ALBUFEIRA - NEIGHBORHOODS
Albufeira Old Town (Centro Antigo) and Cerro da Piedade
The area called the Old Town is just the size of four football fields, situated in an area between Praia do Peneco to the south and Avenida da Liberdade 96-109 to the north. The area called Cerro da Piedade extends nearly a mile west from the Old Town. Both of these areas have been referred to as being `the heart of Albufeira`, as the lion`s share of points of cultural and historical interest can be found here.
Cerro da Piedade is home to the Parque Ludico de Albufeira as well as the city marina. Just below the Old Town are two beaches, the Praia do Peneco and Praia dos Pescadores. The Old Town is the epicenter of religious life in Albufeira (with the Igreja Matriz, Capela de Sao Sebastiao and Igreja de Sant`Ana within blocks of each other), and it also boasts a budding foodie scene along Rua Candido dos Reis.
Just under half of the 40,000 residents in the municipality of Albufeira live in either the Old Town or Cerro da Piedade. Modern housing developments have been built particularly in Cerro da Piedade, where there are a number of large estates, mini-mansions, and cul-de-sacs.
Calicos and Correeira
These are suburban neighborhoods located approximately one mile north and northwest of Albufeira`s Old Town. Parts of Calicos are rural, leading up to a large housing development adjacent to the Rua Paul Harris and Rua Isaac Newton. This development consists of apartments and single-family homes (many of which have their own in-ground pools!). A large city market and Albufeira`s main bus station can also be found in the Calicos neighborhood. The middle-class neighborhood of Correeira is home to the city`s municipal pavilion, the gymnastics center, the public swimming pool and the town`s soccer stadium.
Montechoro and Areias de Sao Joao (including The Strip)
The Montechoro neighborhood`s borders to the west and east are Avenida Salgado Zenha and Rua Candido Guerreiro, respectively. South of Avenida dos Descobrimentos, the Areias de Sao Joao neighborhood is bordered by Rua de Dunfermline to the west and Estrada de Santa Eulalia to the east. Cutting through the middle of both neighborhoods is the street Avenida Doutor Francisco Sa Carneiro, known by tourists and locals alike as `The Strip`.
Literally hundreds of restaurants, cafes, bars and nightclubs are located in Montechoro and Areias de Sao Joao, along The Strip and the side streets fanning out from the main artery. Authentic Portuguese restaurants, pizzerias, steakhouses, sushi bars, tapas bars, brunch spots and Chinese takeaways can all be found in this neighborhood, many with reputations that precede them. To read more about The Strip, consult TripMasters` Albufeira FAQ page.
Santa Eulalia is the easternmost neighborhood in Albufeira proper and is the last part of town on the Estrada de Santa Eulalia/Estrada de Albufeira before the parish of Olhos de Agua. The area is dominated by the large Hotel Balaia Golf Village Resort, whose road is accessible from the Estrada de Albufeira. North of Praia Maria Luisa is a Club Med resort, and various other resorts sit on the coastline between Estrada de Albufeira and Praia de Santa Eulalia and Praia Maria Luisa. Only a few hundred people are year-round residents; the area primarily serves package tourists or people renting condominiums as `summer homes`. The Torre da Medronheira, a tower once used to monitor pirate boats coming in from Morocco, is located in the area that is now the crossroads of Estrada de Albufeira and Rua da Praia Maria Luisa.
Olhos de Agua (east of Albufeira City)
East of Santa Eulalia, the three-mile Praia da Falesia stretches along the Algarve coast. It is one of the most popular and picturesque beaches in Portugal. A small cove separates the Praia dos Olhos de Agua from the western reaches of Praia da Falesia. The town just to the north of the coastline is Olhos de Agua. Meaning `eyes of water`, it is so named due to the natural springs dotting the beach, which bubble up and resemble eyes.
The Estrada da Albufeira and the Rua da Torre da Medronheira are the two major arteries in Olhos de Agua. Bars, hotels, resorts, apartments, restaurants, and community centers stretch approximately one mile from the shoreline northward. At least two all-inclusive resorts similar to Club Med in Santa Eulalia are located here.
Alcantarilha, Guia and Ferreiras (north of Albufeira City)
The parishes of Guia and Ferreiras are the two northernmost sections of Albufeira municipality. Ferreiras is a typical Portuguese suburb, with a variety of housing types and businesses. Albufeira-Ferreiras train station is located northeast of the town square, near the village of Vale de Serves. Alcantarilha, past Zoomarine and Aqualand, is a similarly-sized suburb, with modern housing developments on the west side of town and traditional buildings on the east side.
Guia is more rural than suburban. The two exceptions are the areas around Zoomarine, a mile west of the town center on the N125 motorway; and Shopping Algarve, a mile east of the town center on the same motorway. Shopping Algarve in particular has spawned a handful of all-new housing developments close to the mall.