Portugal’s sparkling Algarve region enjoys a well-earned reputation as an idyllic holiday destination. The word alone conjures up images of long days and warm, balmy nights spent enjoying good food and great wine amidst stunning natural beauty.
As with many bustling resort towns in the region, Albufeira started out as a quiet fishing village. While the newer areas are livelier and bustling with locals and tourists, some of that classic ambiance remains in the Old Town, which boasts over 100 fabulous bars and restaurants. Read on for a guide to some of the best places to try local dishes.
Outside the busy centre, O Lusitano entices guests with its friendly atmosphere and authentic Iberian cuisine. Owners Carlos and Pedro make you feel right at home as soon as you walk in, and their fantastic, attentive service is one of the reasons why this place boasts such great reviews. The food, of course, is also of an extremely high standard.
Castelo do Mar
As well as serving traditional Portuguese dishes, Castelo do Mar branches out by adding some European (and even British) classics to its menu. The food is great, but the real attraction is the setting. Guests are able to dine high above the harbour, with the beautiful Albufeira scenery stretching towards the horizon looking like a postcard. It truly is breath-taking.
Fun Fact: Castelo do Mar translates to ‘castle by the sea’, and the restaurant certainly deserved this name. Housed within a renovated building on a hill high above the town, it’s one of the best places to eat in all of the Algarve.
Another family-run joint away from the central tourist traps, Trés Pammeiras boasts a number of five-star reviews for its excellent mixture of classic and unique dishes. All the grilled meats and seafood you’d expect are available here, though you’d be missing out if you didn’t try the stews. The seafood stew is an Algarve favourite!
Top Tip: This is the single best place in town for vegetarian and vegan options – they’re so good that even meat lovers come away satisfied!
The most striking thing about Palacete is its archetypal Algarve architecture, with pristine white walls rising to a terrace bordered with palisades under a tiled roof. The atmosphere inside matches the homely authenticity of the exterior, with hearty meals served up in a warm, social setting.
This affordable, quiet eatery serves meat and seafood with strong Mediterranean influences, emphasising the extent to which Portugal’s cuisine draws on that of its neighbours. Its outdoor terrace makes it the perfect spot for a romantic late meal under the sparkling stars. Pair with a Portuguese red wine for the ideal Algarve experience.
Where to Stay
Sao Rafael offers a range of accommodation, from double rooms in its charming guesthouse to luxury villas and apartments. All are air-conditioned and come with satellite TV, free Wi-Fi, a private bathroom and free toiletries.
Apartments and villas have a furnished kitchenette, while guest rooms get access to a daily breakfast. Many restaurants are just a short distance from the properties, and the outdoor swimming pool and bar are the perfect places to relax. Even better, it’s just a ten-minute walk from nearby Sao Rafael beach.
It’s adults-only at the Falesia Hotel, and the chief selling point is luxury. Private balconies offer views over the serene gardens or out to the surrounding mountains, while indoor and outdoor pools and a hot tub ensure you’ll never be short of a place to sit back and soak. Each room comes with free Wi-Fi and satellite TV, while the O Lago Restaurant offers a buffet, just in case the great restaurants listed above haven’t quite filled you up.
How to Get There
Four airlines offer an average of 40 flights a week from London to Faro Airport. The journey takes around two and a half hours, and you’ll have no trouble finding low prices, especially if you travel out of peak season. Once you’ve landed, a transfer can take you the 46km from Faro to Albufeira in just over half an hour.
- UK to FAO flight time: 2 hours 35 minutes
- FAO to Albufeira distance: 46 kilometres
- Shuttle Direct Transfer Time: 40 minutes
About Shuttle Direct
Shuttle Direct is proud to be one of the best regarded airport transfer operators in various destinations across the globe, and our experienced and friendly drivers are guaranteed to get you where you need to go in good time and without fuss. Even better, we pride ourselves on using drivers with local knowledge – and they’re more than happy to offer the sort of top tips and recommendations you can only get from locals. You might even find out about an amazing new eatery before it hits the holidaymakers’ guides!