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- 02 Mar 2021, 3 nights
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It's hard to believe the buzzing town of Albufeira was a sleepy fishing village just a few decades ago. Nowadays it's one of the most popular resorts in the Algarve, and its streets are constantly thrumming with activity. The party doesn't end when the sun comes up, as the bars stay lively during the day too. It's not all about the nightlife though, with wide sandy beaches and the region's 300 days of sunshine.
Albufeira hostels make the most of the Algarve's famous weather by providing lots of outdoor space where you can soak up the sun. Many have balconies, and some even have roof terraces with swimming pools or barbecues and views over the terracotta rooftops to the Atlantic Ocean. There's a wide range of hostels in Albufeira, from traditional 18th century palaces to modern apartment buildings with elevators and private access to the beach.
Albufeira has beautiful sandy beaches as well as a traditional Portuguese old town. The cobbled, hilly streets are lined with pastel-coloured buildings, where the ground floors are home to local patio bars and shops selling local handicrafts like cork handbags. Some of the best places to spend the evening can be found on The Strip, about 3km from the old town. Set above Praia da Oura (golden beach), it's known for its cocktail bars, international restaurants and karaoke.
There's more to Albufeira than splashing in the surf at the Blue Flag-rated Praia dos Pescadores (fisherman's beach), which is right in front of the old town. The Algarve has an amazing coastline with orange sandstone cliffs; the half-day cave tours are one of the best ways to see it, and the Benagil cave with its hidden beach. For an adrenaline fix, there's a water park a half hour drive away, which has lots of fun rides and slides.
If you're coming by plane, you'll land at Faro Airport – try to get a window seat, as the view coming down over the salt flats is incredible. Private transfers are the best way to get to Albufeira from the airport, although there is a train from Faro to Albufeira-Ferreiras train station. Albufeira is small enough to explore on foot, with a colourful road-based train running between the old town and the strip if you want to give your legs a rest.