Portugal’s Albufeira is a perennial family favourite due to its long miles of sandy beaches, friendly local people, wide range of exciting activities, cheap accommodation offers and low cost flights from many airports across the UK. Albufeira is the perfect resort if travelling as a family with younger children due to its short commute from Faro airport and the family-centred approach taken in Portuguese resorts. This year there are many bargain package deals available and impressive offers can be found from many tour operators advertising online. Flights to Faro run regularly from most UK airports, and many low-cost operators have begun to see this as one of their most popular routes. There are many options for flights and accommodation – from cheap apartments to luxury villas and all inclusive hotels, Albufeira offers choices to suit every traveller and budget.
There are as many accommodation options as resorts in Albufeira, with everything from 5* luxury hotels and traditional villas to camping or cheap and cheerful apartment complexes. Some of the cheapest accommodation deals are those which are ‘allocated on arrival’ and this can give holidaymakers the opportunity to enjoy large discounts on their package. Holidaymakers may not discover their final destination until arrival; however the special offers for such deals can be substantial. Online tour operators and the official Tourist Information sites provide a wealth of information and resources for those planning a family holiday to the Albufeira; and many travel agents offer early booking and last minute deals alongside the usual ‘children stay free’ offers. These bargains can help to make the annual family trip more affordable, and can make a holiday abroad accessible on even the tightest budget.
Aqualand Waterpark is the largest water-based fun park of its kind in the Algarve region. There are rapid rides and water slides to thrill every member of the family; and children can find fun rides to suit all levels of swimming, experience and age. For those whose imagination was fired by the Pirates of the Caribbean films, Algarve Pirate Ship Cruises run daily from Albufeira marina and there are options for 2-hour, half day or full day excursions with the possibility to explore remote smuggling caves and have a barbeque on the beach. Often those who take boat trips from the marina are able to see dolphins and other exciting marine life, and there are many reasonably priced sea cruises to be enjoyed. In order to be guaranteed a chance of seeing the ocean’s most beautiful and mysterious creatures, a visit to Zoomarine is a must. This marine life theme park showcases under the sea experiences and gives visitors a chance to experience ocean life in 4d.
For travellers who enjoy history and culture, Albufeira is a dream destination. The ‘old town’, ruined castle and Roman and Moorish heritage provide interesting architecture and regional art and music to entertain the whole family. Alongside the Roman ruins, the area also boasts many traditional churches, museums and art galleries which will delight visitors who seek to explore the region’s history and cultural heritage.
Food and drink
This cultural heritage is also reflected in the local cuisine and the region is famed for the diversity of its food; with visitors able to sample the cuisine of Morocco, North Africa, Spain, Britain, Italy and China amongst many others. For those who would like to try the local delicacies – the specialities of the region are freshly caught seafood, local wine, chicken piri-piri and smoked ham. Portuguese cuisine has strong Moorish influences, and many dishes use spiced rice to complement the area’s unrivalled range of seafood and smoked or salted fish. Traditional meals are very diverse, and although many contain meat or fish; most bars and restaurants are more than happy to adapt in order to serve vegetarians and vegans. For the less adventurous traveller, the busier resorts have many British pubs and cafés, serving everything from Sunday roasts to fish and chips.
Children are always welcome in Portuguese restaurants and although there will often be no set ‘children’s menu’, children are free to order from the adult choices. If you ask for ‘meia dose’ then kids will usually be given a half sized portion of the adult dish. Portuguese society is very family orientated and children are always made to feel welcome and catered for – with most restaurants and cafés being happy to make alterations to dishes in order to pacify fussy eaters.
Nightlife in Albufeira
The Albufeira area has many bars and clubs; with drinks typically being much cheaper than in the UK. Tourist bars are clustered around the marina area and offer a range of imported beers, cheap spirits, karaoke and live showings of football matches. Travellers who would prefer to see a more ‘authentic’ side of Albufeira may enjoy a trip to one of the tavernas in the ‘old town’ area which pride themselves on their locally produced drinks, traditional bar snacks and laid-back atmosphere. Portugal is famous for its wines and ports; and there are many tours operating in the region for those who would like to see the traditional winemaking process. Visitors who would like to keep a clear head should remember that spirits measures tend to be larger than at home and port is usually drunk following meals rather than on an empty stomach. Saudé (cheers) on your trip to the beautiful Albufeira!