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Portugal Paradise: Albufeira Revealed as a Top Coastal Escape

Albufeira, Algarve: Your Definitive Travel Guide

Nestled along Portugal's southern coast lies the charming town of Albufeira in the Algarve region. With its beautiful beaches, lively nightlife, and historic old town, Albufeira makes for an amazing holiday destination. In this travel guide, we'll explore the top things to do, places to stay, and local tips to help you fully explore and enjoy everything this special place has to offer.

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A Brief History

Albufeira has a rich history dating back to Neolithic times. The Romans were among the first to settle here, taking advantage of the excellent natural harbor. Over centuries of Moorish and Portuguese rule, it developed into an important fishing village. Albufeira truly came into its own as a tourist town in the 1960s as northern Europeans discovered the Algarve's sunshine and beaches. Today it seamlessly blends historical charm with modern amenities to satisfy both leisure and business travelers.

Getting Around

Albufeira is very walkable and quite compact, with most attractions located along or near the waterfront. That said, you may want to rent a car to explore beyond the city center. Popular rental companies like Hertz, Avis, and Europcar have offices throughout town. For trips around Albufeira itself, the local bus system run by Frota Azul provides decent coverage with frequent routes between 7am-8pm daily. Taxis are also readily available if you prefer door-to-door service.

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Top Beaches

With 8km of beautiful coastline, beaches are arguably Albufeira's main attraction. Some of the finest spots include:

Praia da Falésia: This long stretch of golden sand and dramatic cliffs is just west of town. Consider having lunch at the upscale beach club for incredible Mediterranean views.

Praia dos Pescadores: Right in the heart of Albufeira Old Town, this beach has a lively atmosphere with beach bars and watersports. Great spot for sunset photos.

Praia da Galé: A little more secluded but just as scenic as Falésia, this is a favorite with families for very calm waters.

Praia da Oura: For a surf scene, head east of town to this popular beach with crashing waves and nearby cafes. Rent a board and catch some swells.

No matter which beach you choose, don't forget your swimsuit, sunscreen, and a book for maximum relaxation on the Algarve's beautiful coastline. Pro-tip: many beaches have lockers and umbrellas available for rent during summer high season.

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Old Town Exploration

Wandering the historic center of Albufeira is a must for a taste of traditional Algarve charm. Narrow stone streets open up to quaint plazas filled with cafes, shops, and restaurant terraces. Points of interest include:

Castle Walls: Follow the 17th century walls for scenic ocean views and photo ops of the Old Quarter.

Church of Nossa Senhora do Rosário: This baroque-style parish church dating to the 1500s holds lovely azulejo tiles and gilded wood carvings inside.

Municipal Museum: Learn about the town's history in this museum located in a renovated 16th century palace.

Shopping & Dining: Browse ceramics, leather goods and Portuguese crafts along Rua 5 de Outubro. Then relax over wine and snacks at a terrace along Rossio José Baptista.

Definitely block out a few leisurely hours for getting pleasantly lost in the Old Town's labyrinth of charming lanes and discovering hidden treasures around every turn.

Nightlife & Entertainment

After dark, Albufeira truly comes alive as one of the Algarve's top party destinations. The buzzing strip between Praia dos Pescadores and Praia da Oura is peppered with clubs, bars and DJ venues pumping music late into the night. You'll find everything from lively English pubs to trendy cocktail lounges to beach clubs with stunning coastal views.

Some top spots along the strip include Nikki Beach club for daytime poolside fun, Latino Latino and Trumps for decked out nightclubs, and Irish pubs like Coconut Joe's and Molly Malone's for more low-key late night entertainment. Needless to say, Albufeira knows how to show visitors a good time after the sun goes down. Just be sure to pace yourself!

Where to Eat

Albufeira's dining scene offers a tasty array of flavors to satisfy every palate and budget. For classic Portuguese fare, try:

Tasca do Zé: This charming family-run taverna is a great choice for grilled fish and caldo verde soup in the Old Town.

Restaurante Ponte Romana: Just west of the Old Town lies this scenic restaurant specializing in regional Algarve cuisine like cataplana clams.

For international eats:

Rocambole Restaurant: Creative fusion dishes like seafood curry and kimchi fried rice in a trendy industrial space.

Bistro M: Cozy bistro with globally-inspired small plates, perfect for sharing over drinks on the terrace.

And no trip is complete without a pastel de nata! Sample thecustard tarts fresh from the oven at Manteigaria or Antiga Confeitaria. With so many delectable options, dining is truly a highlight of any Albufeira visit.

Where to Stay

As one of the Algarve's premier beach towns, Albufeira offers a wide variety of high-quality accommodation to suit all budgets. Some top recommendations include:

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Velamar Boutique Hotel: Luxurious 5-star resort with two pools, spa and steps from the beach. Great for families.

Clube Albufeira Garden Village: Charming apartments a short walk from Old Town with ocean views and friendly hosts.

NAU Salgados Palm Village: Well-located inexpensive hotel with small pool ideal for budget travelers.

VidaMar Resort Hotel: Stylish clifftop boutique spot with sweeping vistas and saltwater infinity pool.

For an authentic local experience, consider booking private apartments or villas outside the busy summer season. Whatever you choose, Albufeira's central location gives easy access to exploring the surrounding attractions of the Algarve by day.

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