If you are planning a solo trip to the Algarve, make sure to add Albufeira Portugal to your itinerary because there are so many things to do in Albufeira on your own.
As the biggest resort town in the southern coast of Portugal, Albufeira is one of the top holiday destination the Algarve. Whether you visit one of the 25 blue flag beaches, wander around the cobblestone streets of Albufeira Old Town, enjoy the vibrant nightlife or join one of the many day tours, there is always something exciting to do for solo travellers.
If you are planning your first trip to Albufeira and want to see the city on your own, keep reading and I’ll show you my top 20 favourite things to do in Albufeira Portugal.
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Albufeira things to do and see: what you need to know
Before you travel solo to Albufeira, take a look at some of these useful travel tips for seeing all the best Albufeira attractions:
- Albufeira is a safe city for solo female travellers.
- Use the Google Maps app to navigate around Albufeira.
- Bring your credit card as many places accept credit cards only. Also, bring cash for smaller purchases.
- The best way to see Old Town Albufeira is on foot. Take either a GIRO bus or Uber for anything beyond the centre.
- Download the Uber app so you can order cars to travel around Albufeira.
How to get to Albufeira Portugal
Albufeira is located in the central part in the southernmost Portuguese region of the Algarve. Most travellers will either be coming from Lisbon or Faro.
From Lisbon to Albufeira
The easiest way to travel from Lisbon to Albufeira is by taking the train then Uber.
There are several direct trains travelling from Lisbon to Albufeira each day.
- AP/IC train: from Lisboa Estação do Oriente to Albufeira-Ferreiras Station
- Time: from 2 hour 36 minutes (about 5 trains per day)
- Cost: from €21.10 (second class) and from €26.75 (first class)
- Check: Comboios de Portugal website for train schedules and cost
Once you arrive at Albufeira-Ferreiras Station (which is 7km away from town of Albufeira), order an Uber to your accommodation. The ride costs about €6.
The cheaper and more troublesome alternative is to take the GIRO “Linha Laranja” bus to Terminal Rodoviário de Albufeira (which is 3km away from the Old Town), and take another local bus to your accommodation. It’s not that much cheaper so I highly recommend taking an Uber from Albufeira-Ferreiras Station.
From Faro to Albufeira
The only airport in the Algarve is Faro Airport. The regional airport is 40km east of Albufeira. Many international flights fly into Faro Airport daily.
The easiest and most direct way to travel from Faro Airport to Albufeira is by taking an Uber. It is about €35 and takes about 40 minutes.
The cheaper and longer alternative is to take the express bus #56 (€7, 40 minutes). But the express bus only goes to Terminal Rodoviário de Albufeira (which is 3km away from the Old Town). That means you have to take another local bus to your accommodation or order an Uber.
How to get around Albufeira Portugal
First, let’s talk geography. There are two parts to Albufeira: the Old Town and The Strip.
The Old Town is on the southwest side of Albufeira along the coast. This is probably where most visitors gather the most.
The Strip is the main street on the east side of Albufeira and it is called Avenida Francisco Sá Carneiro. This area is very touristy and full of bars, restaurants and discos.
Meanwhile, Terminal Rodoviário de Albufeira, the main bus terminal is 3km north of the Old Town and 3km northeast of the Strip.
So as you can see, the city is quite spread out. This means you may need to use public transportation to get around Albufeira. Here are the best ways:
- GIRO – Albufeira City Bus (€1.40 each ride); you may take the Linha Laranja line if you are taking the bus to Albufeira-Ferreiras Station
- Tourist trains – two trains weaving through Old Town and The Strip (€4 one way)
As a solo traveller, I walk everywhere. However, Albufeira is quite big. I’ve taken the GIRO from Albufeira-Ferreiras Station and Uber from the east side of town back to my Airbnb apartment. Uber is very convenient. And if you take the GIRO bus, check the schedule in Google Maps first because its not super frequent.
20 things to do in Albufeira Portugal on your own
There are so many things to do alone in Albufeira that you might feel overwhelmed. But I’ve summarized all the best Albufeira attractions and activities for anyone who is travelling alone to this coastal city in Algarve.
Here is a quick summary of the 20 top things to do in Albufeira as a solo traveller:
- Wander around Old Town Albufeira
- Meander the hilly streets around the Old Castle
- Visit chapels and churches in Albufeira
- Visit one of 25 Blue Flag beaches of Albufeira
- See Albufeira from several viewpoints
- Hike the short coastal trail from Leixão dos Alhos to Praia da Oura
- Hike the longer coastal trail from Praia dos Arrifes to Praia de Castelo
- See artefacts at Museu Municipal de Arqueologia
- Visit the local Mercado Municipal dos Caliços
- Party in the Old Town or The Strip
- See colourful buildings at Marina de Albufeira
- Take a boat tour to Benegail Cave and other water activities
- Try typical local food specialities in Albufeira
- Indulge your sweet tooth with desserts from the Algarve
- Taste wine from four local regions in the Algarve
- Shop around the Old Town Square in Albufeira
- Take a day trip to Vilamoura and Quarteira
- Take a (half) day tour to Loulé
- Take a day trip to Silves
- Spend the day in Faro
1. Wander around Albufeira Old Town
Albufeira Old Town is the heart and soul of the city. Everywhere you go you can see whitewashed houses and cobblestone streets which completely reflect the traditional Portuguese culture.
This is the best place to eat, shop and people watch. There are many alfresco restaurants and local souvenir shops lining the open square and along the narrow alleys. And the main public square comes alive when the sun goes down. People in Albufeira knows how to party!
And when you are ready to hit the beach, walk through the Albufeira Tunnel and Praia dos Pescadores and Praia do Peneco are on the other side.
2. Meander the hilly streets around the Old Castle
If I wasn’t wandering around the hilly parts in the Old Town, I would not have known that there used to be a castle on top of the hill. And very little of the Old Castle wall remained, you can only see small sections of the wall.
But when you begin to walk up the hilly streets, you can see the name of the old entrance gates to the Castle called Porta de Sant’Ana. There are three of them: the west one is on the side of the Clock Tower, the north one is on part of the Old Wall, and the west one is at the base of the hill on R. da Bateria.
On the south side of the hill, you can see Albufeira Battery on the side of a cliff. It was part of an advanced line of protection for the castle.
And not far from the battery, there is a small archaeological excavation in front of the old jail (currently the Albufeira Music Conservatory) at the Place-of-arms or República Square.
Keep meandering the narrow hilly streets and you’ll see an amazing view of the Old Town Square near the north end of the hill.
3. Visit chapels and churches in Albufeira
There is a long history in the town of Albufeira which means there are many important chapels and churches to see. Here are a few to check out:
- Igreja de São Sebastião – aka Museu de Arte Sacra, which has a collection of religious art from churches in Albufeira that survived the 1755 earthquake.
- Igreja Matriz de Albufeira – the Neoclassical church is part of the annual Festa Nossa Senhora da Orada procession in August. And the main altar is was painted by an Albufeira-born painter, Samora Barros.
- Church of Santa Ana – the single nave church with a Baroque altarpiece is dedicated to St. Anne, Jesus’ maternal grandmother.
- Ermida de Nossa Senhora da Orada – built in 15th century, the church has a wood altarpiece housing the image of Our Lady of Orada, worshipped by the fishermen of Albufeira.
- Capela da Misericórdia – the Gothic church is also known as Chapel of the Mayors of the Castle.
4. Visit one of 25 Blue Flag beaches of Albufeira
Beaches can be awarded a Blue Flag if they meet certain criteria. These criteria include safety, water quality, facilities and environment management.
The Algarve has 87 Blue Flag beaches, the highest concentration of Blue Fags in all of Europe. And 25 of them are in the municipality of Albufeira.
However, they are all spread out along the coast. You would definitely need a car to visit all of them.
If you are travelling solo, check out some of my favourite Blue Flag beaches around Albufeira. It is possible to walk to every one of these beaches.
- Praia de Peneco – a small beach with a large rock called Peneco Rock.
- Praia dos Pescadores – a city beach next to Old Town Albufeira.
- Praia das Aveiros – a small hidden beach wedged between a beach coastal trail.
- Praia da Oura – a lively beach at the south end of The Strip.
- Praia da Oura-Leste – a narrow beach with many rock piles at Pedra dos Bicos.
- Praia de São Rafael – a sunbathing beach with tall limestone rock formations.
5. See Albufeira from several viewpoints
On the west end of Old Town Albufeira, there are two man-made structures that offer fantastic viewpoints of Albufeira.
First, there is the Observation Deck Albufeira, a metal deck with benches that stretches over the cliff.
And not far from the deck is the Elevador do Peneco. It has a small balcony where you can see views from above and it is an actual working elevator that can take you down to the beach level.
On the east end, there is a wonderful sunset spot called Miradouro do Pau da Bandeira. Here you can see Praia dos Pescadores from above. And best of all, you don’t even need to hike up to see a fantastic view – there’s an escalator!
6. Hike the short coastal trail from Leixão dos Alhos to Praia da Oura
If you like to hike, one of the best things to do in Albufeira is walk along the cliff tops along the coast of Albufeira. There is an easy coastal hike between Leixão dos Alhos and Praia da Oura.
Start from the southeast end of Praia dos Alemães, hike up to Leixão dos Alhos, the highest point on the coast. Then follow the coastline and trek across to Praia dos Aveiros, a small beach that can only be accessed by a small road.
Continue walking along the rocky ledges. Along the way, you’ll see scenic rock formation and limestone sinkholes. And soon after, you’ll arrive at Praia da Oura, a large beach at the south end of The Strip.
The easy hike takes about half an hour. But remember to wear proper shoes.
7. Hike the longer coastal trail from Praia dos Arrifes to Praia de Castelo
If you liked the short coastal hike, you might want to try a longer beach hike from Praia dos Arrifes to Praia de Castelo on the west end of Albufeira.
From Praia dos Arrifes, hike west along the rocky coastline. First, you’ll pass Praia de São Rafael then Praia do Ninho das Andorinhas, a secret beach surrounded by tall limestone walls and that can only be accessed by a tiny stairway.
From the cliff top, you will see Praia da Ponta Grande next. This beach can only be access from the sea. Continue forward and walk pass Praia das Salamitras and Praia do Coelha. At Praia da Maré das Porcas, you can descend down to beach and see the orange sand.
And then finally reaching Ponta do Castelo at Praia do Castelo. And this is the spot where you can see many limestone sinkholes and caves born from erosion. The rocky formation here looks out of this world!
The coastal hike will take a few hours depending on how much time you are spending in each area. Wear proper shoes and bring lots of water and sunscreen.
8. See artefacts at Museu Municipal de Arqueologia
Museu Municipal de Arqueologia is a small archaeological museum on the highest part of Old Town Albufeira. The two-storey museum has artefacts from prehistoric times to the 17th century.
The museum is quite small but you can still learn a bit about Albufeira’s past. It only costs €1 to see all the exhibits.
Address: Praça de República 1, Albufeira | Hours: 9:30 am to 5:30 pm (closed Mondays and Sundays) | Admission: €1
9. Visit the local Mercado Municipal dos Caliços
Mercado Municipal dos Caliçaos is a small market selling fresh produce, meat, seafood, fresh fish and other local specialities like Queijo de Figo. It is popular with locals since the prices are a bit better and you can also support local businesses.
The best day to go is on a Saturday morning when there are more vendors in the courtyard. And there is a (very) small market across the mercado.
Address: Largo do Mercado 1, Albufeira | Hours: 8:00 am to 2:00 pm (closed Mondays)
10. Party in Albufeira Old Town or The Strip
Albufeira is one of the top places for nightlife in the Algarve. The vibrant and lively scene comes alive when the sun goes down. And almost every weekend, you can see groups of stag and hen parties roaming around the streets of Albufeira.
A lot of people hang out at the Old Town Square where there are alfresco restaurants and bars lining the open square and the music gets a lot more louder at night.
But if you really want to experience proper nightlife, one of the best things to do in Albufeira at night is to visit The Strip which has 2km full of neon lights, restaurants, cafes, bars and night clubs.
I didn’t go The Strip at night (as you can see I was only able to capture a photo during the day), but I can image that the party scene can be quite crazy (according to photos online).
11. See colourful buildings at Marina de Albufeira
Marina de Albufeira is an easy 20 minute walk from the Old Town. The marina has a big tourist complex which includes accommodations, restaurants, bars, coffee shops and a supermarket.
Make sure you walk on all sides of the promenade and see the colourful building and cool houseboats around the marina.
And you will see many tour companies line the promenade of the marina because this is where all the day tour starts. Which brings me to the next best thing to do in Albufeira…
12. Take a boat tour to Benegail Cave and enjoy other water activities
Most visitors will participate at least one type of water activities in Albufeira. These including kayaking, standup paddle boarding, kitesurfing, parasailing and etc.
Plus, there are caving exploring and dolphin watching tours around the coast. The boat tour to Benagil Sea Cave is one of the top attractions in Albufeira.
If you want to go on a day tour, visit one of the tour companies in Old Town or at Marina de Albufeira, where the day tour starts. Or you can book online and secure a spot ahead of time.
Here are some of the most popular day tours from Albufeira:
- Caves & Dolphin Watching Boat Tour – search for hidden caves and dolphins around Albufeira and Carvoeiro.
- Benagil Cave & Dolphin Watching Tour – see the Algarve coastline, the famous Benagil Cave and swim in crystal clear waters of the Algarve coast.
- Benagil Cave Tour with Kayak or SUP – explore the coast and Benagil hidden caves with a kayak or standup paddleboard.
13. Try typical local food specialities in Albufeira
One of the best things to do in Albufeira is trying all the local food specialities.
There are many local regional food including the signature seafood stew served in a Cataplana (named after the copper cookware it is prepared in), fish stew, grilled fish that are caught in the Portugal coastal area.
Besides seafood, the Algarve also has several meat dishes that will satisfy all your meat cravings.
What to eat in Albufeira
- Cataplana de Moriscos – seafood stew made with clams, mussels, shrimp and potatoes in a light tomato broth.
- Caldeirada à Algarvia – stew made with white oily fish, other seafood, potatoes, peppers and tomatoes.
- Dourada Grelhada or Robalo – grilled seabream or sea bass with boiled vegetable and boiled potatoes.
- Conquilhas à Algarvia – small clams cooked in white wine and garlic.
- Bife a Portuguesa – Portuguese beef steak with potatoes.
- Frango Piri-Piri – piri-piri chicken originated from Guia, a small town near Albufeira. But you can enjoy this roast chicken anywhere in the Algarve.
Where to eat in Albufeira
- Casa Da Fonte – the only restaurant in Albufeira that serves a single portion of Cataplana (every other restaurant serves this dish for 2 people).
- O Veleiro – cheap seafood dishes at this restaurant frequented by locals.
- Restaurant Rossio – an excellent and affordable local restaurant with daily specials.
- Tasca do Viegas Terraço – try their Bife a Portuguesa on the upper floor of the restaurant. It has a view of Praia dos Pescadores.
- Reis dos Mares – have lunch at this beachfront restaurant.
- Churrasqueira O Manel Dos Frangos – a local chicken restaurant at the north end of The Stripe. They serve grilled prawns too.
14. Indulge your sweet tooth with desserts from the Algarve
Besides all the regional savoury goodness, the Algarve is also known for many sweet treats.
One of my favourite pasteleria (pastry shop) is Riviera Cake Shop. They have the best cake and they are huge!
Or you can order one of these desserts at a restaurant or find them at a local supermarket:
- Queijo de Figo – local Algarve specialty that is made with figs and almonds.
- Don Rodrigo – Portuguese conventual dessert in the Algarve made with egg yolks, sugar, ground almonds, cinnamon, and fios de ovos (thin egg threads). It is wrapped in foil and shaped in a pyramid.
- Molotof – Portuguese meringue pudding made with egg whites, water, sugar and lemon caramel syrup.
- Tarte de Alfarroba – cake made with alfarroba (carob) from carob trees which grow abundantly in the region. It tastes sweet like cocoa.
- Bolo de Amêndoa – Portuguese almond cake/tart.
- Doce Fino do Algarve – small marzipan treats made with almond paste. They are shaped like fruits and vegetables.
15. Taste wine from four local regions in the Algarve
The Algarve wine region is one of the top wine producing region in Portugal. The region has the perfect climate and landscape to produce some of the best wines in the country.
And there are four local regions in Algarve that are known for wine production: Tavira, Lagoa, Portimão, and Lagos.
You can get any type of Algarvian wine in restaurants, cafes, and supermarkets in Albufeira. And best of all, they are not expensive at all. A glass of wine at a restaurant costs around €3-5 and a bottle from the supermarket starts from €5.
16. Shop around the Old Town Square in Albufeira
I’m not much of a shopper especially because I always try to travel with a 7kg luggage. It doesn’t give me any room to buy anything!
But if I were to buy anything, I would find a lot of goodies in Albufeira Old Town. And I’m not talking about the regular touristy things you can find in most holiday destinations.
Albufeira has some of the cutest boutique shops selling unique local items. Look for anything made with cork, typical Portuguese blue-and-white azulejo tiles, leather (shoes, bags, etc), straw basket bags, port wine, Algarvian wine, etc.
Here are some of my favourite souvenir shops in Albufeira that caught my eye. I included the address link for each shop.
- Pau de Pita – a small gift shop selling Portuguese ceramics
- World in Shop – another shop gift shop but they sell a variety of souvenir items
- Portugal 100% – there are several Portugal 100% stores in Albufeira selling typical Portuguese souvenirs
- Majestic – buy straw basket bags, leather bags and leather shoes here
- Cork & Leather Shop – they also have cute straw basket bags
Things to do outside of Albufeira: Algarve day trips
17. Take a day trip to Vilamoura and Quarteira
Vilamoura is a modern resort town along the central Algarve coastline and is only 16km east of Albufeira. And the town is relatively new as it was constructed in the 1980s and it is right next to another town called Quarteira, a small fishing village. Both towns are small so you can easily visit both on the same day.
A day trip to Vilamoura includes a visit to Vilamoura Marina and all the beaches between Vilamoura and Quarteira. And you must see Praia de Vilamoura, a 8km picturesque beach with golden sand and reddish-orange cliff.
Vamus bus 9 starts from Terminal Rodoviário de Albufeira and it goes to various stops in Vilamoura. The bus ride costs €3.55 and takes about 40 minutes.
18. Take a (half) day tour to Loulé
Loulé is a traditional Portuguese market town in central Algarve and is only 30km northeast of Albufeira. The small town is located a bit inland from the coast but it is an excellent day trip destination from Albufeira.
The best day to visit Loulé is Saturday since both Loulé Saturday Market and the Gypsy Market are opened on Saturdays only.
But besides the markets, there are other things to do in Loulé including a visit to Ermida de Nossa Senhora da Conceição , Castelo de Loulé and browsing around the handicraft stores around the Loulé Old Town.
You can see everything in Loulé within half a day when you take the half-day tour to Loulé. This is the most efficient and easiest way for solo travellers going to Loulé (otherwise you’ll have to travel with multiple buses and trains).
19. Take a day trip to Silves
Silves is a small historical town 30km northwest of Albufeira. The medieval town was the old capital of the Algarve as it was a key trading city in the region.
Today, you can see Castelo de Silves, the Gothic Sé Cathedral, Moorish architecture in the Old Town, and lunch at the instagrammable Café da Rosa.
And if you visit Silves around the second week of August, you can participate in Feira Medieval de Silves, a medieval festival with music, dancers, and food. You can even hire costumes!
Vamus bus 17 starts from Terminal Rodoviário de Albufeira and ends in Silves (but you can alight at the second-last stop on the route). The bus ride costs €4.70 and takes about 45 minutes.
20. Spend the day in Faro
As the biggest city in Algarve, there are many things to do in Faro. Located 45km east of Albufeira, you can spend the day roaming around Faro and see Faro Cathedral and Arco da Vila in the Cidade Velha (Old Town) and visit Capela dos Ossos de Faro.
Or you can take an excursion in Faro to either spend the day at Praia de Faro or sail through Parque Natural da Ria Formosa and see marshland and biodiversity that is unique to the Algarve.
The same bus that goes to Vilamoura (Vamus bus 9), also goes to Faro, but this is the slowest bus. From Terminal Rodoviário de Albufeira, the bus ride to Faro costs €4.85 and takes about 1.5 hour.
Otherwise, bus 51, 57 and aerobus 56 are much faster options.
Where to stay in Albufeira Portugal as a solo traveller
Personally, I prefer staying in the Albufeira Old Town area because it is a better location for solo travellers since many attractions are within walking distance.
Also, I must warn you: staying in Albufeira is ridiculously expensive during the high season (July to August). If you want a better bargain, go any other time.
As for Airbnb, I didn’t find a lot of affordable options except for this Albufeira studio apartment, which is where I stay, and it is only three minutes away from the beach.
While in Albufeira, I looked around for nice hotels in the Old Town area. Here are some of my top picks:
- Musical Hostel ($) – a bright and cheerful hostel option if you are on a budget
- Check prices & reviews: Agoda
- Hotel Baltum ($$) – get a clean and modern standard double room in the middle of Old Town
- Check prices & reviews: Agoda
- Hotel California Urban Beach ($$$) – stay at this fully refurbished hotel for the most luxurious stay in Albufeira
- Check prices & reviews: Agoda
Are you ready to take a solo trip to Albufeira Portugal?
Before going to Albufeira, I thought the city was mainly for young families, groups of friends and seniors and retirees. And I was right – there were a lot of travellers who were part of these categories.
But I also find that there are many things to see in Albufeira even if you are travelling by yourself. Ultimately, I had the best time in Albufeira, which is why I can’t wait to publish this post and share everything I know.
I hope you found this post useful and would consider going on a solo trip to Albufeira. Let me know in the comments if you have any questions.
Thank you for reading my Albufeira Portugal post
You might also like these other posts on solo travel in Portugal:
Lisbon region posts
- Lisbon solo travel guide for first-timers
- Is the Lisboa Card worth it?
- Best day trips from Lisbon Portugal
Northern Portugal posts
- 2 days in Porto: things to do alone in Porto
- 17 best Porto food: what and where to eat in Porto
- 7 excellent day trips from Porto
- Day trip to Guimarães from Porto: 1-day itinerary
- Day trip from Porto to Espinho: 1-day itinerary
Central Portugal posts
- Algarve solo travel guide: 7 best places
- Loule itinerary: best things to do in one day
- Vilamoura and Quarteira: 1-day itinerary