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Over the last few decades, Albufeira has transformed from a sleepy fishing settlement into one of southern Portugal’s finest holiday destinations. Located within the sunshine-soaked region of Algarve, Albufeira boasts a plethora of gem-like beaches, including the famous Fisherman’s Beach and Tunnel Beach. The city is separated into two main tourist sections: the Old Town and the livelier district known as The Strip. Getting around Albufeira and the surrounding Algarve region is best done by car.
Who to Book With
Major international car rental suppliers several local companies are located within the city of Albufeira. Budget and Hertz are two of the largest firms offering rental services, but smaller companies, like Albufeira Car Hire, Auto Jardim and Nice Trip Rent-a-Car, are also reliable. Save time and money by booking cars online before reaching Albufeira.
Best time to go
Visitors can holiday in Albufeira at any time of the year. The crowds tend to flock to Albufeira during the summer months of June, July and August. However, this is also when the weather is at its hottest and most suitable for beach-getaways. Nevertheless, winters remain relatively dry and mild, so visiting between December and February is still quite popular. Despite this, the winter months are certainly less expensive than the warmer parts of the year.
Need to Know Essentials
There are several important documents needed to rent a car in Albufeira:
- A driving license held for more than one year
- A passport or secondary identification document
- The credit card used for booking
- Reservation confirmation sheet
Many of the routes leading into Albufeira are modern and safe, but some of the smaller roads in and around the city are not as well-maintained. Albufeira’s climate is generally warm and sunny year-round, providing great driving conditions for tourists. Unfortunately, the streets are rarely numbered, making it rather difficult to follow maps. Tourists who decide to rent a car are advised to use GPS navigation if available.
Albufeira isn’t a large urban area, but there are plenty of transport options available for tourists. Car rental is found within the city center, but if the thought of self-driving through Albufeira seems a little too daunting, buses and taxis also provide efficient and inexpensive means of transport. There is a train station about four miles from the heart of Albufeira, but it only provides regional routes within the Algarve.
The main company operating taxi services within the city is Albucoop. There are plenty of cabs working the streets of Albufeira both day and night. They can be recognised by their beige or black/green colours, complete with a taxi sign on the roof. It is possible to book a car by phone, but this will incur a slightly higher fare than hailing a taxi off the street or at a rank. Prices are generally inexpensive if travelling within Albufeira, but fares do increase between the hours of 21:00 and 6:00 daily.
Local buses cover much of Albufeira, operating between the hours of 7:00 and 22:00 every day of the year. There are five main routes radiating from the main bus terminal that connect to districts and landmarks like the Marina, the Railway Station, Centro Antigo and Pateo. The bus network is known as GIRO.
Although Albufeira is filled with amazing sites, a frenzied culture and stunning beaches, tourists should take some time to discover the Algarve treasures that are within easy reach. Daytrips to historical cities like Silves, beautiful coastlines such as Praia da Rocha, or fabulous castle ruins like those of Paderne are made possible by car rental in Albufeira.
Silves - the original capital for the Algarve region, still boasts a remarkable Moorish castle that is well-worth seeing. By car, tourists can reach this ancient capital in a less than 20 minutes from Albufeira, as Silves stands less than 10 miles to the northwest of the city.
Sagres - is the most southwestern town in Portugal and Europe, but it’s not the settlement itself that attracts the crowds. Instead, the Cape of St Vincent usually steals the spotlight. Spectacular uninterrupted views of the Atlantic Ocean are experienced here, and the sunsets are simply majestic.
Praia da Rocha - is arguably the most famous beach in the Algarve. Translated to mean ‘Rocky Beach’, this strip of sand is found near the city of Portimao, about 15 miles west of Albufeira. The beach is often packed with tourists, so if the crowds are too much, visitors can head to the beaches around Lagos, just five miles farther west.
Paderne Castle - is an impressive 12th century castle constructed by the Berbers, set some 50 miles from the heart of Albufeira. The fortification is one of Portugal’s most endeared historical structures. Although it is largely in ruins, Paderne Castle is still a magnificent attraction luring thousands annually.