Welcome to our Albufeira travel guide and holiday planner for the most popular holiday resort on Portugal’s Algarve coastline. Its quaint old town and wide range of hotels, restaurants, bars, shops and beaches makes it a central place to stay if you want plenty of things to do and a good holiday atmosphere. It’s also in a good location for visiting other areas of the coastline and the top attractions. If you’re planning a trip to this action-packed holiday town, browse our complete Albufeira travel guide below to find answers to your top questions and inspiration on where to eat, drink and stay.
JUMP TO: When to visit | Albufeira Areas | Getting to/from Albufeira | Transport options | Day-trips | Where to stay | Supermarkets | Shopping | Restaurant Guide | Nightlife guide
Best time to visit and weather
June, July and August have the hottest temperatures in the Algarve, but it’s not unbearably hot! Travel between March – May and September for moderate temperatures, with some days hotter than others. The months of October to early March are the coldest months of the year and you’ll need a jacket; however, temperatures are much more bearable than chilly northern Europe.
We recommend visiting in May, early June or September. They’re much cheaper months than the peak summer period and the weather is generally excellent.
Albufeira Old Town versus New Town
Albufeira is divided into two areas – the quaint and compact Old Town centre, and the ‘New Town’ area of Oura and Santa Eulalia, a long strip of bars, restaurants and hotels leading to the beach, accompanied by more luxurious hotels towards the east. See below for a summary of each location and our personal recommendation on where to stay.
Albufeira Old Town
- A quieter, ‘family and couples’ atmosphere
- The preferred area to stay for older people and families
- Lots of nice shops and restaurants
- A good nightlife during the summer and plenty of bars. Nightlife here is tamer than the New Town
- A large sandy beach with a promenade
Albufeira New Town / Santa Eulalia
- An unrivalled selection of bars, clubs and restaurants – nightlife until the early hours
- A good mix of accommodation for every budget
- Beautiful sandy beaches
- Lots of facilities, shops and connections to other areas
- Close to the luxurious hotels of Olhos de Agua
Olhos de Agua / Falesia
Further east of the Old Town and Santa Eulalia areas, you have the much quieter resort areas of Olhos de Agua, and Falesia further east again. Whilst they’re still technically classed as Albufeira, they’re a 15-minute drive to the town centre. They’re also home to the most luxurious hotels that Albufeira has to offer! Life here is a lot quieter and relaxing and there’s less going on when the sun goes down. If you want a quiet luxury holiday away from everything, this area is perfect! If not, we recommend sticking to the Old Town or Santa Eulalia.
If you’re looking for an active partying holiday or 5-star luxury hotels that are secluded from the main areas, we recommend Santa Eulalia or Olhos de Agua. For everyone else, and our personal preference on the best place to stay, base yourself in or around Albufeira Old Town. It’s prettier, more cultural and the restaurant selection is excellent. Nightlife in both areas is decent and you can always visit the other location to where you’re staying, which we highly recommend doing! Taxis between resort areas are quick and cheap.
For our top tips on accommodation, jump to our ‘Where to stay’ guide at the bottom of this page.
Getting to and from Albufeira
Albufeira is located around 46km or a 35 minute drive from Faro Airport (the Algarve’s main airport). If you plan on doing lots of sightseeing and day-trips during your stay, we recommend renting a cheap car to get around and collecting it at the airport.
If you plan on staying in Albufeira and just venturing out on the occasional day-trip, the most cost effective and comfortable way of getting to your hotel is via a shared or private transfer booked in advance.
Whilst an airport taxi will cost you around 35 euros for the one-way trip, book in advance using Skyscanner’s airport transfer comparison service and you’ll pay only 20 euros (one-way) for 4 people.
Getting around when you’re there
Whilst you’re in Albufeira, getting around will all depend where your hotel is located. If you’re staying in the Old Town centre or the New Town Albufeira Strip, everything is within walking distance. If your hotel is just outside the main areas, catch a quick and reasonably priced taxi to the town centre or to get between the old and new town.
Taxis – Uber is available on the Algarve so you may wish to use it to make your life easier, however you’ll only usually save a couple of euros. Taxi’s are fairly reasonably priced in the area and there are taxi stations in all central areas, including the beaches. Bolt (previously Taxify) is another app that can be used to call for a taxi whenever you need one. It’s quick and easy to use, and you can use your free EU roaming data allowance.
Car rental – If you want plenty of freedom and trips to nearby resorts, cities and the countryside, renting a car is the way to go and we highly recommend one for stays of 7+ days. Car rental is affordable; however, you have to be wary of the company you use. Check out our guide to Algarve car rental here and find out the best companies to hire from.
Catch the local bus – The Algarve local bus service is reliable and super cheap. Although it’s quicker and more convenient to drive by car, if you don’t plan on venturing out from Albufeira town much and want a leisurely day out without worrying about rentals or parking, catch the bus from the main road that runs through the town. It’ll take you between the Albufeira New Town and Old Town, or onwards to Quarteira, Vilamoura, Faro and Portimao. Plan your bus journey on the official Algarve Bus website here.
Top things to do in and around Albufeira – Albufeira Travel Guide
1. Relax on the beach
There isn’t just one beach in Albufeira; you have all of the following! Relax on a sun lounger, play some beach games or get the adrenaline pumping with some water sports. Each beach has something unique to offer.
- Praia do Inatel (Old Town)
- Praia dos Alemaes (Old Town)
- Praia dos Aveiros (Old Town)
- Praia da Oura (New Town) *Best for water sports*
- Praia da Oura Leste (New Town)
- Santa Eulalia Beach *a short drive away but the quietest and best beach in our opinion*
2. Wander the old town streets
For leisurely walks with beautiful scenery of the coastline, Albufeira’s Old Town is the place to go. Start in the Old Town Square and take a stroll alongside the beach and onwards to the cliffside, leading to the marina. Stop for a scenic lunch or drink on the way and capture some nice photos of the beaches.
3. Tour the coastline on a boat trip
If you’ve seen pictures of the Algarve coast, you’ll know that it’s essential to explore it in all its glory! Catching a boat from the marina on a morning is the best way to see it and you should book in advance of arrival, ideally at least the day before. Explore the stunning caves, coves and cliffs of Lagos or venture out to sea to see dolphins! We recommend booking a tour with Algar Experiences. They have a variety of tours with top reviews.
4. Visit the marina
Albufeira’s marina is a small but pretty collection of cafes and promenade’s overlooking a sophisticated line-up of yachts and sightseeing boats. It’s a nice place to enjoy a coffee and breakfast on a morning or for an afternoon stroll when you’re tired of lying on the beach. We also recommend grabbing a beer in a marina café and watching the boats coming in at sunset!
5. Walk from the Old Town to the New Town and vice versa
As Albufeira is such as large resort, it provides a great opportunity for exploration and seeing other areas. Take the scenic coastal route from Albufeira marina all the way to Santa Eulalia or vice versa and then catch a cab back for the return journey. It’s a scenic route that will show you the beaches and promenades of all resorts, with some good cafes and bars along the way. Wear some decent footwear!
6. Wine tasting in the countryside
Set back behind the Albufeira beachfront is the stunning Adega do Cantor winery. Spend an afternoon or early evening in the sunset, wine tasting to your hearts content and learning about the Portuguese wine making process. The outdoor seating and panoramic views of the vineyard is idyllic and a top activity for the adults!
7. Visit another resort
Albufeira may be the liveliest and action-packed resort in the Algarve, however each area has something unique to offer and it’s well worth visiting some other areas for a taste of what the Algarve is all about. Here are some of our top recommendations for day-trips to other towns.
- Lagos – some of the best beaches in Portugal! Amazing rock formations, caves and stunning scenery
- Vilamoura – just down the road from Albufeira, this upmarket marina town has lots of nice bars, shops and restaurants, and it’s a nice place to go for a stroll on the promenade. Also the top spot for golfers
- Quarteira – a small resort town with nice beaches and restaurants. Visit on a weekend for the excellent outdoor market
- Portimao – the area of choice for expat living, it has the most ‘local’ and cultural atmosphere on the Algarve. Check out the pretty architecture of the streets and have a glass of wine by the marina.
8. Tour the countryside in a jeep
The Algarve isn’t all about the beaches! Inland from the coast there’s a beautiful countryside of orange groves, forests and idyllic wine country. The best way to see it is on an off-road tour, where you’ll get to see the stunning landscapes from the comfort of an open-back jeep. Venture across the plains to see waterfalls, fields and forests, getting lost in nature with your tour group. We recommend booking an excursion with Alsafari Tours.
9. Experience Zoomarine Algarve
As one of our favourite attractions in our Albufeira travel guide, Zoomarine is a theme park that we recommend to anyone visiting the Algarve for the first time. Great for kids and adults, this large marine park is packed full of live animal shows, animal conversation exhibits and ‘meet the animals’ attractions. It also has its own water park! Visit for a full morning of entertaining shows and relax in the water park in the afternoon. It’s a short drive from Albufeira and a shuttle bus runs frequently between the town and theme park.
10. Have fun at a water park
In addition to the water park in Zoomarine as mentioned above, there are three other main water parks in the Algarve – Aqualand, Aquashow and Slide and Splash. Slide and Splash and Aquashow are the larger water parks with plenty of different rides. They’re all a short drive away from Albufeira so choose the park you like the look of most and enjoy a fun day out getting wet!
For more ideas for things to do on the Algarve, check out our ‘Top 10’ guide here.
Further afield day-trips
The above list features some great things to do within and near Albufeira, however if you’re on a longer holiday and want to go on an adventure, the following places should be on the top of your list! Each place can be visited within a full day-trip but you can always choose to stay overnight to break up the travel time.
Lisbon – One of our favourite capital cities with plenty of sightseeing and foodie opportunities, you can reach Lisbon in 2 hr 30mins by car or a tour bus. It’s a long day out but worth every minute! Drive time: 2 hrs 30 mins
Seville – Cross the Spanish border and continue onwards to Seville, which is arguably the most historic city in the whole of Spain. Practice Flamenca, eat Paella and see the top sights! Drive time: 2 hrs 30 mins
Sagres and Boca do Rio Nature Reserve – Sagres is the southwestern most point in Portugal, where the Atlantic waves crash off the cliffside and a wonderful coastline has been formed. Take the scenic road trip across the Algarve to this nice collection of towns, scenery and beaches. Drive time: 1 hr
Guadiana Valley Natural Park – If you want something different to beaches for a day or two, head inland to the Guadiana Valley Nature Park. Here you’ll find a river running through hillsides and forests of natural terrain, and some nice viewpoints and restaurants to admire the view. We recommend taking a picnic and eating outdoors. Drive time: 1 hr 30 mins
Parque Natural do Sudoeste – Looking for the best coastal scenery and beaches that Portugal has to offer? Venture north-west to this secluded Atlantic haven. Parque Natural do Sudoeste is nature at its best and a top thing to see in Portugal. Drive time: 1 hour 20 mins
The best Albufeira hotels – Where to stay
For the best of the best luxury hotels, you’ll have to venture to the quieter areas of Falesia and Olhos de Agua, which are secluded away from Albufeira’s central town. However, you’re still able to find a some nice 4-star central hotels. See below for our top picks.
View on Booking.com | 4 Stars | 4.5/5 TripAdvisor Rating
A modern hotel that’s perfect for beach lovers, Alisios hotel sits on Albufeira’s Old Town beach overlooking the sea. Prime located luxury living at its best.
View on Booking.com | 5 Stars | 4.5/5 TripAdvisor Rating
A true luxury resort for those that like to holiday in style. Prices are cheaper than you’d think due to its secluded location! You’ll find all of the 5-star luxurious expected, coupled with stunning coastal views.
View on Booking.com | 5 Stars | 4.5/5 TripAdvisor Rating
It’s a good drive away from the town centre, however the Epic Sana is, well…epic. It’s one of the top-rated 5-star hotels on the Algarve and it suits those that like a quiet luxury holiday away from the tourist scene.
Each of the following mid-range hotels and apartments have plenty of facilities, great locations and quality rooms for prices that won’t break the bank.
View on Booking.com | 4 Stars | 4.5/5 TripAdvisor Rating
As one of our favourite hotels in our Albufeira travel guide, the Eden Resort, isn’t a hotel as such. Perched on top of a hill just outside the Old Town, this sprawling resort is made up of private villas and multiple pools and facilities. Go for the all-inclusive option or self-cater in a fully equipped apartment. It’s good value for groups and has a nice location just outside of the action.
View on Booking.com | 4 Stars | 4.5/5 TripAdvisor Rating
Located just off the main road that runs through Albufeira, Brisa Sol is a resort that’s great for getting anywhere, from the Old Town to the New Town and beyond! The rooms are modern, well equipped and you’ll love the pool views of the Old Town below.
View on Booking.com | 4 Stars | 4.5/5 TripAdvisor Rating
If you want to be near the main Oura ‘New Town’ party strip but staying somewhere nice is a must, Aqua Pedra Hotel is just for you! We personally think it’s the nicest hotel in the Oura area and you’re just a stone throw from the beach and a plethora of bars. Party in style!
Budget friendly hotels
Visiting the Algarve on a budget is super-achievable. See below for excellent value for money hotels that are worth every penny. Expect great reviews and low prices.
View on Booking.com | 3 Stars | 4/5 Tripadvisor Rating
If you’re not sure whether to stay in the Old Town or New Town, the central location of Hotel Topazio will suit you perfectly! It’s a short walk from both towns so you have the option of vibrant nightlife and a cultural old town atmosphere. It’s also prime location for the beach and has apartment options for self-catering.
View on Booking.com | 3 Stars | 4.5/5 TripAdvisor Rating
Albufeira’s Marina is tucked away from the main town. It’s peaceful, pretty and a short stroll from many bars and restaurants, just like this hotel. It’s small but has a traditional ‘boutique’ style and we love the open-plan garden area with pool and hot-tub. It’s also very affordable!
View on Booking.com | 3 Stars | 4/5 TripAdvisor Rating
The New Town Strip area has no shortage of cheap accommodation, however they’re quite poorly rated and won’t make your holiday. However, the Natura Algarve Club is excellent. It’s affordable, top-rated and in a good location for the bar-strip and restaurants.
Both Albufeira Old Town and New Town have plenty of mini-marts within the resort areas and many hotels have a small shop for groceries and essentials. As expected, you usually pay more at these types of stores. For great value groceries that are ideal for making your own meals and stocking up on cheap drinks, check out the following supermarkets that sit on the main ‘Av. Dos Descobrimentos’ road that runs through Albufeira.
LIDL – Rua Baden Powell, 8200-131 Albufeira, Portugal – View on map
ALDI – Av. dos Descobrimentos, 8200-153 Albufeira, Portugal – View on map
Pingo Doce – Urbanização Bela Vista, Avenida Dos Descobrimentos, 8200-127 Faro, Portugal – View on map
Albufeira shopping guide
An Albufeira travel guide wouldn’t be complete without some insights on the best shops! For gift shopping, the best place to go is the quaint streets of Old Town Albufeira. Here you’ll uncover traditional gift shops, branded apparel and all of the beach essentials you need.
Albufeira’s New Town mainly consists of typical souvenir and beach supply stores.
For high street fashion, accessories and lots of retail therapy, visit the appropriately named ‘Albufeira Shopping Centre’. It has both local and international brands and is a cool place to spend an afternoon out of the hot sun or rain. Visit their website here for the full store listings and opening times.
The Best Albufeira restaurants
As a popular tourist resort, Albufeira has its fair share of excellent, but also mediocre and poor restaurants. You’ll find traditional Portuguese ‘family-run’ eateries, but also Mediterranean, American-style, Indian and even Chinese restaurants, so you have plenty of options for your holiday. Browse some of our top restaurant recommendations below for both the Old Town and New Town.
The best Albufeira Old Town restaurants
Os Arcos Restaurante ££
For all you seafood lovers out there, Os Arcos is the place to visit. Go for a slow walk along the beach promenade and arrive at this quaint Mediterranean style restaurant. The menu has plenty of European options and the fish dishes are unrivalled.
Restaurante Dom Carlos ££££
Restaurante Dom Carlos is top place to go for a special occasion dinner in Albufeira. Dine inside a small traditional interior in the centre of the Old Town, tasting delicious gourmet-style Mediterranean food in the form of a 5-course meal. It’s not cheap, but the quality is second to none!
Shalom II ££
If you’re a meat lover, Shalom II is where you should go. Tucked back in a small alleyway, Shalom II radiates ambience with its brick wall interior and dimly lit dining rooms. Sample steaks and ribs for affordable prices and opt to sit outside if you’re stopping by for lunch. Its sister restaurants ‘Shalom I’ is nearby so make sure you take a seat at the newer Shalom II.
New Town / Santa Eulalia Restaurants
Senhor Frogs Pizzeria ££
Senhor Frogs is the place to go for a nice meal before hitting the Oura strip of bars. Prices are a little more than other nearby pizza places, however the food is much better. They cater to all diets, including Vegan and their drinks menu is also very good.
Restaurante Churrasqueira Beira ££
For an authentic Portuguese meal in a dimly lit family-run restaurant, look no further than Churrasquiera Beira. Sample fresh hearty seafood dishes and Portuguese cuisine classics alongside locally sourced wine.
Curry Leaves ££
Surprisingly, there are many Indian restaurants in Albufeira, serving up speciality curries and all of the flavours you’d expect. Curry Leaves is the restaurant of choice for the Santa Eulalia area and although it’s slightly off-set from the central Oura Beach, it’s worth the short walk. Enjoy a delicious spicy meal before your evening out.
Best Albufeira bars and nightlife
If you’re looking for lively bars and clubs, or even relaxing drinks with live music and a good atmosphere, Albuferia is the place to be and many tourists visit from nearby resorts just for the nightlife. In low-season (November – March) some bars are closed and nightlife is much quieter, however you’ll still find some lively places to go on weekends. During the peak season of June – August, nightlife is lively wherever you go and prices can be a little more expensive than the off-season. Read on below for the best bars in each of the main areas.
Old Town nightlife
Albufeira’s Old Town is the tamer area of the two, however how tame depends on the night you visit. During the summer you’ll find bar crawls and a busy street of bar atmosphere as you get later into the evening, however you’ll also find a mix of quiet cocktail bars and live music pubs. ‘R. Cândido dos Reis’ is the main street of bars alongside the Old Town square and it’s where you’ll find the most up-beat places to go. Spread out through the old town and towards the beach, there are plenty of other quieter places to enjoy a drink, play some pool and listen to live music.
Best Albufeira Old Town bars:
- Sal Rosa – A quiet cocktail bar overlooking the beach. Recommended for sunset cocktails with your partner.
- Piccadilly Cocktail Bar – A busy music bar on the main strip of bars and restaurants. Hover outside for long enough and you’ll be tempted by good drink offers.
- Sharky’s Bar – Our favourite bar in Albufeira Marina, Sharky’s is serving up reasonably priced drinks day and night. Visit for an afternoon beer and return for late evening cocktails.
- Havana Meets Jamaica Bar – A quirky Caribbean beats bar with pool tables, great drinks and a chilled-out atmosphere. One for the younger crowd.
- Al Café – If a dimly lit Moroccan style bar with cushion seats, Shisha and handcrafted cocktails interests you, Al Café is where you should start your evening. The relaxed atmosphere and quiet music are perfect for a casual chat with drinks.
New Town Montechoro Strip / Santa Eulalia nightlife
The infamous Montechoro Strip comes alive during the summer with 18-30’s looking to party the night away in the many bars and flashing light clubs. Outside of this time, it can be quiet depending on the evening you visit, however there’s always some bars that will attract a crowd and serve you cocktails until the early hours. Although The Strip is very lively, you’ll also find quieter cocktail bars and pubs on off-shoot streets and nearer the Montechoro Hotel end of the strip.
Best Albufeira New Town / Santa Eulalia Bars
- Montechoro ‘New Town’ Strip – not one bar but a collection of countless bars, the Strip is the ultimate place for a night out in Albufeira. The crowd is young and looking to dance until the early hours. ‘Bar-crawl’ your way to Oura Beach.
- Blues Bar – The go-to option for quieter drinks, live music and sports. It’s just outside of the lively party scene and attractive for families too!
- La Bamba Bar – One of the liveliest ‘club style’ bars on the Strip. Arrive here late for table dancing, plenty of pop dance music and a fun crowd.
- Grease Bar – If cheesy music, karaoke and fruity holiday cocktails are your thing, pay a visit to Grease Bar at the Montechoro Hotel end of the strip. Have fun with friends and sample the colourful drinks menu. The staff are friendly and really set the tone of this bar.
Top tips for visiting Albufeira
- As tempting as it may be to stay in the all-in-one resort of Albufeira, venture out and explore the other towns and resorts. There’s a lot to see in the Algarve and you might find inspiration for your next Algarve holiday!
- The prices of flights and accommodation in June, July and August increase significantly versus previous months. Visit in May or September for nice weather and much cheaper prices
- The public bus is very good in the Algarve. If you don’t plan on travelling around lots (in which case we’d recommend renting a car), download the bus timetable and save plenty of money with good old public transport. View the bus routes and times here.
- Fully research restaurant reviews before taking a seat. Restaurant quality varies and you don’t want to waste money on mediocre foods. Our recommended restaurants above are a good starting point for inspiration
- Book attraction tickets and airport transfers in advance of arrival. It’s cheaper!
- Although most shops, bars and restaurants accept credit cards, keep some cash with you just in case. You’ll still find some places that are ‘cash only’
That brings us to the end of our Ultimate Albufeira travel guide. We’ve covered the main topics and given our suggestions; now all that’s left to do is explore this pretty resort town for yourself. It’s a great place to stay for first timers to the Algarve and seasoned veterans alike. It suits those that like lots to do on holiday alongside lots of walking, sightseeing and nightlife opportunities. If you have any further questions, we’d be happy to answer them. Contact us here or on social media.