Albufeira, Portugal: June 3-4, 2016
There’s just something about the beach that draws you in and keeps you coming back for more. We sipped our first taste of the beach during our weekend trip to Valencia in mid-May, and just 6 days later, after returning to the dry lands of Sevilla, we took an impromptu trip to Cadiz to dip our toes in the sand once again. Yet, with only one weekend left in Southern Spain, we debated whether to finally pull the trigger and endure the 3-hour bus ride to the Algarve region of Southern Portugal.
Should We Stay or Should We Go?
Originally, we had wanted to skip over to Lisbon, Portugal one weekend during our time in Spain but the options were just not good. At the time, direct flights from Sevilla to Lisbon (only an hour flight) were in the $300-$375/person range and while the bus/train package was more economical ($200/person)…we just couldn’t endure a 7-8 hour journey (one-way!). Then, we found out about the cities of Faro and Albufeira, in the popular Algarve region on the southern coast of Portugal. Faro is only a 2-hour bus ride from Sevilla and Albufeira is 3 hours, each only costing about $40/person.
The price was right but the idea of being stuck on a bus for 3 hours kept holding us back. This after being on planes, trains, and buses over the previous several weeks and knowing that we were about to endure an even more hectic travel period in June and July. But, you know, the beach has that effect. It just keeps calling you back for more. Hence, we squeezed a 2-day/1-night trip to Albufeira into our absolute last weekend in the region and just 4 days after last visiting the beach in Cadiz. As the photos will attest, our decision to make the most of our time and opportunity was so worth it!
This is NOT Portugal
Now, a little disclaimer about Albufeira. Though it’s technically/politically/geographically situated in Portugal…it’s not Portugal. As soon as you arrive in town, you’ll immediately find that it’s been overrun with tourists from the UK. Most of the establishments cater to English-speaking travelers with big pockets of sterling pounds, and it seemed that quite a few were even owned by British and Irish ex-pats. I guess that would also explain why the food was so mediocre (if that). But we tried our best to sample the local dishes; even if we weren’t educated enough on how to properly eat them (I’m referring to you, grilled sardines!).
Yet, what makes Albufeira amazing is simply the scenery. It was by far, the most impressive coastline we had seen on the trip up to that point. It’s not like any coastline I’ve ever seen, especially in how the town is built around and into the coastline.
We did our best to enjoy being “in Portugal” though we quickly resigned to the fact that we were in a European playground for northerners. It’s understandable given that the original economic driver of the region (fishing) had been all but decimated in recent decades, and almost the entire Algarve region relies on tourism from northern Europeans. With that said, we simply enjoyed our beachfront condo rental for the quick weekend, short walks around the town, an early morning run along the beach, and seemingly endless hours of laying on the beach, feeling the breeze.
Enjoy The Beautiful Coast of Albufeira (31 secs)
Read more Tales from the Nomadic Adventure and find out where we’ll be in the coming months.