Visiting Albufeira For 2 Days.
After Lagos, the next stop on my latest Portugal trip was to visit Albufeira. During a 2-day stay in Albufeira, you can discover the caves and coves of the Algarve coastline, party the night away at a bar in the marina, and go off the beaten path. Honestly, 2 days in Albufeira is not enough time to see and do everything but I am planning to return in two months and am just looking at this as more of a recon trip. I didn’t even have time to visit the infamous ‘strip’, an area of town that is full of restaurants and bars.
Between Lagos and Albufeira I have to admit I liked Lagos more but really need more time to explore Albufeira to be fair.
To read about my Lagos visit click here: https://europeantravel.blog/hit-the-beach-lagos-portugal/
Where to Stay
Albufeira being a tourist area has no shortage of options to choose from. I chose Hotel Sol E Mar due to its great location right on the beach and only 100 meters from the old town. Many people rent AirbNb’s for an extended timeframe. Hotel Sol E Mar was a great location. Near the old town, on the beach and the marina shuttle bus stops a few yards away.
What to Visit in Albufeira
Albufeira, once a picturesque fishing village, is now known for its beaches with red-gold sand. Today, it is mostly devoted to mass-market tourism, particularly cheap package deals, and the last vestiges of its past have all but disappeared. It is wildly popular with people from Great Britain so English is spoken everywhere. bars. Fishing boats are docked at the ultramodern marina southwest of the center, and the old town, with its pretty streets and Moorish influence, is hidden by business signs, English menu boards, and rowdy crowds.
Albufeira isn’t just known for its coastline; the town is also well-known for its nightlife and social scene. Locals and travelers alike enjoy relaxing at coastal cafes and bars with a drink or two while listening to live music. I was here just outside the main tourist onslaught so it wasn’t that rowdy but others have said that the British people who overtake the city make for ugly drunks.
Piccadilly Cocktail Bar and NoSoloAgua Albufeira are among the most popular drinking spots in the Algarve to visit. There is also ‘The New Town,’ a neighborhood with an even greater variety of drinking and dining options.
Albufeira may be known for its lively atmosphere, beaches, and bars, but there are more cultural and historic things to do. In the old town, in a small square named Praça de Republica, you’ll find the Archaeological Museum with a collection of Stone-Age, Roman, Visigoth, and Moorish artifacts.
A gorgeous 16th-century church is located just a few steps from Fishermen’s Beach. And then there’s the clock tower, Torre do Relógio, a symbol of Albufeira. Another noteworthy tower is the bell tower over the Igreja Matriz.
Albufeira once had a castle whose fortifications surrounded the city. As a result of the 1755 earthquake, there is not much left of it today. What remains can be seen at Rua Joaquim Pedro Samora.
Old Town Albufeira
A steep hill forms the backbone of the Old Town, with most of the local lodging above it.
In the Old Town, you can see that Albufeira hasn’t lost all its charm. As opposed to the strip, it attracts a slightly older and more cosmopolitan crowd and is a popular destination with Portuguese families.
Several bars and restaurants are located around the main square of the old town. The old town has some very good restaurants. On summer evenings, the square is alive with music, dancing, live entertainment, and partygoers.
Near the main square are winding, narrow cobbled streets that are lined with cafes, restaurants, and shops specializing in local crafts. There are many pedestrian-only streets in these areas.
If you desire to learn more about the culture and history of the area, there are churches and a museum to explore.
Near the tourist office in Albufeira, near the main square, is a tunnel carved into the rock. As you walk through this and down the steps, you reach the town’s main beach, Praia dos Pescadores or Fishermen’s Beach.
Marina Albufeira is a new development a few kilometers west of Albufeira’s old town. The complex was designed as a holiday resort, with luxury hotels, apartments, villas, and restaurants. The marina has a number of activities for both kids and adults which in addition to the water sports include bowling, an arcade, and bumper cars. And some excellent Gelato places.
I opted to eat at Jack’s Irish Pub in the marina. It was decent, nothing spectacular.
There is a hill at the end of this path, so you will probably need about 25 minutes to walk between the marina and the old town. You can also take a taxi or bus (Giro) or the little tourist train.
The apartments at the Marina are bright and colorful.
The Albufeira Strip
The Strip is located three kilometers west of Albufeira Old Town. In contrast to Old Town, it’s modern and has a completely different character. I didn’t make it here due to time constraints and I was exploring the Old Town area. The ‘strip’ area is very crowded (in high season), and packed with shops, restaurants, and bars. You can get anything you want here, from an English breakfast to an authentic Portuguese meal, and there are many good restaurants to choose from.
Numerous bars offer entertainment, karaoke, etc. There is no doubt that this area is favored by young partygoers.
There is one street that runs from the Montechoro area at its northern end to the golden beach of Oura at its southern end.
Almost anything and everything is found there, and there are a variety of accommodation options, including apartments, villas, and hotels.
If you are staying in the northern end, it is a 15-minute walk down to the Praia da Oura beach (and it is uphill coming back).
Dining in Albufeira
Albufeira offers dozens of restaurants serving everything from traditional Portuguese cuisine to Asian and vegetarian dishes. In Vila Joya’s five-star hotel, you’ll find the Michelin-starred Vila Joya restaurant. Chicken piri-piri, also known as frango assado, may appeal to budget travelers. Fast-food chicken is one of Portugal’s favorite meals, and Albufeira has some fantastic barbecue chicken shacks and restaurants.
I really wasn’t too blown away by any of my choices but will explore more places in September when I visit again.
This part of the Algarve coastline features miles of beautiful beaches: Praia dos Pescadores (fisherman’s beach) is the closest to the city center, but there are several others spread along the Atlantic coastline that are equally beautiful. Among all of them, I was recommended Praia de Sao Rafael. Surrounded by stunning orange cliffs and unique rock formations shaped by the wind and waves, the smaller beach’s offer a relaxing atmosphere, two of them even have names “Ponte Pequena” (Small Bridge) and “Ninho das Andorinhas” (Swallow’s Nest). Most of these rock formations continue under the surface, making this a great spot for snorkeling. When the weather is good you can also join a stand-up paddle tour and explore the caves and grottos near the beach.
The Best For Last: Visiting Benagil Cave
Is it worthwhile to visit the famous Benagil Cave in Portugal? Yes, absolutely. Algarve Caves are one of the most beautiful parts of the Algarve..
The trip to Benagil Cave in Portugal was my favorite thing I did in the Algarve.
While the Algarve has many beautiful beaches, the highlight is the Benagil Sea Cave.
Many locals call it the Gruta de Benagil because it looks like a stunning grotto upon the ocean. It even beats the grotto at the Playboy Mansion (but that is another story)…
Algar de Benagil, its Portuguese name, boasts golden sand, turquoise water, and sunlight streaming through the roof. Travelers who haven’t been to it are sure to find it inspiring.
Where is Benagil Beach Cave?
Benagil Beach Cave AKA Portugal Cave (sometimes known as the cave beach Algarve) is located along the coast next to Benagil Beach. (Praia de Benagil), in the Algarve. Among the nearest cities are Portimao, Albufeira, Carvoeiro and Lagos. It is just a little bit closer to Albufeira than Lagos so a little less time if you take a boat to get there.
How can you get to the Benagil Cave Algarve?
Benagil Cave and Benagil Beach can be visited in several ways. To access Benagil Caves, I recommend taking a boat tour from the marina. You can visit the cave at any time of year.
Four ways to visit Benagil Cave
Swim – You can swim approximately 200 meters from Benagil Beach to Benagil Cave. To reach the cave, you must be a strong swimmer. I recommend a life jacket or lido to make it there as the tides and currents change quickly.
Although some people do swim here, I would not recommend it.
Drive – it is possible to drive to Benagil Cave. From above, you will only be able to see the cave and the beach. There is no way to walk all the way into the cave, so you can only seeYou can then go down into the cave on one of the Benagil Cave Tours. it from above.
If you are visiting the beach, take the time to look at the cave from above. Then you can take one of the Benagil Cave Tours to go into the cave from below.
Kayak or Paddleboard – Kayaks and paddleboards can be rented for about the same price as a sea boat tour. Taking the boat tour is a much better option for the price, because you get to see more of the coastline of the Algarve.
Benagil Cave Boat Tours – Take one of the Benagil Cave Boat Tours. There is no better way to see the Benagil Caves than this. This is the safest and best option because on the boat trips, you will be able to see other caves in the area.
Most visitors leave from Benagil Beach or one of the nearby cities in the Algarve to visit the caves. You can take a boat tour right from the beach to the caves. The boat tours from Albufeira take about 3 hours.
It is impossible for me to recommend one company over another because they all seem about the same. At your hotel, you can find out which one is best for the activities you wish to participate in. These tours are not just about Benagil Cave, although that is the cherry on top, they are along the coastline where you will see many different caves as well.
To avoid crowds, I recommend going early and not on the weekend. As you approach the cave, you will see more and more boats.
You will want to take a smaller boat as there will be fewer people on board and they are also faster. Less time in the boat with fewer people and more time in the cave!
Some tours combine the sea caves with dolphin watching, which is also a worthwhile experience if you are into that.
We were among the first boats at the sea cave when I went first thing in the morning. I was blown away once I stepped inside. A number of boats were waiting to come into the cave as we left. Since the entrance is quite narrow and the cave is not huge, it gets quite congested waiting for boats to leave so others can get in because the cave is not large enough for all boats.
I also think this is why some boats don’t let you get out once inside. There is a timing issue here where they want to allow everyone inside.
We spent time exploring the coastline after we visited the cave.
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