Albufeira is a city in Algarve, in the south of Portugal. Once a small fishing village it has now developed to be a very touristic area. However many holiday makers return year after year due to the lovely beaches, very good climate, proximity of many restaurants, bars and pubs. The town is divided into 2 parts, ‘The Old Town’ and the ‘STRIP’, or newer town, including Montechoro, Arias de Sao João.

For free holiday maps of Old Town Albufeira and The Strip, download from Or pickup your FREEMAPS when you enter Albufeira. All places in the ‘FREEMAPS’ guides are anonymously checked to offer very good food and service, at reasonable prices, by the editors who have lived in Portugal over 30 years.


Albufeira was originally a small fishing village which has expanded especially in the past 15 years to become one of the largest resort areas on the scenic Algarve coast. It still has the original “Fishermans’s Beach” where boats go out to the Atlantic for the daily catch. The Old Town is built around the cobbled square which has benches, flowers and in the busier months entertainment such as puppet shows, human statues and live music. The narrow streets leading off the square have market stalls and lots of bars and restaurants. The restaurants in the Old Town are more traditional selling seafood and Portuguese specialities. A tunnel through the rock takes you to the main town beach. It is a very easy area to explore on foot provided you don’t mind some steep hills but by car the streets are very narrow, some are pedestrianised and parking, especially in the peak season is very limited. The new area of Albufeira consists of Praia de Oura, Montechoro, Sao Joao and Santa Eulalia. These are situated along the coast and are approx 3km from the old town. The transport links are bus services which are frequent and reasonably priced or the “Blue Train” which is a tourist train running from “The Strip” in Sao Joao to the old town frequently and costs €3.50  for a day ticket and concessions for children (under 5 free) and over 65’s. The new area has a lot more in the way of fast food chains, nightclubs and karaoke bars. “The Strip” is a long street with traffic only going one-way and bars, shops and restaurants on both sides. You can also walk from the old town to Sao Joao via the beach and a cliff top walk with some stunning views of both Albufeira and further down the coast towards Vilamoura and Faro. This is not suitable for the less mobile and takes up to an hour. The beaches at Sao Joao and Oura are reached by a short but steep walk downhill. You can drive to the beach at Santa Eulalia where there is a car park and easy access to the sand. This is a quieter part as it is less developed at the moment but there is some building going on with quite a lot of apartments and some new hotels going up. All areas are easliy accessible from Faro airport only 30-40 minutes drive on very good and well signposted roads.

A busy trading port in ancient times, Albufeira declined into a poor fishing town in the 18th century, having been swamped by tidal waves and burnt out by civil war. But since the 1960s the tide has turned again and this central Algarve enclave is once more awash with prosperity, thanks to a tourist boom. Albufeira, Portugal’s most popular holiday resort, has been described as a stretch of ‘holiday-land suburbia’, spreading from the old town both east and west along the coast, its sandy coves and golden beaches drawing an assorted crowd from retired couples to wild teens, and plenty of families with young children. Satellite resort developments provide every imaginable type and grade of accommodation. Everyone finds something to enjoy in this sprawling, low-rise holiday destination, which retains its old world charm in narrow alleyways behind the new hip and happening “Strip”. The Strip, to the east of town, runs from the Montechoro Hotel down to the Praia da Oura, lined with dozens of cafés, restaurants and bars that keep pumping from breakfast time to the small hours. On the long stretch of beach below Albufeira’s central square, accessed through a tunnel, craggy fishermen mend their nets, unperturbed by the languishing topless sunbathers around them. While the chief holiday attraction of Albufeira is its 23 or so enchanting beaches, most protected by ochre-tinted cliffs, there are some interesting sightseeing possibilities too, like the new Virtual Archaeological Museum, the Municipal Art Gallery and a small museum showcasing Ming ceramics. Those who venture inland will find a tranquil green countryside to explore, redolent with almond, fig, orange and pine trees, where little villages stand timelessly in the sun.

From seafront kiosks full of fun-in-the-sun odds and ends to a full on shopping mall experience, Albufeira can keep most shoppers reaching for their wallets with a tantalising array of merchandise. The town’s main shopping plaza is the Modelo Centre in Rua de Municipio, north of downtown. Not far away is the lively Algarve Shopping Complex in Guia, where brand name shoes and clothes are on offer in a high street mall type complex, along with restaurants, an English-language cinema and bowling alley. Those seeking genuine local souvenirs should look out for mats made from rush or cornhusks in the villages of Almeijoafras and Monte Novo, woven baskets, woodcarvings and some glazed terracotta ceramics. These are to be found in numerous independent shops in the town centre as well as local markets.

  • Go to the Modelo Centre or the Algarve Shopping Centre for the best shopping.
  • Restaurants
    Like everywhere in Portugal, seafood is the speciality of the house in most of the dozens of restaurants in and around Albufeira. The catch of the day is guaranteed to be fresh in this traditional fishing town, particularly in the eateries clustered at Fisherman’s Beach, below the main town square. Specialities to seek out are sardines, flounder and bass, lobster and prawns. A true local dish is Caldeirada, a stew made up of several types of fish, cooked up with potatoes, peppers and parsley. Steamed clams, cuttlefish cooked in their ink and octopus salad are other indigenous culinary adventures. The local wine is a worthy accompaniment. Some recommended restaurants in Albufeira are Dom Carlos at the top of Old Town, popular steakhouse Restaurante Cerro Grande, fun and vibey Johnny Hooper’s Saxophone Bistro, or The English Kitchen for traditional British food.


  • Nightlife
    After a day in the sun most holidaymakers enjoy sipping a drink at one of Albufeira’s many outdoor cafés, watching the world go by, before adjourning to one of the lively bars that surround the town square or line The Strip. Bars keep hopping until three or four in the morning, but those who want to dance the night away can keep going until sunrise at one of the nightclubs or discotheques that are ten a penny in the town. Some of the more popular clubs and bars are Capitulo V, Kiss and Sir Harry’s.
  • Activities
    While on holiday in Albufeira, relaxing on the golden beaches and in the warm, clear water is enough to content most vacationers, with about 23 beaches (some with Blue Flag status) in the area along a 19-mile (30km) stretch of coastline. Watersports of all sorts are on offer at the main beaches, from sailing and windsurfing to jet skiing. Golfers can try out the neat nine-hole Pine Cliffs course about three miles (5km) east of Albufeira at the Sheraton Algarve. Those with children will spend fun times at Zoo Marine in Guia, just a few miles away, with water slides, swimming pools, dolphin shows and an aquarium. Just wandering around the intriguing old town centre is a pleasant way to pass a day. Look out for interesting local landmarks like the Clock Tower at Rua Bernardino de Sousa, and the 18th century Parish Church on the Rua da Igreja Nova, built on the site of an earlier one that collapsed in the earthquake of 1755. One of the few buildings that survived that quake is the Old Inn on Rua Henrique Calado. Also fascinating is the Xorino Cave, which served as shelter for fugitive Moors during the Christian conquest of the town in ancient times. There is also an archaeological museum in Albufeira and several art galleries worth visiting while on holiday. 

    • Negatives
      During the height of summer Albufeira is a favoured holiday destination for young singles, and it can become a bit rowdy at night.
  • Lots of hills to climb up and down.and I mean Lots !!
  • The beaches are amazing

Tourist Information
Rua 5 de Outubro
8200 Albufeira
Tel. ++351 289-585279

Região de Turismo do Algarve
Avª 5 de Outubro, 18
8000 FARO
Tel. ++351 289-800400
Fax. ++351 289-800489