"Albufeira" Portugal Off The Beaten Path Tip by traveldave

Portugal Off The Beaten Path: 322 reviews and 400 photos


Once a small fishing village, Albufeira has become a major tourist destination on Portugal's Algarve coast. Tourists are attracted by the town's three beaches, Peneco, Pescadores, and Inatel. These beaches are characterized by soft white sand, and are sheltered by steep rocky cliffs. Crowds of tourists sunbathe on the beaches during the day and frequent the restaurants, bars, and discotheques at night. In my opinion, the crowds and bland hotel buildings have spoiled what would otherwise be a picturesque and quaint village.

Albufeira was originally settled by the Romans, who called their town Baltum. The Roman occupation is evident in remains of roads, bridges, and aqueducts that can still be seen. The area was eventually conquered by the Moors, who called the town Al-Buhera, which means "Castle of the Sea", and referred to a fortress they built on an outcrop overlooking the bay. In 1249, the Moors were expelled during the Christian reconquest of the Iberian Peninsula. Albufeira then became part of the Kingdom of Portugal.

In the nineteenth century, the town became a center for the fishing industry that arose along the Algarve coast. Albufeira was discovered by the tourism industry in the 1960s, and since then there have been massive development projects beyond the old part of town, and the Praia dos Barcos (where fishermen still take to the sea in their small boats), in which dozens of huge hotels, restaurants, bars, discotheques, and other facilities that cater to the tourist trade were built.

Review Helpfulness: 2.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Nov 17, 2010
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