ALBUFEIRA has long been one of the Algarve’s most popular resorts – and it’s easy to see why. The old centre is a highly picturesque medley of whitewashed houses atop low sandstone cliffs facing a fantastic town beach. But beyond, hundreds of modern buildings lie strung across the hillsides that spread east and west, around the town’s marina, a collection of brightly coloured, Lego-like modern shops, bars and apartments clustered around in-your-face yachts and speedboats. If you’re looking for unspoiled Portugal, this isn’t it, but Albufeira is undeniably fun, attracting a varied mix of holidaymakers.
Although the 1755 earthquake destroyed much of the town, there’s still a Moorish feel to a few parts of central Albufeira – its original Arabic name, Al-Buhera, means “Castle-on-the-Sea”. There are some fine beaches either side of the town, too. Praia da Oura and those further east towards Praia da Falésia are the more developed, while the cove beaches to the west, up to the swathe of sands at Praia de Galé, tend to be quieter. Inland, Albufeira is the nearest base for a couple of the Algarve’s best family-orientated theme parks, while day-trips also run north into the hills to the pretty village of Alte.
This former fishing village has plenty to keep tourists entertained. The modern marina now used by local fisherman is a base that provides diving, boat trips, and dolphin-watching. If you are not busy doing a fun-packed activity, there is always mooching around the charming town admiring pastel-colored apartments, sunbathing on the beach and relaxing. With a busy nightlife strip, Albufeira offers bars and restaurants to dine and drink in.
The Summer months are beautiful in Albufeira, with July and August reaching temperatures of around 30 degrees - the waters are particularly nice this time of year with an average temperature of 20 degrees, perfect for swimming. The winter months are still relatively warm with highs of 17 degrees, perfect for strolling and enjoying Albufeira's cafes and restaurants.
Featured Image, Albufeira © Marcin Krzyzak / Shutterstock