The Algarve is the stunning southern coastline of Portugal. With beautiful beaches, amazing coastlines and stunning scenery. It’s a place not to be missed. With glorious climates and over 3000 hours of sunshine a year… where can you find a better holiday location? The Algarve was never really somewhere I had thought about travelling until my partner mentioned it in passing.. as soon as I googled it…we booked our plane tickets haha! 7 days in Albufeira.. I don’t mind if I do!
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ITINERARY ROUND UP
- JEEP SAFARI
- QUADBIKE TOUR
- TUK TUK TOUR
- OLD TOWN
- BENAGIL CAVES AND DOLPHIN TOUR
- MARINA DE ALBUFEIRA
- SLIDE AND SPLASH WATER PARK
ARRIVING IN PORTUGAL
I wasn’t sure what to expect when we arrived as we hadn’t planned our trip too much as it was a quiet spur of the moment booking. We arrived and the weather was beautiful for April. We arrived at our hotel driving up a long winding path, surrounded by palm trees and a big smile on my face. Once we had checked in we headed to our little apartment. We unpacked and headed out to the balcony to take in the views and read the activity leaflets we had collected in the reception. The views from our balcony were stunning. We could see the pool below, the dazzling town and the beach beyond. Our 7 days in Albufeira begins!
TOP TIP: check out what activities you want to do before you head out and book in advance as we found that lots of things were fully booked or we only just managed to get a slot as we booked last minute.
Now, we have participated on a few jeep safari’s before: Like the one I talk about in Turkey, but we were not sure what to expect at all. We were the last ones to be picked up form our hotel so we got the back of the jeep. We headed through the town seeing the sunshine through the palm trees and the busy workday traffic as we headed further out into the outskirts of the touristy area. Once we were in the rural areas of the city we could finally get a sense of what the portugees culture was like. We saw people sitting outside enjoying a drink and a dog wandering across a crosswalk (this really made me giggle). Heading up some slowly narrowing crooked roads, passing various orange farms before we came out into the open. The countryside! Wow, I never expected that!
Out Of The City And Into The Views
We headed up a steep hill as the city got smaller and smaller behind us. I could feel myself burning already and we had only been out for about an 45 minutes. Once we got to the top of the hill we stopped and took in the views. The city was a distant memory and the flowers and trees were all we could see for miles. As we continued driving around the labyrinth of roads we were told all about the different plants and herbs that grow in Portugal. Our tour guide would pull over and grab us a handful of plants and herbs to smell as we made our way around.
We headed down some very dubious looking roads and wondered if we were going to make it! The jeep wobbled and swayed as we headed over rocks and down tiny dirt paths. We learnt all about cork and how it’s one of Portugals biggest exports as it is sustainable and has so many uses.
Alcohol And Jam Tasting
We headed past an old ruin, and thought the fruit trees. People on the jeep including my other half were brave enough to try some of them straight from the trees! They looked like oranges but were lemon-shaped and tiny… He said it was really tasty! We arrived at a brewery where they made neat alcohols and fresh jams. The local favourite was the “Medronho” firewater. We learnt and saw the process that they went through to make the firewater before we sampled a few different strengths. Now this burnt like hell…if you think vodka is bad…this was on another level haha. We did however bring some back for our friends to try (hehe).
We then tried some of the local honey and jams. These were SO good! There were some obscure flavours like pumpkin but we tried them all anyway. We decided to buy a couple of tiny jars as a memento and to eat at home!
We headed back through the countryside enjoying the views and the breeze as we drove around the wiggly roads. We ended up at a cute little river that was shaded over by super tall trees. The colours of the water were so clear. People were sunbathing as it was a local hotspot and a great place for markets and BBQs. As soon as we pulled up, we jumped out of the jeep and ran down the sets into the water. It was FREEZING! This was nice though as we had been baking for so many hours. We had a little swim around and enjoyed the sun, soaking up all the things we had enjoyed today before heading back through the countryside to our hotel where we grabbed some dinner. What a great way to start out 7 days in Albufeira!!
Check out the tours on get your guide below, This is who we booked out tour though.
MARINA DE ALBUFEIRA
We headed to the marina a few times while we were in Portugal. It as about a 5 minute ride away on the shuttle, down a steep hill. There are so many trips that run from the marina, which was our main reason for visiting. The marina was so charming. As you came down the hill, there was a small row of shops before you headed down some steep steps. Once you reached the bottom the whole marina opened up. The multicoloured buildings stood out against the clear blue sea. Filled with cafes bars and shops, we took a wander around deciding where to eat. We decided on Pipas bar. Between us we had ordered fresh fish, chips and a cheese toasty ( the ultimate safe vegetarian option lol ). Delightful views as the fish went down a treat.
The Marina was jam-packed and boats flooded the place as far as your eyes could see. We were looking at the yachts as they came in and out of the bay. The sheer size of them and wonder how expensive they were! Fish swam around under the pontoons as we looked out across the harbour enjoying the sunshine. We were lucky enough to be able to jump on the little shuttle back and forth from our hotel.
OLD TOWN ALBUFEIRA
We headed down to the old town every night. It took us a while to get there from the hotel due to the steep incline of a hill that we had to walk down ( and sadly back up ) every time. Passing palm trees and cute shops done this slim little road until we hit a T junction where the town started to flourish. the cobbled streets sectioned off and bars started to emerge. We headed down this cute little street with doors covered in flowers and quaint tiles. We walked down the blue and white road passing tourist shops and restaurants.
Always stopping by tiny shops to check out the souvenirs. The shops were filled with cork items, which made sense after the jeep safari! I picked up a cup coaster with a handpainted tile surrounded by Portuguese cork. What a perfect souvenir! We followed the road before coming to what seemed like dead-end however, we could see a tiny lip road, and this lead us down to the main strip!
The Main Strip
As we continued down the tiny roads, we came across a much lively part fo the town. This was a square surrounded by restaurants bars and a couple of activity kiosks. We looked for a bar that had TVs outside for the football, and we uncovered the Infinity sports bar. We ended up eating here several times. Downstairs outside were lounge chairs with heaters and blankets for the evening while upstairs on the third floor was a delightful restaurant with amazing sea views. We had dinner in the restaurant one evening and watched as the cruise ships sailed past. It was nice to be able to rest our tired feet and enjoy a cup of tea as the sunset.
The food we found at all the bars were cheap in the old town. Other than bars and a few gifty shops the only other thing we went into was a casino. We checked it out and had a bit of a laugh before moving on walking across the cliffs overlooking the beaches. The beaches were beautiful and the fact the cliffs ran through the town gave us serene views wherever we went. The only bad things about the town was how hilly it was. This was fine for the first few nights but trying to do this throughout 7 days in Albufeira…Pfft. Our feet couldn’t take this any more and we had to catch a cab back to the hotel for the last few nights.
QUAD BIKE TOUR
So.. we always seem to end up doing a quad bike tour.. wherever we go haha! We booked a half-day trip with Algarve riders. Once we had gotten out of the shuttle that took out into the countryside to get to the quad depot, we had a safety briefing. We were told to wear these black plastic trousers and jackets to protect us from the dust, So we got suited and booted and we were ready for our tour! We opted for a double quad so that I could sit on the back and film the day.
The Open Road
On to the open road! we headed out along a highway which soon enough lead us to a dirt path. This was super bumpy and I was for sure glad we had our jackets on. There was around 8 bikes that were on the tour and we all followed each other as we headed over rocky terrain.
The views were beautiful as we passed poppy fields and orangeries as we rode around. The first place that we came across was a lake which had completely dried over, all the fish were gone as it was just that hot at the time! we followed it around and eventually came across a campsite that houses a Lavoir. This is the old public washhouse that people used to use before washing machines and laundrettes opened. We had our first drinks break here and my god did we need it! The black bin like trousers were sticking to us haha.
The Old Mill
We continued on our tour following the bumpy hills and off-road tracks bobbling around as we drove over rocks and headed down steep hills. The second place on our tour was visiting a restored windmill. We had previously seen a converted windmill on the Jeep safari, But this one still worked! By this point in the day, all bets were off and the black trousers were off! I think I was being cooked alive in them. We headed into the windmill, single file as it was dainty. We walked around the steep winding stairs to the top room where we were taught about how they ground the grain to make flour. This was cool as I think windmills are really cute and fascinating.
We headed off out into the middle of nowhere… down a strange dirt road that seemed to go on forever. We reached a massive open field with hills and trees. Free time! as we were previously limited to how fast we could ride, due to keeping everyone safe and in tow, we now had the chance to be free! So I stayed on the back for a while, OMG, bad idea. We were zooming along getting air over the hills! It was super fun. My turn! I took to the handlebars and off we went, round and over the hills we went. This was a freeing moment that I just got completely lost in enjoying myself while we both laughed so much I almost cried.
Once we had finished our free time the last thing on this list was ‘The hill’ This was in the free-roam area and was a huge hill that everyone lined up to ride down. We waited patiently at the top of the hill for the quads before us to disappear over the edge. Then it was our turn! ZOOM we flew down the hill and laughed so hard at how fast we went. What a great way to end the day before we made our way back towards the shop. We cleaned up as we were unrecognisable with the amount of dirt and dust on our faces. What a day, we had so much fun and were ready for a nice relaxing evening and some tasty food!
click below to see this tour and other adventures during our 7 days in Albufeira
Check out the link below to see how we booked our quad tour and other trips during our 7 days in Albufeira!
SLIDE AND SPLASH
Who doesn’t love a good water park? We made our way over to the park and headed straight to the lockers. The weather was amazing and the water glistened in the sun. First port of call was “the big wave” which was a super tall rubber ring slide with a huge wall that you slid up! We stood at the top of the slide in the queue looking over the park, people were laughing and joking everywhere!
The park had a cute laguna which was the main pool.. we took off over there and jumped in… WOW SO COLD! no wonder there was no one else in here haha!
The park had so much to offer no matter what type of slides or amusement you liked. We spotted the foam slide.. that was it we knew where we needed to be. We sat at the top of the slide and counted down from three. 3…2…1..GOOO. Off we went, well I started sat up and ended up not knowing what was up and what was down. We slid all over the place spinning around on the slippery foam before splooshing into the water. Okay, this is definitely my new favourite slide.
Once we had been around the slides, we decided to take a break from all the fun and head towards the food! we had pizza and of course ice cream for pudding. We sat under the shade enjoying our ice cream, talking about which slides we liked the best. Once we had finished we headed toward the jacuzzi pool to chill. This is the life. We were just so chilled, our feet finally had some relief from all the walking we had been doing up and down the hills to the Old town. It was so so hot in here it was like a warm hug.
Once we started to melt we went for a wander around the back of the park, where we stumbled upon a large open area where there was some seating. People were gathering so we decided to take a seat. There was a bid show! As the show began birds started to appear as the lady was telling us about them. Some of these birds were huge and they came creeping up behind us making us jump as they walked towards the stage and circled the crowd. The show was surprisingly delightful considering its not something we would normally watch. The last act was a super-intelligent group of parrots. They rode tiny bikes and did maths that the talk lady would ask them. This was crazy to watch and super funny. Something so different which everyone around really enjoyed! what amazing creatures!
Making our way back around the park making sure that we hadn’t missed anything and taking final goes on our favourite slides of the day. We were pleasantly surprised by how much we enjoyed the park. There were a couple of water parks which we saw advertised and chose this one due to it having more rubber ring and foamy type slides ( I HATE those slides that chuck you in deep water haha) but I’m so glad we picked this park! We finished up our day and waited for our shuttle to take us back to the hotel for a nice cold shower!
BENAGIL CAVES AND DOLPHIN TOUR
We made our way back to the Marina De Albufeira for our boat trip to see the dolphins. Once we had arrived we collected our tickets ready to set sail with the algarexperience. We made our way along the pontoons slowly as they were wobbling around with the amount of people on them, waiting to catch our boat. Once we had made our way aboard we got seats right on the edge of the boat. The weather was perfect and the sun was shining as we made our way out of the harbour.
Once we were on the open seas.. boy was it windy! I think the whole boat had to ask for ponchos as the water was splashing us and the wind was bitter! So now looking like a Teletubby we took our seats and enjoyed the view. It took us a while to get across from the marina to the cliffs but once we were there we were in ore.
The guide pointed out all of the names that the rocks had been given due to what they looked like. One looked like a yellow submarine and one looked like an elephant! We were in a fairly small boat so we managed to sail into some of the caves. This was so interesting as we could see right up into the tops of the rocks and all the bird that had made homes in them. Some of the caves had small beaches inside which were covered in people who had stand-up paddle boarded into them as they were too small for the boats to get into.
We finally came across the iconic benagil cave. Wow. So beautiful, the colours that ran through the caves were amazing and the sun shone through the open hole at the top of the cave onto the beach looking like something from a fairy tale. We managed to just about squeeze the boat into the front of the cave and get a feel of what the magic was really about.
Now the hunt was really on to see dolphins! We sailed past some of the most exclusive and expensive hotels and apartments in the Algarve as we turned away from the caves. We sailed around for a while until we saw a small huddle of other boats appear. This meant dolphins! They loved the sounds of the boat and swam right up to us. The tour guides had handed out booklets with all the different dolphins that called the Algarve home. These were common dolphins that we were spotting. They swam along with us for a fair while and we saw them jumping up out of the water in front of a boat just behind us. This as so magical and an amazing experience to see them out in the wild. The cold wind and bad hairdo were well worth it for this.
We made our way back to the Marina after the number of dolphins left by the boat had decreased to none as they made their way on their journey. Once we had arrived back at the harbour we stopped by Pipas bar again for lunch before making our way back for an evening in Old town. I think that this was my Favourite day of our 7 days in Albufeira.
Check out some tours like the one we went on below!
TUK TUK TOUR
This was a bit of a random tour that we ended absolutely loving. We were not sure what to do this day and had seen a few Tuk Tuks riding around the city so we headed out on a hunt for one. We managed to grab a leaflet for Andres Tuk Tuk tours, so we gave him a call and we were set. With absolutely no idea what to expect we hopped in the back of the Tuk Tuk and we zoomed our way out from the hotel and out towards the countryside.
This time we headed through the countryside and towards the Lagoa coastline. Firstly we headed through Vale De Parra which had a very different vibe to old town Albufeira. My hair was floating with the wind as we felt like we were going a million miles in the teeny Tuk. People stared and waved as we passed through the streets on our way to the first stop: Praia de Nossa Senhora da Rocha. This was the first of many beautiful cliffs that we saw on our tour. The lady of the rock chapel was here on the edge of the cliff. This is where the Fishermans wives would pray for there men out at sea. Our tour guide Andre was so awesome, he told us all about the history of the towns and took our photos near all the pretty spots.
Once we had visited this part, we took the Tuk a little further down towards a lower part of the cliffs. This time we parked up and walked our way around the top of the cliffs. The views were amazing. we headed down narrow paths right at the edge of the cliff sides. We could see the untouched beaches below. They were small and private as most had no access other than by a small boat or canoe.
It was so unusual to see such a pristine beach. As we wandered over bumpy paths and through the cacti we could see clear water for miles. The arched cave and heartshaped cliffs were so beautiful. It took us over an hour to make our way along all of the cliffs stopping for photos and laughing at the seagulls that kept photobombing us. It was so interesting to see the cliffs and caves from this perspective after seeing them from a level view on the boat trip.
We finally saw the benagil cave. This is the most famous cave on the coast. The colours that ran through the stonework were amazing. We got to stand at the top of the cave looking down at the beach below. It was so pretty and I can see why people want to visit!
Once we had finished walking around the cliffs we drove along a winding path until we came to a hairpin bend that leads to the entrance to benagil beach. People waved at us as we rode along in the Tuk, through the little town. People enjoyed seeing the Tuk Tuks! we made out way back inland and started to see the countryside once again. There were wild horses in the fields as we travelled along to the last spot.
Capela Dos Osso
Capela Dos Osso. Also known as the chapel of bones, this is a small entrance next to a church which is home to hundreds of bones and skulls. There is an estimated 500 corpses which were excavated when they built the church that then decorated this small entranceway. This was sad and eerie to see but was an interesting way to bring our tour to a close. We jumped back into the Tuk for the last time, smiling at the locals as we passed them by. This was such a beautiful way to end our time in Portugal as this was the last day trip.
We had an amazing 7 days in Albufeira -Algarve and I shall never forget how beautiful and pure this place was. I’m so glad that we managed to book all of the experiences we did as otherwise I think the town may have been a bit too sleepy for us without them. I hope you enjoyed the story of our trip and would love to hear if you have tried any cool activities in the Algarve or just what your favourite part of Albufeira is. Let me know in the comments below
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