By Darren Griffiths

15 Best Things to do in Albufeira (Algarve), Portugal

4th March 2023

Whether you’re on a family vacation, traveling as a couple, or looking to party ‘til dawn with friends, there are plenty of things to do in Albufeira. The Algarve’s picturesque southern resort town is home to a dazzling range of white sand beaches dominated by orange-red cliffs.

Explore the town and surrounds by land, sea, and sky (or even underwater), as you discover all Albufeira has to offer. Traditional restaurants in the Old Town vie for attention with flashy newcomers on The Strip, while there’s room enough for both in this coastal gem that draws thousands of visitors each year. 

Related reading:
Check out our guide on Where to Stay in Albufeira, Portugal – The Best Areas
See all the best things to do across the Algarve region
And this list of the best towns and places to stay in the Algarve

The 15 best things to do in Albufeira

1 – Explore Albufeira Old town

Orientate yourself in the town and pay homage to its origins as a fishing village with a visit to Albufeira’s old town. The charming cobbled streets winding through the hills are reminiscent of a quieter era in the city. Recreate this by taking a moment in the shade of the trees decorating the Old Town Square – a relaxed, open space surrounded by cafes and restaurants.

People-watch with a crisp glass of white from the local Lagoa DOC, or take your time enjoying a Portuguese tart at one of these establishments, refreshing yourself before heading into the surrounding streets, where clothing shops, leather shops, and handicraft stalls abound.

2 – Zoomarine Amusement Park

Taking a complete change of pace, you can head to Zoomarine amusement park, one of the best things to do in Albufeira if you’re traveling with kids or teens. See dazzling acrobatic displays by playful dolphins, majestic birds of prey, and a range of tropical birds – or get up close with the aquatic stars of the show in a dolphin encounter.

There is something for every member of the family, seeking thrills with adrenaline-charged water rides or relaxing at the Zoomarine beach. The wildlife rehabilitation center is a reminder of the park’s commitment to the safety and conservation of marine species in the region.

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3 – Albufeira Beaches: Praia dos Pescadores & Praia do Tunel

Albufeira is home to no fewer than 25 beaches, dotted along the coastline in either direction. Right in town, though, you’ll find two just waiting for you to sink barefoot into the sands. Praia dos Pescadores (Fisherman’s Beach) and Praia do Tunel are adjoining beaches, linked by a tunnel running under one those trademark dramatic, orange-red cliffs of the Algarve that flank the stretches of sand.

Fisherman’s Beach access point is at ground level, eliminating the clamber back up the path after your swim. There are lifeguards on the beach and amenities blocks onsite. If splashing around in the crystal waters has you working up an appetite, there are a number of seafood restaurants and cafes lining the beach.

4 – Take to the Waves with a Surf Lesson

Sun-kissed skin, salty hair, tired limbs, happy smiles; when looking for things to do in Albufeira, you can’t go past surfing. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or if you’re a newbie, read on.

Surfing with one of the premier schools in Albufeira will see you adjusting your technique ‘out back’ or learning the basics on the sand from an experienced instructor who will tailor the lesson to suit your skills. The southern Algarve is ideal for beginners, offering a gentler ride than the monsters out West. Picturesque Falesia Beach, with deep green pines topping the rugged long cliff wall that skirts the sands, is popular with locals and learners alike.

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5 – Dolphin Watching ( & Cave Exploring!)

If you’d prefer to see dolphins in their natural habitat, then jump on a cruise from Albufeira with an experienced crew. The jet-powered boat will have you scouring the waves for a number of species of dolphins common to the area, while an onboard marine biologist will brief you on their habitat and behaviours and answer any questions. Winding along the striking Algarve coast, your captain will take you via the incredible Benagil caves and give you a glimpse at hidden gems of beaches, not able to be viewed from the land.

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6 – Albufeira Marina

The hub for many of the things to do in Albufeira, the marina is worth a visit in itself. Surrounded by multi-colored apartment buildings and whimsical dolphin statues, it’s a great spot to take pictures or watch the world come and go from its busy moorings.

Wander along the long promenade in the sun, playing ‘that one’s mine’ with the hundreds of gleaming white boats lining the quay, before enjoying a drink in one of the restaurants or cafes dotted about. The most sheltered marina in the country, it’s easy to enjoy the tranquility of the lapping waters and forget about the crashing waves out there.

7 – Kayak the Coastline

Get the best of both worlds by venturing out on two different vessels in one trip. First, take a catamaran to a western bay, enjoying the sights of the coastline as you cruise. Then, in the hands of an experienced guide, kayak around the stacks and cliffs at sea level, visiting cracks and caves not accessible by bigger boats.

After all that physical exertion, a dip in the jeweled waters of this deserted stretch of coast will be more than welcome, before jumping back on board the catamaran for a leisurely ride home.

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8 – Jet-ski Rental

One for the adrenaline junkies! Zip through the waves on powerful Yamaha jet skis, under the eye of staff ready to give you tips on how to get the best out of your ride. So many of the things to do in Albufeira are based around the water, but few are so exhilarating.

Each jet-ski has the capacity to take up to three people (including the driver), so you can go fast and furious alone or take some company along for a more chilled ride. Rest assured that jet ski rental comes with safety training and equipment, as well as built-in stability systems.

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9. Parasail

Everyone wishes they could fly, right? You can come fairly close with a parasail up to 80 meters above Albufeira. Get a real birds-eye-view of the Algarve coast from the skies as you glide through the air, unexpectedly peaceful, suspended in space. You can dip a toe in the water on descent, if you wish, giving the sensation of skimming weightless over the waves.

Even better, you have the option of taking one or two companions up there with you, with single, double, and triple parasails available. The views from the top are magnificent and offer a unique perspective not possible from the land or sea.

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10 – Pirate Ship Cruise

Albufeira’s iconic coastline was long the haunt of pirates in times gone by, who took advantage of caves and grottos studding the cliffs for their illicit purposes. Follow in their wake on a historic pirate ship, with a guide on hand to tell you the tales of the seas.

Wind filling the sails, your captain and crew will guide the Leãozinho (little lion) out into the Atlantic. You’ll ‘yo ho ho’ with the bottles of rum available at the onboard bar, before walking the plank into the warm, clear waters of a more secluded bay. Ten points for a back-flip!

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11 – Sunset cruise & Beach BBQ

Enjoy the last rays of another perfect Algarve day from the deck as you cruise into the sunset, sipping on a cool something from the open bar. Taking your time wending around the coast, this has to be one of the more romantic and relaxing things to do in Albufeira.

On arrival at the western bay of Armação de Pêra, you’ll transfer to the beach via dinghy, where you’ll watch the sun dip below the horizon in spectacular fashion while your crew whip up something tasty. Heading back to Albufeira marina, it’s your call as to whether the evening is winding down, or only just beginning.

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12 – Discover SCUBA Diving

You’ve explored the turquoise waters and the other things to do in Albufeira from sea level (and way above), so now it’s time to check out what’s below. Long on many people’s must-do list, SCUBA diving gives an entirely new perspective on life underwater.

In Discover SCUBA, you will learn the theory and practical skills from an instructor in a safe pool environment, before putting it all into practice with a sea dive that will count toward your final certification. With marine life, rock and coral formations waiting to be discovered beneath the waves, it’s time to take the plunge!

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13 – Full day Photography Tour

Full of dramatic landscapes, stunning scenery, and picturesque villages, the Algarve is the ideal place to get snap-happy for amateurs and professionals alike. You can take your time finding the perfect shot on a full-day trip around the area, starting from Albufeira.

Your driver will take you to pre-planned scenic or bustling locations where the rest is up to you. Up in the mountains or down in the towns, there are sights both historic and candid to be captured. Why not research a little before you go and request a detour to find something really unique?

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14 – Tuk-tuk Tour of Albufeira 

Here’s your chance to explore the area without getting your feet wet. You can take a trip around town and the nearby scenic spots in a tuk-tuk, for something a bit different. Your guide will entertain you with facts and tales of the emblematic places of the region, while stopping by viewpoints and harbors.

Great as an orientation of the city and a guideline of all the things to do in Albufeira. There’s something immersive about this mode of transport, as you’re open to the sights, scents, and sounds of all you pass by.  

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15 – Nightlife at The Strip

If you’re heading to Albufeira to see what the evenings have in store, then a trip to The Strip is for you. Long the destination for hen’s parties and buck’s nights from all over Europe, the Avenida Sá Carneiro – linking two Albufeira neighborhoods – is lined with nightclubs, restaurants, and bars that will keep you partying until the wee hours of the morning.

The Strip is buzzing throughout the day, but it really comes alive after sunset. If this isn’t for you, the Old Town is a quieter alternative, but this iconic scene of indulgence is worth a trip by anyone wanting to know the city.

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Explore Albufeira by land, sea, and sky (or even underwater), as you discover this list of all the best things to do in Albufeira, Portugal.

Explore Albufeira by land, sea, and sky (or even underwater), as you discover this list of all the best things to do in Albufeira, Portugal.