Set on the Algarve coast in the south of Portugal, Albufeira is a gorgeous resort town with stunning cliffs framing the beaches of the Atlantic, high-rated restaurants serving fresh seafood, and family-friendly attractions that will appeal to all ages. Thrill-seekers have ZooMarine Algarve as well as the winding water slides at Aqualand. Meanwhile, history buffs can discover remnants of the past at the Roman Ruins of Cerro da Vila or the 12th-century fortification Castelo de Paderne. Finally, golfers will marvel at the awe-inspiring scenery when they hit the green at the Pine Hills Course. There is plenty to do for those who want to bask under the sun from arranging boating tours to snorkeling and fishing.
1.Praia dos Pescadores
Set on the Atlantic south coast of the Algarve and fronting the eastern end of the town of Albufeira close to the Old Town, Praia dos Pescadores, or Fishermans Beach, is a busy spot for locals to bask in the sun, sand, and surf. Along with watersports and paragliding, the area also features a several seafood restaurants and lively bars as well as Largo Cais Herculano square, and an amphitheater that hosts live music concerts and other festive events such as the big celebration on New Year’s Eve. A striking cliff separates Praia dos Pescadores from the other main beach, Praia do Tunel, on the western end. As for access, beachgoers can either take the outdoor escalator situated adjacent to the Pau da Bandeira Bluff or walk from 5 de Outubro Street.
Largo 25 de Abril, Albufeira, Portugal
2.Praia da Falesia
Framed by incredible red and orange cliffs pine trees and pretty flowers, Praia da Falésia is a stunning beach known for its breathtaking scenery, soft sand, and crystal clear waters. Spanning nearly four miles from Vilamoura in the east to Olhos de Água in the west, the “Beach of Cliffs” has the distinction of being one of the best beaches in the Algarve. Along with the natural beauty, there are several things for people to do from hiking the trail above to enjoy water sports and unwinding at one of the nearby bars and restaurants.
Rua da Falésia Mar, 8200-593 Olhos de Água, Portugal
3.Praia da Marinha
A little more than a 20-minute drive from Albufeira, in Caramujeira in Lagoa, Praia da Marinha, or “Navy Beach,” offers an idyllic location for enjoying the waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Natural splendor is abundant here with soaring cliffs and a stunning rock formation known as M, because of its shape. However, it stands out even more, because when it meets a specific section of the cliff, it forms a heart shape. Along with building sandcastles, visitors might also want to bring their snorkeling gear to see the beautiful fish swimming in the crystal clear waters. More active types can head to the scenic hiking trail, located above the beach, which connects to other areas, such as Senhora da Rocha. As for food, there is only one restaurant in the immediate vicinity so it is important to keep that in mind. This is the only beach that is not accessible directly from the town and must be reached by car.
Caramujeira, Lagoa, Algarve, Portugal
Fun for the entire family awaits at Zoomarine Algarve, a popular theme park with zoological presentations, kid-friendly rides and tasty food for your amusement. Animal lovers will not want to miss attractions such as Habitat Americas or Oceans Aquarium, or one of the entertaining shows featuring dolphins, seals, and colorful birds. Thrills are in store when you take a spin on the Pirate Ship, while classics such as the Carousel and Ferris Wheel are always a hit for everyone. For those who want to play around in the water, Zoomarine Beach is the best bet, although Jurassic River is also entertaining with its fast rapids and dinosaurs lurking around.
N124 KM 65, 8201-864 Guia, Portugal, Phone: +35-12-89-56-03-00
© Tropical studio/stock.adobe.com
Aqualand Algarve is all about making a splash all day long with super fun adrenaline-rushing attractions. From Hydra to Crazy Leap or Kamikaze, which happens to be the highest in all of Portugal, there is a water slide for everyone or guests can just float the day away in their inner tube on the Congo River. Every experience here is essentially in the water including Surf Beach with its wave pool, Children’s Paradise, and Rainbow Park, which is perfect for the little ones with its mini slides, giant crayons, and shallow areas.
Estrada Nacional 125 - Sítio das Areias, 8365-908, Alcantarilha, Portugal, Phone: +35-12-82-32-02-30
6.Roman Ruins of Cerro da Vila
Curious history buffs who want to delve into the ancient past will want to spend time at the Roman Ruins of Cerro da Vila. Believed to date back to the third century, archaeological evidence reveals that it had occupants during the periods of occupation by the Romans, Visigoths, and Arabs. Visitors to the site, which is located close to Vilamoura will see remnants of what once were a villa, bathhouses, fish salting stations and a necropolis that featured only recently discovered burial tombs and mausoleums.
Av. Cerro da Vila, 8125-507 Quarteira, Portugal, Phone: +35-12-89-31-21-53
7.Castelo de Paderne
© ADV Photos/stock.adobe.com
Set along the Quarteira River a little more than five miles from Albufeira, Castelo de Paderne, also known as Almóada Castle was built in the late 12th century by the Berbers. Today, the fortification is represented as one of the castles on the flag of Portugal. Over the years, the reddish brown-hued structure served as a military outpost and administrative center, and was controlled by the Romans and then the Moors before it was restored to the Portuguese crown in 1248. As a result of its decline, the castle was abandoned in 1858. It was not until 1998, that it was purchased and not until 2002 that a local organization announced the intent to reconstruct what was left. Today, many parts of the castle no longer remain such as the chapel with only its walls still standing as well as the entrance gate.
, Sedona AZ
8.Pine Hills Course
Part of the luxurious Pine Cliffs Resort, the Pine Hills Course offers golfers an exceptional experience starting with its incredible design. Overlooking the sand and surf of the Atlantic Ocean from 200 feet above, the clifftop course provides impressive views of the Algarve coastline along with all sorts of challenges including the prized Par 3 sixth hole known as the Devil's Parlour which requires skill to get the ball to a deep and narrow green. For those who would like to improve their golf game, there is a professional academy onsite with instruction by internationally qualified PGA professionals as well as a short game area well-suited for beginners.
Albufeira, Portugal, Phone +35-12-89-50-03-00
© Sao Gabriel
Aiming to “reinvent ancestral dishes with avant-garde touches, São Gabriel receives rave reviews for its original cuisine. At the helm of the Michelin-star restaurant, Chef Leonel Pereira showcases the flavors of Portugal with an emphasis on ingredients from the Algarve region all within a romantic setting on the Vale do Lobo Road in Almancil. The warm fireplace, Belle Orleans-inspired interiors and inviting terrace all add to the charming ambiance. The inventive menu makes for memorable dinners with creative dishes such as Robalo Selvagem (wild sea bass with olives, ravioli, and smoked Granny Apple sauce) and decadent desserts including Madagascar (Vanilla Pudding with red fruits, basil ice cream, and chocolate sauce).
Av. Alm. Mendes Cabeçadas, 8135-162 Almancil, Portugal, Phone: +35-12-89-39-45-21
, Michigan beaches
© Vila Joya
Boasting two Michelin-stars, Vila Joya is a world-class restaurant that offers a sublime dining experience set against a romantic setting overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Nestled with a small oriental palazzo that houses a luxurious inn of the same name, the elegant establishment delights guests with a modern spin on the classic European dishes with Algarvian and Portuguese ingredients brilliantly created by Chef Dieter Koschina. Vaulted ceilings, terra cotta floors, and Moorish accents create an intimate setting to enjoy breakfast, lunch, and dinner featuring an impressive wine collection of 12,000 bottles and savory dishes such as Turbot with Chanterelles a la Creme and Duck Ravioli with Braised Endive.
Estrada da Galé, 8201-917 Albufeira, Portugal, Phone: +35-12-89-59-17-95
11.Piri Piri & Co
© Piri Piri & Co
Fans of spicy flavors will want to order the tangy sauces and other items from the Algarve-based company Piri Piri & Co. Available for order online, the products feature 30 different varieties of chilies grown right on their farm Quinta do Piri-Piri in Olhos de Água. A Portuguese staple, piri-piri, also known as peri peri, is typically made from crushed chilies, oil, lemon juice and may include other ingredients such as garlic, citrus peel, paprika, and more. This specialty food purveyor tempts the taste buds with its selection of sauces in flavors such as Mango and Honey, Chipotle, Fire and the signature Brutal liqueur, as well as pickled jellies, spicy jams, chile pastes and so much more.
Quinta Do Piri-Piri Caixa Postal 226-Z, Beco do Paiva, Estr. de Vale Carro, 8200-625 Albufeira, Portugal, Phone: +35-19-68-82-06-30
12.Roberto’s Chicken Piri Piri
© Roberto’s Chicken Piri Piri
Families craving a nice, quick meal will enjoy the char-grilled specialties at Roberto’s Chicken Piri Piri, a casual eatery that has been around since 2001. Fast service and a hearty menu ensure a pleasant experience. Diners select from simple, yet delicious dishes such as ½ Frango com Batata Ou Arroz, or ½ Chicken with Chips or Rice, Entrecosto com Batata (spare ribs), or for those that prefer something from the sea, there’s Peixe Grelhado, with fish selections including Golden Bream, Sea Bass, Cod, and Salmon. For the kids, there’s pizza and hamburgers along with a fun playground to keep them busy while the parents eat out on the terrace or in the dining room.
R. Jornal A Avezinha 34P2, 8200-269 Albufeira, Portugal, Phone: +35-12-89-50-81-54
13.Water Sports Albufeira
© Zai Aragon/stock.adobe.com
When it’s tough to decide what to do on the water, Algarvexcite offers a variety of activities of all levels. The leading water sports company in the area has two locations, one in Vilamoura Marina and the other in Albufeira Marina. So whether it’s just renting jet skis, taking a fishing trip, parasailing or going on a caves tour, there is something that will appeal to everyone on the entire family. For those who prefer to be on the boat, an afternoon watching the dolphins or a yacht charter with friends are fantastic possibilities.
Office 5, Cais Q, Vilamoura Marina, 8125-409 Vilamoura, Algarve, Portugal, Phone: +35-19-37-77-79-13
© Café Inglês
Travelers to the Algarve who want to listen to live music with their meal should add Café Inglês to their list of places to go. Set in the historic town of Silves right in the middle of the castle and the Gothic cathedral, this inviting restaurant, bar, and cultural venue serves a menu of pizza, and European and Mediterranean specialties along with a rotating roster of live bands playing everything from jazz to African, jam sessions and more. Along with musical performances, the space features paintings, photographs and sculptures by local talented artists. Guests who prefer to be outdoors should retreat to the lovely terrace to take in the surrounding views.
R. do Castelo 11, 8300-144 Silves, Portugal, Phone: +35-12-82-44-25-85
As they say in Portugal, “Bom Appetit,” and that’s exactly what guests of Le Marquis will be experiencing the moment they sit down at this inviting dining destination. Nestled in Monte da Palhagueira Village, the warm and relaxed restaurant offers an enticing Mediterranean menu created by Chef Vincent, who sees to it that dishes feature local, seasonal produce and ingredients. Guests may order from a set menu or a la carte, and while the choices are always changing, selections such as Le Marquis-style Short Ribs with Pont Neuf Salad and Rack of Lamb with Spicy Polenta and Grilled Vegetables give a glimpse of what’s to come. Plus, hosts Helma and Rashid always ensure the service and ambiance is always on point and pleasant.
Sítio de Gorjões - Monte da, 8005-488 Faro, Portugal, Phone: +35-12-89-99-20-18
16.Sandbanks Fish & Seafood Restaurant
There is something so calming and peaceful about the ocean, and guests of the waterfront Sandbanks Fish & Seafood Restaurant have prime views of the Atlantic at this restaurant on Vale do Lobo Beach. Along with the stunning view from the terrace, this friendly establishment is a favorite for fish and seafood lovers with a varied menu featuring light and flavorful options such as Grilled Squid and the signature Cataplana and Seafood rice, a delicious simmering dish of prawns, clams, and chourico sausage. The varied wine list provides for the perfect pairings with choices such as the intense and fruity Palácio da Brejoeira (Alvarinho) “Malgaço” and the smooth red wine that is João Clara “Algarve.” The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and during the summer months, guests enjoy live music happening at Vale do Lobo Praca.
The Praca, Vale do Lobo, 8135-854 Almancil, Portugal, Phone: +35-12-89-39-84-29
17.A Eira do Mel
© A Eira do Mel
Known for embracing the slow food movement, Chef José Pinheiro inspires diners to savor exquisitely prepared creations at his award-winning restaurant A Eira do Mel a little north of Sagres. Housed in a former farmhouse, the establishment is easy to spot with the bold shades of blue on the exterior. Inside the dining room has a rustic feel, evoking a feeling of home to enjoy regional classics such as octopus cataplana and farmers-style lamb stew, and interesting desserts such as fig cake with chocolate and spices. Naturally, the wine list features a nice selection of varietals from Portugal to pair with a meal.
Estrada do Castelejo, junto ao Mercado Municipal, Vila do Bispo 8650-421, Phone: +35-12-82-63-90-16
Founded in 1992 by the Soares family after sister Manuela spotted an old fishing boat and envisioned a seafood restaurant in that spot, Àbabuja continues to bring the flavors of the coasts and scrumptious sweets of the Algarve to diners’ delight. Meaning “being close to something” in Portuguese, Àbabuja gives off that familiar, inviting feeling with its friendly service and calming views of the water. Seafood selections such as Tuna Maxama Toast, Fried Shrimp with Mango and fresh fish dominate the menu, but there are also meat options such as Ababuja Steak, all of which go well with the superb wine offerings. As for dessert, everyone at the table will want a little bit of the Banofi and Crepe Arabuja to finish their meal.
Largo da Ribeira 11, 8500-023 Alvor, Portugal, Phone: +35-12-82-45-89-79
© Henrique Leis
A multiple Michelin star recipient, Henrique Leis, an elegant restaurant that shares its namesake with the gracious owner and chef offers a spectacular dining experience. Along with an impressive wine list with representations from Portugal and all over the world, the dining establishment delivers an exciting culinary journey in an intimate setting in an airy, all-wood house that even features paintings done by the chef himself. Just looking at the Tasting Menu reveals the remarkable inventiveness at play with courses such as Vegetable Ravioli with Smoked Eel, Egg-Bio with Imperial Caviar, Ravioli Scallop, Sagres Lobster with Bisque Sauce and Angus Beef Tenderloin with Grand Veneur Sauce. In the warmer months, the terrace offers the perfect spot to enjoy a meal alfresco.
Estr. Vale Formoso 234, 8100-268 Almancil, Portugal, Phone: +35-12-89-39-34-38
© Restaurante L14
Surf and turf shine at Restaurante L14, a chic dining spot that is part of the Salgados Dunas Suites hotel. Airy interiors, abundant natural light and a palette of soothing whites and blues as well as a seasonal outdoor terrace create a calm oasis for guests enjoying sushi selections from the raw bar and recipes of the land and sea by Chef Vítor Monteiro. Coastal cuisine featuring local produce and ingredients stands out on the menu with tantalizing starters such as Arepa de camarão com aioli, or prawn arepa with aioli coriander, and Sopa cremosa de mexilhões, a satisfying creamy mussels soup, and main entrees including Polvo confitado com batata doce e grelos, an octopus confit with potato and turnip greens. For those who prefer meat, there are plenty of options such as Beef Tenderloin and Filet Mignon with Fois Gras and Madeira sauce. Finally, the Fig Fondant with Pennyroyal ice cream provides an original taste of the Algarve.
Rua Boca da Alagoa, Salgados Vila das Lagoas Apartments, 8200-424 Guia, Albufeira, Portugal, Phone: +35-12-89-24-48-50
© NoSoloÁgua Albufeira
Water views are not the only attraction at NoSoloÁgua Albufeira, a beachside restaurant and bar that opened for business in the summer of 2017. Set right on the sand of Praia dos Alemães, this casual hangout is perfect for grabbing a small bite, refreshing cocktail or even a snack. Chances are the menu has something diners are craving with a large selection of food including Japanese, Southeast Asian, Mexican, Italian, French, and of course, Portuguese. Open from April to October, this seasonal spot sure does have a zen vibe with Eastern-inspired elements and comfy cushions in the lounge area, perfect for unwinding in the morning, afternoon or evening.
Forte de São João Praia dos Alemães, Albufeira, Portugal, Phone: +35-19-13-32-47-74
© Minerva Studio/stock.adobe.com
Steps from the Old Town Main Square right next to the Ingreja Maritz, or The Mother Church, Julie’s Bookshop is a beloved, local second-hand bookshop that offers a large collection of titles in English, German, Dutch, French and Scandinavian languages such as Swedish and Finnish. Bibliophiles can get their hands on fiction and non-fiction in a range of genres from biography to crime, romance, science fiction, children’s books and more. Since first opening in 1982, the book shop has gained a loyal following with people visiting year after year when they’re in town on vacation.
R. da Igreja Nova N. 6, Albufeira, Algarve, Portugal
22 Best Things to Do in Albufeira, Portugal
- Praia dos Pescadores, Photo: cristovao31/stock.adobe.com
- Praia da Falesia, Photo: zauberblicke/stock.adobe.com
- Praia da Marinha, Photo: forcdan/stock.adobe.com
- Zoomarine Algarve, Photo: Tamas/stock.adobe.com
- Aqualand Algarve, Photo: Tropical studio/stock.adobe.com
- Roman Ruins of Cerro da Vila, Photo: ColobusYeti/stock.adobe.com
- Castelo de Paderne, Photo: ADV Photos/stock.adobe.com
- Pine Hills Course, Photo: bohbeh/stock.adobe.com
- Sao Gabriel, Photo: Sao Gabriel
- Vila Joya, Photo: Vila Joya
- Piri Piri & Co, Photo: Piri Piri & Co
- Roberto’s Chicken Piri Piri, Photo: Roberto’s Chicken Piri Piri
- Water Sports Albufeira, Photo: Zai Aragon/stock.adobe.com
- Cafe Ingles, Photo: Café Inglês
- Le Marquis, Photo: vasanty/stock.adobe.com
- Sandbanks Fish & Seafood Restaurant, Photo: chuck/stock.adobe.com
- A Eira do Mel, Photo: A Eira do Mel
- Ababuja, Photo: Àbabuja
- Henrique Leis, Photo: Henrique Leis
- Restaurante L14, Photo: Restaurante L14
- NoSoloAgua Albufeira, Photo: NoSoloÁgua Albufeira
- Julie’s Bookshop, Photo: Minerva Studio/stock.adobe.com
- Cover Photo: eunikas/stock.adobe.com