Located on the coast, Albufeira is one of the main holiday destinations in the popular southern Algarve region of Portugal. This former fishing village is renowned for its beautiful sandy beaches and busy nightlife. Visiting the Old Town is one of the best things to do in the Algarve. The heart of Albufeira is the atmospheric old town with its lovely cobblestone streets. Surrounded by beautiful beaches with the famous Algarve limestone cliffs in the background, the historic center is one of the best places to start exploring the surrounding areas.
The two main areas in Albufeira are the Old Town and the Strip (also known as the New Town). The town has plenty more to see, some of the best things are the beaches in the town center, the old fishermen’s area, the Albufeira Marina, and plenty of stunning viewpoints and beaches surrounding the town.
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The Highlights of the Albufeira Old Town
The beautiful old town of Albufeira has many attractions that are worth visiting. A short walk around the cobblestone-walking streets and white houses in the historic centre of Albufeira is the perfect place to explore on foot.
- Albufeira Old Town Square (Jardim Público de Albufeira)
- Albufeira Tunnel
- Beaches in the town center
- Sant’Ana Church
- Museum of Sacred Art
- The Clock Tower
- Old Fishermen´s area
- Praia do Peneco (Peneco Elevator)
Things to do in the Old Town of Albufeira
Wander along the cobbled streets exploring the authentic corners of the town, eat a pastel de nata and drink an expresso at charming street cafes, and visit small curiosity shops. Walk from the heart of the old town through the Albufeira tunnel onto Praia de Albufeira, take off your shoes, and enjoy the stunning beaches and beach bars. You can easily spend hours wandering in the Old Town. In the peak season, try to get an early start before it gets too crowded.
Albufeira Old Town Square (Jardim Público de Albufeira), is a tree-shaded public space in the center of the historic center. Surrounded by shops, restaurants, coffee shops, and bars this is a great place to relax, get something to eat, or do shopping and enjoy live music from street performers playing on the square.
Walking through the Albufeira Tunnel is a great way to get from the old town area to the main beach of Albufeira. This 20-meter-long tunnel cuts through the cliffs to link the town square to the beach. The tunnel is located next to the tourism center opening onto the beach Praia do Túnel (Praia Peneco).
Go to the Beach! With several stunning beaches accessible from the center of town, going to the beach is probably the top thing to do in Albufeira Old Town during the summer months. Several beaches are connected at the town center and it is hard to say where one beach starts and the next ends. The sand is easily accessible from the escalator connecting the town with Praia dos Pescadores beach (Fishermen’s Beach) and through the tunnel at Praia do Túnel (Praia Peneco).
Check out the Galeria de Arte Pintor Samora Barros, a free art gallery housed in a former power station exhibiting the work of José Ricardo Júdice Samora Barros, a well-known artist from the city.
The Igreja Santana (Sant’Ana Church) is one of the historic buildings that is a popular photo stop in the old town. This pretty, 18th-century church is dedicated to St. Anne, Jesus’ maternal grandmother.
Igreja Matriz (Parish Church Nossa Senhora da Conceição) is another 18th-century church in the old town of Albufeira close to the Igreja Santa Ana and the Museum of Sacred Art.
Visit the Museum of Sacred Art, A small size, 18th-century chapel, white-washed building, now a museum. Some interesting artifacts and pictures. Can learn about the history of the town. 3 EUR entrance goes to the maintenance of the establishment.
Meet up at the Clock Tower of Albufeira (Torre do Relogio) The bell strikes every hour and is within a wrought-iron framework. The tower and bell can easily be seen from anywhere in the Old Town and is the most popular place to meet up in the Old Town. This pretty square construction with a clock and arched portals on each side was built in the 18th century.
The Albufeira Municipal Archaeological Museum (Museu Municipal de Arqueologia de Albufeira) displays a mix of archaeological exhibits found in the Algarve. A small, interesting, museum overlooking Praia do Peneco and Praia dos Pescadores from the rocky cliffs of old town.
Ride on the Albufeira Tourist train (Comboio Turistico), the little road train takes visitors to the town center, outlying beaches, shopping centers, and other places of importance in the town in a circular route. The train runs from 9 am-11 pm with trains every 20 minutes. There are two optional routes, so make sure you get on the train going to the sites that you want to visit.
Enjoy a fun Tuk-Tuk tour of Albufeira. See the panoramic views of the beautiful surroundings from the cliffs. Explore the nooks and crannies of the narrow streets of the old town. Visit beaches on both the east and west sides of Albufeira.
Where to eat in the Old Town?
The Old Town of Albufeira is packed with about a hundred restaurants, cafés and bars. From star rating restaurants to sidewalk street food places, there are plenty of great restaurants to choose from for all tastes and budgets.
Traditional Portuguese Cuisine
If you are looking for a traditional Portuguese restaurant, Os Arcos in Old Town is known for its delicious fresh fish and tasty homemade dishes. This relaxed family-run restaurant with its rustic interior and colorful shop front is tucked away in a small side street, but definitely worth finding!
The Beach Basket is a nice seafood restaurant overlooking Praia do Túnel from the Old Town. Excellent seafood dishes with a good location and fantastic sea views. Book a table on the balcony, the views are amazing.
Flavours located in front of the Fisherman’s Beach is a good spot to hit for breakfast, they also serve a large variety of freshly cooked fish, seafood, and meat dishes. The sea view from the balcony is great and inside the aquarium with fish and lobsters creates a nice atmosphere.
II Brigante is an Italian restaurant with a relaxed vibe and great pizza located close to the main square. Great restaurant for the whole family.
Coffee shops – there are plenty of places to grab a coffee in the old town of Albufeira. Café In-certo has a nice vibe and serves good coffee and cold beers. Iguana Cafe is a lovely little cafe with a terrace overlooking the beach. For some great veggie options, the extremely eco-conscience Sugar Rabbit Kaffé is a good option for a nice coffee in Old Town. If like us you are a bit of a coffee snob the best spot to go to is Al-Gharb Coffee Roasters, a family-run specialty coffee roaster located in the Strip.
Getting to Albufeira Old Town
Albufeira is a long town with several hills that stretch out along the coast. To get to the the old town and main attractions the easy ways are by bus, taxi, Uber, or by walking. It is possible to walk from the Strip (New Town) to Old Town. It is about s 2.5 km walk with some hills (30 minutes).
Reach the Old Town district by using the escalator at the Old Fishermen´s district to the Praia dos Pescadores beach area (Fishermen’s Beach) only about a 5-minute walk to the center of Old Town. Reaching Old Town from the glass elevator structure, Elevador do Peneco on the west of Albufeira it is the quickest to take the elevator or steep steps down to Peneco Beach and walk over the beach to the Albufeira tunnel.
Where to Stay in the Albufeira Old Town.
The Old Town is a good area to stay if you want to be staying in an authentic, charming area surrounded by plenty of restaurants, bars, easy access to the beach, and a short drive from the marina. Check out some of the best-rated accommodations in the Albufeira Old Town.
- On a Budget – Son of a Beach Hostel
- Mid Range – Bellavista Avenida By BeGuest
- Luxury – Hotel Sol e Mar Albufeira – Adults Only
Beaches in Albufeira Old Town
Albufeira officially has 25 beaches awarded the prestigious Blue Flag classification, this is the town with the largest number of Blue Flag beaches in Europe. Several beaches are right in front of the old town accessible by the escalator at the Old Fishermen´s district, Elevador do Peneco on the west of Albufeira, or by walking through the Albufeira tunnel.
Around the Albufeira Old Town
The main things to visit around the old town are the beaches, the Albufeira Marina, and the Old Town (the Strip). If you want to do a boat trip from Albufeira, the marina is the place to go. For a lively area with crazy nightlife and top-rated restaurants hit the Strip. In high season the beaches can be pretty busy so consider more isolated beaches. The water parks around Albufeira are very popular and a lot of fun. If you have kids I highly recommend spending a day here. Slide and Splash and Zoomarine are both highly recommended. We love going to Slide and Splash in summer and setting up camp on the grass for the day.