Portugal is a fantastic holiday destination for tourists of any age and the country is sure to offer something for everyone, catering for a wide range of interests. While some travelers may prefer the bustling cities of Lisbon, Portugal’s capital city, and Porto, others may prefer the smaller towns and areas that the country has to offer. One of these smaller towns is Albufeira. Albufeira can be found in Portugal’s Algarve region, famous for its sunny weather, golden beaches and fantastic golf resorts.
Once a small fishing village, over many years Albufeira has grown into something much larger and became very popular amongst British tourists. The attraction for the Brits ranges from the town’s sandy beaches to the incredible nightlife including bars, restaurants and shops that line along the town’s main strip. The town hasn’t lost its roots as, nowadays, the local fisherman use the more modern and updated marina which is also a starting point for divers as well as an area for boat trips and dolphin watching.
Albufeira Old Town
Perhaps one of the most popular parts of Albufeira is the Old Town. Here you’ll find small, cobbled streets, brightly painted buildings and long, winding alleyways – a traditional part of the mediterranean! Arguably the best part of the Old Town is the Old Town Square. Here, you’ll be able to sit, shaded by the palm trees, and enjoy a drink, some food or a good book. Sometimes, you’ll be able to enjoy some great entertainment as well as watch the people that pass by. Also, in the square, you’ll be able to explore the variety of shops where you can pick up plenty of keepsakes such as clothing and keyrings.
Old Town Square and Churches
Not too far away from the Old Town Square are some of Albufeira’s most popular tourist attractions. One of these attractions being the Igreja Matriz which is a beautiful, white church found in Alvor. It’s design can be defined as neoclassical and the church was built in the 18th century having been built in place of a previous church which had been converted from a mosque. Another fantastic church worth a visit is the Sant’Ana Church which can be found in the Largo Jacinto d’Ayet. Also built in the 18th century, a visit to the church is a must for anyone interested in the history of Albufeira as this building is steeped in it.
Sticking with the church theme, you may be interested in visiting the church of Sao Sebastian – a church with a twist. The church was built in the 18th century having been built over the site of a 16th century church that previously stood there. The church is a mix of various styles of architecture and features a dome as well as an altar which is multi-coloured. In addition to this, the church has many different statues including the Nossa Senhora da Piedade, or Our Lady of Piety, which is believed to date back to the 16th century. The ‘twist’ comes in the form of the museum attached to the church, the Museu de Arte Sacra, which features some religious art, some of which have been donated by neighbouring churches.
Galeria de Arte Pintor Samora Barros
If churches aren’t your thing but art is, you will likely want to take a visit to the Galeria de Arte Pintor Samora Barros. The gallery can be found in a former power station and contains lots of work by the artist Jose Ricardo Judice Samora Barros who was born in Albufeira. Another great feature is that the gallery, which can be found Duarte Pacheco Street, has no entrance fee and so you are able to experience some of the town’s finest art and culture without having to pay a single penny.
Food and Drink in Albufeira Old Town
Food and drink are, of course, some of the best parts of going on holiday and Albufeira has plenty to offer. From Irish and British themes pubs, bars with craft beer and live music venues, you are sure to find something that interests you.
If you prefer some high end, expensive food then a visit to Vila Joya is a necessity. Here, you will be able to eat Michelin quality meals while overlooking an incredible view of the ocean as you eat.
If you are on a slightly tighter budget, then don’t worry, there are still plenty of options. A great choice are the various buffet restaurants that are available around the town. Buffet restaurants are excellent choices for families, especially with younger children, and they range in themes from Chinese, Mexican and Indian to British and, of course, Portuguese.
If your preference lies more with the traditional, Portuguese food the Old Town is the best place to go. This area is filled with traditional restaurants where you are sure to find some of the local delicacies – a great suggestion is the cataplana fish and rice dish. Bear in mind that if you are visiting Albufeira during the summer months that the restaurants are likely to be busy and so it is recommended that you book ahead to ensure you get a table for the evening.
Albufeira Strip – Nightlife
Lastly, no trip to Albufeira would be complete without a trip to the Strip! To get to the strip from the Old Town, you will want to make your way to the town’s train station – a 15 minute drive south. From here, between the months of June and September, you will be able to get on the tourist train that will take you straight to the Areias de Sao Joao where you’ll find the Strip. The Strip features the best nightlife the town has to offer. Featuring many bars and nightclubs, it’s the perfect place for anyone looking to party!
So, to conclude, Albufeira truly offers something for everyone! With historical churches and interesting art galleries, to incredible restaurants and fantastic nightlife you are sure to find something you enjoy. It’s no wonder the town is such a popular holiday destination with all the amazing things it has to offer!
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