City of Albufeira
|Name origin: Castle of the Sea|
|- summer (DST)||Portugal (UTC-1)|
It is a main tourist destination, due to its coastal location. The city has a population of 22,000. It is 250 kilometres (160 mi) from Lisbon, and is within close proximity of Paderne Castle. Lagos is located 30 kilometres (19 mi) to the west, and Faro 45 kilometres (28 mi) to the south-east. Facilities include a marina, golf courses plus a great many hotels, apartment blocks, restaurants and bars for the annual flood of visitors.
Under the Romans the city was named Baltum, and they initially grew the city, with an aqueduct of which parts still remain. Trade with the North Africans garnered the city its name, which is derived from the Arabic البحيرة (Al-Buhayra, meaning "The Lagoon"). The Arabs also helped grow the city, teaching agricultural methods of sustaining what had, till then been a solely fishing community.
The Christian conquest of the region began at the end of the 12th century. The Moors were driven out in 1249, in the reign of King D. Afonso III. The town became part of the kingdom of Portugal and the Algarves. King D. Manuel I awarded Charter to the Town of Albufeira on 20 August 1504 and from that day the town was governed according to the legislation in force for the rest of the country.
The town started to become a hub for tourism in the 1960s, and has grown to accommodate this since, growing out into the surrounding hills to accommodate thousands of the 5 million tourists who visit the Algarve region each year.
Tourism and commerce are the main activities in Albufeira. Most tourists arrive via Faro Airport. After sunset, the centre of Albufeira comes alive with bars, restaurants, and shops to suit most tastes, from authentic Portuguese-fare to Irish, English, and Dutch restaurants and pubs.
The tourist areas are divided into two main areas, Areias de São João, known colloquially as 'The Strip', and the Old Town.
The Strip's main street is Avenida Francisco Sá Carneiro which is full of bars, restaurants and open-air dicotheques. Unfortunately it is not a pedestrian street so cars pass through the crowd at all hours. It is a very nightlife oriented area, very popular with youngsters. The Albufeira Bull Ring is closeby, as is the Kiss-nightclub.
The Old Town
The Old Town is situated right at the seafront and is predominantly a pedestrian area. Street-artists entertain the crowds and there is a incredible large choice of restaurants, bars and shops. There are open-air discotheques and many bars that have a live band every night (the most famous being Snoopy Bar on the seafront).
Albufeira has two main beaches, Praia dos Pescadores, or the Fisherman's beach, and Praia do Túnel, or the tunnel beach to the West, which is accessed through a tunnel through the cliffs. Access to the beaches is straight from the esplanade, for people coming from the higher areas open-air escalators (eastside) and an open-air elevator (westside) were built. The beaches are connected, and from the "Praia dos Pescadores" beachgoers can walk for miles eastbound and will find everytime again a new beach. To the west the beaches are bordered by the Albufeira Marina, a harbour which offers a variety of boat trips along the Algarve coast.
Despite the modern achievements and the millions of tourists that visit every year, Albufeira has maintained its moorish feel and is still the fishermans village it has always been.
- UMA POPULAÇÃO QUE SE URBANIZA, Uma avaliação recente - Cidades, 2004 Nuno Pires Soares, Instituto Geográfico Português (Geographic Institute of Portugal)
- Albufeira travel guide from Wikivoyage
- Municipality official website
- Albufeira Weather
- Map of the city
- Map of the city centre
- Map of the municipality
- Albufeira Guide