Originally a small fishing village, Albufeira has grown into a large, bustling tourist resort. But from the pretty old town to the modern new marina, there is a lot to explore both here and in the surrounding area. Enjoy a coffee or a glass of wine in the main square Largo Duarte Pacheco where locals and tourists alike congregate, and people watch to your heart’s content. Hire a car and explore nearby fishing villages or one of the dozens of beaches along this stretch of coast, or venture inland to historic Silves
Beaches are easy to find in Albufeira, with the popular town beaches offering water sports, sun loungers and beach bars aplenty. However, venture away from these tourist hotspots and you’ll find a different beach for each day of your holiday, with São Rafael, Castelo and Galé some of the most beautiful stretches of sand in the central Algarve
Things to Do
The pedestrian-friendly old town, right on the seafront, is the perfect place to wander and soak up the atmosphere, stopping to watch street artists entertain the crowds, or for a coffee and Portuguese custard tart in one of the many cafes and restaurants. Take a boat trip from the marina and keep an eye out for dolphins, or head along the coast to laidback fishing village Carvoerio for a change of pace. Head inland to Silves on the banks of the Rio Arade, when you can follow the cobbled streets up to the Moorish castle, or stroll along the riverside. Golfers meanwhile will appreciate the range of championship golf courses nearby.
Eating and Drinking
In Gale, Vila Joya’s restaurant, which has been awarded two Michelin stars, is an experience not to be missed. In Albufeira and the surrounding area, you will find Portuguese restaurants serving up grilled fresh fish and seafood stew with rice, usually with a stunning waterfront view. Excellent restaurants can be found on the beaches at Gale and Sao Rafael. Both Monte Gordo and Albufeira also have piri-piri (spicy seasoning) chicken restaurants and crisp, cold vinho verde (young wine) from the north of Portugal is a popular choice on a hot summer’s day. Try local desserts made from almonds and figs, and finish with a shot of Monchique’s medronho, a spirit distilled from the fruit of the ‘strawberry tree’.
Nightlife and Entertainment
Albufeira’s bustling old town is full of restaurants, bars, live music venues and discos, and there’s something for everyone here whether you want a quiet cocktail or to dance until dawn. The strip has a flashy, more touristy atmosphere, with an abundance of bars, discos and nightclubs, as well as plenty of places to practice your karaoke skills. For something a little more chilled out, there are plenty of beach bars dotted along the central Algarve coast.