If you’ve been following our blogs recently you’ll know that we’ve got a newfound hobby for hopping on a bus to be holidaymakers for the day…and last weekend we hit the Algarve’s most popular resort, Albufeira!
It was 11€ each for a return ticket, taking 1 hour 25 minutes from hometown Lagos and although the bus depot was a bit further out than we realised, it was only a 15 minute walk to the Old Town (following signs for “Centro” and Bombeiros”, taking a right past the Camêra Municipal and walking down the hill). As we passed the Geordie Viking bar and Jonny’s off-licence, we were already feeling the Albufeira vibe and when we got into the square, Largo Eng. Duarte Pacheco, it was just “HELLO HOLIDAY HEAVEN!”
There were couples and groups filling the bar and restaurant terraces, while others sheltered from the baking September heat along the benches under the trees. The square was full of places to eat, drink and be merry and the atmosphere was just amazing!
We grabbed a seat at Central Station Cocktail Bar to soak up the rays and to watch the bustle of happy holidaymakers and it turned out that it was Happy Hour so a pint and a white wine were just 2€ each! At full price they would have been 4€, a bit more expensive than what we’re used to in Lagos, but with so many bars and Happy Hours to choose from, there’s no need to panic about prices.
After one drink, it was time to move on (and to be honest, it was too hot to sit there any longer) so onward and upward to the beach! Going past the tourist information office, the first glimpse of the glistening sea through the tunnel was something else! The western end of the glorious golden sand is Praia do Túnel and the eastern end is Praia dos Pescadores (Fisherman's beach), famed for its summer beach parties and New Year celebrations. The beachfront restaurants were full, the beach was packed and the sea was buzzing with bathers, inflatables and a super fun inflatable water park.
After strolling along the beach we got the perfect seat at O Farol Restaurant, putting us right on the edge of the beach. The staff were great because even though there wasn’t a vegetarian option on the menu, they were happy to whip up a mushroom omelette and although the 12.50€ prawn salad was a little sparing, we tucked into the traditional couvert of bread, butter, olives and pate and it was well worth it for the view alone.
With full bellies and feeling “oh so chilled” we just had time for a bit of souvenir shopping; well, in fact our 3.50€ Albufeira mugs nearly caused us to miss the bus because the taxi rank was heaving…but thanks to a lovely couple who let us jump the queue, we got to the bus with 5 minutes to spare.
As we travelled back, we wished that we had more time in Albufeira (having missed out on "the Strip" and so many other beaches), but it was the best day ever and we’ll certainly be heading back soon!
Quick guide to Albufeira!
- Where is Albufeira? Central Algarve, southern Portugal; 40km from Faro Airport.
- When to visit? Albufeira is definitely an all-year-round resort! The busiest, hottest and biggest party months are July and August and New Year is celebrated with some of the biggest parties across the Algarve. November and February are the quietest months with more changeable weather but perfect for cheap winter breaks to see Albufeira at its most beautiful.
- What to do? Beaches, bars, restaurants, shopping, marina, boat trips, excursions, culture, you name it, Albufeira has it all; and not to be missed is our best selling trip, Pirate Ship Cruise along the Algarve Coast setting sail from Albufeira Marina!
- Disabled access: Albufeira's Old Town is cobbled but relatively flat all around Largo Eng. Duarte Pacheco and the beach is officially classed as "Praia Acessível" and suitable for disabled access, with beach chairs and full support facilities during beach season (April to October).