Located in the south of Portugal, in the centre of the Algarve, Albufeira enjoys Mediterranean climate with pleasant air and water temperatures all year round.
Take advantage of the 30 km of golden sandy beaches and stunning views, in an environment designed for the most diverse sports activities, and explore its fascinating historical and cultural heritage.
An exceptional place to enjoy tranquil and safe holidays, and to discover a landscape full of contrasts. Taste its rich and varied cuisine, and experience the hospitality of its people.
A cosmopolitan area marked by white houses in the historical town centre, where the blue ocean combines with the blue sky, and where the sun shines over three hundred days a year.
Connected by highways to the main areas of the country, Albufeira has a modern transport system, allowing fast connection throughout the region, and only 30 minutes away from Faro International Airport.
Albufeira also offers the best and most diverse tourist products. Quality accommodation, golf courses, theme parks, dream beaches, nature, nightlife, culture and cuisine.
Allow yourself to be seduced by turquoise blue ocean waves, allow yourself to be seduced by Albufeira.
Can you imagine yourself in an old city with moor like roads, clear beaches and at the same time offering you the comfort of modern times? Albufeira is a city just like this!
Albufeira is one of the oldest cities in the Algarve. Its name derives from Arab and means “Sea Castle”, as it occupies the centre of the region.
In older times it was a fishing village and artists, painters, poets and writers fell in love with it. Albufeira has become one of the most popular and visited tourist centres in the South of Europe.
It is modern, beautiful, active and attractive yet respectful of its heritage, its history and its traditions.
Albufeira has a lot to offer, in the summer with its sunshine, entertainment and fun and in the winter with its warm weather, amazing tastes to discover and unique places to visit.
During the whole year round you can find excellent hotels, with good service and professionalism.
If on the coast, in the old part of the city, you can relive remote times crossed with modern ones, as you go into the interior you will find a strong personality that has been traced and you will also discover that Albufeira is more than just sea.
A destination that once visited is contagious and unforgettable.
History & Culture
Originally dating back from pre-historical times, Albufeira was occupied by the Romans that named it “Baltum” and “Al-Buhera” by the Arabs.
The actual Albufeira's name provides from the Arab name “Al-Buhera” that means “Sea Castle”, probably due to the proximity of the village to the sea or lagoon that was formed in the lower part of the area.
During many years Arab constructions were made with solid fortifications that protected Albufeira and made it impenetrable.
It is not by coincidence that Albufeira was one of the areas the Arabs had in their power for a longer period.
Albufeira was definitely conquered from the Moors to the Knights of Santiago in the middle of the 18th century.
Over 500 years have passed since August 20th 1504 when it was granted the “Foral” by D. Manuel I, and 20 years afterwards Albufeira became a city.
With regards to its history there are still heritages to be found. Albufeira was one of the Algarvian cities more affected by natural catastrophes and was partly destroyed by an earthquake in 1755.
During centuries, this was a fishermen's land and in fact continues presently with the local habits and traditions. In the 60’s the city woken to the tourism. It was then that famous people travelled many kilometres to find this hidden village in the South of Portugal.
Cliff Richard will always be the first famous person who fell in love with Albufeira, which contributed to many people visiting it since then. Even today, the singer cultivates his vineyard and has a cellar, where he spends a good part of the year producing wine. His cellar is called “Adega do Cantor” (the singer’s cellar) and can be actually visited by tourists.
Tom Jones and Bonnie Tyler are also connected to Albufeira. It is said, that it was, looking at the intensity of the blue sea that at Praia do Peneco (Peneco’s Beach) Paul MacCartney wrote “Yesterday” one of the most beautiful songs of the Beatles. Moments like this made the trendy yet isolated village known. Ever since, Albufeira has started a process of growth and modernization and is now considered one of the tourist centre's better known in the south of Europe.
To visit the “old town” is a must, and takes us back in time. With the sea close by, steep and narrow roads, white houses, helpful, warm people and rich captivating smells entices more and more reasons to take a few hours walk to know the area.
Monuments & Points of Interest
Clock Tower Considered one of the highlights of the city, the clock tower is certainly worth a visit. Located in Rua Bernardino Sousa, near Peneco’s Beach, it was built over the castle’s wall, and it was actually one of the old medieval castle towers. In the 19th century an original iron crown was implemented to the tower, where the time bells are located. During the night, in the centre of Albufeira, the Clock Tower lightens up, and is most certainly a reference to those who like night sceneries.
Mother Church Located in the Rua da Igreja Nova, the Mother Church of Albufeira was built in the 18th century to replace the previous church (originally an Arab mosque) that was destroyed during the earthquake of 1755.This church comprises a single nave in neoclassical style with four side chapels, a baptismal chapel, choir, two pulpits and two side chambers. The high alter has a beautiful altar piece by the painter of Albufeira, Samora Barros (20th century), that serves as a backdrop for the image of the patron saint of Albufeira, Our Lady of Conception. Above the arch of the main door, we can see the cross of Aviz, representing the religious and military order to which Albufeira once belonged. An essential part of the Mother Church, the bell tower was built in 1869. At the top of the long 28-metre staircase, there is a magnificent carillon of 8 bells.
Misericórdia’s Chapel This ancient Arab mosque, located in Rua Henrique Calado, was later used as a chapel of the governors of the castle. Restored in 1499, it was named “Capela da Misericórdia”. The chapel was partially destroyed in the 1755 earthquake, but was later restored and still has the original gothic portal, the triumphal arch and apse. In the interior, we recommend a visit to the carved altar piece that represents the image of N.ª Sr.ª da Visitação, the Senhor Morto and Rui Dias’s grave, the alleged governor of the castle.
Albergaria's old Building Also at Rua Henrique Calado is situated one of the few buildings that escaped the 1755 earthquake. This “Albergaria” (former shelter) was where “Santa Casa da Misericórdia” (a Portuguese charity organization) took in travellers and homeless people.
Church's Arco da Travessa It is a beautiful example of Arab architecture and gets its name from the street where it stands. In this area existed an Arab Mosque that at a later stage was transformed into a Christian Church, which was one of the buildings that crumbled during the 1755 earthquake.
Archaeology's Municipal Museum This building is where the old City Hall was established until the mid 80's. Situated in Praça da República, this building was converted into the Municipal's Archaeology Museum, and is composed of four historical nucleuses related to the different periods: Pre-historical, Roman, Visigoth, Islamic and Modern Age.
Albufeira's Bateria Built probably in the 16th century, in an area where the cliff rises 41 meters in height, the “Bateria of Albufeira” was the first line of defence for the Albufeira’s Square. In a semi circular form, it had pieces of artillery. An example of this in the Municipal's Museum of Albufeira. The cliff's downfall gave way to an underground compartment that was used to store the ammunitions and can be viewed throughout Bateria’s street.
Sant'Ana's Door It is an area that marks one of the three doors of the castle, which was designated as an access to the exterior of the walls and where once existed a chapel with the same name that crumbled in 1755. After the end of the 18th century the Saint Ana's cult started taking place in the actual Chapel. Traces are still visible of the castle's walls.
Nossa Senhora da Orada' Chapel In the east side of the city, near Albufeira's Marina, you will find “Ermida da Nossa Senhora da Orada”. The first chapel was built in the 16th century but the actual construction is from the second half of the 18th century. Inside, a wooden altar stands out, and on the outside the attention draws to the tombs of Francisco da Silva Cabrita, a priest with the Order of Avis and of Francisco Correia Ataíde Cabrita, who participated in the war against Remexido's guerrillas in 1883. On August 14th the festivities in honour of Our Lady of Orada, take place here and involve a sea procession, where the image of the Virgin is transported adorned on a boat, creating a unique moment of beauty and strong symbolism.
S. Sebastião's Church This church was built in middle of the 18th century with architectural forms of popular inspiration. It has two impressive portals. The side one is squared in stone border's in Manueline's style. The main portal is a beautiful example of Baroque decoration. On the inside there is a single nave that has a wooden altar of the second half of 18th century and six saints’ images, all in wood and of unknown artists. Presently, this is an interesting museum's nucleus of this kind of art and it can be visited during all year round.
Albufeira's Saint Vicente's Statue The monument that was built in honour of Saint Vicente is situated in Jacinto D'Ayet square by Sant'Ana's church. Saint Vicente was born in 1590 in the village of Albufeira, and was offered by his mother to Our Lady of Orada at his christening. His parent's death took him to priesthood where he left for Mexico and joined the Saint Agostinho's Order. After many difficulties, he lives out his dream and goes to Fé de Cristo in Japan to preach. He was imprisoned in Nagasaqui for two years and tortured in order to reject his faith in Christianity. Since he refused to do it, he was then caged and taken to his final torture: The bonfire. The sentence was consummated on September 3rd 1632; with Saint Vicente raising a crucifix and screaming: -“Have faith in Jesus Christ”. Every year, on September 3rd, the festivities in honour of São Vicente take place in Albufeira.
Samora Barros's Statue The statue of illustrious Samora Barros is situated in Engº Duarte Pacheco square, and was inaugurated in 1987. José Ricardo Júdice Samora Barros was born on April 3rd 1887. He did a course in Fine Arts at the “Belas Artes” school in Lisbon, where he received many honourable awards. With liberal ideas, not only did he make history in Albufeira in the artistic side, as well as being dedicated with heart and soul in the defence and values of his motherland he also participated actively in the social and political life of the city. In his honour, the Municipality build this monument and also gave his name to the Art Gallery situated in Engº Duarte Pacheco's square.
Samora Barros's Art Gallery Building This building used to be the old power plant and goes back as far as the beginning of the last century. In 1988 it was renovated and transformed into an Art Gallery. It has two floors with exterior arc embrasures which allow natural lighting around the whole building. In its facade the tiles and wood crucifix were designed by Albufeira's artist Samora Barros.
Located 5 kilometres north of Albufeira, Ferreiras is currently a parish in full expansion.
Traces of Roman occupation can be traced back to the 2nd century B.C. Initially known as “Lagoas” (lagoons) due to the lagoons that formed after the rain season, the current name is linked to a family with the surname Ferreira that moved into this region in the middle of the 19th century.
In the urban centre of the Ferreiras parish, we can see typical houses with roof terraces, colourful plat bands and characteristic Algarvian chimneys, in addition to the vast rural heritage with wind mills, presses, threshing floors and water wheels.
Ferreiras Monuments & Points of Interest
Train Station A crucial part of Ferreiras history and the council itself is its Train Station, which is still one of the main access points to Albufeira. In 1918 the first steam train departing from Lisbon arrived at Albufeira, and after November 1926 express trains reach this station on a daily basis. Regular buses make the connection between Albufeira's city and Ferreiras.
S. José Ferreira's Church The Ferreiras Mother Church, located in northern Ferreiras, was founded on 30th April 2000. It has a characteristic large-scale octagonal shape and tower crowned with a copper globe and cock. In the centre, there is a fountain with water that represents fertility and freshness. The altar is decorated with a blue glass panel and a wooden sculpture of Risen Christ by the Algarve sculptor Arlindo Arez. The baptism basin is decorated with a tile panel by the Carmelite sisters and recalls “The baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist in the river Jordan”. The image of Saint Joseph Baptist from Italy also deserves a special attention.
Founded in the Roman times, the Arabs named the town Alfontes, which means “beyond the fountain”.
The origins of this village are difficult to determine, but tradition says that the location of the Nossa Senhora da Guia Chapel, is the place where apparitions of the Virgin are remembered. Nowadays, Guia is a national culinary reference with its “Frango à Guia" (Chicken Piri-Piri), a unique grilled chicken dish.
Guia Monuments & Points of Interest
Medieval Cemetery The former medieval cemetery of Guia was recently renovated and transformed into a small patio from which we can see the bone-decorated altar and a lake that provides a peaceful atmosphere.
Nossa Senhora da Guia's Chapel Evidence shows us that this chapel precedes the 16th century and it was partially destroyed during the 1755 earthquake. Along the years the building has had ongoing improvements. It is considered an important testimonial of the Baroque Period in the Algarve, and without a doubt one of the most important and valuable artistic monuments of the entire Albufeira council. The interior is lined with polychrome tiles that provide an appropriate backdrop to the 17th century image of the parishes’ patron saint.
São Sebastião's Chapel Possibly built in the early 17th century, this chapel was almost destroyed in the 1755 earthquake and was fully rebuilt three years later. The chapel is dedicated to São Sebastião, who, according to tradition, played an essential role in the eradication of the Black Death. An image of this Saint from the 17th century can be found in the Parish Mother Church's sacristy.
Guia’s Mother Church The patron saint of this 17th century church, Nossa Senhora da Visitação, is represented in an 18th century image that can be admired in the church’s interior. Pieces that deserve special attention include the presbytery altar piece, the images of Santo António and Christ crucified on the Cross, that date back to the 17th century, the images of Nossa Senhora do Rosário, Nossa Senhora das Dores, both of the 18th century, and the beautiful tile panels.
Salgados Lagoon Laying some 15kms West of Albufeira, Salgados Lagoon consists of a large brackish coastal lagoon that is protected from the ocean by the large adjacent dune system of the Praia Grande beach. Salgados Lagoon attracts a wide variety of birds throughout the year. The Spring and Autumn migrations see the greatest number of different species. Some of the birds while rare elsewhere, are easily seen here. This is the a breeding site in Portugal for the globally endangered Ferruginous Duck and a favourite haunt for nesting Purple Swamp Hens, Purple Herons and Little Bitterns. Other herons are usually present, as well as Spoonbills and Greater Flamingos in nationally important numbers as are many waders and terns. The lagoon attracts great clouds of hirundines and swifts, which often include most of the European species. For those with the bug for finding the unusual, this area has turned up an impressive array of Portuguese and European rarities like for example Lesser Flamingo, Pacific Golden Plover, Pectoral Sandpiper, Long-billed Dowitcher and Chimney Swift and is a regular wintering site for Richard’s Pipit. The great variety and sheer quantity of birds make this area a must for any visiting birdwatcher.
Olhos de Água
Olhos d'Água is a small typical fishermen's village 6 kilometres from Albufeira.
It has a place in history due to its significance as a surveillance point to the square of Albufeira since the 17th century. Its name Olhos de Água (Eyes of Water) comes from the sweet water springs that erupt in the beach sand during low tide, resulting in a natural phenomenon of rare beauty, called “Olheiros”.
After the 70's, with the increase of tourist activity, the area suffered big alterations in the economic structure and now remains one of the main tourist attractions of Albufeira’s council.
Olhos de Água Monuments & Points of Interest
With over seven centuries of history, Paderne is situated in the interior part of Albufeira, and was conquered by the Moors in 1248.
After the 1755 earthquake, the people were then removed from the inside of the castle walls’ to the north about 2 km away where it is now situated.
The Algibre, Alte and Quarteira's river stream is a popular place for hikers, cyclists, pedestrians and also for those who look for a quiet village that has kept its identity.
Paderne Monuments & Points of Interest
Paderne's Castle Paderne Castle is located around 2 kilometres from Paderne’s village. A construction of Arab origin, it stands on rocky spurs lined by Ribeira de Quarteira. A national monument since 1971, Paderne Castle was uniquely constructed in adobe of the Almohad period, between the 11th and 12th centuries, during the last period of Muslim occupation in the Iberian Peninsula. It was conquered from the Moors by Paio Peres Correia, in 1248. This fortification was significantly damaged in the 1755 earthquake and, in 1858, it was deactivated. Paderne’s Castle was recently restored and is a reference study of the people that inhabited this region. Holder of great symbolism in the history of Portugal, this is one of the 7 castles represented in the coat-of-arms of the national flag. Additionally, this monument is one of the most important examples of Arab military architecture in the entire Iberian Peninsula, and offers a very interesting display to visitors driving along the A2 or the Via do Infante, especially at night-time due to the lighting effects. From the top of the castle, we can also enjoy a breathtaking view of the Ribeira de Quarteira, the medieval bridge and surrounding areas.
Castle's Medieval Bridge This medieval bridge has roman features and is situated in a valley, southeast of the Castle and over the Quarteira's river stream. It was possibly rebuilt in 1771 with three arches and two cutwaters in the shape of a triangular prism. This bridge certainly deserves a special attention and is worth paying a visit. There is a pedestrian route in Paderne (PR 1 – small pedestrian route) that one should definitely try to see this bridge
Azenha (Water-Mill) The water-mill is situated in the Quarteira's riverbank bellow Paderne’ Castle's. It is unknown when it was built, however we know that this engines are older than the wind-mills and are an inheritance from the Arab period. This traditional milling system uses the impulse of water as a driving force. In 1504, in the Foral's letter granted by D. Manuel I, there is a reference to these grinding systems that prove its antiquity and technologic importance that played in the community.
Paderne's Fountain Located on the road to the Castle, its existence dates back to the 18th century. It was protected by Municipal legislation at the time and due to its importance was the main place where locals could get water and wash their clothes in the existing washing places. Some locals still go there to get fresh water. A charismatic place which certainly deserves a visit.
Nossa Senhora ao Pé da Cruz Chapel Built in the 17th century, this chapel underwent restorations in 1711. Once inside, we can see a 17th century altar piece that is an important testimony of the Baroque period.
Nossa Senhora da Assunção Chapel Formerly the Parish of Paderne, Nossa Senhora da Assunção Chapel, also known as Senhora do Castelo Chapel, is located inside the perimeter of the ancient fortress and, due to isolation and decay, was progressively abandoned despite continuous restorations, leading to its deactivation in 1858. This chapel comprises a small vaulted-ceiling in the presbytery and an enclosed wooden body. It has three alters, with the sacred image of Our Lady in the high altar. Today, only the master walls and little else of the original estate remain.
Mother Church From this beautiful example of the 16th century architecture, our attention is drawn to late conjugation of renaissance formulas and Manueline elements, namely the ashlar chapiters, triumphal arch and roofing of one of the apse chapels. The church comprises three naves, an arch of the presbytery decorated with human figures and a carved altar piece, dating back to the 18th century. After the 19th century, this church underwent important changes: In 1880, a new main facade was built and, in 1905, the bell tower was expanded and provided with a clock. It also inherited dozens of sculptured wooden pieces of the 17th and 18th century, especially the image of São Miguel Archangel from the Baroque period.