IntroductionThe resort of Albufeira on the Algarve has grown from a small fishing village into a wellknown and popular holiday destination. Situated against the stunning backdrop of jagged, multi-coloured cliffs and crags, no two sections of beach in Albufeira look alike, with the main attraction here being the fine beaches. It has miles of beautiful beaches with rock pools and coves to explore as well as plenty of exciting watersports. There are 23 beaches in the area, with seven situated close to the town, the most popular of which is Fisherman’s Beach. The town also has plenty to offer people who want some time off from the beach, with a number of interesting churches and some good water theme parks for a fun day out. In addition, there are several well-known golf courses, so whether you are a beginner or seasoned pro, Albufeira has a golf course that will challenge and delight you.
The town has a good selection of bars and restaurants, and shops selling Portuguese pottery and locally made leather goods. As with other areas in the Algarve, you will find no shortage of restaurants serving seafood cuisine.
There is no shortage of nightlife and entertainment around. Depending on your choice, there are clubs, bars and discos playing most types of music, so you can party into the early hours. Many of the bars have entertainment on in the evenings where children are welcome.
Things To Do
- Visit Paderne with its ruined castle.
- Ponte Grande has impressive caverns with large arches.
- Grutas do Xorino - underwater caverns.
- Zoo Marine with swimming pools, dolphin and seal shows.
- Slide and Splash has numerous slides and swimming pools.
- Aqualand offers almost any ride you can think of from corkscrew slides to vertical drops.
- Krazy World - a petting farm where you can mingle with pigs, wallabies, deer, goats and llamas.
- Play putt-putt at Krazy golf which offers two 18 hole courses
- Amazonia has trained handlers that do live shows with alligators and crocodiles.
- Try out some watersports from sailing and windsurfing to jet skiing.
- Golfers can try out the neat nine-hole Pine Cliffs course.
- Go karting at Almancil (between Faro and Albufeira).
- Horse riding at Quinta la Gill Riding Centre in Lagoa.
After a day in the sun most holidaymakers enjoy sipping a drink at one of the 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.
Why not take time out listen to some live music and local Portuguese folk music and dancing as well as some good shopping options.
For the brave, watch a pega - a Portuguese style of fighting from horseback in which the bull is not killed in the ring. On the streets you’ll find ‘statue’ artists and talented portrait artists as well great festivals and free shows.
ShoppingFrom seafront kiosks full of fun 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 Englishlanguage 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 in Monte Novo you will find 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.
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. feira are La Ruina, Tres Coroas, Os Azeite You will not be stuck for a choice of restaurants in Albufeira! Whether you’re in the old town or elsewhere, the number of places to eat is simply staggering.
Albufeira, which was home to the Romans and the Moors, was a thriving seaport with its own castle.
There is a small museum of 15th and 17th century Ming ceramics and a Municipal art gallery that holds regular exhibitions during the season. A further addition to the town is a new Virtual Archaeological Museum which tells the story of the region from prehistoric times to present day. Like elsewhere in Portugal, Albufeira has some fascinating old churches, which give you a hint at the rich culture. The main church is the 18th century neo-classical Igreja Matriz, with its imposing bell tower. The church has some interesting statues and a painting by local artist Samora Barros. Sant’ Ana Church is small, but quite beautiful, with an intricate ceiling design and some wooden sculptures. There are numerous churches in the vicinity and some of the other most visited ones include the Misericordia Chapel and the Church of So Sebastio.
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 18thcentury Parish Church on the Rua da Igreja Nova. One of the few buildings that survived the 1755 earthquake 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.
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