The Old Town of Albufeira Best Things to Do
Having called Albufeira home for five wonderful years, I can attest to the charm of this coastal paradise in Portugal’s southern Algarve region. Albufeira, once a quaint fishing village, is celebrated for its pristine beaches and vibrant nightlife. A must-do for any visitor is exploring the Old Town, nestled in the heart of Albufeira, surrounded by sandy beaches and the iconic Algarve limestone cliffs.
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Divided into the Old Town and the Strip (New Town), Albufeira offers more than meets the eye. Besides the central beaches, the old fishermen’s enclave, Albufeira Marina, and scenic viewpoints, the town beckons exploration beyond its surface.
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Discovering Albufeira’s Old Town Delights
Embark on a leisurely stroll through the charming cobblestone streets and whitewashed houses of the historic center. Albufeira’s Old Town Square, the Albufeira Tunnel, town center beaches, Sant’Ana Church, Museum of Sacred Art, and the iconic Clock Tower are just a glimpse of what awaits.
- Albufeira Old Town Square (Jardim Público de Albufeira)
- Albufeira Tunnel
- Beaches in the town center
- Sant’Ana Church
- Museum of Sacred Art
- The Clock Tower
- Old Fishermen´s area
- Praia do Peneco (Peneco Elevator)
Immersing Yourself in Old Town Experiences
Ramble along the quaint cobbled streets, savoring the town’s authentic nooks. Indulge in a pastel de nata and espresso at delightful street cafes, explore small curiosity shops, and venture through the Albufeira Tunnel onto Praia de Albufeira. For a tranquil beach experience, aim for an early start during peak seasons to avoid the crowds.
Albufeira Old Town Square (Jardim Público de Albufeira) serves as a shaded retreat in the heart of the historic center. Surrounded by shops, cafes, and bars, it’s an ideal spot to relax, dine, shop, and enjoy live music from talented street performers.
Traverse the Albufeira Tunnel to reach the main beach, Praia do Túnel (Praia Peneco). This 20-meter tunnel, adjacent to the tourism center, provides a scenic link between the town square and the beach.
Hit the Beach! With numerous stunning beaches accessible from the town center, beach exploration tops the list of activities in Albufeira Old Town, especially during the summer months. Several beaches seamlessly connect, easily reached via the escalator to Praia dos Pescadores beach (Fishermen’s Beach) and the tunnel at Praia do Túnel (Praia Peneco).
Explore the Galeria de Arte Pintor Samora Barros, a free art gallery housed in a former power station showcasing the works of José Ricardo Júdice Samora Barros, a prominent local artist.
Igreja Matriz (Parish Church Nossa Senhora da Conceição) is another 18th-century church in Albufeira’s Old Town, situated close to Igreja Santa Ana and the Museum of Sacred Art.
Visit the Museum of Sacred Art, a small 18th-century chapel turned museum. Housing intriguing artifacts and artwork, it offers insights into the town’s history. The 3 EUR entrance fee supports the museum’s maintenance.
Convene at the Clock Tower of Albufeira (Torre do Relogio), its bell chiming every hour within an elegant wrought-iron framework. Visible from every corner of the Old Town, it stands as the preferred meeting spot, a picturesque 18th-century structure.
Explore the intriguing Albufeira Municipal Archaeological Museum (Museu Municipal de Arqueologia de Albufeira), offering a blend of archaeological wonders from the Algarve. Perched on rocky cliffs in the old town, the museum provides captivating views of Praia do Peneco and Praia dos Pescadores.
Embark on a journey aboard the Albufeira Tourist train (Comboio Turistico), a charming road train circuitously navigating the town center, beaches, shopping hubs, and key landmarks. Operating from 9 am to 11 pm with trains every 20 minutes, choose between two routes based on your preferred destinations.
Experience the Old Town’s charm on a delightful Tuk-Tuk tour. Revel in panoramic cliff views, traverse narrow streets in the historic center, and discover beaches on both the east and west sides of Albufeira.
Dining Delights in Albufeira’s Old Town
The Old Town boasts a plethora of dining options, ranging from renowned restaurants to cozy street food joints, catering to diverse tastes and budgets.
Indulge in authentic Portuguese cuisine at Os Arcos in the Old Town, celebrated for its delectable fresh fish and homemade dishes. Tucked away in a quaint side street, this family-run gem with its rustic charm is a culinary find.
The Beach Basket, a seafood haven overlooking Praia do Túnel, offers superb dishes and breathtaking sea views. Secure a balcony table for an unforgettable dining experience.
Flavours, situated in front of Fisherman’s Beach, is a go-to spot for a delightful breakfast and a variety of freshly prepared fish, seafood, and meat dishes. The balcony provides a splendid sea view, and the aquarium inside adds to the charming ambiance.
II Brigante, an Italian eatery near the main square, offers a laid-back atmosphere and delectable pizzas, making it a family-friendly favorite.
Coffee enthusiasts have plenty of choices in the Old Town. Café In-certo exudes a cozy vibe with excellent coffee and cold beers. For a beach-view experience, Iguana Cafe offers a lovely terrace. Health-conscious visitors can opt for Sugar Rabbit Kaffé with its eco-friendly focus. And for discerning coffee aficionados, Al-Gharb Coffee Roasters in the Strip is a family-run specialty coffee roaster.
Navigating to Albufeira Old Town
Albufeira, sprawling along the coast with several hills, can be easily reached by bus, taxi, Uber, or a pleasant walk. A scenic 2.5 km stroll from the Strip (New Town) to Old Town takes about 30 minutes, offering glimpses of the town’s beauty.
Access the Old Town district via the escalator at the Old Fishermen’s district, leading to Praia dos Pescadores beach area (Fishermen’s Beach), merely a 5-minute walk to the heart of Old Town. Utilize the Elevador do Peneco, a glass elevator on the west side of Albufeira, for the quickest route to Old Town. Descend via the elevator or steep steps to Peneco Beach, and stroll over the beach to reach the Albufeira tunnel.
Choosing Your Stay in Albufeira’s Old Town
The Old Town offers an ideal lodging experience, surrounded by authenticity, charm, numerous dining options, and easy beach access. Here are some top-rated accommodations for a memorable stay:
- For Budget Travelers: Son of a Beach Hostel
- Mid-Range Comfort: Bellavista Avenida By BeGuest
- Luxury Retreat: Hotel Sol e Mar Albufeira – Adults Only
Discovering Albufeira’s Old Town Beaches
Albufeira boasts an impressive 25 beaches with the coveted Blue Flag classification, making it the European town with the highest number of such beaches. Many of these beaches are conveniently located in front of the Old Town, accessible through the escalator at the Old Fishermen’s district, the Elevador do Peneco on the west side, or the Albufeira tunnel.
Exploring Beyond Albufeira’s Old Town
While in the Old Town, explore the surrounding areas, each offering a unique experience. Visit the pristine beaches, the bustling Albufeira Marina, and the lively Strip (the Old Town). For a memorable boat trip, head to the marina, while the Strip is perfect for vibrant nightlife and top-rated dining. Consider venturing to less crowded beaches during peak season or enjoy the popular water parks like Slide and Splash and Zoomarine, ideal for a day of family fun. Our personal favorite is Slide and Splash, where we love setting up camp on the grass for the entire day during the summer.