Albufeira was my first love in Algarve, before the fool construction has turned it in the concrete forest it is now.
I haven’t gone there for a couple of years, but each visit became a disappointment, seeing everything sacrificed to the goal of mass tourism.
And… my God! How Albufeira was nice in those old days.
Thirty years ago Albufeira was “the capital” of tourism in Algarve and a vacation paradise.
Today, it is the center of all the excesses in massive building and loss of quality, but the beaches are still there (spreading along the coast), the fishermen keep on working (not much), and with luck, you may get your own space to stay, not far from the city.
Right in the centre of the city, this is THE beach of Albufeira.
Construction in the area took people away from this beach spreading them along the coast, but it didn’t loose its charm.
Now it misses the fisherman’s boats that once provided a shade, and acts more as a decoration of restaurants and bars that line it, replacing the original life of fishing and selling the catch.
Directions: Off Largo 25 de Abril
Once a “private” beach of Inatel, the national organization for workers free time, this wide beach is now part of the long stripe of sand that compose Albufeira’s beaches, with a few hotels and apartments hidden inland.
I didn’t swim there, but it looks more rocky than the other beaches of the area.
The coast west of Albufeira is very beautiful, with some natural formations, most of them only accessible from the sea.
Eastbound the beauty fades, but until Olhos de Água, though dotted with too much construction, some point keep their beauty.
A walk by the seaside (sun protected) is relaxing, and helps to forget what we have inland, however, be careful, because the cliffs may be dangerous, as many signals in the adequate places will alert.
The crazy construction that disfigured Algarve, has (thanks God!) spared the central area of old Albufeira.
Now, cleaned and organized for touristy exhibition, the central Albufeira looks good, and, for some minutes, allows us to forget the insanity of the exploitation seeking for euros (or dollars, or… just money!) that grew around it.
While many things are changing in the coast and even in Albufeira, the city’s centre has been preserved, and still keeps the look of the good old days, when it was no more than a fishing village where a few sun seekers came in summer.
Well done recuperation and embellishing work and the lively business common in touristy hubs don’t spoil the place.
Everything is possible and available at short distance.
Buddy’s – Albufeira
One of the many restaurants that cover the center of Albufeira, Buddy’s was a very positive experience. Prompt and correct service, food well prepared and in good quantity, at a very reasonable price. It was the first time, but it probably won’t be the last.
This restaurant is part of my old memories of Albufeira. I’ve been there more than 40 years ago, eating a tuna steak, when it was… expensive.
Lots of alternatives were open since then, and I don’t visit it for a long time.
Still good? Still expensive?
Maybe, but still standing there after all these years, and that is its best certificate.
In the best place
Usually, I skip restaurants in first line of the beach; some of them sell views instead of food, some other include the “view tax” in the invoice.
This time I accepted the risk, and choose a restaurant by the sea, in the old fisherman’s beach.
Well, the food was good and, if the “views tax” was included, it was not excessive, so, the general impression was positive.
Favorite Dish: Mixed grilled fish
OK for fish
All esplanades in Albufeira are full, except Fernando’s. Why? Because it’s more expensive than its neighbors. It tries to justify the difference with a better menu and service, and honestly, it is somewhat different. Better? Well… it depends.I was tired of eating fish, and decided to taste one of my favorite dishes – pork with clams, Alentejo style. I was surprised by an unexpected dish of pickles and chips, with some pieces of pork and clams in it. The result was interesting, but absolutely different of the announced recipe. The other people in the group enjoyed their meals, and the bill was high as usual in the speculative Algarve.
Favorite Dish: Grilled Fish
Address: Largo Engº Duarte Pacheco
Good esplanade and lunch
Fernanda wanted to stay in the sun; I wanted the shade; hard situation until we saw Pampas esplanade.
We sat at the edge of the shade and had a surprisingly good meal.
I say “surprisingly” because, from outside, it seemed a fast food restaurant. Well… it isn’t!
Everything was perfect, and the price very acceptable for Albufeira standards.I will remember it!
Favorite Dish: Atum à algarvia
Espetada de Camarão
Paraíso de Albufeira hotel
I stayed at this hotel of Albufeira for two nights, to participate in their New Year’s Eve party.
The hotel is good, but, perhaps due to the confusion inherent to the circumstance, the service was a little confused, especially at breakfast.
For my taste it is too far from the beach, which means that I could go back there but, like this time, without the beach as a goal.
Monica Isabel hotel
I saw this hotel in January, and was fascinated by its location. I took note, and in the first opportunity decided to book it.
Before going I read all that I found about it, and it frightened me. So many terrible things…
The truth in detail:
The location is good: though built in the silly maze of Areias de São João, once found the way, the access is not bad, parking always possible (in June, remember!), and the sea very near.
The hotel is mainly french speaking, and, at the time we were there, full of mainly senior people.
No problem for us, used to be abroad in our own country when visiting Algarve, and speaking French as badly as English. (Fernanda was sick, and that stopped us from joining the dancing group in the lobby. It was a pity, because, used to be grand daddies in our dancing group, we would be junior in that team!)
The apartments were OK, with a good balcony with views to… the bushes. The big problem was that, as usual, we got the last one in the line, and moving along the stupid corridor, with 30 steps up and 32 down to brake the monotony, was boring (and tiring with luggage).
I saw a tiny TV set upon the wardrobe and an air-conditioning device in the wall, but had no idea if they worked or not, because… there was no control. Someone told me that I should collect them in the reception, but, God, making twice the terrible corridor to get something that they could easily deliver when checking in? Is it forbidden to think, or no respect for clients?
Breakfast was another criticized aspect of the hotel: it was not so bad as expected, except the so called “orange juice”, a real shame. Not good, indeed, but I had worse for more money!
The beach is wide, with thin white sand, really attractive. I didn’t swim, but could notice some hidden rocks in the water, advising a good care choosing the area to enter it. A very good point is the short distance and the ease to walk along the beach to the centre of Albufeira. That’s it: location is excellent!
What can I say? It is Algarve, in its main “quality”: price ahead of service. Would I return? Maybe! The alternatives in first line of the sea are not many, and use to cost more.
Unique Qualities: LocationPrice
Address: Forte De São João 8200-325, Albufeira, PT
Phone: +351 289 599 200
I didn’t stay there, but a couple of Canadian friends did. We visited them at night, and spent a great time listening to popular music played… exactly as it should be in a hotel lobby.
Our friends enjoyed the hotel, and, if we go back to Albufeira accepting to stay far from the sea, this will be one of the first options.
Address: Cl Rua Do Estadio S/N, , Albufeira, Distrito de Fa
Phone: +351 289 540 060
Most people gather in Albufeira for New Year’s eve.
Some of them prefer to stay in the hotels. That´s what we did, in Hotel Paraíso de Albufeira.
Several options, several levels of price, but no one stays at home in that night, and for those who can’t afford the high prices of the hotels, it’s usual to have a public party in Pescadores beach.
If you have any doubt about how much the world needs to learn and to progress, just think how many thousand people still do live in it from some odd professions.
Do you want to know your future? Don’t worry, come to me, show me your hand (or foot, or elbow, or credit card), and I will tell you everything you want to hear. I’m a fabulous guy! I can guess everything, but I don’t want to win the lotto. I leave it for you. See? Am I unique or not?
PS I may work in Albufeira or anywhere else, and you need not to thank, just don’t forget to pay my “symbolic” fee.
Stroll in the freshness
If you have no specific program, a good idea is walking around in the centre of Albufeira: each bar and restaurant have their performance, with live music to attract clients to sit.
Street animation is sometimes fun, and… everybody goes there, with the centre and the so called “strip area” always crowded.
The fast growth of Albufeira justified the creation of a local bus network, called Giro. It covers all the city now, with four different routes, identified by different colours.
If you decide to go a little further there are regional buses, being EVA the main company in Algarve.
Parking is a nightmare in Albufeira.
The best solution downtown is to use a small and dusty area east of the beach, and use the escalators nearby.
The problem is that, after the construction of the mechanic escalators, the park seems to be shrinking!
This was ten years ago – strong investment transformed the area, and now, a modern covered park has been created.
Practical… and paid, of course.