20 Best Things to Do in Albufeira: Tours & Activities Included

Discover what to do in Albufeira, a former fishing village located 28 miles from the capital Faro, which is known for being the largest and most popular resort town in the Algarve.

Albufeira has many attractions, including a charming old town with whitewashed and tiled houses sporting traditional Algarvian chimneys, plenty of bars, a bustling nightlife, gift shops and some of the best beaches in Algarve.

My first time in the city was in 2008 and since then I haven’t stopped. Not least because I have relatives there, but also because I love its stunning scenery! I discovered many exciting things to do in Albufeira, and in this local guide, I want to share my favourite ones with you.

From wandering the alleys and streets of the Old Town to conquering a castle, beach exploration, dolphin watching, shopping and partying hard, here is a list of what to do and see in Albufeira.

Praia do Peneco and Old Town Albufeira from the Elevador do Peneco, Albufeira, Algarve, Portugal
The beautiful city of Albufeira, Portugal, from Elevador do Peneco.

Some of the most popular tours in Albufeira:

20 Best Things to Do in Albufeira

1 – Visit Praia da Coelha, the most beautiful beach in Albufeira

The are many beautiful beaches in Albufeira, and Praia da Coelha is at the top of my list.

Located around 3.7 mi west of Albufeira Old Town, Rabbit Beach is a breathtaking beach surrounded by yellow cliffs and has fine golden sand with seashells and crystal-clear turquoise water.

This Blue Flag beach has a parking lot, calm water, extraordinary rock formations and very picturesque scenery. There are also lifeguards, a restaurant, SUP and beach chairs and umbrellas for hire.

When visiting Praia da Coelha you can’t miss the opportunity to walk on the trail path along the hilly landscape to find hidden coves and marvel at the beautiful landscape, as it’s one of the best things to do in Albufeira.

The extraordinary scenery of Praia da Coelha, Albufeira. This beach is bordered by yellow cliffs topped with low vegetation and people swimming on its crystalline green water and sunbathing on its amber sand.
The extraordinary scenery of Praia da Coelha, the most beautiful beach in Albufeira.

2 – Admire the vistas from São Rafael Beach viewpoint

Located within 25 min walking distance from Praia da Coelha, São Rafael is another gorgeous beach surrounded by bright orange cliffs with golden sand and crystal-clear turquoise water.

There’s a huge parking lot, a restaurant, a kiosk selling beachwear and souvenirs, water sports with good prices, beach chairs and umbrellas for hire and even a masseur. Pets, caravans and camping are not permitted.

São Rafael is wheelchair accessible, and very popular among locals, tourists and families with kids. But you can also stay in the second section, which has more shade because of the cliffs and is much quieter.

The viewpoint of São Rafael Beach is a popular Albufeira attraction and provides breathtaking vistas. But be careful when standing on the cliffs because of the risk of erosion and falling.

Praia de São Rafael, Albufeira, that's surrounded by bright orange cliffs with golden sand and crystal-clear turquoise water, with many chairs and umbrellas, a restaurant and people walking on the sand and taking pictures from its viewpoint.
I love admiring the splendid views from São Rafael Beach viewpoints.

3 – Explore the Algarvian coast by boat

The best way to explore the breathtaking Algarvian coastline is definitely by boat.

This is the reason that when you’re in the Algarve, you shouldn’t miss the opportunity to sail along with beautiful scenery and discover sea caves, grottoes, hidden gems beaches and magnificent rock formations from the perspective of the boat.

There are several boat trips that you can take while in Albufeira and the more popular choices are: Benagil Caves Boat Cruise, 2.5-Hour Dolphin Watching and Caves Cruise, and 3-Hour Cave and Coastline Boat Trip.

Tours start from 30 euros and bookings in advance are highly recommended.

Many boats berthed in the Marina de Albufeira, and people leaving an orange tour boat
Book your tour in advance, especially in the summer.

4 – Wandering around the Old Town

An Albufeira holiday cannot be complete without visiting its Old Town!

Featuring cobblestone streets, whitewashed and tiled houses, museums, lovely alleys, picturesque churches, lively squares and a myriad of restaurants, stores, bars and pubs, Albufeira’s Old Town is the heart of the city.

The main streets, Rua 25 de Abril and 05 de Outubro, and squares, Largo Eng. Duarte Pacheco and 25 de Abril, are the busiest places in the Old Town, so after walking through them, I suggest you find narrower and quieter streets for a more relaxed atmosphere.

You should also get a bird’s eye view from Miradouro do Pau da Bandeira and Peneco, two famous attractions, and make your way down to the beaches, especially Praia dos Pescadores, an iconic Albufeira beach.

Whether you go during the day or at night, you’ll find many things to do in Albufeira Old Town!

5 – Have a sunset drink at Restaurante Pedras Amarela

Located on Praia da Galé, approximately 4.35 mi west of Old Town Albufeira, Pedras Amarelas is a beach bar and restaurant serving Mediterranean and Portuguese cuisines.

The beautifully renovated restaurant has a modern main dining area with floor-to-ceiling glass panels, a stylish roof terrace with umbrellas, loungers, live performances, full moon parties and stunning views.

I love going to Pedras Amarelas to watch the sunset!

The last time I was there, a DJ was performing. We ordered some sangria and watched the sun going down and the sky getting painted with vibrant shades of gold. It was thrilling and magical!

Praia da Galé, Albufeira, after the sunset with the sky and par of the sand coloured with vibrant shades of gold
I was fascinated by the glittering gold sand!

6 – Enjoy the vivid nightlife

If you like to party hard, Albufeira has the hottest Algarvian nightlife with a plethora of bars and clubs that attract young locals and tourists.

The greatest thing about Albufeira’s nightlife is that you can go to two different areas of the city: the Old Town, where you can find lots of bars with live performances and entertainment; and the Strip, a 2Km avenue full of neon lights, cafes, restaurants, themed bars and clubs.

Some of the most famous bars and clubs in Albufeira are Matt’s Bar, Wild & Co, Le Club, Kiss and Club Vida.

I personally prefer the Old Town where you can walk around and see live performances on the street with people gathering and singing along. The crowd is also a bit older and the night doesn’t get as crazy and wild as in the strip.

Both parts get busier from 9 – 10 PM and go until 3 – 4 AM.

People walking on Albufeira Old Town in the evening with some restaurants with outside tables and bars
Old Town Albufeira at night

7 – Go beach exploring

I love beaches, and one of my favourite free things to do in Albufeira is beach exploring.

The city is home to 25 Blue Flag beaches, the highest number anywhere in Europe. Another great thing about Albufeira is that some of its best beaches are very close to each other, so you can take in a few in one go.

Whether you decide to explore the east or west coast, you’ll find impressive beaches surrounded by towering cliffs, with fine golden sand and crystal-clear turquoise water.

You can start at Praia da Galé, located around 4.4 mi west of Albufeira Old Town, and walk for about 2h all the way to Praia dos Arrifes. Or do the 25-minute walk from Praia de São Rafael to Praia da Coelha.

Walking along the sea cliffs, you’ll discover beaches that aren’t on the tourist radar, and take amazing pictures of the incredible views.

8 – Go shopping

With a great variety of boutiques, souvenir and gift shops, jewellery stores, bookshops, a nice shopping centre and thriving gipsy markets, you’ll feel very tempted to go shopping while in Albufeira.

You can buy some clothing for yourself or as a gift, beach accessories such as hats and sunglasses, handmade bags, watches, designer jewels, magnets, tiles, etc.

I like shopping in Albufeira, whether in the Old Town or at Albufeira Shopping. I always buy swimming suits, shorts for myself, magnets, tablecloths and tea towels for gifts. People always love it.

Shopping in Albufeira is fun and it’s an activity for the whole family. Prices are good, especially compared to the UK.

People shopping on a busy street in Old Town Albufeira with some stores on both sides and trees
Shops in Old Town Albufeira

9 – Visit Praia da Falésia, one of the best beaches in Europe

At almost 6 Km, Praia da Falésia is the longest Albufeira beach and extends from Olhos d’Água, on the east side of the city, to the municipality of Vilamoura.

The contrast between the dark red and white sandy cliffs topped by green pines against a blue sky makes it one of the most unique beaches in Albufeira. Seeing the very “long wall” formed by the differently coloured cliffs of different shapes and heights makes me appreciate Mother Nature’s grandeur even more.

Falésia Beach is perfect for long walks, sunbathing and practising water sports including kayaking, surfing, jet skiing and parasailing.

Praia da Falésia is a Blue Flag beach and has been ranked several times by Trip Advisor as one of the best beaches in Portugal and Europe alike.

A wooden stair that gives access to Praia da Falesia in Albufeira, with a red cliff on the left-side, and the beach with some umbrellas and people in the water
One of the accesses to Falésia Beach.

10 – Go dolphin watching

Dolphins are constantly seen in the Atlantic Ocean and one of the greatest things to do in Albufeira with kids is dolphin watching.

These adorable and playful creatures are some of the most liked marine animals and nothing is better than seeing them in their natural habitat, swimming and jumping in front of you

Dolphin tours are offered in the Algarve from March to November, although the best months to spot dolphins are from June to September.

A tour costs an average of € 35 and takes between 1 and 3 hours. Children usually pay a lower price. Most of the dolphin tours depart from the Albufeira Marina, and I highly recommend that you book your tour in advance here.

a Short-Beaked Common Dolphin swimming on the coast of Albufeira
I loved my dolphin-watching tour! It was the first time that I saw a Short-Beaked Common Dolphin.

11 – Take your kid to a waterpark

With plenty of slides, tunnels, inflatable mattresses, giant buoys, wave pools and fountains, spending the day at one of the Golden Coast waterparks is certainly an unforgettable experience!

The four best waterparks in the Algarve are: Slide & Splash, Aquashow, Zoomarine and Aqualand.

Zoomarine, in Guia, municipality of Albufeira, probably the best and most beautiful, also offers live performances, a dolphin show and interactions.

The first time I went to a waterpark was in July 2019. My family and I went to Slide & Splash and we had a blast.

12 – Do water sports

The Algarve is blessed with fantastic conditions for water sports, with over 300 days of sunshine a year and regular thermal winds.

So, naturally, one of the top things to do in this region is take a dip in the sea and do water sports.

Most of the beaches in Albufeira offer water activities, but the ones in the centre, as well as Praia de São Rafael, Galé, Santa Eulália and Falésia, have more options.

From inflatable rides to kayaking, jet skiing, Stand-Up Paddle Boarding, surfing, parasailing, and coasteering, there is no reason not to engage in some sort of water activity while you’re there.

A woman doing Stand-up paddle boarding and three people on an orange kayak on Praia dos Arrifes, Albufeira, and some orange cliffs in the background
Doing SUP and kayaking with friends at Arrifes Beach.

13 – Take a day trip to Lagos

During your Albufeira holiday, you shouldn’t miss the opportunity to visit Lagos, one of the best cities in the Algarve.

This ancient marine town, whose history stretches back more than 2000 years, has some of the most beautiful and famous beaches in the world, and also a great variety of restaurants and bars.

You can explore the delightful and historically important Lagos Old Town, visit the Mercado de Escravos, the Baroque church of Saint Anthony, Forte da Bandeira, Lagos’s Castle and see the remains of the ancient city walls.

A square in Lagos Old Town with some trees, a three-storey building covered with green tiles and whitewashed houses
Lagos Old Town

After visiting the city centre, it’s time to explore one of the greatest shorelines on the globe.

You must see Praia Dona Ana and Ponta da Piedade, the two most famous Lagos beaches, and also Praia do Camilo, one of my favourites in the Algarve.

The crystal-clear emerald water of Ponta da Piedade, in Lagos, with some boats sailing and yellow limestone cliffs with splendid rock formations and sea arches.
Ponta da Piedade and all its splendour!

14 – Eat plenty of Algarvian food

When visiting a new destination, besides the desire to see famous tourist attractions and have memorable experiences, there is also the curiosity to taste local and different dishes.

While in the Algarve, you must not miss the opportunity to taste Portuguese cuisine.

Some of the foods you should try when visiting the Algarve are:

  • Bacalhau à Brás (fried potatoes, codfish and parsley mixed together with eggs);
  • Cataplana de mariscos (mix of seafood with herbs, tomatoes and white wine);
  • Enchidos (smoked sausages filled with different ingredients);
  • Grilled sardines;
  • Pastéis de nata (the famous Portuguese custard tarts).

I love Bacalhau espiritual (Spiritual Codfish) and Pastéis de nata, and every time I’m in Algarve I eat a lot of it.

A white plate with some fish, potatoes, broccoli, carrots and lime, and a glass of white wine and umbrellas, with chairs on Praia da Coelha in the background
Lunch with a view at Praia da Coelha

15 – Go wine tasting

Portuguese wines have gained fame, recognition and multiple awards across the globe.

Better known for Port, the fortified wine produced in the Douro region (north of the country), Portugal also produces other brilliant types of wines.

Even though the Algarve has only started to revitalize its wine sector in the past few years, you should go on a wine tour and discover the best wineries in the area.

During your wine-tasting tour, you can also explore the scenic Algarvian countryside, historical sites and even some beaches. There are plenty of options, and you can check them all here.

16 – Renew your faith at the Igreja Matriz

Constructed in the 18th century, the Igreja Matriz (Parish Church) Nossa Senhora da Conceição is a neoclassical church featuring a single nave with four altars, a barrel vault ceiling and notable artworks, including an imposing triumphal arch with the image of the patron saint of Albufeira, Our Lady of the Conception.

But the real interest lies in the statue of Nossa Senhora da Orada, the patron saint of Albufeira’s fishermen.

Every August there is a religious festivity with prayers, Eucharist, concerts, processions (including a sea one from the marina to Praia do Inatel) and fireworks. If you visit Albufeira in the first two weeks of August, you should take part in these celebrations.

At any other time of the year, you should pay a visit to this graceful church when you’re in the Old Town.

17 – Learn about Albufeira’s history at the Museu Municipal de Arqueologia

Located in the Old Town, within walking distance of the Parish Church of Nossa Senhora da Conceição, this museum is housed in a two-story building overlooking the sea.

The collection is closely linked to the history of Albufeira and divided into four sections: Prehistory, Roman Period, Islamic Period and the Modern Age.

A curious fact is that the main collection was gathered by a priest, Father José Manuel Semedo de Azevedo, and includes a Neolithic vase dating back to 5,000 BC, a set of architectural elements and artefacts from Villa Romana da Retorta and the Old Parish Church of Albufeira, as well as some pieces of unknown origin found in the city.

The Museu Municipal de Arqueologia de Albufeira is open from Tuesday to Sunday, costs only 1 euro and the visit takes between 20 to 60 minutes.

The white faced of the Museu Municipal de Arqueologia de Albufeira
If you’re interested in history and old civilisations, you should visit the Municipal Museum of Archeology.

18 – Visit the colourful Albufeira Marina

The vibrant Marina de Albufeira, constructed in 2009 and located around 1 mi west of Old Town Albufeira, is considered one of the best marinas in the country.

This award-winning marina features 475 mooring posts for all classes of nautical recreational vessels and is one of the safest and most sheltered marinas in Portugal.

In addition to the marina itself and the Nautical Club, this development hosts several types of restaurants, stores, tour agencies, beauty parlours, self-catering apartments and villas for rent, etc.

Visiting this complex is one of the best things to do in Albufeira when raining, as it provides family-friendly entertainment such as bowling, a leisure centre and indoor karting.

There are also rides, trampolines and a SCAD jump, but in an outdoor area though.

The Marina de Albufeira with its bars, restaurants with outside seatings, seven-storey colourful buildings, and some people walking
The colourful marina is one of Albufeira’s points of interest that you shouldn’t miss.

19 – Discover the nearby towns and beaches

Albufeira, Lagos, Vilamoura, Carvoeiro, Loulé and Portimão are generally considered to be some of the best places to visit in Algarve.

But the Golden Coast, which extends for an area of 4,997 km2 (1,929 sq mi), has many other attractions.

And this is the reason that when you’re in the city, you should take advantage of its central location to discover the nearby towns and beaches.

If you like history, you should visit Loulé, Faro or Silves. If you prefer unique beaches don’t miss Lagoa and Portimão, two of the most breathtaking beaches in the Algarve are in these municipalities.

But if you’re more into the off-the-beaten track, my top recommendation is Costa Vicentina Natural Park, where you find a bit of history and gorgeous beaches.

20 – Conquer the Ruins of the Castle of Paderne

If you’re looking for unusual things to do near Albufeira, put the Castelo de Paderne, one of the few remaining castles in the Algarve, on your list.

This ancient fortification constructed in the late 12th century by the Moors is located on a hilltop of a valley dotted with Mediterranean vegetation.

After several battles between Muslims and Christians, the castle was conquered by the Portuguese in 1248 and abandoned in 1858.

When visiting the Castle of Paderne today, you’ll see the remains of a trapezoidal structure, almost a hectare in size, surrounded by thick walls and a tower/gate with a walkway made of Taipa (a mixture of mud, chalk, lime and aggregate that sets like concrete).

You can visit the Castle of Paderne by car, but my recommendation is to book this Quad-biking Tour that combines thrilling driving with historic sightseeing. I’ve done that and I had so much fun!

the remains of a trapezoidal structure, almost a hectare in size and a tree at Paderne Castle, Albufeira
Castelo de Paderne

This is my list of the 20 best things to do in Albufeira and below you will find a suggested itinerary and some tips to help you plan your trip.

Safe travels and have fun in Portugal.

What to Do in Albufeira in 1 Day – Full Itinerary

  • 09:00 – Take in the scenic views from Elevador do Peneco
  • 09:30 – Explore the Old Town and its beaches
  • 13:00 – Have lunch by the sea on Praia da Coelha or São Rafael, two of Albufeira’s best beaches
  • 14:00 – Spend the rest of the afternoon lounging around the beach
  • 18:30 – Get a sunset drink at Praia da Galé
  • 21:30 – Have dinner in Old Town
  • 22:30 – Enjoy Albufeira’s lively nightlife

More posts about the Algarve that might interest you:

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Visiting Albufeira, Portugal

Where is Albufeira?

Albufeira is a coastal city in the southern Algarve region of Portugal located 45 km (28 mi) from the capital Faro (check the exact location here).

How to get to Albufeira, Portugal?

There’s an international airport in Faro, but Lisbon is the more popular choice for travellers from outside of Europe.

From Lisbon, you can take a bus or a train to Albufeira. The prices are basically the same and they take around 2h30min to get there.

From Faro, you can take an airport transfer, which costs an average of €15, and a train or bus to Albufeira, which costs €3.40 and €4.90 respectively.

You can find the best deals on airline tickets at Skyscanner. This is the website that I use, trust and recommend.

Best time to visit Albufeira?

Albufeira is a year-round destination, but the best time to visit it is from mid-May to June and September to mid-October. July and August it gets too hot and crowded.

The Christmas Holiday season is also a popular time because there’s a big New Year’s Eve celebration on the beach.

How many days to spend in Albufeira?

At least 3 full days. There are many things to see and if you stay longer, you can also take a day trip to Lagos, which is also one of the best places to visit in the Algarve.

Where to stay in Albufeira?

If you want to stay in a central location from where you can easily reach most of Albufeira’s points of interest, I would suggest anywhere between the Old Town and Praia da Oura.

If you prefer a quieter area, I would suggest near Praia de São Rafael or Praia da Falésia.

Some Albufeira hotels that I recommend are:

Budget: Apartamentos Turísticos Novochoro, Água Viva and Albufeira Beach Hotel.

Great Value for Money: Villa Alegria – Happy Home, Hotel Topázio, Rocamar Exclusive Hotel & Spa and Grande Real Santa Eulalia Resort & Hotel Spa.

Luxury: Salgados Dunas Suites, Pine Cliffs Residence a Luxury Collection Resort and Aqua Pedra dos Bicos.

How to get around?

The best thing is to hire a car because public transportation in Albufeira isn’t good.

Local buses don’t run very often, and neither do intercity buses or trains.

If you don’t hire a car, you can use taxis, tuk-tuk, or Uber, but that isn’t cheap.

If you’re visiting only Albufeira and staying in a central location, you may not need a car, however, it is easier to get around and much more convenient with a car.

You can hire a car with Rental Cars here at no extra cost to you.

Have you been to the Algarve? What do you think of my list? Leave a comment below 😉

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