- Falésia Beach
- São Rafael Beach
- Old Town
- Elevador do Peneco
- Fishermen’s Beach
- The Strip
- Day Trip to Lagos
- Day Trip to Silves
- Archaeological Museum
- Water Parks
One of the longest and most beautiful beaches in Algarve is in Albufeira. It’s below magnificent Grand Canyon-like cliffs, from where you have breathtaking views. Above it are also some of the best hotels and resorts in Portugal (like the Pine Cliffs and Epic Sana Algarve). Even outside summer, it’s worth coming here for the views alone.
See the Falésia Beach Guide.
One of Algarve’s most famous and beautiful beaches is found just 4km (2.5 miles) from the center of Albufeira. It offers spectacular views from the clifftop and a number of picturesque rock formations. In addition to admiring the scenery and sunbathing, visitors spend time exploring grottos and caves. It’s one of the region’s most romantic beaches, and there are good hotels in the vicinity (the most recommended are the São Rafael Atlântico and São Rafael Holidays).
See the São Rafael Beach Guide.
Most of Albufeira was destroyed in a major earthquake in 1755 and remained a quiet fishing village until the mid-20th century, when it grew as Portugal’s main resort. Its Old Town is now a mix of the reconstructed city in the 18th century and the modern constructions, erected to accommodate the growing population and large number of tourists. Pedestrianized streets lead to whitewashed churches and are lined with cafés, restaurants and bars, making it a lively place throughout the day and at night.
For the best view of the coast and the town of Albufeira, head to this modern elevator on the western end of Praia do Peneco. Inaugurated in 2008, it takes up to 13 people down to the beach at a time, but is also meant to be an observation platform. Standing 28 meters (92 feet) above the beach, it’s a major tourist attraction, where you can take some great panoramic photos of Albufeira.
Praia dos Pescadores (Fishermen’s Beach) is Albufeira’s most central and most popular beach, as well as its most iconic. While it no longer has the traditional fishing boats that once illustrated so many postcards, it’s where you can best experience the city -- there are restaurants with sea views on the square behind it, and escalators lead up to a viewpoint where you can overlook the beach and much of the Old Town. Every December 31st, it hosts one of Portugal’s biggest New Year’s Eve parties.
See the Fishermen’s Beach Guide.
After the beaches, nightlife is what brings most people to Albufeira. A neon-lit street (Avenida Sá Carneiro) lined with bars and clubs looks like a mini Las Vegas and is one big street party in the summer. It’s where many Brits go for hen and stag parties, drinking until sunrise. If that’s not your scene, you’ll still want to come to this part of town, as just down the road is the wonderful beach of Oura, with something for everyone. There are parasols and loungers for relaxation, as well as rentals for water sports.
Lagos now rivals Albufeira as the favorite beach town in Algarve. A bus takes you there in about 1 hour and 15 minutes, and you can spend the day exploring some of Portugal’s most beautiful beaches and impressive rock formations. Once home to Prince Henry the Navigator, it’s also an historic city, with baroque churches and what was Europe’s first African slave market, which has been turned into a museum.
See the Lagos Tourism Guide.
The inland town of Silves was the first capital of Algarve, and while it may not have beaches, it’s a popular day trip for its castle. It’s one of the region’s biggest and best-preserved monuments, built by the Moors over 1000 years ago. The charming streets of the now rather sleepy town are worth a stroll, stopping at the Gothic cathedral and at the archaeological museum, which takes you back in time and offers a break from the sun and the sea. A bus takes you there in about 45 minutes.
See the Silves Tourism Guide.
To know more about Albufeira, visit this small archaeological museum in what was once the Town Hall. It presents a collection of artifacts found in the city, dating from prehistoric times, to the Roman, Visigothic and Moorish occupations. It includes menhirs, a Roman mosaic, and a Moorish silo.
Albufeira is a family destination, with many Europeans bringing the kids for some fun in the sun. As an alternative to the beach, they spend their days at the water parks in the surroundings. The closest to the center of the city is Zoomarine, which is part zoo, part funfair, with dolphins and other sea creatures, plus swimming pools and even an artificial beach where the waves are perfectly safe. For more entertainment, pools and slides, there are Aqualand, Aquashow, and Slide and Splash nearby.