Located on the coast, about 36 kilometres west of Faro, Albufeira is synonymous with tourism and features some of southern Portugal's best beaches. The region was once a fishing village, and it still holds something of its classic character. A labyrinth of steep, narrow streets lined with whitewashed houses and fishermen's cottages leading down to the astonishing beaches is what the town of Albufeira looks like.
The city's original Arabic name, Al-Buhera means "castle on the sea" and there are some beautiful Moorish arches in the towers. Modern Albufeira is, nonetheless, the Algarve's tourism capital, a thriving centre with hotels, restaurants and stores.
Looping water slides, wave pools, pirate ships, and lazy rivers are what makes this Zoomarine attract families. Situated a 20-minute drive north-west of Albufeira, Zoomarine key attractions like the water cannon of Aquasplash and a high Big Wheel. This aquatic park is usually open from March to November, and there are also dolphin shows and swim-with-dolphins shows for the littles ones to enjoy.
The rich Atlantic waters are blustering with marine wildlife, and dolphin cruises are one of the best ways to get up close with these gentle creatures. They leave regularly from Albufeira Marina throughout the summer season.
The trip takes around 2.5 hours and takes past the sea caves and sands of Carvoeiro – a popular spot for all sorts of cetaceans. You'll have the chance to spot the elegant marine mammals, a pitstop to swim near a gorgeous beach, and many opportunities to take great photos.
The old city surrounds the port and flows right into the sea at Praia dos Pescadores. This is the city's most vibrant region and also the most atmospheric and historic part of Albufeira. It is all decorated with chalets, lined squares and Baroque Churches facing eerie sculptures, unfolding from the coast north.
The Castle of Silves rises above the town, and is about 30 minutes drive to the northwest of Albufeira. Since the Moorish rule, which started far back in the 8th century, the castle has been crowned on the slopes of the Algarve. It is one of the best-preserved Arab castles in the world.
Albufeira Marina is an enticing salty quay on the far west end of the town of Albufeira. It takes you on the edge of the Atlantic, a fun 20-minute walk from the middle of the jetties before you connect to the canal and get to the harbor. Along the marina you can find lively bars and restaurants that serve a variety of dishes. There are a range of cuisines to enjoy, from typical Algarvian seafood to artisan ice cream!
A major transport point from and to the town is the Albufeira Terminal Rodoviário (the provincial busses terminal). Albufeira links the main cities along the Algarve by Trans Rapido Express buses and Carreiras Interurbanas, which run along the coastal villages longer and slower. You can also get the bus, operated by Giro Bus Network which serves the entire town with four separate colored routes.
The closest airport to Albufeira is Faro International Airport (FAO). Since there is limited public transport from the airport to Albufeira, you might want to consider pre-booking a transfer. You can do so through Portugal Airport Transfer which can drive you around the Algarve for as many days as you wish.
The Algarve offers 3000 hours of sun per year and a weak average precipitation rate. Winter exists but is normally short, rainy and soft, with temperatures going from 10ºC (min) to 18ºC (max) on average. Spring is always uncertain in terms of rain, but temperatures normally go from 12ºC (min) to 22ºC (max). Summer in the Algarve is long, hot and dry, extending from the middle of May to the end of September, with temperatures oscillating between 19ºC (min) and 30ºC (max), on average. The interior is much hotter than at the coastline. The highest ever recorded temperature in the Algarve was 44ºC at the Faro Airport region in July 2004. Autumn normally begins with the first rains of October and an average temperature drop to about 16ºC (min) and 25ºC (max).
There are a number of shopping streets near the central square of Albufeira. Praça dos Pescadores is one of the most visited, drawing many souvenir stores, stores with low-cost shoes and pavilions that sell affordable leather goods. You can also buy famous national delicacies in numerous interesting food shops.
If you’re looking for branded items, head out to Modelo Albufeira Center, the biggest shopping centre in the town.
Another great place to wander around is the Albufeira Weekly Market, that is open on the first and third Tuesday of each month. Here you can buy seasonal vegetables and fruits, as well and shows and clothes at affordable prices.
Portugal may not have had the same media attention like Spain or Italy or France in Europe, but its gastronomy is world renown and all Portuguese locals know the true value of a proper meal paired with the right wine and with the best table with friends and family. The Algarve is no exception. Dive into the local dishes and let yourself be blown away. Here follow a few of our recommendations for a few fantastic dining and bar experiences in Albufeira:
Albufeira is blessed with an outstanding range of astonishing and unspoiled beaches.
Named for the lively fishing boats that once were decoration, Praia dos Pescadores is a family favourite and usually accessible by foot. Since it can easily fill with crowds, Praia da Oura is another option and can be reached via a picturesque two-kilometer footpath. Bigger and less crowded than its neighbor, this beach is a popular destination for those who love surf. Both beaches are served by an inviting queue of seafront cafés and restaurants, and there are plenty of fun-packed activity options for water sports enthusiasts.
Also close by you can find Praia de São Rafael, one of the best beaches in the Algarve and a wonderful pocket of sand surrounded by honey-hued cliffs that resemble wedges of gingerbread.
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