Recommendations for what to do in Albufeira, Portugal. The best beaches in Albufeira and low-cost activities all-year-round – as featured on Yahoo Finance.
Are you searching for a European beach holiday that is spectacular yet inexpensive? Well, look no further than Albufeira in the Algarve. The Algarve is a coastal area in the south of Portugal with consistently good weather year-round. This stretch of golden sands is well connected with an airport in Faro, as well as buses and trains from the capital of Lisbon.
The summers are meant to be superb and as a winter escape, you can’t go wrong. After hearing rave recommendations, my friend Tamara and I decided to add Albufeira to our Portugal itinerary. We visited in early March and were thrilled to find the weather warm enough for bikinis! At this time of year, there aren’t too many places in Europe where you can expect temperatures fit for frolicking on the beach.
And if that wasn’t good enough, throw in fresh seafood feasts, Portuguese hospitality, and luxury hotels. Are you booking your flights yet?
Here are my recommendations for what to do in Albufeira, Portugal.
Things to do in Albufeira, Portugal (overview)
Albufeira has everything you need for retail therapy, and just outside the center are beautiful beaches waiting to be explored. The old town is located in Praia dos Pescadores (beach of the fishermen) and has a lively nightlife with pubs and karaoke bars. We ate dinner at Ruina (ruin), which is a restaurant in an old fortress and located right on the sea. If you are a fan of seafood then this is a treat not to be missed.
If you are flying into Faro, it is just a 35-minute bus ride to Albufeira. From Lisbon, Albufeira can be reached either by bus or train (both around 3 hours and €20-30 one way). We chose the bus as it stopped at the Albufeira bus depot, where we could transfer onto a bus to our resort, Velamar Boutique Hotel.
Velmar is located in Olhos d’Água (eyes of water) which is walking distance to not one but three magnificent beaches! The area itself has many amenities including supermarkets, bakeries, clothing stores, bars, and restaurants. You can easily spend your whole time hanging out at the hotel and beaches, without ever venturing into the center.
Best beaches in Albufeira
Praia dos Olhos de Agua
Moving from east to west, the first of three beaches located near Velamar Boutique Hotel is Praia dos Olhos de Agua. This beach has a number of sea-front restaurants providing an opportunity to dine in the sun and soft sea breeze. We stopped in at Restaurante La Cigale twice for mid-afternoon drinks. Tamara also tried the soup and fish, both of which she loved.
The beach has many little coves which make the perfect place to lay down your towel, stretch out in the sun, and read a book. We spent a whole afternoon doing only this.
Praia Maria Luisa
Maria Luisa is the closest beach to the hotel and was also the beach with the least amount of people when we visited. Although we were there in the off-season so it was very quiet and relaxed anyway. Besides being another great beach to relax and walk on, there are stairs that lead to the top of the cliffs for awesome ocean views.
There aren’t any restaurants near the beachfront, however, there are many on Albufeira street closer to the hotel. My favorite was 3 Maria’s where you can get a “Menu do dia” for €13. This includes a starter, main course, dessert and half a bottle of wine. For a sit-down dinner in a charming restaurant, the value is unbelievable.
Praia de Santa Eulalia
With all this eating and laying around, a stroll can be great to stretch the legs. Santa Eulalia is a long and wide beach that is nice to walk up and down. This would be a good option if you are looking to go for a jog as well. Tamara and I had grand plans to work out while we were in Albufeira but it never happened. And that’s okay because when you are on holiday, it’s all about enjoying yourself!
The layers and textures of the colored sands at Praia de Santa Eulalia are very striking as well. All three beaches are unique and worth a visit.
Albufeira boat trips on a budget
As a seaside destination, Albufeira has a ton of water activities for you to enjoy that won’t break the bank. Here are a few top sellers:
- Albufeira Half-Day Caves and Dolphin Watching Cruise
- Algarve 3-Hour Caves and Coastline Boat Trip
- From Albufeira: Benagil Caves Boat Cruise
- Pirate Ship Cruise along the Algarve Coast.
What to do in Albufeira on land
If boats aren’t your thing then don’t worry because there is plenty of things to do on land. Here are some recommendations for what to do if you don’t have sea legs.
- From Albufeira: Half-Day Algarve Jeep Safari
- Sagres, Lagos & Silves: Western Algarve Minivan Tour
- Albufeira City Sightseeing Hop-On, Hop-Off Bus Tour.
Velamar Boutique Hotel Pool
If you happen to get sick of beaches (is that even possible?) or feel like a change of pace, then there is the pool at Velamar Boutique Hotel. During summer there are sun loungers and a pool bar to help keep you hydrated.
Best accommodation in Albufeira: Velamar Boutique Hotel
Location: Estrada de Albufeira, Olhos d’Água, 8200-635 Albufeira, Algarve
Velamar is a boutique hotel that is both luxurious and affordable. The building was recently renovated and the decor is ocean-inspired with soft blue and green tones. There are many premium amenities including a stylish hotel bar, games area, and meeting room which help make it the best choice for accommodation in Albufeira.
We stayed in the Classic Room that comes with either a double or twin beds. Our room was very spacious with a huge closet, en-suite, and balcony. There is also a television, mini-fridge, and facilities to make tea and coffee. The sliding glass doors and curtains can be opened up during the day for the breeze and sun. At night they provide a thick barrier for a peaceful sleep.
Buffet breakfast is included for all guests at Velamar Boutique Hotel. The restaurant is located on the top floor and has sea views. One of the best parts of my day was leisurely breakfasts with multiple courses and coffees while looking out at the ocean. Breakfast includes a range of cereals, bread, pastries, cold cuts, cheeses, fruits, and juices as well as two coffee machines. There is also usually a choice of freshly cooked eggs, which the servers will tell you about once you are seated.
The staff at the Velamar Boutique Hotel are multilingual, friendly, and helpful. The hotel manager, Jose, and the team went out of their way to make sure our stay was memorable.
Have you traveled to Albufeira and Lagos or planning to anytime soon? Tell us about it below!
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