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World Travel Guide > Guides > Europe > Portugal > Albufeira beaches

About Albufeira beaches

Albufeira is one of the Algarve’s busiest resorts, a tourist destination well versed in the needs of holidaymakers. Once a sleepy Algarvian fishing village Albufeira has changed beyond all recognition and mushroomed into a fully fledged international resort with well-equipped beaches, a massive choice of eating and drinking venues and plenty to keep families happy. Add in a flurry of enticing day trip options and this southern Portuguese resort has a lot going for it.

Beach:

The Praia do Peneco is the town’s main beach, reached through a tunnel from the old town. Local fishermen do still pull up their boats here, but much of the sand is given over to holidaymakers with sun loungers and parasols. A variety of watersports, including windsurfing and jetskiing, is available. To the west and east of Albufeira is a string of quieter beaches such as Balaia and Praia da Gale, with the latter particular popular for watersports.

Beyond the beach:

Albufeira’s old town and its narrow streets just back from the main beach are worth exploring. They are home to a warren of small shops, cafés, bars and restaurants. In summer there are regular bullfights at the Praia da Oura bullring. Unlike in Spanish bullfighting the bull is not normally killed.

Family fun:

The beaches are the main attractions for families in the resort and many of the better hotels also have dedicated children’s facilities such as children’s clubs or creches. The out-of-town Alcantarilha Aqualand Algarve waterpark (www.aqualand.pt) is the place to head for active family entertainment. This impressive complex boasts enough aquatic fun to keep even the most demanding of children occupied for at least half a day.

Exploring further:

The inland town of Silves is a tempting day-trip option. This charming settlement oozes history, which can best be appreciated at its landmark castle. Enjoy a coffee by the Arade river before strolling through the sleepy backstreets, and then indulge in a meal of spicy piri-piri chicken cooked on the grill as you sit overlooking the water. There are buses, trains and day trips to Silves from Albufeira.

Splashing out:

Hire a boat and a skipper for the day and head out into the Atlantic. You can enjoy a lazy lunch onboard as you are taken to an isolated sandy cove away from the crowds. The choice of where you want to go and what you want to do is yours, with the skipper on hand to provide real local insider options.