After spending some time in Porto, it was time to head down to the Algarve. We took the train that connected in Lisbon to get us to Albufeira. We chose to stay in old town Albufeira because of the ease of getting in by train from Lisbon and out by bus to Evora, which would be our next stop. The white-washed buildings and narrow streets make for a scenic setting to stay in.
Albufeira is an old fishing town that during the early 1900’s had five factories dedicated to fishing and the export of nuts. Unfortunately, there was a decline in demand and the fisherman found themselves only supplying the local town and its inhabitants. Tourism became the main economy for Albufeira.
We were only staying here for three nights so we wanted to make the most of our time. We had booked a Benagil Cave boat trip for our first full day, but unfortunately the waves prevented us from taking this trip. Still wanting to make the most of our day we walked along the promenade to the west of Albufeira stopping to admire the beach area.
After stopping for coffee and walking to the marina…
…we decided to do some hiking along the cliffs to the west of the town. I had seen pictures of the cliffs and couldn’t wait to discover them for myself. We walked up a road and found some paths that took us along the cliff-side. What breath-taking scenery!
Walking along the trails for about 5 km we ended up at Praia dos Arrifes. Here we spent quite a bit of time taking pictures and soaking up the views. It was even more beautiful than I had imagined it would be!
The next day we wanted to see more of the coast and some of the areas a bit further away. We booked a tour with Tony’s Tuk Tuk Tours and it was fantastic!
We started off driving to a viewpoint for Praia da Gale. This beach is about 5 km long and in the summer can be packed with people. During off-peak times it would definitely be a great place to spend part of your day.
Our next stop was a quaint beach area called Praia de Armação de Pera, where traditional fishermen huts stand alongside the crab traps and boats.
We then drove west to Senhora da Rocha (Lady of the Rock) Chapel. Although you cannot enter the church itself, it is an impressive building set on an outcrop overlooking the beach areas with cliffs on either side.
Travelling a bit farther we came to Praia Marinha with its sheltered beach and haystacks rising from the water. There were lots of walkways here leading to viewpoints, as well as a snack bar down near the beach to grab a cold drink at.
Our next stop was Benagil Cave. This was where our boat tour would have taken us and although we missed out on seeing it from the water, we at least got to enjoy peering down into it and marveling at the bluish green colouring of the water.
Before heading back to Albufeira we made a quick visit to Algar Seco where we got to walk through a cave and peer through an opening at the sea cliffs. We watched as a fisherman cast his line over the edge of the cliff and waited for his catch.
What an amazing afternoon! Our tour guide, Tony, not only drove us to these gorgeous spots, but also took the time to tell us about the places and answer our questions. Our short stay in the Algarve was over and we would be off to Evora the next day. However, we did make sure to enjoy one more sunset!
Some things to keep in mind…the Algarve is a long stretch of different villages and towns, some smaller with quaint shops and cafes, and some larger with busier bars and restaurants. Make sure and do your research before you decide on where to stay. If you have a car you will be able to easily get around and visit many beach areas, however parking can be scarce and in some villages you may end up paying a lot for it. Also, depending on the time of year, you could find some places closed…high season usually starts around the Easter weekend and before that some places can be pretty quiet.