Portugal, Albufeira – Review & Recommendations

portugal albufeira

Portugal, Albufeira – Review & Recommendations

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Read on to discover the best area to stay and my top places to drink & eat, and everything you need to know to plan your perfect holiday in Albufeira!

I went on this trip to lovely Portugal with my family to celebrate my sisters 30th birthday, lord knows she deserved it!

We bought a Wowcher Mystery Suprise Holiday for £99 pp and I was totally skeptical but ended up being majorly impressed with how it worked out – that story is for another post though.

I’ve learnt that Albufeira is one of the most popular holiday destinations in the Algarve and it is easy to see why, with so many things to do and different places to stay in Albufeira for all ages and budgets.

Balaia Golf Village Resort

ACCOMMODATION

We stayed at the Balaia Golf Village Resort and I can honestly say we couldn’t have been luckier to be accommodated at this 4 star paradise.

The resort maintains beautifully landscaped gardens with pine, cork and almond trees that are the prefect backdrop for your home in the sun and to feed your Insta fix!

You can enjoy 6 swimming pools, a health club with indoor pool, 4 tennis courts, restaurants and snack bars. For the actual golf lovers there is a stunning executive golf course! You can read my full review and personal experience with an unnecessary amount of photo’s here.

There is a shop for essentials, ATM and cafe right at the entrance. The nearest sandy beach is only 500 metres away (10 mins walk max) visiting Albufeira Old Town and New Town is a must and are a short 6-7 minute drive away (Uber or local taxi costs 6-8 euros each way)

OLD TOWN

While many of the other areas of Albufeira have been developed to meet the needs of the ever-growing tourism industry, the Old Town retains the charm and traditions that first made it popular with visitors decades ago. If you are looking to be able to experience cobbled streets, winding alleys, boutique shops and traditional cafes and restaurants then this is the best part of Albufeira for you.

We thoroughly enjoyed visiting Old Town and would’ve loved to have been able to spend more time here. Check out the food and drinks section for my Old Town recommendation.

Restaurante Costa Rica – New Town

NEW TOWN

There is definitely a “Party” feel to this area of Albufeira, although during the day it is quite calm if you fancy exploring. The strong tradition of this part of Albufeira is focused towards groups wanting to party so this means that you will find many bars with discounted drinks, karaoke, late night clubs, gentlemen’s clubs and adult shops.

This area of Albufeira is where you will find the busy nightlife and is perhaps the most lively place in the Algarve. Because of the concentration of bars bars and reasonably priced restaurants, shops, tattoo parlours, nightclubs and fast food outlets, it is not surprising that The Strip, as it is known to the locals, is the most popular place for groups.

Although it was not peak season whilst I had visited it was still quite lively with promoters wanting to draw me in to their bars with free shots LOL. We found a restaurant that served the most delicious steak in Areias de São João so be sure to read the food and drinks section for recommendations!

Praia da Galé 

BEACH

Praia da Galé – A hidden treasure. This beautiful golden beach is 4 kilometres west of Albufeira, and is located between Albufeira and Armação de Pêra. Although there are many restaurants and facilities nearby, the beach still has a sort of an undeveloped feel. The beach is a pleasant escape from the crowded beaches near Albufeira. Praia da Galé has been highly rated by Google Local Guides and contributors of TripAdvisor. The golden sandy beach is surrounded by beautiful dunes and nature. The beach has soft sand and is surrounded by beautiful scenery, consisting of rock formations and nature trails.

Cafe Oceano – Pina Colada and Daiquiri’s

FOOD & DRINKS

Albufeira has restaurants, cafes and bars galore! In Albufeira Old Town they are scattered around the main square, down the cobbled side streets and overlooking the beach. The local cuisine is based around the lovely fresh fish and seafood that is so so readily available. Albufeira also caters very well for the large influx of visitors of all nationalities and most places I visited were more than happy to make meals that weren’t shown on the menu like Cabana Fresca, they made my brother a lovely vegetarian meal and it was no inconvenience to any of the staff or chefs.

Cabana Fresca is a true gem in the old part of Albufeira. Staff were happy to answer our questions about what traditional Portuguese food is and they informed us of the ‘Cataplana‘ which is a stew made with chorizo, calabresa sausages, clam, tomato sauce, meat and veggies. I already had my heart set on the giant prawn gratin but my sister decided to try the Cataplana and I had a few mouthfull’s too. It was delicious! We all had Absolutely stunning meals and the quality of food was pretty exceptional. If you’re in to cocktails like me then go for the Caipirinha, the Portuguese do not disappoint! There is also a really cute place next door that made an amazing Pina Colada, Cafe Oceano is well worth a visit.

Side note – Diet coke is diet coke but if you want a coke zero, then it’s coke light.

For a great quality meal in Albufeira New Town then head to Restaurante Costa Rica. We loved this restaurant, it has a lovely setting and traditional Portuguese atmosphere.

The staff were so nice and accommodating, they didn’t mind placing us in the private room when we requested to be moved as the restaurant was super busy! Four of us went to dine here. Freshly baked warm bread and butter/olive, sardine pates and water for the table – “for the table” is always a good look and I think it is brilliant customer service that will always make a restaurant stand out. For mains I had the Steak special offer, served with peppercorn sauce and fries – it tasted fresh and juicy yet still had some authentic Portuguese element to it. Restaurante Costa Rica has an extensive variety of wines, we enjoyed a dry white with our mains. You can read my full review of food and drinks here.

You will find plenty of things to do in Albufeira, the salt-washed and vibrant holidaying mecca of the Algarve. Spreading from a buzzy marina that’s peppered with bars and clubs to a cobbled Old Town that bursts with souvenir stalls and Portuguese tapas joints, it’s every inch an alluring escape bathed in sunshine.

All information is correct as of March/April 2022 and there are currently no covid restrictions or antigen tests needed for travel when entering Portugal from the UK.

For more information on my experience here please send me a Dm on Instagram @sammiswinton

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Stay safe, live your best life and take care,

Sammi xx

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