Best Things to do in Albufeira
March 2, 2023
Albufeira is a popular destination located on the southern coast of Portugal. With its stunning beaches, vibrant nightlife, and picturesque Old Town, there is no shortage of activities for all ages. Here are some of the best things to do in Albufeira.
Visit the Beaches
Albufeira is known for its beautiful beaches and stunning coastline. Relax on the golden sands, swim in the crystal-clear waters, or try the numerous water sports on offer like jet skiing, kayaking and parasailing. You might even fancy a hilarious Banana Boat Ride! The beaches can get busy in the summer months so it is often best to set off early if you are planning a beach day. There are a variety of beaches in this area from small coves to long stretches of sand. Most of the beaches have lifeguards on duty in the summer months and flags indicating the state of the sea and the quality of the water.
Here are 5 of the best beaches to visit in Albufeira:
Praia da Oura – popular with families and young people and awarded a Blue Flag by the EU for cleanliness and safety. It is quite close to The Strip so it can get lively in the summer! There is a long stretch of golden sand and lots of restaurants, bars and snack shops to enjoy.
Praia dos Pescadores – also known as ‘Fisherman’s Beach’, is the main beach in Albufeira, situated immediately in front of the Old Town. Easily accessible with a lift and a tunnel, it can get busy in the summer due to its central location. There are water sports available here and an inflatable water park in the summer for children.
Praia da Falesia – translated to ‘beach of cliffs’, is a lovely long stretch of sand, to the west of Albufeira, with imposing red cliffs. Often praised as one of the best beaches in the world, it is popular all year round but as it is such a long beach – up to 6km – there is room for everyone so it is often easy to find a quiet spot.
Praia de Sao Rafael – an iconic beach where you can rent paddle boards and kayaks or simply relax on the golden sand and admire the unusual rock formations. The water is particularly clear here making it a good beach for snorkelling.
Praia da Gale – a seemingly endless stretch of sand, popular with families due to its calm waters and some lovely restaurants. It is not as built up as some of the town beaches and is very accessible and considered one of the safer beaches for children.
Read more in our dedicated blog about the Beaches Near Albufeira
Explore the Old Town
The historic centre of Albufeira is a charming maze of cobbled streets, whitewashed buildings, and pretty plazas. It is a hive of activity all year round and particularly in the summer months when the main square comes alive. There is plenty of alfresco dining and restaurants to suit all tastes and budgets. Whilst there are now lots of tourist attractions, this ancient fishing village has retained much of its old charm. There is lots of history to explore here, including the 18th-century church of Sao Sebastiao. This pretty white washed chapel is a mix of architectural styles including Baroque and Manueline and houses the Sacred Art Museum, with an array of relics, traditional tiles, paintings and statues. The Bell Tower is also situated here and is a landmark building, illuminated at night, and an iconic sight in Albufeira, poking above the surrounding buildings, it can be seen throughout the town. There is an abundance of restaurants in the Old Town from authentic Portuguese cuisine to fast food chains and snack bars. Restaurant Os Arcos is in the heart of the Old Town and has been serving traditional Portuguese food since 1978. Specialising in fish and seafood, this charming restaurant is a welcome retreat from the hustle and bustle. If you want to try the famous Piri-Piri chicken, Restaurant Ti Gracinda is a must. Also serving traditional Cataplanas and meat ‘Portuguese style’, there is an array of dishes to suit all tastes and the restaurant is also wheelchair accessible.
Experience the Nightlife
Albufeira is famous for its buzzing nightlife, with countless bars, clubs, and live music venues. Head to The Strip for a party atmosphere, or enjoy a more relaxed drink in the Old Town. There is something for everyone here and it is possible to avoid the busy bars and find a quieter spot to eat, drink and relax.
The Strip is perhaps the liveliest part of Albufeira, situated in the Montechoro part of town. There are numerous bars and restaurants open all day and, when the sun goes down, it really comes to life with pumping music, neon lights and night clubs open until the early hours. It is popular with hen and stag parties and predominantly filled with young people after sunset.
The Old Town is between the fisherman’s village and the marina and, whilst it is the perfect place to mooch around the shops and purchase souvenirs during the day, it has a vibrant atmosphere in the evening. It has a more relaxed vibe than The Strip, with live music, jazz cafes, alfresco dining and wine bars. It is the perfect place to people watch with a glass of Vinho Verde as music drifts through the streets.
Albufeira Marina is about a 30 minute walk from Praia dos Pescadores (fisherman’s beach) and is a lovely spot to enjoy a relaxed evening. Activities here include bowling, go-karting and even segways to hire. There are a range of restaurants ranging from Japanese sushi to Italian pizzerias, followed by a drink in an Irish pub or a fancy cocktail bar, depending on your preference. There is plenty to suit all tastes and it is worth a visit just to witness the unusual and eye-catching, brightly coloured buildings!
Take a Boat Trip
Explore the stunning coastline of Albufeira on a boat trip, with options including dolphin watching, cave tours, and fishing trips.There is so much to explore and it is a privileged way to enjoy the landscape from the water. You can hire boat trips from Albufeira Marina. For nature enthusiasts, the dolphin tours are a must. You might have to be patient at first, but the sight of a pod of dolphins bursting through the waves is not uncommon. It is also possible to see shoals of brightly coloured fish and you can book fishing trips for your day out at sea. Wish & Fish are licensed to carry 12 anglers and are equipped with high quality fishing rods, life jackets and a very friendly crew. They can also arrange a more leisurely day out, exploring the caves and iconic rock formations alongs the coast. Particularly popular is the Benagil Cave which has a huge, natural hole in the roof and a charming little beach inside, which can only be accessed by sea. Your skipper will find a nice spot for swimming and pop the anchor down so you can jump into the sea for a refreshing dip.
With its warm climate and stunning scenery, Albufeira is a popular destination for golfers.
There are several courses in the area, including the technically challenging, 18 hole Salgados Golf Course, set on the flat lands behind the sandy beach of Praia de Gale. It is a particularly pretty course due to its proximity to the sea and the large number of lakes.
The Pine Cliffs Golf Course is located virtually on the cliff top, and nicknamed locally as the ‘Devils Parlour’. It is one of the country’s original golf courses, built in a pinewood setting and with stunning views along the coast. It is good for beginners and advanced players alike, and the challenging 9th hole is played from the tee over a ravine with views over the cliffs to the beach below.
Albufeira offers a fantastic mix of relaxation, culture and entertainment, making it a great destination for all ages.
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