The name Albufeira is taken from Al-Buhera, meaning Castle of the Sea, which is what the Moors called this old fishing village. It’s a noble name fit for this most vibrant of resort towns on the Algarve coast in Portugal. Here you’ll find great beaches and coves with plenty of clifftop hotels and resorts from which to enjoy them.
You can be on the main beach at Albufeira almost as soon as you leave the front door of INATEL – wander west to the Pau de Bandeira viewpoint to take it all in. The resort has 214 rooms, a bar, restaurant, swimming pool, games room, and playroom for children, as well as a sports complex and a tennis court. If you’d rather explore, the charming cobbled streets of the Old Town are close by, plus there are boating excursions and sport or deep sea fishing trips which can be arranged through the hotel.
You’re right in the Old Town at the Hotel Sol e Mar, which has six floors and 74 double rooms, all with sea views. Fancy stepping onto Peneco Beach? Just take the elevator down and there’s a reserved area of sand for guests. The Sunrise Restaurant serves a buffet of hot and cold dishes and there’s also the Sunset Beach Restaurant on the ground floor, which is great for cocktails and serves à la carte regional and international cuisine. For a great excursion nearby, the Albufeira Archaeological Museum is just three minutes’ walk.
This upscale resort is right on the shoulder of Olhos de Água and Falésia beaches, a short drive along the coast from Albufeira. The 310 rooms are surrounded by swimming pools, green spaces and decked terraces from which to take in the views of the reddish cliffs and the golden sands of Falésia. If that’s not relaxing enough, the Blu Spa has four treatment suites, a sauna, Turkish bath and a hot tub. The Falésia Bar by the pool overlooks the beach and offers light à la carte meals.
São Rafael Beach is one of the most secluded and unspoilt on the Algarve, a little west of Albufeira beyond the marina. This spa hotel is a short walk away but make sure you don’t get stuck there – either at the spa or in the landscaped gardens full of olive and palm trees – because the beach is a gem. That said, the spa is really something, with a circuit including a floatation tank, counter-current, cascade and sequential jets. There’s also a jacuzzi, sauna, Turkish bath, cold water bucket shower and contrast shower, and a heated pool.
This is a lively adults-only hotel in Albufeira Old Town right on Peneco beach. There’s a swimming pool with views of the sand and a spa with a hot tub, fitness centre and sauna. There’s nightly entertainment at the bar, which includes live music. The attractions of Old Town are just a short stroll away, including the square, Archaeology Museum, Samora Barros art gallery, the San Vicente de Albufeira Statue and the Torre do Relógio.
You’re on an ideal clifftop perch here, overlooking the sea with a choice of beaches to visit, either the intimate cove at Balaia or larger Maria Luísa, which is popular with watersports enthusiasts. The property is set in a protected area of natural beauty comprising 11ha (27 acres) of gardens and cliff formations with spectacular coastline vistas. The 216 low-rise apartments merge Algarvean and Moorish influences in their style and offer either garden or sea views, all with balconies from which to enjoy them.
On a cliff between busy Alemães and Oura beaches, the closest sands to Topazio Mar Beach Hotel & Apartments is at the little cove of Aveiros a short walk away. The resort has a choice of two swimming pools and the Bistro T Pool Bar overlooks the hotel garden, a great spot to enjoy a salad, hamburger, sandwich, wrap or refreshing drink. The rooms have modern decor, with strong Algarve blues and oranges on the walls, and you’ve a choice of studios, one-bedroom apartments and one-bedroom bungalows.
Pine Cliffs Hotel sits within the 72ha Pine Cliffs Resort, where you’ll find aromatic pine woods and a sheer cliff formation of orange sandstone near Falésia beach. There are five room categories across 217 guest rooms and suites, with terracotta-tiled floors and fresh, white walls. Each room has views of the grounds or the ocean from either a terrace or balcony. Piri Piri is a renowned Algarve steakhouse, and if it’s seafood you’re after, O Pescador serves specialities caught daily. There are six swimming pools and the Annabel Croft Tennis Academy named after the British former professional player.
This is a really sociable adults-only hotel right in the Old Town, aimed at a younger crowd. It’s easy enough to pick what room you want – choose from S, M, L and XL or the exclusive suite, D’One. Continuing the abbreviated theme, D’Terrace on the roof offers service from the Wine&Sushi restaurant by the pool and D’Spa is, well, a spa, but not just any spa – it’s the “first organic and vegan spa in Portugal”, with a heated indoor pool, thermal water circuit and Turkish bath. Make sure to book a Photography Outing to capture your best shots and to learn about the history of Albufeira while you’re at it, thanks to a private guide who’ll take you round the museums, monuments and churches.
Within walking distance of Santa Eulália beach, this spa hotel is peaceful while being within easy reach of both Albufeira and Olhos de Água towns. The Anima Spa is so named because Anima means breeze in Latin which – according to the hotel website – we all need to feel once in a while. Breeze or no breeze, there’s a swanky indoor pool and a sauna and steam room to enjoy. The Grill Restaurant does a great line in steaks and seafood – you can’t go wrong with the grilled king-size prawns with lemon butter.
If you’re looking for somewhere different to stay, why not book into on of the best hotels in Albufeira? For more inspiration, check out the top things to see and do while you’re here, including the best restaurants for a true taste of the Algarve.
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