Things To Do In Albufeira
Albufeira is the perfect place to spend a hot summer week or long weekend. The city is located on the southern-most portion of Portugal's Algarve region and is ideal for relaxation seekers or those eager to hit the many clubs and bars. If you're after neon lights, shots and tunes after sunset then you'll love the Areias de São João - better known as the Strip.
For a slower pace check out the seaside Old Town, which retains its old-time fishing village charm, or the gorgeous white sand beaches.
But it's not all lounging and nightlife in this sunny little paradise. Why not hop aboard the City Sightseeing Albufeira bus tour and discover something new (see below).
1) Head To Albufeira Marina For A Boat Trip:
Being located on Portugal's Mediterranean coast it's no stretch of the imagination that Albufeira is a prime spot for aquatic sightseeing and water sports excursions. The best way to experience this for yourself is to stop off at Albufeira Marina and check out the huge variety of boating experiences on offer. They range from adrenaline filled 'rocket' speed boat rides and jet ski rentals to leisurely dolphin safaris.
Something worth noting about the latter is that not only will you encounter the region's marine fauna but the tours also explore the many caves and rock formations that line the Algarvian coast.
Our recommendation would be a parasailing trip. You get all the speed and spray of a rocket boat ride plus breathtaking aerial views. Get together with up to three friends and fly above the waves! If you also choose to book the City Sightseeing Albufeira bus tour then the Marina can be reached easily by hopping-off at stop 16.
2) Watch The Flamingos At Salgados Lagoon:
The Salgados resort area around 15 kilometres west of central Albufeira is popular for its lengthy beach and sunny golfing greens, but did you know it's also one of the region's best spots for bird watching? Grab your camera, hop-off at stop 10 on the City Sightseeing Albufeira tour, and wander along the dunes on the western end of the Lagoa dos Salgados.
During the Spring and Autumn migration seasons this fantastically biodiverse area fills up with a huge variety of bird species. The most notable visitors are the Greater Flamingos, whose pink bodies stand out vividly against the dark blue waters. Sit along the banks, or on a raised vantage point, and snap a couple dozen pictures of one of nature's most iconic pilgrimages.
3) Check Out The Calicos Market:
On the first and third Tuesday of each month this intriguing market sets up just behind the Escola Secundária de Albufeira on the Largo do Mercado (Largo do Mercado 4, stop 8).
If you happen to be in the city on one of these days then consider taking a walk along and browsing the many handicraft wares and assorted antiques. Even if you have no intention of buying the atmosphere itself makes for an interesting experience. The Caliços Market is also a great place to view and sample the city's fresh produce and seafood, making it an ideal itinerary inclusion if the purpose of your trip is partly culinary in nature.
4) Visit The Museum Of Sacred Art:
With its neon nightlife strip and swaths of sunbathing foreigners you wouldn't think that Albufeira is a place with many quality cultural institutions. Well you'd be very wrong indeed. As small as it is the Museum of Sacred Art (Praca Miguel Bombarda) is both a beautiful historical gem and a wonderful repository of timeless artefacts.
It houses multiple forms of ecclesiastical art from paintings to sculpture, and also features a spectacular gilded wooden alter that dates as far back as the destructive earthquake of 1775. Find the museum by strolling along to Miguel Bombarda Square (close to stop 17). Once there look out for the 'Igreja de Sao Sebastiao', an 18th century church with a pretty white-washed façade.
5) Visit The Albufeira Archaeological Museum:
Albufeira was once a focal point of some of Portugal's most significant historical epochs. Situated on the Mediterranean coast and facing North Africa it served as an important strategic location for many the region's historical rulers. The Albufeira Archaeological Museum (Praça da República 1, stop 17) presents the artefacts and legacies from each stage of this fascinating cultural evolution.
The large collection is split into four sections: Prehistory, Roman, Moorish (Islamic), and Modern. After a recent refurbishment the exhibitions now tell their tales more effectively than ever. What's even better is that they can be accessed for only 1 Euro! The museum is open Tuesday to Sunday, 09:00 to 17:00.