Looking for things to do in Albufeira? Below you will find the 20 best and many other tips 😉
Albufeira, a former fishing village, is now the largest resort town in the Algarve and has many attractions, including a charming old town with whitewashed and tiled houses sporting traditional Algarvian chimneys, restaurants, bars, hotels, gift shops and some of the best beaches in Algarve.
The first time I went to Albufeira was in 2008. I still remember arriving in the city and being mesmerized by the distinctive chimneys. I was so happy and excited to explore one of the best summer destinations in Europe.
I fell in love with Albufeira and since then I visit the city at least every other year, not least because I have relatives there, but also because I love the stunning scenery of the Algarve and its unparalleled golden beaches dotted with dramatic cliffs and crystal-clear azure water.
There are many things to do in Albufeira, and every time I’m in the city I endeavor to find new adventures with my family and friends.
From wandering the alleys and streets of the Old Town to conquering a castle, beach exploration, dolphin watching, shopping and partying hard, here are the 20 best Albufeira attractions.
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20 Best Things to Do in Albufeira
1 – Visit Praia da Coelha, the most beautiful beach in Albufeira
One of the best things to do in Albufeira is definitely visiting its beautiful beaches, of which Praia da Coelha is at the top of my list.
Located around 6 Km (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.
The beach is a 5min walk from the parking lot, has calm water, extraordinary rock formations and very picturesque scenery.
It’s a Blue Flag beach, with lifeguards, a restaurant, Stand Up Paddle Boarding and beach chairs and umbrellas for hire.
Raised wooden walkways take you to the western part of the beach from where, along the water’s edge, you can reach the sections of Praia da Coelha that are more secluded and quiet.
You can also walk on the trail path along the hilly landscape, find hidden coves and especially see the beauty of Praia da Coelha in all its glory.
Praia da Coelha is not only one of the most beautifulbeaches in Albufeira but also in the whole Algarve. I just love it!
2 – Admire the vistas from São Rafael Beach viewpoint
Located within 25min 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 is 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, very popular among locals, tourists and families with kids. But you can also stay on 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.
3 –Wandering around the Old Town
A trip to Albufeira cannot be completed 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, specially Praia dos Pescadores, an iconic Albufeira beach.
Whether you go during the day or at night, you can’t miss the Old Town!
4 –Have a sunset drink at Restaurante Pedras Amarelas
If you’re looking for the best place to be at sunset in Albufeira, Restaurante Pedras Amarelas is the answer.
Located on Praia da Galé, approximately 7Km (4.35mi) 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 panes, a stylish roof terrace with umbrellas, loungers, live performances and stunning views.
It also hosts full moon parties that attract many visitors and locals alike.
I love going to Pedras Amarelas to watch the sunset and it will always be on my top things to do in Albufeira list.
The last time I was there, a DJ was performing, we ordered some sangria, watched the sun going down and the sky getting painted with vibrant shades of gold. It was thrilling and magical!
5 –Enjoy the vivid nightlife
If you like to party hard, one of the things to do in Albufeira is to enjoy its vibrant nightlife.
The city has the hottest Algarvian nightlife with a plethora of bars and clubs that attracts especially 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 bar with live performances and entertainment; and the Strip, a 2Km avenue full of neon lights, cafes, restaurants, themed bars and clubs.
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 – 10PM and goes until 3 – 4 AM.
6 – Take a day Trip to Lagos
When you’re in Albufeira, you should not miss the city of Lagos, one of the best places to visit 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 historical 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.
After visiting the city center, it’s time to explore one of the greatest shorelines in the globe.
You must see Praia Dona Ana and Ponta da Piedade, two most famous Lagos beaches, and also Praia do Camilo, one of my favorites in the Algarve.
7 – Go beach exploring
I love beaches, and one of my favorite 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 will 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 7 Km (4.4 mi) west of Albufeira Old Town, and walk for about 2h all the way to Praia dos Arrifes. Or do the 25min walk from Praia de São Rafael to Praia da Coelha, two of the most gorgeous beaches in Albufeira.
Walking along the sea cliffs, you will 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 center and thriving gypsy markets, you’ll feel very tempted to go shopping.
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 really like shopping in Albufeira, whether in the Old Town or at Albufeira Shopping. I always buy swimming suits, shorts for myself, and 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, specially compared to the UK.
9 – Visit Praia da Falésia, one of the best beaches in Europe
Yet another beach to put on your list.
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 colored cliffs of different shapes and heights makes me appreciate Mother Nature’s grandeur even more.
Falésia Beach is perfect for long walks, sunbathing and practicing water sports including kayaking, jet skiing and parasailing. There is also a trail above the cliffs where you can hike or bike all the way to Vilamoura.
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.
10 – 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 the Portuguese cuisine.
Some of the food 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 and Pastéis de nata (the famous Portuguese custard tarts).
I love Bacalhau espiritual (Spiritual Cod fish) and Pastéis de nata, and every time I’m in Algarve I eat a lot of it.
11 – 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.
The most common species of dolphin that can be found around the Algarve coast are: Bottlenose,Common, Striped, Harbor Porpoise and Risso.
Dolphin tours are offered in 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 to book your tour in advance here.
12 – Take your kid to a waterpark
Have you ever been 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 certain one of the most fun things to do in Albufeira, for kids and adults alike.
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.
13 – Renew your faith at the Igreja Matriz
One of my favorite things to do in Albufeira is to visit its picturesque churches. Among them, the Igreja Matriz (Parish Church) Nossa Senhora da Conceição is my favorite.
Constructed in the 18th century, this neoclassical church features 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 (Nossa Senhora da Conceição).
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 festive 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.
14 – Learn about Albufeira’s history at the Museu Municipal de Arqueologia
If you’re interested in history and old civilisations, you should visit the Municipal Museum of Archeology.
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 curios 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 5000BC, a set of architectural elements and artifacts 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 60min.
15 – Go wine tasting
I believe that going wine tasting doesn’t cross your mind when you think about the Algarve. But you should, as it’s one the coolest and most unique things to do in Albufeira.
Portuguese wines have gained fame, recognition and multiple awards across the globe.
Better known for Port, the fortified wine that is 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 – 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 Albufeira is taking a dip in the sea and doing water sports.
Most of the beaches in Albufeira offer water sports, but the ones in the center, as well as Praia de São Rafael, Galé, Santa Eulália and Falésia have more options.
What would you like to do?
17 – Visit the colorful Albufeira Marina
The vibrant Marina de Albufeira, constructed in 2009 and located around 1.7Km (1mi) 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 marina in Portugal.
In addition to the marina itself and the Nautical Club, this development hosts several types of restaurants, stores, tour agencies, beauty parlors, self-catering apartments and villas for rent, etc.
Visiting the colorful marina is one of the best things to do in Albufeira when raining as it provides family friendly entertainment such as bowling, leisure center and indoor karting. There are also rides, trampolines and a SCAD jump, but in an outdoor area though.
If you head to the beaches on the west coast, such as Galé, Arrifes, Coelha and São Rafael, you should stop by at this Albufeira attraction.
18 – 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 Albufeira, you should take advantage of its central location to discover the nearby towns and beaches.
If you’re 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 off the beaten track, my top recommendation is Costa Vicentina Natural Park, where you find a bit of history and gorgeous beaches,.
No matter your decision, you should definitely discover the nearby towns and beaches.
19 – Explore the Algarvian coast by boat
The best way to explore the breathtaking Algarvian coastline is definitely by boat.
And this is the reason that when you’re in the Algarve, you should not miss the opportunity to sail along beautiful scenery and discover sea caves, grottoes, hidden gems beaches and magnificent rock formations from the perspective of the boat.
There is several boat trips that you can take while in Albufeira and the more popular choices are: Benagil Caves Boat Cruise, 2.5-Hour Dolphin WatchingandCaves Cruise, 3-Hour Cave and Coastline Boat Trip and Half-Day Caves and Dolphin Watching Cruise.
But if you’re looking for entertaining things to in Albufeira with kids, my recommendation is to take the Pirate Ship.
Tours start from 30 euros and bookings in advance are highly recommended.
20 – Conquer the Ruins of the Castle of Paderne
If you’re looking for unusual things to do in 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 walkaway made of Taipa (a mixture of mud, chalk, lime and aggregate that sets like concrete).
There is also a road that links to a tower across a Roman arch bridge.
You can visit the Castle of Paderne by car, but my recommendation is to book a Quad-biking Tour that combines thrilling driving with historic sightseeing.
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.
More posts about the Algarve that might interest you:
- 20 Very Best Things to Do in Algarve
- 12 Cool and Unusual Things to Do in Algarve
- 10 Best Things to Do in Algarve with Kids
Things to Do in Albufeira in 3-5 Days – Suggested Itinerary
- Da 1 – Arrive in Albufeira
- Old Town and its beaches
- Day 2 – Albufeira best beaches and Sunset drink at Praia da Galé
- Day 3 – Waterpark and Albufeira nightlife
- Day 4 – Day trip to Lagos
- Day 5 – Praia da Falésia, one of the best beaches in Europe
- Depart from Albufeira
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Planning a Trip to Albufeira – Tips
Where is Albufeira located?
Albufeira is a coastal city in the southern Algarve region of Portugal located 45Km (28mi) from the capital Faro (check exact location here).
Is Albufeira worth visiting?
Visiting Albufeira is totally worthwhile. Although the city can be considered a bit touristy and its nightlife too wild and crazy, the beaches are extraordinary, there are a myriad of hotels and restaurants; it’s safe, and the perfect place to be based while in the Algarve.
How to get to Albufeira?
There is an international airport in Faro, but the more popular choice for travelers from outside of Europe is Lisbon.
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.
You can find the best deals on airlines tickets at Skyscanner. This is the website that I use, trust and recommend.
Best time to visit Albufeira?
The best time to visit Albufeira is definitely during the summer and particularly July and August. But if you don’t like crowds and heat, you could go in June or September.
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 do in Albufeira and if you stay longer, you can also take a day trip to Lagos, which is another 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 attractions, 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:
How to get around?
The best thing is to hire a car because public transportation in the Albufeira isn’t good.
Local buses don’t run very often, neither do intercity buses or trains.
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.
What are the top attractions in Albufeira?
- Old Town
- Praia da Coelha
- Praia de São Rafael
- Dolphin watching and cave cruise
- Praia da Falésia
What are the best day trips from Albufeira?
What are the most popular things to do in Albufeira with kids?
Have you been to the Algarve? What do you think of my list? Leave a comment below 😉
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