Albufeira - Excursions and Places of interest
Information updated 28 Jan 2015
Boat trips and dolphin watching
Don’t miss a chance to explore the Algarve’s stunning coastline from the water at least once during your stay. Spotting a pod of dolphins is a magical experience and the 2 hr 30 min dolphin searching boat trips operating from Albufeira Marina can also include a visit to the area’s dramatic caves, inaccessible by land, with a refreshing swim stop en route. For more energetic explorers, there are also guided kayaking trips to the caves.
Cleverly combining education with heaps of fun, Zoomarine is both an animal conservation centre and family theme park located at nearby Guia. The park introduces visitors to exotic habitats and an array of sea and land animals from tropical birds and birds of prey to dolphins, seals and sharks, with shows and presentations throughout the day. Book in advance for a chance to interact with dolphins in person in the unique Dolphin Emotions experience. Besides its wonderful animal encounters, the park provides hours of entertainment with its own waterslides, wave pool and river rafting as well as fun fair rides and a 4D cinema. Open daily from March to October with its own transport service from most of the Algarve resorts.
One of several great waterparks along the Algarve, Aquashow is part of a larger theme park complex about half an hour’s drive from Albufeira. A memorable day out for all the family, the park boasts the largest wave pool in Portugal, water slides of all shapes and sizes and several exhilarating rides to delight even the most demanding of thrill-seekers. There’s a huge shallow pool providing lots of fun for little ones and you can round off your day with a gentle float down the Lazy River on inflatable tubes. Aquashow is open daily during the summer months.
Albufeira has a marina located a little away from the center of town to the west. It’s a lovely place to spend some time admiring the different boats or to enjoy a coffee in one of the many cafes.
An hour or so’s drive inland through rolling hills, citrus and olive groves and flowering meadows brings you to the Serra de Monchique, a mountain range that separates the Algarve from its neighbouring region, Alentejo, It’s a world away from the Algarve’s beach culture, with quaint hillside hamlets, lush farmland and spectacular panoramic views. Monchique is a pretty market town nestling between the peaks of Foia and Picota with two beautiful churches and a convent as well as a bustling monthly market. Nearby, just 6 kms to the south, lies the peaceful Caldas de Monchique, home to natural springs of 32ºC that are recommended for their therapeutic properties even today. Both are well worth a visit.
The cheerful, laidback town of Sagres can be reached by car or bus or you can join one of the many day trips on offer from the resorts. With a far wilder, more windswept feel compared to the sheltered coves along the south coast, the Atlantic coastline is breath-taking and dramatic. Scarily steep cliffs are frequented by hardy fishermen eager for a special catch while the magnificent waves on the west coast attract surfers from all around the world. From the town you can visit the barren headland of Cabo de São Vicente, the most south-western tip of Europe, with its red lighthouse and a small but fascinating museum showcasing Sagres’s role in Portugal’s maritime and navigation history.
The old town
Abufeira has a charming old town; you can walk around the small cobbled streets looking in the many shops, stop for a coffee and a port wine or just sit back in the square and enjoy the atmosphere. Albufeira old town offers lovely bars nice restaurants to enjoy a relaxed evening out.
Olhos d’Agua springs
The lovely beach at Olhos d’Agua, or ‘Eyes of Water’ is fringed with gorgeous sandstone cliffs and at low tide it’s fun to potter around the little pools between the exposed rocks. This is also where you may spot the bubbling freshwater springs that give the resort its name.
Albufeira castle ruins
Still represented on the shield of the Portuguese national flag, the Albufeira region’s Paderne Castle was once a Moorish stronghold conquered in 1248. Despite falling into ruins over the years, it remains a site of military architectural interest and maintenance works are ongoing to preserve it. The castle is located around 82 kms inland from Albufeira town close to the village of Paderne in lovely countryside that’s popular with walkers.
Other Places of interest
A big shopping centre about 6 km outside Albufeira, Amongst the 100+ stores, one can find, Zara, Swarovski, H&M, and several other stores that provide all kinds of services, such as a hairdresser, banks, travel agencies, food court, and much more.
Albufeira clock tower
A much treasured local landmark located at the top of the hill in Albufeira’s picturesque old town, the 19th century clock tower was once part of a Moorish castle. The distinctive bell tower, with its filigree iron bell support, is beautifully illuminated on festival days and you’ll hear the chimes at regular intervals through the day. Climb to the top of the tower for magnificent panoramic views of Albufeira.
Albufeira - Activities
Information updated 28 Jan 2015
Chequered flag at the ready and engines revving, the adrenaline is sure to flow as you set off around Albufeira’s amazing 400m go-karting track in your 4-stroke, 200cc kart. Twelve corners, a superb straight and two nail-biting chicanes make for thrilling races and as soon as you finish you’ll want to get straight back on the track. The 160cc junior karts ensure it isn’t just the parents that have all the fun here either. The track is located just next to Albufeira Marina, check locally for the latest opening times.
The Algarve’s magnificent and varied interior is often overlooked in favour of its famous coastline and superb resorts, however a quad bike tour makes hard-to-reach areas so much more accessible. With no experience necessary, these exciting, fully automatic vehicles can carry one or two people, with children aged 8 and over able to travel as passengers. Tours set off from Albufeira, venturing off-road through rolling farmland, orange groves and traditional villages. Some tours even include a river crossing while the incredible views offer fantastic photo opportunities.
Nothing beats exploring a destination on foot to discover the local flora and fauna. With a guided walking tour you can benefit from the knowledge and experience of your guide, learning a little of the area’s culture and history as well as enjoying spectacular views from little known tracks and pathways. Average walks last around 3 or 4 hours, with varying terrain, though full day tours are also available.
Set in wonderfully wild and spacious natural surroundings in Club Albufeira holiday resort is a popular paintballing adventure, ideal to share with a group of friends. With all equipment provided, plenty of room to run around and lots of trees and bushes providing cover, this is a perfect setting for a memorable event.
Keen scuba divers will discover that the Algarve has plenty to offer beneath the waves, with a wide range of fascinating wrecks, caves, walls and artificial reefs. If you’re already certified, Albufeira-based scuba guides can show you the most interesting dive spots, with a different dive experience for each day of your holiday if you wish. There are also opportunities for beginners with pool-based learning for those who’d like to dip their toe into the sport as a novice.
Other water activites
From the neighbouring beaches of Praia da Oura and Albufeira you’ll find a feast of water sports to suit all tastes and levels of daring. From banana boats and donuts to parasailing and jet bikes, waterskiing and wake boards to kayaks and pedal boats, the emphasis here is definitely on having fun in the sun.
Banana boats, Parasailing, Donuts, Pedaloes