaurants that the town is famed for. Albufeira's vibrant and exciting atmosphere can also be a great experience if you are on holiday in one of the quieter towns or villages.
Related articles:Albufeira activities and sights
A day trip to Albufeira in the summer
During the summer, Albufeira is the party destination of the Algarve. The Old Town is packed all day with holidaymakers of all nationalities and ages, while the New Town (and The Strip) attracts groups wanting to party to excess all day long.
If you are planning a day trip in the summer, you may want to skip the New Town area and just focus on the charming old town.
The Praia dos Pescadores - The beautiful sandy beach that extends along Albufeira's coastline and is considered to be one of the Algarve's finest beaches.
The Old Town – The historic quarter of Albufeira, filled with pretty cobbled streets and whitewashed buildings that meander up the hill to where the castle once stood.
Miradouro do Pau da Bandeira – One of the most famous and photographed viewpoints of the Algarve, with its views over the Old Town and the Praia dos Pescadores beach.
Albufeira’s holiday atmosphere – Albufeira is the liveliest resort within the Algarve region. From May until September, the beaches are packed with holidaymakers, the bars will be social and vibrant, while the Strip will be verging on chaotic. Nowhere else in the Algarve is like Albufeira in the summer!
Albufeira is a sprawling town that has expanded greatly from its old fishing centre.
The town is divided up into three main districts; the Old Town, Areias de São João (frequently referred to as the New Town) and the Marina complex.
For your day trip to Albufeira, you will want to spend the majority of your time in the Old Town. The Marina (1.5 km to the west of the Old Town) is only worthwhile if you want to join a boat tour or have a lot of time and energy to explore.
Areias de São João (New Town) is centralised about 'The Strip', a street lined with theme bars and has a party atmosphere. The Strip is 2 km from the Old Town and, unless you part of a drink-focused group (and under 28), you probably don't want to include it in your day trip.
Albufeira is an enjoyable location for a day trip and differs enormously to other popular destinations such as Faro, Loule, and Silves.
The interactive map below displays a suggested 1-day tour of Albufeira. The tour route begins and ends at the 'Rotunda Relógios' bus stop, which is served by all buses coming from Faro and Vilamoura (see the next section for travel to Albufeira).
The green route displays the suggested walking tour of the Old Town, the blue line is the additional walk to the marina, and the yellow is the tour route including the New Town and The Strip. The tour is explained in detail, with images later in this article. Note: zoom out to see all of the points.
Key: 1) Albufeira town hall 2) Miradouro do Pau da Bandeira viewpoint 3) Praça do Pescador 4) Rua Cândido dos Reis 5) Largo Engenheiro Duarte Pacheco 6) Old Town Viewpoint 7) Albufeira Tunnel 8) Matriz de Albufeira 9) Igreja de Sant'Ana 10) Esplanada Doutor Frutuoso da Silva (cliff top walk) 11) Miradouro Rua Latino Coelho 12) Miradouro Rossio 13) stairs to Peneco beach 14) Praia do Peneco beach 15) Torre do Relógio 16) Museu Municipal 17) Portas Da Villa Antiquity Bar 18) Monumento aos Pescadores 19) Beach viewpoint 20) Praia do Inatel 21) Albufeira marina 22) Praia da Oura beach 23) The Strip
Insight: The 1-day walking tour of Albufeira (green line) is 4.8km, while the Marina section (blue) is an additional 2.7km. If you choose to also see The Strip this is an extra 3.8km.
It is best to catch the bus when travelling to Albufeira, and there are good services from Faro, Vilamoura and Loule. The Algrave bus services are operated by Vamus, and full timetables and routes can be seen on their website: https://vamusalgarve.pt/.
If you take the bus, it is advisable to exit at the 'Rotunda Relógios' bus stop, which is on the Avenida dos Descobrimentos, the main avenue through Albufeira. This is because Albufeira bus station is poorly located, 1.5km north of the town centre.
If you are driving to Albufeira, be aware that parking in the summer months can be tricky. There is no large central car park close to the Old Town, and most of it is pedestrianised. The best option for parking is along the Avenida dos Descobrimentos and the area around the Câmara Municipal (town hall).
Warning: Never take the train to Albufeira, as the train station is located 7 km north of Albufeira, in the small village of Ferreiras.
The following section details the suggested 1-day tour of Albufeira (the green line on the map).
Note: The numbers in the article refer to the markers on the map.
The tour begins on the Avenida dos Descobrimentos, the main road in Albufeira, which is convenient when arriving by bus or parking. This section can be covered quickly as it is far from the most scenic part of the day, and the area is dominated by large hotel complexes and shops.
The Albufeira Câmara Municipal
Behind the Câmara Municipal (1 - town hall) is the Rua Bairro dos Pescadores, which passes through the former fishing quarter of Albufeira and is filled with traditional fishing houses. The street leads to the Miradouro do Pau da Bandeira, and this fantastic viewpoint overlooks the Praia dos Pescadores and the Old Town.
From the viewpoint, take the escalators down to the Praça do Pescador. This plaza marks the spot where Albufeira's fishing boats were hauled ashore and the beach directly in front is called the Praia dos Pescadores (fishermen's beach).
From here, the eastern side of the Old Town is a maze of narrow cobbled streets, crammed with bars and restaurants. The main nightlife street of Rua Cândido dos Reis (4) is particularly lively with bars such as Vegas Bar, Dominos, and Twist Bar.
The Rua Cândido dos Reis bustling night in July
Walking along the Rua Cândido dos Reis leads out onto the historic plaza of Albufeira called Largo Engenheiro Duarte Pacheco (5): This plaza has an excellent selection of restaurants and lively bars, including the popular Sir Harry's bar.
There is a wonderful viewpoint of the Largo Engenheiro Duarte Pacheco (6) from the little street to the south of the plaza that goes past the Restaurante Casanova (which is also one of the best restaurants in the Old Town).
From the viewpoint, head back to the Largo Engenheiro Duarte Pacheco, and walk down the Rua 5 de Outubro, to see one of Albufeira's most famous sights, the 'Albufeira tunnel' (7). This 20 metre-long tunnel (which was originally a sea cave) cuts through the cliff and connects the town to the Praia do Peneco beach.
The Albufeira tunnel at night is one of the most popular photo locations.
Rather than walking through the tunnel, head along the route to baroque Igreja Matriz de Albufeira (8), which dates from the 18th century and was originally the site of a mosque. Further up the road is the Igreja de Sant'Ana (9).
The Igreja de Sant'Ana
From here, take the beautiful Esplanada Doutor Frutuoso da Silva cliff-top walk (10) around the western headland to get a glimpse of the Algarve's sublime coastline. Along the pathway, there are historic images of Albufeira, depicting how much the town has changed in the last 60 years.
Further to the south, there are two more outstanding viewpoints; the Miradouro Rua Latino Coelho (11) and the Miradouro Rossio (12). The Miradouro Rua Latino Coelho is accessed via a raised wooden boardwalk and is a favourite sunspot for Albufeira's cats.
From here, if you still have energy and wish to walk to the marina complex (a further 1.6 km), then continue along the main road (following the blue line on the map). Albufeira marina is filled with colourful apartments and is always a hive of activity, with boat tours continentally departing during the day. Depending on how long you want to make your day trip, you may want to skip visiting it.
The suggested tour now descends the recently constructed stairway to the Praia do Peneco beach (14).
This is a gorgeous beach, which is sheltered from any prevailing winds and strong waves. After you've dabbled your toes in the chilly Algarve water, there is a wooden footpath that will lead you back to the Albufeira Tunnel (7).
The walking tour now climbs the hill to the oldest section of Albufeira, where the fort once stood. At the top of the hill is the Museu Municipal (16) and the distinctive clock tower (the Torre do Relógio 15).
Heading inland from the Museu Municipal, the cobbled streets are peaceful, and it is difficult to imagine you are still in Albufeira.
The clifftop road down (the Rua da Bateria) provides wonderful views of the coastline and eventually leads to the Praça do Pescador.
The Rua da Bateria descends a series of steps and passes the quirky Portas Da Villa Antiquity Bar (17). The exterior of this bar is adorned with hundreds of shells and the interior is also worthy of a look.
On the edge of the Praça do Pescador is the 'Monumento aos Pescadores' (18), which commemorates the fishing heritage of Albufeira.
Before leaving the Praça do Pescador, you may wish to cross the beach and walk along the short pier, which is a favourite location with Portuguese fishermen
The view from the pier viewpoint
The final section of the tour crosses the second headland of Albufeira to the Praia do Inatel beach (20). Here, you could walk along the beach, but there is no wooden footpath. A better choice is to ride the escalator up to the Miradouro do Pau da Bandeira viewpoint (19) and follow the Rua Gago Coutinho road.
Depending on the time of year, the eastern side of the Praia do Inatel Beach is a spectacular location to watch the sunset over Albufeira.
From the Praia do Inatel, there is no particular scenic way back to the Avenida dos Descobrimentos, so we suggest taking the most direct by following our route.
If you wish to extend your day trip and experience the nightlife of 'The Strip' (23), the Avenida Infante Dom Henrique road leads directly into it.
Be warned, this is a 1.5km walk with a very steep hill from the Praia do Inatel. The most popular bars on the Strip are 'Matts Bar' and Renos, or for somewhere a bit trendier, there is Libertos Club.
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