With not quite 14,000 inhabitants, Albufeira is a smaller, exclusive alternative to the tourist hotspot of Portimão. It is situated almost half an hour to the west of Faro along the spectacular cliff coast of the western Algarve and has all the amenities of larger holiday resorts, including a large choice of accommodation, restaurants and bars. The old town here has all the charm of the traditional Algarve villages and the other thing which you will of course find here is beach after beach after beach!
Although Albufeira is more a holiday destination for groups rather than individual travellers, among the numerous Algarve destinations it is much quieter here than for example at Portimão and its surroundings. Driving for the first time into the town of Albufeira, you will be more reminded of a Beverly Hills boulevard than a medieval village. However, away from the palm-tree lined main street and the modern buildings, you will find the old town with its small, narrow alleyways and the typical whitewashed houses which stretch along the red-brown cliffs right up to the deep blue Atlantic. The name “Albufeira” goes back to the period of the Arabian expansion, although it is not clear whether it means “fortress at the sea” or is derived from the word for “lagoon”.
Albufeira is not only a well-established tourist destination, but for many visitors arriving at the Algarve is their first pleasant surprise with its picture postcard setting. Stretching along the unspoilt coast are golden-yellow beaches next to steep cliffs in shades of red, brown and dark yellow. Walking along the cobbled streets of Albufeira’s old town with its somewhat morbid charm, which these days is known as "shabby chic", it is not just the romanticists amongst who will be very impressed. The contrast to the modern, clean promenade, the brightly coloured shopping streets, the lively bars and international hotels could hardly be greater. It is probably this mixture of historic and modern that is the main attraction for many visitors to Albufeira.
Even by Algarve standards Albufeira and its surroundings are impressive with their enormous amount of diverse beaches. On your family holiday you can discover a different top-class beach every day. You can start with the spacious family beaches of Praia dos Pescadores, Praia da Galé Leste, Praia dos Alemães and Praia da Oura. For a change from the breath-taking cliff settings of these beaches, you and your family can then discover even more impressive landscapes, such as the bizarre rocks of the small bay of Praia de Arrifes or the sandy yellow cliffs at Praia da Coelha. For those of a romantic nature and the more adventurous, the beach of Praia de São Rafael is recommended, as it can only be reached from the sea, being completely enclosed on land by a steep rock face which is impossible to climb.
"Long sandy beach in front of an impressive rocky gorge"
"A kilometre of coastline with lots to offer"
"Lots of beach activities by day and a party scene by night"
"Turquoise water in a sophisticated setting"
"Traditional fishery meets beach holiday"
"A rewarding day out for kids of all ages"
"Lively sandy beach between two holiday resorts"
"Popular beach for singles and young families"
"Small sandy bay in unique rocky scenery"
"Perfectly shaped shells in the turquoise waters"
"Lively urban beach with a full range of amenities"
"Entertaining water activities for the whole family"
"For keen bathers and shell collectors"
"OK for a swim, super for a fresh fish supper"
"Albufeira's hidden secret"