Travel In Albufeira Portugal
Albufeira is quite simply Portugal's version of Spain's Benidorm, a town dedicated to supplying the downmarket British punter with everything he might want, from eggs and bacon for breakfast to big-screen football with fish and chips for dinner. Pile 'em high, sell 'em low, Albufeira is a place to play hard at the right price and live the lifestyle the foreign way.
It is a mere three-hour flight from the UK, with over 14 flights a day to the main airport in Faro. Add to this that it boasts almost all-year sun, has great beaches and low prices, then you can understand why just over a million and a half UK visitors made the journey there last year. Over 14 flights a day to Faro.
Albufeira was a busy trading port in ancient times and declined into a poor fishing town in the 18th century, after being swamped by tidal waves and burnt out by civil war. However, since the early1960s the town has prospered, thanks to a tourist boom. Albufeira is undoubtedly Portugal?s most popular resort,spreading from the old town both east and west along the coast, its sandy coves and golden beaches drawing an assorted crowd from retired couples to young teens, and families with young children.
Everyone finds something to enjoy in this sprawling, low-rise holiday town, which retains its old world charm with narrow passageways behind the new hip and happening "Strip". The Strip, to the east of town, runs from the Montechoro Hotel down to the Praia da Oura, lined with dozens of cafes, restaurants and bars that operate from breakfast time to the small hours. All along the stretch of beach below the central square, craggy fishermen mend their nets unperturbed by the topless sunbathers lazying around them.
While the chief attraction of Albufeira is its several enchanting beaches, most protected by ochre-tinted cliffs, there are some interesting sightseeing possibilities too, like the new Virtual Archaeological Museum, the Municipal Art Gallery and a museum showcasing Ming ceramics. Those who travel inland will find a tranquil green countryside to explore, prevalent with almond, fig, orange and pine trees, where little villages stand timelessly in the sun.
Activities to do in Albufeira:
Sun and sea bathing on the golden beaches and in the warm, clear water is enough for most holiday makers, with around an astonishing twenty three beaches (some with Blue Flag status) in the area along a 19-mile (30km) stretch of coastline. All sorts of watersports are on offer at the main beaches, from sailing and windsurfing to jet-skiing. Golfers can attempt the neat nine-hole Pine Cliffs course about three miles (5km) east of Albufeira at the Sheraton Algarve.
For children, fun times can be found at Zoo Marine in Guia, just a few miles away, with water slides, swimming pools, dolphin shows and an aquarium. Exploring the intriguing old town centre on foot is a pleasant way to pass a day.
Look out for interesting local landmarks like the Clock Tower at Rua Bernardino de Sousa, and the 18th-century Parish Church on the Rua da Igreja Nova built on the site of an earlier one that collapsed in the earthquake of 1755. One of the few buildings that survived that quake is the Old Inn on Rua Henrique Calado. Also fascinating is the Xorino Cave, which served as shelter for fugitive Moors during the Christian conquest of the town in olden times.
After a hot day in the sun most holiday makers enjoy sipping a drink at one of the many outdoor cafes, watching the world go by, before moving to one of the lively bars that surround the town square or line The Strip. Bars keep bopping until three or four in the morning, but those who want to dance the night away can keep going until sunrise at one of the nightclubs or discos in the town.
Albufeira can keep most shoppers reaching for their wallets with a tantalising array of goodies. The town?s main shopping plaza is the Modelo Centre in Rua de Municipio, north of the centre. Not far away is the lively Algarve Shopping Complex in Guia, where brand name shoes and clothes are on offer in a high street mall type complex, along with restaurants, an English-language cinema and bowling alley.
Those seeking genuine local souvenirs should look out for mats made from rush or corn husks in the villages of Almeijoafras and Monte Novo, woven baskets, wood carvings and some glazed terracotta ceramics. These are to be found in numerous independent shops in the town centre as well as local markets
For eating out, Albufeira simply has lots to offer, the Portuguese love their fish and all fish is caught locally. There are lots of seafood restaurants clustered down by Fisherman's Beach. If it?s other food you are looking for, Albufeira has it in abundance.
Travel by Taxis
Taxis in Albufeira are a useful way to travel around the towns and visit nearby sights and attractions. The taxi meters starts at a basic fare, but additional charges are usually made for luggage, night time driving and travel on public holidays in Albufeira
Citizens of EU member countries require a national driving licence to drive cars in Portugal. Citizens from non-EU member countries need an International Driving Permit, as well as their national driving licence You must be at least 18 years old to drive a car in Portugal and have a valid driving licence and car insurance.
It is compulsory for the driver and all passengers to wear seat belts and children under 12 years old are not allowed to travel in front seats. In Portugal, cars drive on the right-hand side of the road. Give way to traffic coming from the right at junctions and roundabouts
There is an extensive network of major routes that connect Albufeira to the nation's main cities. Beware of what appear to be shortcuts on maps - these often turn out to be unpaved roads or mountain passes.
Portuguese fuel stations supply most internationally known brands of unleaded petrol and diesel. It is an offence not to carry some form of identification, such as passport or driving licence.
Travel by Car Hire/Rental
Driving in the centre of large towns and popular resorts is best avoided if possible, as many of the streets and narrow, with one-way traffic. Cars parked alongside the pavements can also making driving conditions difficult.
However, a car in Albufiera provides a useful way to travel around and a current map of Albufeira's roads is very useful. There are many winding roads around that offer some truly spectacular views.
About the Author: For information on car hire or car rentals visit Every Car Hire at http://www.everycarhire.com/citylist.php/Portugal .