Albufeira and the beaches

Photo: ATA - Pedro Reis
Photo: ATA - Pedro Reis

One of the busiest seaside resorts in the Algarve for its lively and carefree atmosphere, Albufeira owes its fame to the beautiful beaches and the many bars and nightclubs.

But it's worth getting to know this town of white houses. Founded by the Arabs, it still has narrow winding streets, to be explored by day or by night since the excitement never stops. The streets lead to Túnel and Peneco beaches, a stretch of sand framed by the town, which forms an amphitheatre facing the sea. Alongside the beach, the promenade provides other views, bounded to the west by the Xorino Cave, where the Moors took refuge in the 13th century following the Christian reconquest of the town.

The brightly painted fishing boats rest on the sand after their day’s work. And in the old fishermen’s quarters, there’s a bar or a restaurant hiding around every corner. Here you can try the really fresh seafood and fish, simply grilled or in a cataplana (casserole), the specialty of the region. Roast chicken, with or without chilli sauce, which Guia, about 7km away, is famous for, is also very popular.

And the sweets - almond, fig and carob... and medronho brandy and bitter almond liqueur, delicacies that originate from the villages further inland. If you move slightly away from the blue horizon of the sea, you can enjoy the green fields sprinkled with orange, almond and fig trees. And discover evidence of the past, like at Paderne Castle with its thick adobe walls, typical of Arab construction.

Going back towards the coast, you should also visit the Chapel of Our Lady of Orada, whose feast takes place on 14 August and includes a grand procession of boats. Nearby, is the modern Albufeira Marina, whose excellent facilities welcome all those who arrive by sea.

But it’s Albufeira’s beaches that have given it international renown. They are all different, each with their own charm. The variety is huge and starts in the west at Salgados Beach with its white sand dunes. A succession of beaches follows, framed by the cliffs carved out by erosion, such as Galé, Castelo, São Rafael and Arrifes.

There are also beaches in the town itself – Pescadores, Túnel, Alemães and Inatel – easily accessible a short walk away. And the beaches continue to the east, rivalling each other in beauty and liveliness - Oura, Santa Eulália, Maria Luisa and Olhos de Água, which has freshwater springs right on the beach. The boundary of the municipality is marked by the long sandy Falésia Beach - miles of beach edged by the cliffs that give it its name, that tumble in golden, coppery and red hues. It’s an image that becomes more intense in the late afternoon light, one which will stay in your memory.

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