Albufeira is the main resort of central Algarve, Portugal, normally around 40,000 residents, but housing around 250,000 in high season, which makes it the third largest tax contributor to the country after Lisboa and Porto. Visitors come from all over Europe, including many from neighbouring Spain, but mainly from UK, Ireland, France, The Netherlands and Germany.
The city itself is composed mainly of hotels, villas, local housing, supermarkets, shops, plus over 600 bars and restaurants, set mostly 10-12 levels above a rocky coastline and long sandy beaches, but few on the beach as one might find in the Spanish costas.
A big attraction is the charming 'old town', just above sea level, mostly dating from the 18th century, following a major earthquake which destroyed much of southern Portugal in 1755. But, there is a much longer history dating back more than 3,000 years, particularly, when occupied by the Romans (and called Baltum) until around 300 AD, plus a long period under Moorish control (and called Al Buhera), until taken by Christian forces in the mid-13th century. The township was recognised in a national charter of 20th August, 1504, the anniversary of which is still a local holiday.
Because of the height differences, there are many sparkling viewpoints and vistas, not least with double escalators at one end of the Old Town, above Fisherman`s beach, and a 10-story beach lift at the opposite end of the adjoining Peneco beach up to the Silva esplanade stretching along to the new harbour and marina.
The nearest airport is just south of Faro, some 40 kilometres east, with easy transfers available all year round from 30 minutes up to just over 1 hour.
There is no rail travel to Spain, with just two routes available - the Algarve line, running from Vila Real de Santo Antonio (on the Guadiana river border with Spain), through Faro, to Lagos, some 50 kilometres west of Albufeira, where the modern station is 5 kilometres out of town at Ferreiras - also the main line, running north from just west of Albufeira-Ferreiras to Lisboa (3 hours) and Porto (5 hours).
The main roads, M2, M22 and N125, broadly follow rail routes. However, M2 and M22 are now toll roads, requiring a transponder, which has various methods of payment. Most people, therefore, use the perimeter N125 road, which can be very busy and slow in high season.
There is a great local 'giro' bus service in town, with five routes covering everywhere on a one hour ticket at just €1.40, which can be reduced to 80 cents with a pre-paid card; or lower still, with monthly, or senior cards, requiring passport photo.
|Choromar apartments||Rua Cândido Guerreiro, lote 22||Apartment||-|
|Clube Maria Luisa Turistic Apartments||Torre da Medronheira-Olhos De Agua||Apartment||-|
|Hotel Da Gale||Largo dos Lusíadas, Cerro da Piedade||Hotel||69|
|Quinta Pedra dos Bicos Turistic Apartments||Urbanizacao Quinta Pedra dos Bicos Lote 24 Santa E||Apartment||-|
|Regina||R. Padre Semedo de Azevedo, nº2||Apartment||62|
|Residencial Santa Eulália||Santa Eulalia, nº 215,||Guesthouse||-|
|Soldoiro||Rua da Praia Praia da Oura||Apartment||-|
|Hotel Velamar||Torre da Medronheira Olhos d'Água||Hotel||-|
|Hotel Alisios||Av. Infante D. Herique, 83||Hotel||-|
|Balaia-Sol Hotel||Sociedade de Exploração Turíst Lda. Brejos||Hotel||-|
|Hotel Maritur||São Rafael||Hotel||-|
|Hotel Apartamento Dom Pancho||Areias de S. João||Hostel||-|
|Dominio do Sol||Estrada de Santa Eulália Apartado 978 Areias de S.João||Apartment||-|
|Aparthotel Balaia Plaza||Estrada de Santa Eulália Apartado 978 Areias de S.João||Apartment||-|
|Alfamar Beach & Sport Resort||Praia da Falésia||Hostel||-|
|Janelas do Mar||Urbanização de Montechoro Lote 215||Apartment||-|
|Ouratlantico||Rua José Fontana Areias de São João||Apartment||-|
|Hotel Montechoro||Rua Alexandre O’Neill||Hotel||-|
|Pateo Village||Rua do Bem Parece - Pateo||Hostel||-|
|Vale de Carros - Apartaments||Sitio Vale Carro Apartado 6015 Olhos D`Àgua||Apartment||-|
|Hotel Califórnia||Rua Candido dos Reis - 12||Hotel||88|
|Windmill Hill Apartments||Cerro da Piedade||Hostel||-|
|Polana Residence Hotel||Rua Candido dos Reis - 32||Hotel||-|
|Clube Albufeira||Estrada de Ferreiras Alpouvar||Hostel||-|
|Alte Hotel||Estrada de Sta. Margarida Montinho||Hostel||-|
|Mirachoro l - Apartments Albufeira||Lote 124 - Apartado 226 Montechoro||Hotel||-|
|Sol a Sul Apartments||Rua Dr. Diogo Leote ,Nr7 Albufeira Center||Apartment||76|
|Villa Ania||Cx 200 Z Alpouvar||Guesthouse||-|
|Villa Cerro||Caminho do raposo lote A 8200-319 Albufeira||HOTEL||-|
|Lost & Found Hostel||Estrada Municipal 526 Patroves||HOSTEL||86|
|Amoreira Apartment||Amoreira Mem Moniz||APARTMENT||-|
|Ocean View Residences||Albufeira Patroves||Apartment||-|
|Orange Terrace Hostel||Rua Padre Semedo Azevedo, 24||HOSTEL||-|
Wifi is common in many places in Portugal, including hotels, restaurants and coffee bars. Free wifi along the Algarve coast is available in many places. Internet cafés can still be found in most larger cities and tourist areas though.
See also: International Telephone Calls
Portugal's international telephone code is 351. The general emergency number is 112.
Each provider offers a variety of prepaid (Pré-Pagos) and contract (pós-pagos) SIM cards, both of which are available to foreigners. It generally means much lower rates for calls and especially internet. Be sure to switch off data roaming if you don't buy a local SIM card, as prices for internet are very high.
CTT is the national postal service of Portugal. It has relatively fast and reliable services and it takes several days to over a week for your post to arrive within other European countries, more so if you send post to North America or Australia. Post offices (correios) have varying opening hours, but in general post offices are open on weekdays from 08:30am-6:00pm and on Saturday mornings until 12:30. More information about offices, costs and other details can be found at the CTT website. It's a relatively efficient but also relatively slow postal service. If you want to send packages overseas, you'd better use international companies like FedEx, DHL, TNT or UPS, as they are competitively priced, fast and very reliable.
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I write a guide book for Albufeira and have a city tour there.
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