In April 2016, we had allotted three of our eight days in Portugal (Click here) to explore the south coast (Algarve region).
We decided to base ourselves in Albufeira for 3 main reasons:
So there you have it folks – three great reasons to stay in Albufeira if you want to explore the Algarve for a few days. And why we don’t regret our choice to stay there TOO much.
Now for the ONE reason why we disliked Albufeira? 😉
The city is completely overdeveloped, dominated by very tacky bars, restaurants and souvenir shops. The “old town” doesn’t contain anything that looks remotely old, and it more closely resembles a northern England seaside town than one in Portugal. The city is overrun by British tourists who are looking for a holiday to a warmer destination offering cheap beer, British food, and British sports on the telly (we believe the technical term is “chavs”). If you think the “old town” is tacky, wait until you see the “new strip” that is located about two kilometres away. This long strip is jammed with bars, nightclubs, and very non-Portugese restaurants. Think of Bourbon Street in New Orleans, but without the history (or the strippers).
So yeah, it’s a bit of a toss-up. Centrally located and great for exploring the region, but less great if you want an authentic Portuguese town to explore and relax in. If or when we go back to the Algarve, we may try staying in Lagos which, contrary to our expectations, felt much less overrun although requires a train connection to get to. Lagos, although not as centrally located, is also closer to the western end of the coast, which in our mind is the nicer area.
Additional pictures are available in our Portugal gallery (Click Here).