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The romantic Praia de Sao Rafael bay, a beautiful bathing location, is less than 700 m away. The picturesque cliffs, crevasses, bizarre rock formations and natural rock pools form an impressive backdrop to the beach, where everyone can find their dream spot. The rocky formations under water also make this an ideal place for snorkelling.
The following pages offer some great destination tips and information on the Algarve, Albufeira, Faro and the surrounding area. Are you looking for peace and quiet? Culture? Shopping? Strange rock formations? Or maybe a little of everything? Then visit Portugal! You will be astonished by its diversity.
We look forward to your visit!
The centre of Albufeira is a 6 km drive from your holiday residence.
Since the 1960s Albufeira has become one of the largest and well-known holiday destinations in the Algarve and now has 16,000 inhabitants. The more than 20 wonderful beaches spread along the coast have turned the small fishing and food-processing town of Albufeira into an international destination. The name Albufeira is derived from Arabic and means “Sea Fort”. The Arabs founded the town on a hill overlooking the sea, making it easy to defend. They called it Al Buhayra, which over time became Albufeira.
Despite a massive earthquake in 1775 and a fire in 1834 that ravaged many of the old buildings, the Old Town of Albuferia has maintained its charm. In its lovely winding alleys, one can admire the mosaic paving, called Calcadas, that is typical of the region. Richly decorated ornaments on the pavement, white-daubed houses, fishermen going about their work in the morning: these all give Albufeira its charm. But the town also has a lot more to offer. Be sure to visit the Moorish arch at the Travessa da Igreja Velha, which marks the site of a mosque and of the first church of the town. The structure boasts a clock tower with a wrought-iron bell, the bell tower of the Matriz Church dating to the 18th century, the Capela da Misericordia with its typical Gothic construction, the Manueline portal, and the majestic arch. Since 1499, this old Arab mosque has been a Christian chapel.
As well as several small bays, the town is surrounded by three famous beaches, Peneco, Pescadores and Inatel, with golden cliffs and long beaches of white sand. Peneco Beach is also known as Praia do Túnel (Tunnel Beach). It is accessed through a tunnel in the cliffs by the Old Town. A pleasant walk along the cliffs takes you to the marina. Beside Peneco Beach lies the Praia dos Pescadores (Fishermen’s Beach). Here the town’s history as a fishing village is still very much alive. Dozens of colourful fishing boats sway in the wind, a reminder of the past. They are also used to take visitors on tours to explore the bays and grottos along the coast. Inatel Beach stretches along the Inatel complex. The cliffs extend into the sea, and the waves here are the best along the coast. Behind the bay, the cliffs rise up into the sky.
The terraces of the Old Town cling to the rocks along the coast. Products from local craftsmanship can be found in the picturesque old town, while the centre is filled with exclusive boutiques. The many restaurants serve typical local dishes, but also international cuisine. Experience the diverse nightlife: quiet around the marina, vibrant along the long street known as “The Strip”.
Albufeira: white-daubed houses set against the blue sea. Stroll across the mosaic pavements decorated like precious carpets, let yourself be enthralled by the delicious dishes and the generosity of the locals, and experience the traditional atmosphere of Portugal!
The Algarve coast is very diverse. With 3,000 hours of sunshine and temperatures that seldom fall under 10 °C even in winter, Portugal’s southernmost region is a great holiday destination throughout the year. It offers rugged coastlines with endless sandy beaches, while inland you will find rolling green hills with orchards, cork forests and small villages.
The Moors, who conquered Iberia in 711, ruled the Algarve for 500 years, leaving their mark in the food and drink, in the orange groves, in the fountains, water-wheels and white square houses.
The language also retains traces of Moorish influence: Algarve comes from “al Gharb”, meaning “western land”.
The shortest route from your holiday residence to the centre of Faro is around 40 km.
Faro has been the capital of the Algarve since 1756. Although it is an important industrial centre, the Old Town within its historical walls is well worth a visit with its cosmopolitan atmosphere and small street cafés. A natural park is close by.
Faro is situated on a lagoon. Just a short drive from the city centre, visitors will find themselves among sand dunes several kilometres long and a labyrinth of canals. See the flamingos, watch sand reefs shift in front of your eyes, and admire the salt pans and the rich flora and fauna.
In the city itself you will find numerous palaces, museums, galleries and churches. The most spectacular church is Carmo Church with its Capela dos Ossos, the Chapel of Bones. While it is the most richly decorated, it is also possibly the most gruesome: the Chapel of Bones holds the skeletons of 1,245 monks, and the inscription over the entrance reads “Pause here and reflect on the fate that one day will be yours”.
The white-chalked houses with their hipped roofs, called “scissor roofs” by the locals, the many arches and the narrow alleys complete the charm of the town. Savour the local cuisine in one of the numerous restaurants and round off the day with a glass of the traditional liqueur Medronho, made from the fruits of the strawberry tree, or a sip of the local fig brandy.