Albufeira is what happens when a sleepy fishing village on the Algarve coast becomes a beloved tourist playground – think Vegas-style nightlife, fantastic golfing, and mouthwatering seafood restaurants. But even with its popularity amongst European holidaymakers, this small city maintains its Portuguese charms. Cobbled streets and bright white houses wind down to a sandy beach fringed by rocky outcrops, and there are plenty of authentic restaurants where you can sample the fresh seafood Albufeira’s famous for. Traditional meals include ‘frango piri-piri’, crispy charcoal-grilled chicken with red chilli flakes, and ‘bacalhau’, dried salt cod that can reportedly be cooked in 365 different ways.
Albufeira offers families plenty to do, with everything from diving to dolphin spotting on its idyllic shores. That being said, it’s definitely a favourite amongst younger crowds, with the strip of bars and clubs in Montechoro attracting merrymakers for stag and hen-dos throughout the summer. For those after a more laid-back holiday, the old town and the neighbourhood around Praia da Falésia are good options for couples, especially if all you want to do is laze on the golden sand.
When to go?
Like most beach destinations, summertime brings the best weather for swimming and sunbathing – but it also brings the crowds. If you’re looking for a slightly quieter (and cheaper) stay, opt for autumn or spring, when southern Portugal is still much warmer and sunnier than the rest of Europe.
Vidamar Algarve Villas
Where to stay?
Vidamar Algarve Villas – Albufeira, Portugal
These elegant villas are all about treating yourself. The massive apartments open out onto a wooden deck with private swimming pools, and have special extras like fluffy bathrobes and flat screen TVs. Golfers will love the rolling course along the sea, with Salgados Beach only a 5 minute walk away.
Alfagar I Village
Alfagar I Village – Albufeira, Portugal
The cheerful yellow and white Alfagar I Village welcomes guests from a cliffside perch directly over Santa Eulália Beach. The resort is ideal for families, with spacious apartments, indoor and outdoor pools, and a waterslide.
Sao Rafael Villas
Sao Rafael Villas – Albufeira, Portugal
Sao Rafael Villas are as peaceful as they come, with a quiet and convenient location outside the busy centre of Albufeira. The apartments are big and bright, with balconies so you can sun yourself in between trips to the shore.