We had never been to Albufeira or the Algarve during our previous trip to Portugal. After some research, we were looking to check off the best things to do in Albufeira Portugal. I was surprised to find out so many attractions in Albufeira and the Portugal Algarve make it a perfect holiday getaway for families.
We discovered many things to do in Albufeira with family, especially with kids in the age group of 5 to 14. In this post, we will tell you about some activities in Albufeira for families (couples and singles). Here is how you can enjoy Albufeira with kids. Read ahead for a super fun Algarve family holiday!
Albufeira is on the Algarve in Portugal. There has been a settlement since Roman times in Albufeira. Back in the Roman times, it was known as Baltum. In the 8th century, it was taken by the Moors and re-named Al-Buhera. The Moors were driven out in the13th Century by the ‘Knights of the Order of Santiago’.
The Algarve is an amazing stretch of coastline that spans the whole of the bottom of Portugal. The Algarve attracts tourists in record numbers every year who flock to the surf, sand and fun that the Algarve is known for. Albufeira is one of the Algarve’s premier resort towns. I have often been asked What is Albufeira like, and what can you do in Albufeira?
Albufeira is home to some amazing beaches, a scenic old town and a pulsating summer atmosphere. Albufeira is often regarded as purely a tourist town and to be honest it is full of tourist a lot of the time. We encountered lots of British tourists on our stay in Albufeira Portugal. Don’t let this fool you there is much to do in Albufeira and the surrounding areas.
We arrived in Albufeira by bus from Spain and we left on the Albufeira to Lisbon train. The bus station and the train station are located on the outside of the town. The Albufeira to Lisbon train takes 3 hours to visit Lisbon. The nearest airport to Albufeira is Faro International Airport. Faro airport handles all the air travel in the Algarve region.
Things to see in Albufeira – The beaches
The Algarve is famous for its sandy beaches crystal clear waters which are clean and safe for children to swim in. The beach at Albufeira is one of the largest and best beaches in the Algarve. The amazing sand beach extends for 2km from the Old Town all the way to the rocky headland in the east.
Our favourite beach in Albufeira is Praia Dos Arrifes, it is located 2.4 miles (3.9 km) by road to the west of Albufeira Old Town centre and is 29.6 miles (47.6 km) west of the region’s capital of Faro.
To reach the sandy beach part you must descend down a set of wooden steps from the parking area. People with disabilities or mobility issues will certainly find this difficult as the descent is very steep and narrow. When we were there in the winter there was a bar and restaurant that would be a fantastic place to stop in the summer for a drink and the view.
It was so close to the water we don’t know how it has not been washed into it. You would definitely feel the sea spray enjoying a drink on the deck! The beach is one of the first things to do in Albufeira
Things to do in Albufeira – Visit the Albufeira Old Town
Albufeira Old Town like many you find in Europe these days is a hub for street cafés, restaurants and places to enjoy a drink. The streets surrounding the main square will appeal to the shopper in all of us. You will find clothes shops, leather goods, the usual array of gift shops peddling every type of Albufeira souvenir possible.
Not forgetting shops that sell necessities like supermarkets and chemists. Importantly you will find that English is widely spoken in shops and restaurants. Most places to eat will have an English menu with a tourist board of specials. The Albufeira Old Town is a place you visit night after night on your time in town for great food. We found an amazing Indian restaurant.
Best things to see in Albufeira – The Albufeira Marina
The Albufeira Marina is a part entertainment venue part marina. This purpose built tourist complex includes hotels, restaurants, bars, shops so something for everyone really. The Albufeira marina has room for 475 boats to be moored in the complex. The Marina is the departure point for many fun tours such as the rocket speedboat, Dolphin tours, jet ski rentals, fishing tours and parasailing.
Boat trips Albufeira is a great way to see the coast. Many charters leave the Albufeira Marina. We visited the Albufeira Marina on a wet day with the kids. The Albufeira Marina is home to some fun kids activities such as 10 pin bowling, Go-Carts and amusement machines. There are many restaurants and bars to enjoy a family meal or just get a snack. Sports bars with big screens broadcasting sports worldwide. We found the Marina to be great for activities in Albufeira on rainy days.
Best things to do in Albufeira – Zoo Marine
Located in Guia, just a few kilometres from Albufeira. At the Zoo Marine Park, you will see shows featuring presentations with dolphins, seals and sea lions, tropical birds and birds of prey.
The animals of Zoomarine are well looked after and cared for in modern world-class facilities. The park actively rehabilitates rescued animals from the Algarve area. Zoomarine has many amazing features such as aquarium with numerous sea creatures and sharks.
The amusements at the park include a carousel, Ferris Wheel and a swinging Pirate Ship. The 4D cinema is amazing it moves shakes and even stimulates the senses. Zoomarine Beach is amazing fun for the whole family.
Zoo Marine attractions include the wave beach, swimming pool, the rapid river and the fun water slides. You can easily spend the whole day using the facilities of Zoomarine. To visit Albufeira means to visit Zoo Marine its one of the top Algrave attractions.
Waterpark Albufeira – Day trips from Albufeira
Close by Albufeira on the central Algarve coast is three excellent water parks. Slide and Splash, Aqualand and Aquashow are all very popular with kids and families visiting the region. These theme parks of the Algarve contain some of the most exciting water rides anywhere, near vertical slides twists and turns await those visiting the Algarve water parks.
Wave pools provide excellent fun for the little one who may not be ready for the thrill of the slides just yet and provide excitement for children of all ages. The water parks can be a drain on the wallet. Fun seems to always come at an expense with entrance fees for kids starting at around $30 Australian. The water parks provide transfers from Albufeira.
Silves Castle – Day trips from Albufeira
The journey from Albufeira to Silves Castle is only 30km. Silves Castle was built on fortifications by the Romans or Visigoths. For 400 years between the 8th and 12th century, the castle was occupied by the Moors. Today the castle is one of the best preserved of the Moorish fortifications in Portugal. Silves Castle was honoured with being a National Monument in 1910. We visited Silves castle and found it to be a great experience.
Today Castelo De Silves is a well-preserved castle. The walls of this structure are still intact. You are able to walk the walls and get amazing views of the town of Sives. All the buildings that were present on the inside are gone now. You can still see the remains of the internal buildings. There is a small museum on site that contains artefacts that have been found on the site.
Sagres Portugal – day trips from Albufeira
Sagres is 100 kilometres away from Albufeira. The drive to Sagres encompasses the whole length of the Algarve coastline. Here at Wyld Family Travel, we spent a great day driving along the coast. Sagres is actually the end of Europe.
Sagres is the most southwestern point of Europe. The Lighthouse of Cabo de São Vicente is a lighthouse located a few kilometres out of the town of Sagres. The Algarve coastline along here is some of the most striking you will find anywhere.
Massive sandstone cliffs, outcrops and huge swells all combine in this area of Portugal. Sagres Fortress, The Fortaleza Sagres, Sagres Castle or Fort Sagres sits atop the Ponta de Sagres. The fortress was built in the 15th century by Prince Henry (right before the Portuguese Age of Discoveries).
At the Fort Henry, the Navigator spent his time studying new techniques and planning voyages. Henry’s lived his life Cabo de São Vicente at the location of the present day lighthouse.
The major cities on the Algarve are Faro and Lagos. This presents 2 more things to do near Albufeira. Things to do in Lagos Portugal include visiting the harbour and the castle on the waterfront. Quite possibly the most amazing beach on the Algarve coast is Praia do Camilo and it is accessed down 224 stairs. Praia Do Camilo is actually two beaches. You enter the first beach off the steps and you can access the second beach through a small tunnel carved into the rock
Faro was a 30 minute trip from Albufeira. What to do in Faro Portugal you might ask? We went on an amazing Tuk Tuk tour run by a company called Far Echo Tuk Tuk. This tour took us through the streets of Faro from the historical part of the city all the way to Faro Beach.
One popular site in Faro is the church Capela de Ossos Bone Chapel. Yes, a bone chapel is built on the sight of the church it is an amazing sight and one not to be missed.
Like all towns, Albufeira has all the normal facilities such as shopping malls and cinemas. We recommend that you hire a car when in Albufeira and the Algarve region. Things to do in Albufeira Algarve is made all that much easier with a car. We recommend travelling outside of Albufeira for an authentic feel of Portugal.
We learnt by speaking to people that Albufeira is not well liked by the Portuguese people because of its lack of Portuguese culture and its pandering to tourism in general but the people were so nice to us. Albufeira we found it to be a great place to stay and base ourselves for further exploring the Algarve region. Albufeira is more than theme parks and a destination for tourists, it is a fantastic place to go for a holiday with your family.
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About the Author
Mark Wyld is a father, husband and traveller. Having been to over 30 countries worldwide I think I know a thing or 2 about travelling with kids. I have been writing about travel on our website for the last 4 years and have featured on numerous other websites. When I am not talking, dreaming and planning travel I can be found working in disability support .
Waterpark Albufeira Picture is courtesy of www.onetinyleap.com
The cover image is courtesy of Albufeira 365 Facebook Page