Albufeira

Albufeira is a Portuguese city, located in the district of Faro. It is the main city in a municipality with 140.66 km2, divided into 4 civil parishes, Albufeira and Olhos de Água, Guia, Ferreiras and Paderne. The municipality is bordered to the west and northwest by Silves, northeast and east by Loulé and to the south by a wide coastline along the Atlantic Ocean.

The name “Albufeira” came from the Arab word “al-Buħaira”, which means a lake or lagoon that communicates with the sea. The Arab period left its mark in the city, today present in the narrow streets, the old castle and white washed houses with their terraces and arches. The Roman colonisation of the current area of the municipality dates back to 2,000 BC, where the name “Baltum” originated from. Later, in 716, the Arabs named it “Albuar” or “Albuhera”.

In 1189, the Christians conquered it from the Arabs during the reign of king Sancho I, under Muslim rule. The final Christian possession took place in 1250, during the reign of king Afonso III, the Monarch who donated the Albufeira Castle to the military order of Avis.

From the 1960s, Albufeira has become an internationally renowned tourist resort, mostly seeked by international tourists, but it was mainly with the British people that it prospered. Since then, the city’s hotel industry has developed a great deal. The town was granted the statut of city on 23 August 1986.


From a long fishing tradition town with a thriving fish export industry, only the harbour shelter remains, next to the marina of Albufeira. Their colourful artisan fishing boats can be found next to the boats dedicated to marine tours along the coast and to boats touring the fabulous sea caves.

Currently, Albufeira and its municipality is one of the country’s main tourist centres, offering nearly 30 km of coastline and more than two dozen beaches, all different among themselves, both in their natural environment, as in their occupancy and tourist offer.

Even with the most famous tourist facilities and nightlife of the Algarve, this reality lives hand in hand with another: the one of the quiet villages, where manual arts can still be found, such as tiling, carved copper or esparto tapestry, surrounded by dryland orchards with almond trees in bloom.

Algarve’s annual average temperature of 17.7° C (12° C in January and up to about 30° C in August) is cooled by the ever pleasant sea breeze. With more than 3,000 hours of sunshine in a year (over 300 days), this is a favourite destination among tourists. 

Gastronomy
Influenced by Mediterranean culture, the typical gastronomy of Albufeira has its roots in ancient times and customs. Dishes such as the fish stew, the coal roasted fish, the clams in cataplana, the xarém with conquilha clams, the seafood rice or the tuna with fried onions bring to your table the best flavours of the sea!

But this varied and tasty cuisine does not live solely on fish. Fruits, legumes, meats, olive oil, vegetables, garlic, onions and herbs, such as oregano or coriander, are a constant presence in many tipical dishes. Also worth mention is the “guia's chicken”, named after the village of Guia in the Algarve, the biggest star of the municipality’s gastronomy. Made with a special sauce, and smaller than usual, this chicken is a nationwide success.


Albufeira Municipal Archaeology Museum
The Municipal Archaeological Museum opened to the public on 20 August 1999. Located in the ancient part of the city of Albufeira, on the site formerly known as Praça de Armas, now Praça da República, the building that houses the museum consists of two floors in an area of great tourist inflow, housed the City Council until the late 1980s. It was later recovered and rehabilitated to accommodate the museum, integrating the existing archaeological heritage.

The Museum’s social functions consist in the conservation, preservation, restoration and promotion of the Municipality’s archeological estate, for purposes of study, education and leisure. The museological heritage is organised in a diachronic way, presenting the historical evolution of the municipality since the Prehistoric period until the 17th century.

The Archaeology Museum consists of four historic nuclei for the following periods: prehistory, Roman, Visigoth, Islamic and modern age. 


Religious Art Museum (Church of São Sebastião) 
Temple built in mid 17th century, the Church of São Sebastião’s worth is in not only in the beauty of the building, but also in the interesting sacred art museum centre, which can be visited throughout the year.


Mother Church of Albufeira
Built in the 18th century after the 1755 earthquake and considered sacred by the Dom Francisco Gomes de Avelar, Bishop to the Algarve region, in 1800, this replaced the old mother church. Of Neoclassical style, the mother church has 4 chapels and, inside, a painting by Samora Barros, from Albufeira, which gives emphasis to our Lady of the Conception. The main arch features the cross of Avis, symbolising the Religious and Military Order of which Albufeira was part.

Mass Hours:
Winter: Saturday at 6 p.m. & Sunday at 11 a.m.
Summer: Saturday at 6 p.m. and 10 p.m.; Sunday at 10 a.m. and 7 p.m.


Church of Sant’Ana
This church, dating from the 18th century, is undoubtedly a landmark in the city of Albufeira, recognised by the Tourism of Algarve. Of Baroque style, it was recently restored, featuring its wooden altarpieces in gilt, not only on the main altarpiece itself, but also on the transverse altars, with multiple images, among others. The ceiling was also replaced, but with care to restore its exterior.

Mass Hours: Sunday at 2 p.m.

Albufeira Beach Viewpoint
The Albufeira Beach Viewpoint offers its spectators a view overlooking the ocean and the adjacent beaches. For a more detailed view, the viewpoint has a monocle available.


Downtown Albufeira (Old Town)
Albufeira, the area of the Algarve with greater tourist activity, is known for its downtown or "old town", and more specifically for the famous Pescadores beach. This old fishing town, where you can still see the colourful fishermen’s boats, is nowadays one of the favourite places. During the day, you can enjoy its coastal beaches and cliffs whose sea related infrastructure, leisure and sports activities will not be missing. As for the nightlife, the countless restaurants in this area offer a great choice, followed by the famous “bar street” where entertainment is always guaranteed.


Paderne Castle
The Paderne Castle is a small rural fortification founded by the Almohads in the 2nd half of the 12th century. 

After the Christian conquest of the Algarve, a new population settled in the castle, who adapted or changed, with different concepts, the initial domestic model. Two tanks bear witness to the two main times of occupation of the castle - Islamic and Christian.

It is one of the seven castles represented on the Portuguese flag. Its reddish hue ruins are one of the most significant examples of Muslim military architecture in the Iberian Peninsula, standing out in the landscape as a notice of arrival to the Algarve for those who reach Via do Infante.


Zoomarine
It is a water theme park located in the municipality of Guia. Considered by many as the best family theme park in the Algarve, it has several tourist attractions, such as dolphins, seals, sea lions, tropical birds and birds of prey. It also has a shark aquarium, natural animal habitats, 4D movie theatre and several leisure, entertainment and environmental education activities, in an ample space with more than 18 hectares.

Since its opening, in 2002, it gives its effective, direct and/or indirect contribute for the conservation of nature.

To make their work in the areas of conservation, science and education known to the people in general, Zoomarine launched the WeProtect project. Since then, and in close collaboration with the Institute for Nature and Forestry Conservation, a multidisciplinary zoological team has been dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation and return to the natural environment of marine and sea animals.


Algarve Shopping
Ideal for urban leisure time and for shopping, this shopping centre situated in Guia works partially in the open so you can enjoy the good Algarve weather. There, you can find a vast restaurant area and a great variety of shops. The shopping centre also features Movie theatres, a supermarket and a pharmacy.

Opening hours:
Summer: from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Winter: from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.

RETURN TO: SEE AND VISIT