Day 1 in Albufeira
Welcome to Portugal! Upon arrival, you will go through customs and immigration. Should you opt to purchase a transfer to your hotel; a representative will be waiting for you as you exit immigration. Make your way to Albufeira and arrive at your hotel. Check in and do not give in to jet lag! There is so much for you to see and do!
Start by getting a bite to eat at one of the numerous restaurants adjacent to the Jardim Publico de Albufeira. Eat something there or take it to go and eat it in the park! Afterwards, take a walk in the direction of the coastline and stop at the buildings which are an enduring part of the town`s history: the Igreja de Sant`Ana, with an altarpiece illustrating Our Lady of Sorrows; the Igreja Matriz, featuring a large mural of Our Lady of the Conception, painted by local artist Samora Barros; and the Capela de Sao Sebastiao, with its adjoining museum of sacred art. End the first day with a trip to the Museu Municipal de Arqueologia, where you can see local artifacts dating from the Bronze Age.
Day 2 in Albufeira
Begin the morning by setting out for Paderne Castle. On the way, stop at the Rotunda das Minhocas and view the amusing art installation. Paderne Castle has a 2,000-year history, and is believed to be one of the castles illustrated on the Portuguese flag`s shield. Afterwards, head west and decide on a theme park to visit: Zoomarine Algarve, which is a cross between Busch Gardens and Sea World, allowing you to get up close and personal with majestic marine life; or Aqualand Algarve, a water park with lots of pools, lazy rivers, and the tallest and fastest water slide in Portugal!
As the sun goes down, stop at Albufeira Marina and wrap up a fun and eventful day with a cocktail, a delicious meal, live music, or even a nighttime boat ride! Excursions are available for you to book during the reservation process.
Day 3 in Albufeira
Albufeira is known around the world for its fun in the sun, and today we recommend a bit of beach-hopping. First thing, however, head toward Vilamoura and take some time to view the breaktaking Roman ruins at Cerro da Vila, inhabited at least through the time of the Moors.
Travel west toward Albufeira and take some time for at least a few of the beaches along the way. The first one is Praia da Falesia, which is one of the longest beaches in Portugal (clocking in at over three miles in length!). If you are looking for a swanky, cozy beach, the Praia dos Olhos de Agua fits the bill perfectly. Heading into town, there are three choices for beach lovers: Praia dos Alemaes, the easternmost beach and (usually) the quietest of the urban beaches; Praia do Inatel, so named for the large resort just off the sand; and Praia do Peneco, the busiest beach in the city and the most accessible to travelers with disabilities.
Once you're done sunning yourself for the day, head to The Strip, aka Avenida Doutor Francisco Sa Carneiro. The northern part of The Strip, in Montechoro, is full of shopping opportunities (upscale boutiques, tourist trinket shops, and everything in between), while the southern part in Areias de Sao Joao is packed with bars, restaurants, nightclubs, and live entertainment venues.
Additional Days in Albufeira
Seventy miles northeast of Albufeira, the town of Mertola and the area surrounding it are interesting places to explore. The town is built on a hill overlooking the River Guadiana, and has a history that stretches all the way back to the Phoenicians. The Romans referred to the town as Myrtilis Julia, and it was a key trading point along the road which connected the outpost with Beja, Evora, and Merida (now Spain). Sights of note in Mertola include the town castle, first built by the Moors and fortified by the Portuguese crown; the Igreja Matriz, which was first built and used as a mosque; and the city museum, which features a large collection of Islamic art (one of the largest in the Iberian Peninsula).
Almost seventy-five miles due north of Albufeira, the city of Beja boasts a history that stretches back to the time of the Celts. Romans knew Beja as Pax Julia, a prime trading outpost connected by road to Lisbon, Merida, Santarem and Braga. One of modern-day Portugal`s most dynamic regional capitals, Beja`s importance as a commercial center is still evident two millennia after the time of Pax Julia. Today, Beja is thriving not only as a city of historical significance, but as a haven for artists, sculptors, writers, and restaurateurs.
Just over 100 miles northwest of Albufeira, on the Alentejo coast, is the city of Sines. Sines is perhaps most notable for being Portugal`s first trading port and for being the birthplace of explorer Vasco da Gama. Its use as a trading outpost and a shipping port dates from the time of the Romans. The rocky coast nearby overlooks the breathtakingly blue Atlantic Ocean. Sights of note include Sines Castle, positioned on a high hill; Fort Pessegueiro, which protected Sines from threats arriving by sea; and the statue of Vasco da Gama, located outside the Igreja Martiz, the location where he was baptized.
Your Last Day in Albufeira
Depart your hotel and head to the airport for your return home. We recommend that you purchase a private transfer; if so, a representative will meet you at the hotel in time to take you to the airport for your flight out.