The place that put the Algarve firmly on the ‘top holiday destinations’ map is Albufeira. This scenic former fishing town is brimming with quaint cafés and boutiques updated with modern resort features and a bustling central strip which comes alive at sunset. Albufeira is neatly framed by 30 kilometres of idyllic coastline with a wide range of tranquil beaches and unspoilt bays. Albufeira’s main draw is the choice of 25 beaches, including the family friendly Praia dos Pescadores and the Blue Flag-winning Praia d’Oura, the ideal place for water sports fans. Albufeira’s scenic whitewashed buildings gleam in the warm Algarve sunshine, while the old town area is dotted with historic churches and pretty cobbled alleyways to explore. If you’re planning an Algarve holiday in 2017, Albufeira offers great value for money as it’s just an hour’s drive away from Lagos, the hub of Portugal’s maritime heritage. This historic location saw Henry the Navigator light the touch paper for the Age of Discovery. Whether you’re planning a romantic couples holiday, a family summer getaway or are heading off on a break with a group of friends, Albufeira has all the stunning natural beauty and world class attractions you’re looking for in an unforgettable holiday experience.
Most popular hotels in Albufeira
Auramar Beach Resort
Alfamar Villas - Algarve Gardens Apartments
Balaia Golf Village
Monica Isabel Beach Club
Grande Real Santa Eulalia Resort
Paraiso de Albufeira Aparthotel
At a glance
- Currency: Euro
- Language: Portuguese
- Time Zone: GMT +0
- Average flight time: 3h 0m
When to go
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Irish holidaymakers flock to Albufeira each and every year to enjoy its sun-drenched weather, world-class attractions and authentic Portuguese heritage. This tourist mega resort used to be a traditional fishing village and has everything you’d expect in a buzzing seaside town, with a wide selection of family amenities, restaurants, pubs and clubs. It also makes a great base from which to explore the wider area, which features over a dozen beaches from the quiet and secluded through to bustling superstar beaches. You’ll find Blue Flag beaches, an award given to those with the best cleanliness and amenities, guaranteeing you’ll be enjoying an unforgettable sun, sea and sand experience. Albufeira has excellent transport links, making it easy to navigate the area without the need to hire a car. The town itself is neat and compact, so you can easily walk between beaches and restaurants, and enjoy the gorgeous weather. As with many places in the Algarve, Albufeira has warm weather around the year and very little rainfall. The sea is pleasantly warm during July and August, so you can time your holiday to avoid the summer rush and still enjoy a lovely slice of winter sun.
Wine and Dine
As you’d expect from a coastal town with a large fleet of fishing boats, you’ll find seafood in abundance in Albufeira. Interestingly, Portuguese cuisine has remained largely untouched by foreign cultures and has stayed relatively constant throughout the centuries, with recipes that have been passed down through many generations. Many of the specialities in Albufeira incorporate seafood in some form, including locally caught fish and shellfish. Other popular ingredients include chicken and pork. One of the best-known traditional Portuguse dishes is piri piri, a hot, spicy dish with marinated meat. Another famous dish of Albufeira is sardines, which are generally served expertly grilled with a serving of boiled potatoes and a mountain salad of tomatoes, green peppers and onion. You’ll also want to try cataplanas, an Algarvean dish made with pots shaped like hinged clam lids made from copper or brass used to cook shellfish, fish and meat.
If you’re looking for a top-class family holiday destination, look no further than Albufeira. There’s a wide variety of attractions here that will appeal to all the family, ranging from animal attractions to world-class theme parks and water parks. One of the most popular attractions in Albufeira is the Zoomarine Algarve, an ocean themed park attraction that’s open from March until late October. Situated 10 kilometres from Albufeira, this is a journey you’ll want to make sure you make, with a wide variety of activities to keep the kids entertained. Zoomarine Algarve has an aquarium, birds of prey demonstrations, sea lion shows and the opportunity to have fun with bottlenose dolphins. If you’re looking for water based fun that’s suited to your little ones, opt for Slide and Splash, Portugal’s largest water park, which is also considered one of the best in Europe. Best of all, there’s direct bus journeys between the water park and Albufeira, taking care of tired little legs.
Action and Adventure
If you’re an adrenaline junkie hearing the call of the soft sands and clear waters of the Albufeira coastline, you’ll be pleased to learn that there’s a wide range of thrilling sports and outdoor activities to take your pick from. Just some of the things to do in and around Albufeira include dolphin watching, Segway tours, birdwatching, sailing, sidecar tours, kayaking, pirate themed cruises, coasteering and fishing boat tours. You can also rent a scooter to explore the area at your own pace, the best way to enjoy the picturesque scenery and rugged terrains you’ll find dotted around the landscape.
Life's a Beach
Albufeira is a true superstar of the ‘sun, sea and sand’ destinations, with no fewer than 25 beaches to choose from. Whether you prefer tranquil, secluded beaches and shady spots to relax, or bustling, tourist-friendly beaches, Albufeira has a wide selection of beaches to keep everybody happy. In the old town is Praia dos Pescadores, known as Fisherman’s Beach, a family oriented beach with a variety of great options for dining. At the bottom of the strip, you’ll find Praia d’Oura, a five km long stretch of Blue Flag-winning beach that’s ideal for water sports enthusiasts. To the east is Praia de Falesia, an intimate beach nestled amidst ochre cliffs. Praia de Sao Rafael has a long stretch of sand sheltered by ochre and red cliffs, with easy access via a set of steps and a beach bar to keep you topped up with snacks and drinks. Alternatively, there’s Praia dos Arrifes, situated close to the village of Sesmarias, where there’s a range of striking rock formations to admire. While Praia dos Arrifes is not the biggest of the beaches, the beach offers captivating views over the bay and is particularly beautiful at high tide.
Albufeira’s most famous nightlife destination is The Strip, the ideal place for all-night dancing and drinking. Situated a few kilometres south of the city centre, Albufeira’s Strip is on Avenida Dr Francisco Sà Carneiro, close to many of the main resorts and hotels. The nightlife here is varied, ranging from bustling nightclubs with early-morning opening hours, to sports bars and karaoke venues. The party often spills out onto the streets with impromptu festivities, so it’s easy to mix it up between the bars to suit your mood at the time. Matt’s Bar is a favourite with many tourists, thanks to the affordably priced drinks, top-notch DJs and even a mechanical bucking bronco. For a nightlife scene that’s more mature and low-key, visit the Old Town. Here you’ll find street performers and entertainment that lasts until the early hours, but the entertainment tends to be quieter and more upmarket than that of The Strip. There’s even a train here that runs into the early morning hours, making it easy to get between nightlife venues and restaurants.
Albufeira is a great destination for couples seeking a romantic, tranquil getaway and the opportunity to spend plenty of quality time together. In Albufeira itself, the Old Town is the best place for enjoying a romantic ambience as a couple, with a picturesque town square lined with lush trees and bright shrubbery, and a good selection of restaurants, cafés and pubs. If you’re keen to impress your significant other with a special gift, the streets that lead off from the square are a haven for shoppers with a range of high quality clothing, and leather goods shops, street stalls and markets. The wider Algarve area is exceptionally romantic, owing to the picturesque scenery and good range of romantic activities on offer. For a romantic day out, take a trip on the Catamaran Mara for a sunset voyage complete with Champagne and the chance to take a dip from the boat if the mood takes you. We have a wide range of adults only hotels to choose from in Albufeira, so you’re sure to find the right place for plenty of uninterrupted couples time away from the kids and the stresses of everyday life.
Albufeira is known for its thriving cultural scene and jam-packed calendar, so there’s sure to be some kind of festival on during your visit. From June through to September over the peak summer period is Albufeira’s busiest time festival-wise, with a number of public events featuring live music and dancing, as well as performance theatre. July sees the area come alive with Festa do Frango no Churrasco, a three day celebration of chicken. Foodies will delight in the huge chicken barbeques held on the beach and many other attractions, all revolving around the much-loved chicken. In August, Albufeira celebrates its municipal holiday, with fireworks in the evening and sports events running through the daytime. If you’re visiting during September, it’s likely you’ll come across the big jazz festival that’s held here each year.