Travel Thursdays: Exploring Portugal’s Algarve Region (Stop nr 3 – Albufeira)

by Karisa

Check out my other Portugal posts here: Lisbon, Tavira, Faro.

After Faro, I hopped back onto the local bus that connects all the different cities in the Algarve. About an hour later I arrived in Albufeira. Known as a bit of a party destination for UK tourists (think bachelor & bachelorette parties galore & bad karaoke bars where you’ll hear terrible renditions of “Sweet Caroline” more than you would ever have cared for). I will admit, upon arrival I was quite nervous about the choice that I had made… BUT, the beaches in and around Albufeira are so beautiful, it made having to deal with the crowds of sunburnt, karaoke-loving, all-day-drinking Brits, totally worth it.

I stayed at Albufeira Beach Hotel. While the hotel was central, my room really nice & I even had my own little balcony with views, the noise levels at night were unbearable. I would only recommend this hotel if you don’t care about getting any sleep at all. If sleep is a priority, then avoid anything this deep into the centre. The streets here are basically just lined with bars & nightclubs which keep going right through the night. #NotIdeal

Don’t be fooled by the views that I got… I’m still, I’m still, Jenny with no sleep… ;

The area was really lovely to walk around though. This was all just a few steps away from my hotel:

Found this quieter little spot a couple of streets inland. Had a very basic pizza, wasn’t mind-blowing, but really liked the peace & quiet. Can’t remember the name, but just wanted to show you the kind of spot you can find if you dodge the bar-lined main streets.

The local beaches are called Praia de Albufeira and Praia do Túnel, and while they are both very nice, they don’t really compare to the beaches just outside of town.

If, however, you’re not wanting to mission at all & you prefer to just take it easy, these beaches are perfect.

Praia de Albufeira
Praia do Túnel – you actually do pass through a little tunnel to get here (hence the name)

Albuferia is the only Algarve town that has Uber, but only during peak season. I hopped into an Uber to check out the two beaches a bit further out. Praia da Coelha is only about a 10min Uber drive away and from there I was able to walk over to Praia do Castelo.

Praia da Coelha was definitely my favourite, I mean just look at this beach:

If you’re looking for loungers and a bit more of a catered-for vibe though, you’ll also really love Praia do Castelo:

A big thing they punt at all the little tourist offices around town is a Caves & Coastline Catamaran Tour. You can book this pretty much everywhere with a lot of different boat companies to choose from. If I recall correctly, mine cost about 35-40 euros for a 3 hr tour. It’s an easy way to see things like Praia da marinha (rated as one of the most beautiful beaches in Europe) and the Benagil Caves. You don’t get off the catamaran though, so if you’re wanting to see these up, close & personal, you’re better off doing your own excursions to see these.

The catamaran tours all depart from the marina which is about a 20min walk out of town. You can of course Uber or taxi, but I really enjoy walking, so didn’t mind the coastal meander at all

The marina has these ice cream coloured buildings which you can spot in the back..
You’ll see some amazing sandstone cliffs & formations…
Praia da Marinha – some say they can see a baby elephant, others see the McDonalds arches. I prefer the elephant theory.
Benagil Caves – no filter at all, the water really is that turquoise…
More caves…
And even a pirate ship (OK not really)…

Overall, the food in Albufeira wasn’t too memorable, but I did find a little place called Restaurant Casa Del Mar which offered some really pretty views, decent Rose wine and a tasty prawn linguine. It was on the pricier end, but the setting made up for it.

As with Tavira & Faro, you don’t need a long stay to see everything there is to see in Albufeira. Two to 3 nights are more than enough. That said, if you’re wanting to simply spend your days chilling on a beautiful beach, then a longer stay would also work well. From Albufeira, I headed to my last stop on the Algarve: Lagos (pronounced Lah-gohs instead of Lay-gohs in Nigeria). But I’ll tell you all about that in my next post.

To see lots more photos & videos of Albufeira, check out my Instagram accountctmylove.  I created story highlights for each city that I visited during my trip last year which you’ll find on my profile.  Scroll through these and select the one called “Albufeira”.


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