Situated in the heart of the Algarve, Albufeira is a mix of Portuguese culture, golden beaches and high-quality restaurants. With an old town to explore as well as a luxurious marina, galleries and ruins, you'll find plenty to do. Albufeira has some of Portugal's best beaches, as well as a range of indulgent all-inclusive hotels and comfortable self-catering lets. It's a popular seaside resort, with many activities, bars and restaurants catered to visitors and travellers.
Albufeira's town centre has two distinct sides: the old town and its modern counterpart. The old town's maze of narrow streets, whitewashed buildings and scattered ruins take you back through Portugal's history, giving you a taste of its culture. You can browse through the work of local artisans, as well as sipping drinks in laid-back cafes and bars. The downtown district has a more vibrant, upbeat atmosphere, with classy bars and popular nightclubs. Here, you can dance until dawn and try lots of cocktails. The town is filled with welcoming locals, happy to recommend their favourite spots.
There's no end of choice when it comes to restaurants in Albufeira. Whether you want a high-end gourmet meal or a quick, tasty bite sat on the seafront, you'll find everything you could want. Because Albufeira is such a popular part of Portugal, there's something to suit all kinds of budgets, too, regardless of if you're on a cheap holiday or a splashout getaway. The majority of the town's restaurants serve up fresh seafood and poultry dishes, with loads of vegetarian meals to choose from. Fussy eaters will appreciate the international menus, although the traditional dishes are delicious.
Albufeira boasts some of Portugal's best beaches. Praia dos Pescadores is easy to get to and great for families, although it can get unbearably crowded during peak season. For somewhere quieter and more action-packed, head to the windsurfers' favourite of Praia da Oura. It's down a 2km coastal path, but its fun water sports and cafes are worth the walk. One of the Algarve's most beautiful beaches, Praia de São Rafael is nearby, with its golden cliffs and rolling sand. The exclusive Olhos da Água is ideal for children who love exploring in rock pools and shallow streams.
Albufeira's swanky marina is a must-see on any trip. Take time out from the town's busy centre, and walk around the luxurious space. There's plenty of posh boats and super yachts to spot, and the upmarket fashion boutiques are heavenly. The marina has a selection of cafes, restaurants, shops and market stalls, so you can easily spend time wandering around – and, as a lot of cruises, excursions and attractions depart from the marina, it's worth checking out. It's a short walk from the majority of Albufeira's hotels and holiday lets, and has a few all-inclusive resorts.
As Albufeira has such a central location in the Algarve, you're ideally placed to explore the surrounding attractions. Parque Aventura is just outside of the town centre, and is an assault course with a difference. Set high in the treetops, you need to overcome a range of obstacles to reach the end. From climbing vertical nets to whizzing down zip wires, it's a fun way to spend a few hours. There's a choice of routes, so you can either meander your way around the course, enjoying the views from high up, or pick a tougher, more challenging track.
Zoomarine is one of the Algarve's top family attractions: with its amazing dolphin shows, great sea-lion exhibits and giant water slides, there's something for everyone. You can enjoy the fairground, meet gigantic birds of prey and even watch a sea-turtle's journey to the ocean in a 4D cinema. Krazy World is further out, but it's worth the journey. The theme park has everything from pony rides and a reptile zone to an 18-hole mini-golf course and moto-quad track. It's a chilled-out place with plenty of attractions to enjoy.
The Algarve is a place of rich culture and ancient history, and you can explore a lot of it while staying in Albufeira. The 12th-century ruins of Paderne Castle sit on an isolated hilltop outside of the town centre: visitors can walk over the Roman bridge, enjoy the views and admire the majestic walls. Albufeira's Museu Arqueológico has artefacts dating to the Roman empire, as well as Stone-Age tools and a 10th-century silo. Another highlight is the small, whitewashed church of St Sebastian: its baroque stonework and rare altarpiece are a sight to behold.