Lots of my friends and work colleagues had been to the Portuguese Algarve, so last year I decided that it was about time that I went to see what all the fuss was about. I booked a week long stay in the popular tourist resort of Albufeira – I opted to stay in the older part of the town as I heard that this is where you want to be if you like relaxing, eating and being near the beach; so definitely my idea of the perfect holiday.
When we arrived we were told that it had been raining nearly every day for the past week so we were worried that we weren’t going to get to soak up much of the sun that the south coast of Portugal is famed for. Fortunately, when we woke on our first morning and pulled back the curtains we were greeted with wall-to-wall bright blue sky. Stepping out onto the balcony allowed us to feel the warmth that we were severely missing at home. Amazingly, and very luckily, this weather lasted for the whole week we were there!
In the town:
Albufeira old town is a quaint little area, with a relatively large, cobbled main square where there are regular street shows and markets which add to its vibrant atmosphere. Dotted around are numerous restaurants to cater for all tastes – you can find traditional Portuguese, Dutch, Chinese and good old English food all at reasonable prices.
We only visited Albufeira’s newer part once by using the regular dotto train which runs between the two areas. It’s fair to say that this exists to cater to a younger ‘18-30’ style crowd who are more interested in spending their time drinking in the loud bars that chilling out in a nice restaurant.
On the beach:
Talking of the beach, it’s a real sandy stunner. It’s not the biggest in the world and did get very busy in the daytime during our stay. It’s certainly not one for those who like a bit more privacy – but then you wouldn’t stay in such a popular resort as Albufeira if you wanted complete seclusion.
However, the sand is lovely and golden and the beach is safe and ideal for those with children. As it’s on the Atlantic there are quite strong tides so it’s worth staying out of the water when it’s coming in hard as it can get quite rough. It’salso a bit colder than what you would expect from say the Mediterranean, so be prepared for this if you’re a water lover.
Albufeira is ideally located, under an hour’s transfer time from the Algarve’s airport in Faro. There is a range of accommodation to be found here, though most are hotels which will generally give come with breakfast, and perhaps the evening meal included. However, it’s worth getting around and about to visit different restaurants – especially try to experience some traditional Portuguese food such as the exquisite piri-piri chicken dishes.
About the author:
Paula Bennett loves writing about her travel experiences and looking at other travel blogs for ideas on where to visit next. One of her favourite sites is www.toptravelblogs.co.uk – which contains a number of tips on the best destinations and resesorts in Europe and across the world.