Holidays, Albufeira: There are two sides to Albufeira. One encompasses the ancient ways, the colourful fishing boats, the wonderful grilled fish and the picturesque Old Town. The other includes a pulsating nightlife, the raucous partying and the touristy buildings. If you want to party at night, and sunbathe on a beautiful beach during the day, Albufeira might well be your perfect holiday resort.
Sunny, strident and brazen, this town overflows with vigour and joy during summer. With its spacious, scenic beaches, quality hotels, thriving watersports scene and multitude of restaurants, bistros, restaurants, nightclubs and bars, it’s no wonder that Albufeira acts as a powerful magnet to the young and energetic. Albufeira has a wonderful location, on a wide bay surrounded by vivid cliffs and pretty coves, and it’s this setting that makes it an everlasting popular ‘on-the-beach’ destination. Albufeira’s urban sprawl is not yet utterly monstrous, but some areas are definitely overdeveloped. Image: Loowgren
Fortunately, the Old Town still keeps its traditional appeal. It encloses lovely Moorish archs, old churches, and nostalgic alleyways populated by typical houses and excellent restaurants. During your holidays, Albufeira will reward you with less blast and more typicality if you arrive off season. The pleasant sights of the Old Town remained unchanged throughout the centuries, and all its authenticity is still yours to be taken.
Holidays | Albufeira’s best sights
Praia dos Pescadores: This beach is named after the many colourful fishing boats marooned on the sand. The rugged fishermen that own the vessels are completely indifferent (to say the least) to all the sunbathers that invade their dominion in high season. Early in the day, when the traditional fishing boats are hauled ashore, visitors love to watch intently at the prodigal catch, which includes tasty sardines, eels, lobsters, seabass, flounder and sole, still flapping. Such timeless ritual provides a glimpse into the past, when Albufeira was a quaint little town dedicated to the sea.
Old Town: Albufeira’s Old Town, placed high on the rock faces above Fishermen’s Beach, has endured the onslaught of mass-market tourism almost without a scratch. The old quarter reflects the distinct cultures that influenced Albufeira throughout the ages. Romans were the first to take advantage of this location, more than 2000 years ago (the Celtiberians preferred to live inland). Then, the Visigoths – a Germanic people – settled for a few centuries before being displaced by the Moors. The Moorish influence is still perfectly visible in the sinuous, cobbled alleyways and bright whitewashed houses. Then came the Christians, and their ornate churches. This history is documented on the tiny Museu Municipal de Arqueologia, located within the Old Town. Pick up a guided map from the Tourist Office, located in Rua 5 de Outubro (see map above), to help you navigate the mazy streets.
Igreja de São Sebastião: This 18th-century church has both Manueline and Baroque features. However, its main influence is purely vernacular, and that truly makes it a rare finding among the religious buildings in the Algarve. The highlight is the richly carved wooden altarpiece. This distinct church also houses the local Museum of Sacred Art.
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