Albufeira in the Algarve Portugal, has one of the best beaches in Europe! -Averages only 17 days a year of rainfall! Its a family friendly resort with a selection of holiday rental villas and apartments on offer. Whether it’s a quiet life or the nightlife you’re after there is something to suit everyone!
A small fishing village in the past, nowadays Albufeira in Algarve is one of the most attractive resorts in Europe. In Roman times Albufeira was known as Baltum and then re-named Al-Buhera by the Moorish settlers in the 8th Century. It was finally taken from the Moors in the middle of the 13th Century by the 'Knights of the Order of Santiago'.
Albufeira, like many Algarve towns, has the remains of a castle dating from Roman times, but most of the castle along with the town, was destroyed in the disastrous earthquakes of 1719, 1722 and 1755. The most visible pointer to the castle remains is the Torre do Relógio (clock tower), which was built on one of the old castle towers, and is normally lit up on festive occasions. Looking at modern Albufeira in Algarve it's hardly possible to say this town underwent many severe trials, like the aforementioned earthquakes, as well as the Portuguese civil war of 1828-1834 when the town was literally burnt to the ground.
Fortunately, today Albufeira in Algarve is a peaceful and hospitable town where nothing except ancient artifacts reminds of those hard times. Coming to Albufeira - Algarve tourists enjoy the refined combination of beautiful nature and luxurious buildings.
Albufeira town consists of two parts. The old section features narrow street where one can admire gorgeous ancient architecture and feel the spirit of true Albufeira
The modern part, with its fashionable restaurants and hotels, is an ideal place for those who seek entertainments. Like any other popular resort, Albufeira in Algarve has a long beach, which is usually shared by relaxed sun-bathers. Actually, its name - Fisherman's Beach - shows that fishing has always been an important industry of Albufeira in Algarve.
If you are looking for lively nightlife and bars and clubs that are open nearly 24 hours a day then you probably want to stay in the Areias de São João area, home to "the strip" (Avenida Dr Francisco Sà Carneiro), or nearby Montechoro both of which are about 2kms from Albufeira old town.
There are plenty of hotels and shops, bars and restaurants (many with English menus) all to hand and the beautiful beach, Oura, just a short distance from the bottom end of the strip. Of course, with everyone in party spirit it isn't going to be particularly quiet, particularly in peak summer! So if neon signs and late night revelry aren't for you, it will be better to stay near the old town!
Albufeira old town is more relaxed and has a lovely central square decorated with trees and colorful shrubs surrounded by street cafés and restaurants for a quiet meal or a cool drink. The streets leading off the square are a shopper’s delight with clothes shops, leather goods (fantastic handbags!), gift shops, street stalls and of course, the entire range of practical shops for daily necessities. There are also many more restaurants and bars in between the shops so there is never a shortage of places to eat and drink! It is worth mentioning that although English is very widely spoken and menus will normally be in 3 or 4 different languages, if you have any particular likes or dislikes or have special dietary requirements then you may find our food and drink information helpful.
Being a universal resort, Albufeira in Algarve will please both young and old people, as everyone can find here various exciting sights and entertainments. Those who are fond of art and history should visit the Municipal art gallery, the Virtual Archaeological Museum or the Museum of Ming ceramics, while clubbers will be amazed by a wide variety of local Albufeira nightlife options. Moreover, there are more than 15,000 permanent residents, so finding an appropriate location doesn't make a problem. Taxis, car rental and, if you like, steamships, are also available.
Albufeira - History
In history Albufeira was a thriving seaport and had its own castle, that was later destroyed in the earthquake of 1755. Happily, most of the older parts of the town that survived and have been carefully maintained. In Roman times it was know as Baltum and later changed by the Moors to Al-Buhera. During the Moors 8th Century occupation the town became an important trading port. In 1532 and in 1755 the town was badly hit by earthquakes, and in the latter, 227 unlucky people perished when the roof of the town church collapsed. During the "War of the Miguels" the town was besieged and set ablaze. The destroyed town consequently suffered a very long period of poverty and really only recovered with the boom of tourism in the later half of the 20th Century.
Albufeira - Description
As a result of the tide of tourism, this "once upon a time" fishing village has expanded since the 1960s into a major holiday resort and now has over 15,000 permanent residents. As the sun sets the centre of the town changes its character. A plentiful collection of bars, restaurants and clubs start to fill-up with people, until they spill over into the narrow streets. A fine selection of good beaches extend east and west from the town. Praia de Balaia, Praia de Castelo, Praia de Falésia, Praia de Galé, de Olhos d’Agua, Praia de Maria Luisa, and Praia de São Rafael, being the principal ones. 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. A new Marina has been completed on the west side of the town and offers a different and attractive aspect.
Albufeira - Nearby Locations
Other places of interest near to Albufeira are, Armação de Pera, Boliqueime, Guia and Paderne with its ruined castle perched on an isolated hill some distance from the village. This castle was liberated from Moor occupation in 1248 by Dom Paulo Peres Correia. At Ponte Grande there are impressive caverns with large arches, and also the underwater caverns of Grutas do Xorino.
Albufeira marina is on the western outskirts of the town - you can't really miss it as all the buildings and apartments are painted in blue, pink, orange, green and yellow squares! There are rows of shops along the road behind the marina and some bars and restaurants along the marina itself. It is a brilliant place to spend an afternoon, have a drink or a meal, or just sit in the sun and watch the boats and people strolling by. If you go for nothing else, go to see the amazing colors of the buildings! There are also some interesting dolphin statues raised on poles along the marina walkway and each has been individually decorated with a different design.
The marina is the starting point for many of the most popular things to do in Albufeira, such as boat trips, fishing trips and diving excursions. Or if you prefer staying on dry land - have a go on a Segway - the marina's long promenade is perfect for this novel form of transport! Just around the corner from the marina is the fishing port where you can see the fishermen going about their daily business and also get a lovely view of Albufeira across the bay.
Albufeira is always bustling in the summer months, but it is a lovely place to wander around in the autumn and winter when the crowds have disappeared! Contrary to popular belief - the Algarve doesn't close down - the bars and restaurants are open, as are the shops! So for those of you who find July and August too hot and too busy - try the quieter pace of life in the Algarve during the out of season months - the sun still shines and Albufeira is still there to welcome you. See Albufeira map below.
Albufeira - Algarve - Portugal
Information courtesy of general internet research and algarveuncovered.com, portugal-info.net, tripadvisor.com, algarve-guides.com and many more sources
Villa Rentals in Albufeira and holiday rentals in the Algarve Portugal in general are big business so you should expect to be treated with professionalism and with courtesy.