Things to do in Albufeira, Portugal
Albufeira is one of the many whitewashed fisherman’s villages on the Algarve coast. It’s located on top of a low cliff and offers magnificent views over a grand beach and stunning waters, making it a popular tourist destination in Europe. Most notably, it’s where enthusiastic party and beach-goers like to spend their vacation. But there are many more things to do in Albufeira.
1. Albufeira Beach
With around 30 kilometers of renowned coastline, Albufeira has many beaches with different sights and activities. These beaches are often the main attraction for visitors, as they are wide and have relatively calm waters that are perfect for a lovely swim. Some are all about the nightlife, and others highlight Portugal’s natural wonders.
One of the most visited beaches lies right in front of the Old Town: Praia dos Pescadores (Fisherman’s Beach). This expansive beach has some interesting rock formations but can get really crowded during the high season (June – Aug). If you walk further out of town, you’ll find beaches that are a bit more secluded, such as Praia da Falésia in the east or Praia da Galé in the west.
2. Benagil Cave
Albufeira’s rugged environment hosts some impressive natural wonders, including the otherworldly Benagil Cave. Located to the west of Albufeira, just off Benagil beach, you’ll find an impressive cave with a worn circle in the ceiling, created by natural erosion. Through this distinctive hole, the blazing Portuguese sun casts its beams, shining a unique light into the cave.
This natural highlight of the Algarve can only be seen by boat, SUP, or kayak. Taking a boat trip to the Benagil Cave is a lot of fun and can be done from the Albufeira Marina. However, boats are unfortunately not allowed to enter the cave. This way, you won’t be able to see the cave from the inside.
Alternatively, you can make your own way there. If you travel to Benagil beach, you can rent a standup paddleboard or kayak and make your way to the cave from the beach. Visiting the Benagil Cave is one of the best things to do in Albufeira.
Please note: Although it’s a short distance from Benagil beach to the cave, swimming is not advised due to the strong undertow and quickly changing tides.
3. Marinha Beach
Marinha Beach is arguably the most picturesque beach in all of Portugal. This beautiful stretch of sand, surrounded by limestone cliffs and turquoise waters, is one of the best things to do in Albufeira. Spend the afternoon swimming in the ocean and soaking up the sun on the soft beach.
The real highlight here, however, is the path along the cliffsides that give you some jaw-dropping views of the surroundings. Follow a 1.5-kilometer walk, passing the Arco Natural, a heart-shaped rock formation, towards the famous Benagil Cave. Getting to Marinha Beach from Albufeira is about a 30-minute ride by car and makes a perfect stop on your Portugal road trip. Read more about renting a car in Portugal.
4. Go for a Day Trip to Carvoeiro
Besides Albufeira, there are many other beautiful villages scattered along Portugal’s southern coastline. One of them is the picture-perfect and popular town of Carvoeiro, known for its small beach and traditional houses tucked away between two impressive cliffs.
Visit Carvoeiro for a day of relaxation between the coves, snorkeling, or paddle boarding. It lies just west of the Benagil cave, so many kayaking tours get offered along the coastline. It’s also only a 30-minute drive from Albufeira.
As you wander through the lively town in the warm evening air, take some pictures of the white and pastel-colored cottages. The heritage of this beautiful Portugal town is still evident as you watch the fishing boats bring fresh seafood to the restaurants. You’ll find some of the best restaurants and shops here!
5. Visit Ferragudo
Ferragudo might be one of the cutest Portuguese villages in the Algarve. It has maintained its traditional charm with its whitewashed houses, cobbled hillside streets full of flowers, and fishing boats on the river mouth. Like Carvoeiro, this is a picturesque town, so bring your camera!
Enjoy hikes to cliffside ruins, boat trips to neighboring beaches and the famous Benagil Cave, or take a ferry up the river to the ancient town of Silves. It is also a great place to sit in the sun and enjoy some pastries. Ferragudo is 40 minutes driving from Albufeira and one of the best things to do.
6. Take Surf Lessons at Amado Beach
The stunning beaches, high winds, and waves of the Algarve make it the perfect hub for all kinds of watersports. Particularly for surfers, Portugal’s coast is paradise. Because of this, one of the best things to do in Albufeira is to take a surf lesson.
Alternatively, join a popular jeep safari and discover the Algarve region in a unique way.
About an hour’s drive from Albufeira lies Praia do Amado (Amado Beach), which is an excellent place to practice your surfing skills. The rolling hills and cliffs behind the sweeping bay cause high winds, making it a popular spot for international surf competitions and lessons. Spend the day here catching a few waves and stay to watch the sunset.
7. Albufeira Old Town
Apart from exploring the surroundings, spend some time in the old town of Albufeira. You’ll find cute cobblestone streets, whitewashed and tiled houses, a few museums, picturesque churches, and plenty of restaurants, stores, and bars. Walk around the heart of the village for an hour, stopping at beautiful viewpoints overlooking the beach.
The historic town, built upon a cliff, climbs all the way down to the beach, so make sure to wear some good walking shoes when meandering the narrow streets. There’s a lively shopping and bar street below called the Strip, and a bit further, you can reach the beach by passing the tunnel from Rua 5 de Outubro.
8. Igreja Matriz de Albufeira
There are a few picturesque churches in the heart of Albufeira that you can visit. Among them is the Igreja Matriz (Parish Church), an 18th-century neoclassical church with a stunning interior featuring a barrel vault and filigree stuccowork on the ceiling. The real interest, however, is the 15th-century Marian statue of the patron saint of Albufeira’s fishermen that stands in front of the church. There is also a small Museum of Sacred Art in one of the side buildings.
There are religious festivities with prayers, concerts, processions, and fireworks every August in Albufeira. If you’re visiting in the first two weeks of August, consider participating in the celebrations!
9. Ponta da Piedade Lagos
Ponta da Piedade is one of the most impressive natural features and well-known things to do in the Algarve. This dramatic rocky coastline consists of sea pillars, rock arches, and hidden caves that brutal winter storms created. The cliffs offer neverending and beautiful views across both sides of the coastline.
Enjoy the scenery, or descend the steep stairs to the water’s edge. The best way to see the rock formations and caves is to join a boat, SUP, or kayak tour. Ponta da Piedade lies near Lagos and is about a 45-minute drive from Albufeira.
Best Cafes and Restaurants in Albufeira
Discovering the food scene on Portugal’s coast is one of the best things to do in Albufeira. As a former fishermen’s village, many traditional meals include various mariscos (seafood) such as clams and sardines. Nevertheless, you’ll be able to find a wide array of restaurants serving different cuisines tucked away in the cute cobblestoned alleyways of Albufeira. Some great places to eat are:
- Platinum – Wine & Tapas
- Made In India
- Mi Sombrero (Mexican)
- La Brezza (Italian)
- Pizzeria La Terrazza del Mare
- Alfarroba Café (Vegan)
- Veggie Café
Where to Stay in Albufeira
There’s a good mixture of accommodations in Albufeira, from reasonably priced guesthouses to hotels and resorts with swimming pools. Albufeira makes for a good base on the Algarve but can also be visited on a day trip from other coastal towns such as Lagos or Faro.
Camping in Albufeira
Are you discovering Portugal on a road trip in a campervan? Albufeira makes a fun stopover and offers a few campsites not too far outside of town.
How to Visit Albufeira
Albufeira is the largest resort town of the Algarve, making it a popular tourist destination. You can fly to the main international airport of southern Portugal: Faro Airport, about 36 KM (22.4 miles) east of Albufeira.
From there, you can either take a taxi, Uber, or shared minivan to Albufeira, with the price ranging between 35 – 80 EUR (35,70 – 81,50 USD) depending on the transportation.
You can also take the bus to Faro City and, from there, hop on the bus headed to Albufeira. This is a much more affordable option than arranging a taxi, but the journey takes longer.
Lastly, you can rent a car for more flexibility and freedom to see more of the Algarve coastline.
Albufeira’s old town, Strip, and beach are all within walking distance from one another, allowing you to explore on foot. If you’re planning on visiting the sights further out of town, you can arrange a taxi (which is very cheap), or rent a car and drive there yourself.
How Much Does Albufeira Cost?
Portugal is well-known as a popular and affordable tourist destination, with good quality services at a low price.
Best Time to Visit Albufeira
Albufeira is beautiful all year round, with many days of sunshine. The weather is good from May to mid-October, and summer is a great time to enjoy all the watersports and warm evenings. However, note that the high season is busier, has higher prices, and that the ocean will always be a bit chilly (max 20 degrees Celsius/68 Fahrenheit).
Spring and fall are great times to enjoy good temperatures, sunny days, and quiet streets. It’s also the perfect time to go on a Portugal road trip and stay cozy in your camper during the evenings! The waves are also higher during these seasons (especially fall), making it the best time to go surfing.