Albufeira Review: Holidays in Algarve, Portugal
So I have just come back from Portugal a couple of days ago and, what can I say, I loved everything about it! Me and my fiancé went there for New Year's Eve, we arrived on the 31st of December and left on the 4th of January. We just wanted to escape from the cold and snowy England but we were not expecting the weather we found :) we were happily surprised to see people sunbathing and kids playing in the sea! It seems so strange that just with a 2 and a half hours flight we could go from Winter to almost Summer (or at least Spring). I have to say also that during the day the weather was hot because of the sun but at nighttime it was basically Winter again, but that didn't matter to us. In the day it was comfortable to go around in T-shirt and shorts but at night time you would need to wear a coat.
Albufeira, Algarve, Portugal.
How to get there
Albufeira is in the Faro district in the region of Algarve, so the nearest airport is Faro. From the airport there are different options to get to Albufeira. We honestly didn't prebook any transports but it was very easy anyway. In the Airport we found different stands offering transports to many places: we used Farobus, and we are so glad we did! It was only 8 euros per person each way for about 1 hour transport, they asked us the details of the return flight so they could arrange a comfortable time to pick us up at our hotel. Nothing to say: they were on time and they left us/picked us up at our hotel. Great service! If you want to spend less money you can use the local bus service, it should be about 2 euros but it takes almost 2 hours and doesn't leave you at your hotel, it takes you somewhere in Albufeira and then you have to make your own way. For me, those 8 euros were money well spent ;)
Old Town, Fisherman's Beach
Where to Stay
Albufeira is a nice little town on the coast, it's divided in 2 parts: new town and old town. After reading a few reviews online we decided to stay in the new town near the strip. It seemed like a good idea at the time, the strip looked very lively with a lot of bars, restaurants and clubs... such a shame it was really not what we were looking for but we realized later. The strip was designed for tourists, with a lot of places offering English breakfast and fish and chips on their menu. Having said that, it wasn't bad, it was central and only a bus ride away (or 30 minutes walk) to the old town that was absolutely lovely! If I had to go again to Albufeira I would definitely stay somewhere in the old town. That's where we spent most of our days and nights: a lovely old town full of local flavour, great atmosphere, great cheap restaurants and bars, what else do you need? The old town starts right from the Fisherman's Beach, where they organized a lovely concert for New Year's Eve.
Want to travel around Portugal?
Let me say that I loved the food in Portugal! We found a nice little place called Cepa Torta, on R. Vasco da Gama, near the strip: just what we wanted, no turists, just locals enjoying gorgeous seafood and live music entertainment!
Apart from this place that was really a find to me, we had gorgeous food everywhere: try the piri piri chicken, the tuna stakes, the clams and prawns Cataplana (a typical way to cook them with cherry tomatoes and onions) and the Bacalhau (Cod). I have to say they are not very big on desserts but I enjoyed the very typical biscake (a cake made with layered biscuits and cream).