5 things to do in… Albufeira

Let’s go back to warmer weather and memories of summer! At the end of July, we spent a week in the Algarve… long story short, our original holiday (to Corfu) was cancelled amidst the wildfires sweeping the Greek Isles and with about three days’ notice before we were due to go away, this was pretty much the only alternative. I won’t be blogging too much about the holiday, there won’t be a hotel review – although if you fancy a nose or a laugh, you can take a look at my Trip Advisor.

I’d been to the Algarve a few times before and if you’re looking to book a holiday for later in the year or even next year, take a look at my recommendations (especially if you’re travelling with children.

a beach at sunset with buildings and water

1) Head to the beach

If you’re a sun-seeker and love nothing more than lying on a beach, you’re in luck, as there are so many on the coast (obv). I won’t lie, but there’s nothing more boring than lying around doing nothing – even reading a book – and to be honest, it was far too hot to be on the beach during the day. It was busy and there was zero shade (unless you fancied remortgaging your house for a parasol).

But we loved walking across the beach post-dinner, when the sun was setting (beautiful), the sand was cooler, and it was less busy. We mainly went to Praia dos Pescadores (Fisherman’s Beach) in the Old Town – it’s one of the most popular, especially with tourists.

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a pool with people and trees

2) Visit Zoomarine

For a fun-filled day out, there’s nowhere better – Zoomarine really does have something for everyone! From the animals to rides, a man-made beach and waterpark, and plenty of shows and demonstrations. We walked through the butterfly garden, the Americas zone, visited the aquarium and saw the tortoises. We had lunch at Acqua, which was a fast-food place serving burgers and pizzas (Alfie had a next level ‘Happy Meal’), before going on the train ride and then onto the beach zone.

We hired a locker (€10 but you do get half of that back when you return the key) so we could cruise around the lazy river, before trying out the next Quetzal slide which was a really wild ride! Alfie loved the splash park, especially the treasure island-themed area. We even saw a bit of a seal and sealion show before our transfer back to the hotel!

Open March-November (hours vary). Prices vary per season: child (under 10): from €20; adult (10+): from €30

a body of water with yachts and palm trees

3) Day trip to Vilamoura

It’s a bit like the Marbella of the Algarve, but definitely hear me out on this one. We are always huge fans of the hop-on hop-off buses and they’re a great way of seeing a city’s sights in a day or two. But if I’m honest, there weren’t too many points of interest or stops of note on the Albufeira bus – despite there being two lines. However, we did go to Quarteira and Vilamoura! A typical marina with mega yachts docked in the waters, plenty of shops, bars, and restaurants – it’s a great place to while away the hours (especially when ‘Happy Hour’ is on), and people watch!

We stopped off at the Haagen-Dazs shop first (to cool down) before walking around the marina. We let Alfie go into one of the arcades (weirdly named ‘Funny Farm’), where he played basketball and then won a load of bubble gums (destined for the bin). The bars and restaurants were busy, but we didn’t hang about… it seemed as though Happy Hour actually lasted most of the day in some places!

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a child walking on a golf course

4) Play some crazy golf

The Algarve is well known for its golf courses, but if you’re not going to be the next Scottie Scheffler (yep, I Googled that one), there are also plenty of crazy golf courses – which are always a bit of fun, right?

We played a round at Adventure Mini Golfe Park, which was around the corner from our hotel. It was a 22-hole course (18+4 bonus holes) and of course, I won (after 18 holes and overall). There’s also a bar and restaurant there too. It was quite busy when we arrived, and we were stuck behind a family of six – but it was so much fun (although a little frustrating on some holes).

Open daily (10am-7pm). Adult: €12; child (5-10): €7 (although Alfie got in for free!!)

5) Explore the coast

OK, so this might seem like a strange one as we didn’t actually do this… but if you’ve got a hire car (or don’t mind forking out loads for taxis) it’s definitely worth doing. I’ve previously stayed in Carvoeiro and Parchal (which is slightly in land, on the estuary).

I love Ferragudo (a fishing village) and Portimão (a port city), which has an annual sardine festival. There are some incredible fish and seafood restaurants in both of these places. I love the vibe of the sleepy fishing villages, especially when they have the local markets running. Further along the coast, you’ll find Alvor and Lagos. I just wish we could have explored further.

Read more: Relaxing Retreat | Parchal

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We crammed a lot into the week, but feel free to share your recommendations with me. Comment below or find me on Facebook or Instagram.

Love, Lucy xx 

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