Tag - algarve

Cheap Holidays: Emerging Destinations for 2015
Purple 10: Infinity Pools in Europe
Purple tips: Portugal Holidays – The Best Beaches
Book now – Half term holidays
Purple Hearts: the best beaches in the Algarve
New Years Detox Holidays
Sweet Tooth in Portugal: A guide to Portuguese desserts
Purple Hearts… Albufeira Portugal

Cheap Holidays: Emerging Destinations for 2015

Looking ahead for next year’s summer holiday? If you’re after something more authentic but still have a budget to stick to then Purple Travel have picked the best cheap holidays in emerging and undiscovered destinations that won’t hurt your bank balance.

Essaouira, Morocco

Cheap_holidays_Essaouira_Purpletravel.co.ukImage via @Fabio Gismondi

With many tourists flocking to visit the souks of Marrakech or the budget-friendly holiday destination of Agadir towards the north, there lies a little secret a bit more south of this and it’s called Essaouira and really comes at no extra cost either. We can tell you that it is truly one of the most beautiful Atlantic coastal towns that is renowned for being more laid-back than its more popular neighbours. The best time to visit is in Spring and Autumn, before and after Ramadan. Film lovers will be especially pleased to hear that Essaouira has been the setting of Orson Welles’ Othello and Ridley Scott’s Kingdom of Heaven. While outdoor enthusiasts will love the choice of low cost activities and water sports available. Due to a renewed interest in Morocco, chic boutiques and quirky riads have been popping up all over the place, making Essaouira the new cheap and chic place to stay. It is also close to Marrakech for those who want to combine a beach holiday and a city break. Those interested in world music will be pleased to hear that Essaouira plays host to two music festivals. The Essaouira Alizes Festival in April which showcases classic and contemporary Moroccan music and the Gnaoua & World Music Festival in June where local and international artists come together for dancing, music and culture.

Mahdia, Tunisia

cheap_holidays_mahdia_purpletravel.co.uk Image via @ Christopher Rose

Taking a cue from its North African neighbour, Tunisia has new offerings for tourists who want simple and charming experiences and friendly prices. Since Tunisia is more of a newcomer on the block than Morocco it is actually more affordable. Mahdia just south of the busy resort of Monastir, is a coastal city associated with the fishing silk weaving and olive industries. It is certainly one of Tunisia’s most picturesque cities and has many historic attractions such as the ruins of the ancient city of Punic, the Fatimid port, the first Fatimid mosque (dating back to the 10th century) and an Ottoman port (16th century). If you book a cheap holiday to Tunisia it means you have more cash to splash on activities such as diving and Mahdia surely is Tunisia’s top diving site and wreck diving in particular. Holidays in Mahdia are great for honeymooners and great for first-time visitors to Tunisia who will get a taste of this exotic country without being overwhelmed.

Yalikavak, Turkey

cheap_holidays_Yalkiavak_purpletravel.co.ukImage via @ Sue Kellerman

Yalikavak is a harbourside town with an ultra-modern marina yet has still managed to maintain a small and sleepy exterior – so far. I’ts located on the Bodrum peninsula not too far from the bigger resort of Bodrum itself. Visitors looking for cheap holidays to Turkey will be more than pleased by Yalikavak’s offerings. The small sandy beaches are perfect for spending days in the sun and so far many beaches remain uncrowded, perfect for families. For extra beauty, lay on the beach until sunset and see the sun drop behind the horizon. The market at Yalikavak draws people from all over the Bodrum peninsula, seeking out shopping bargains on retail items but also on fresh produce but to get a bargain be prepared to haggle.


cheap_holidays_montenegro_purpletravel.co.ukImage via @Amira_a

Taking a spot all of its own is the country of Montenegro, this is perhaps definitely the most off the beaten track destination in our list. Budva, is the poster child of tourism here and there’s good reason why. Explore the atmospheric old town before parking yourself down on one of the 35 beaches. By night Budva transforms itself with numerous beachside bars so if you’re in for a night on the tiles then Budva is the place to be and really may not be suitable for families. Elsewhere along the Riviera and in other resorts Montenegro has remained quieter and more atmospheric. For example the Bay of Kotor is considered one of the most beautiful in Europe and Kotor itself is an ancient fortified town with UNESCO World Heritage status. Further down the coast from Budva is the Montenegrin south coast where you’ll find Ulcinj, a predominantly ethnically Albanian town with a splendid location, for exploring the south of the country.

The Undiscovered Algarve

cheap_holidays_olhao_purpletravel.co.ukImage via @Nicola Holtkamp

Tourists have been visiting the Algarve for years and years but away from the busy airport, golf resorts, and really cheap package deals lies something more authentic. Olhao, a small fishing village is a perfect example of the cultural mix that can be found in Southern Portugal thanks to the maritime hisotry and Moorish occupation. Olhao is known for its square-shaped whitewashed houses with Moorish features. In the late 18th century, the town was flourishing and so local people started to build new houses in a Moorish style. Another draw of Olhao is the chance to take a watertaxi to peaceful offshore beaches such as Armona, Farol and Culatra. Away from the coast lies Monchique, a forested market town known for its production of aguardiente, a potent brandy and the perfect base to explore the Algarve’s lesser known inland beauty.


Purple 10: Infinity Pools in Europe

1. Take a look at this stunning infinity edge pool at Hotel Caruso Ravello on the Amalfi Coast in Italy

Hotel Caruso Ravello, Amalfi Coast, Italy

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Purple tips: Portugal Holidays – The Best Beaches

With so many beaches in Portugal to choose from it’s hard to know where to start looking when you are searching for the perfect beach destination. Green coast? Silver coast? Fear not, Purple Travel is on hand to help you narrow down your choice for stunning Portugal holidays. Here are our top 5  beach choices in Portugal.

1. Praia da Falesia

The name “Falesia” means “cliff”, referring to the splendid orange-red cliffs that form a magnificent background to this long stretch of sand. At over 6km long, Praia da Falesia is one of the longest beaches in the Algarve, situated between the popular resorts of Vilamoura and Albufeira. For those adventurous enough, Praia da Falesia offers many opportunities to participate in watersports such as windsurfing and for those seeking a relaxing evening, the coastline has many bars and restaurants to soak up the local flavour.


2. Praia da Ancora

Praia da Ancora is located on Portugal’s “green coast” in the northern, Minho region, so called because of its wild beaches which are popular with surfers and windsurfers. The beaches along this coast are some of the most beautiful in Portugal, in particular  that of Praia de Ancora, which offers calm water for those wanted to bathe and relax. It is particularly popular among swimmers due to the fact that it is protected from Atlantic winds by the surrounding hills to the north and south.

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Book now – Half term holidays

Extend your summer or get in early for half term. The kids are back to school and a new (school) year is starting. Why not have something to look forward to, like an autumn tan, a spring in your step and a good injection of vitamin D in some of our favourite half term holiday picks. We take a look at where is hot during half term and what makes a great choice for children of all ages. If you fancy water slide parks, history lessons or just plain, old sandcastles and paddling in the sea, find out where to go with our best value destinations for half term holidays.

Half term holidays from Purple Travel

Where to spend your half term holidays

1. The Canaries – With an abundance of beaches, scuba diving, family bike rides and fantastic weather, cheap half term holidays in the Canaries are an obvious choice. Why not spend long, lazy days working on a winter tan on a black sandy beach in Tenerife, hike up the side of a volcano in Gran Canaria, or take a glass bottomed boat tour in Playa del Ingles? There is something to suit every type of family in the Canaries. Stay at Barcelo Lanzarote in Costa Teguise which offers adult and children’s swimming pools, playgrounds, kids club, giant monopoly and water slides as well as a spa for mum and dad.
2. Algarve – The Southern area of Portugal is still warm in October and there is plenty for children of all ages to keep busy with. Albufeira is a good family friendly hub, with plenty of child friendly restaurants, a sandy golden beach and nearby water parks. Stay at the Monica Isabel Beach Club in Albufeira, where you’ll find a great welcome, great rooms and great value.
3. Crete – The southern Aegean is ideal in October. Prices have dropped, but temperatures are still high and Crete is a perennial choice for family friendly holidays. Stay at the Knossos Beach Bungalows and Suites, right on a sandy beach, with lots of loungers, umbrellas and children’s activities available.
4. Marrakech – is an exciting, exotic holiday choice all year, but especially good around October. It’s still warm and at only three hours flying time, it’s not too far to get somewhere very exotic. Children and adults can enjoy hiking in the Atlas Mountains, visiting the colourful souks or exploring the Kasbahs. Stay at the Aqua Fun Club – All Inclusive. This 5* accommodation has extensive spa facilities as well as water slides, adult and children only pools, a rafting river and children’s aqua tower.
5. Rome – If you want to get some learning in during the half term break, why not choose a city break in Rome. The weather should still be ok, in the early 20s and you and your children can enjoy seeing the Colosseum and some gladiators up close, head for the Time Elevator Roma (a high tech history lesson made with some very special effects) spark imaginations at the Explora children’s museum and munch on pasta and pizza. Stay at the RSH Spanish Steps Apartments, centrally located near the Trevi Fountain and with plenty of space for all the family after long days exploring the city.
6. Florida – has over 1,000 miles of sandy beaches, is the home of theme parks and has some of the best shopping in the world. Then of course there is Disney World to think of. Meet Mickey Mouse, see the fireworks and parades and generally have the time of your life and a half term holiday you’ll never forget. Stay at the Disney Area Superior Homes for a home away from home experience in Orlando and all the amenities you want within easy reach of the World Disney World Resort.

Tell us your choices for the best half term holidays and connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.

Kate Power is community manager for Purple Travel.

Purple Hearts: the best beaches in the Algarve

Praia da Rocha Maybe the most famous beach resort in the Algarve, or in the whole of the country, Praia da Rocha’s Blue Flag status, golden sands and excellent facilities (loungers, umbrellas and water sports) make it a top choice throughout the summer. It’s found close to the bustling and lively resort of Portimao and is one of the best beaches in the Algarve.

Praia da rocha from PurpleTravel.co.uk

Image via @ CesarGP

Praia da Marinha regularly featured in Portugal’s tourism advertisements, Praia da Marinha offers absolutely stunning natural beauty, with huge rocks dotted throughout the crystal clear waters. Near Lagoa, it’s also a hot choice for snorkelling enthusiasts too.

Praia da Marinha

Praia da Marinha via @ MiguelVieira

Read more: The best Beaches in Gran Canaria

Praia do Homem Nu If you feeling like baring all, head for this nudist beach a short ferry ride from Tavira. This is one of two official nudist beaches in the Algarve and has excellent facilities and gorgeous views.

Praia do Homem Nu

Praia do Homem Nu via @ jrg261

Praia do Ancao Close to the excellent Vale do Lobo resort, Praia do Ancao is somewhat of a hidden gem. Tucked away behind a mass of dunes, the wide, sandy beach is sheltered from the elements and the crowds. This Blue Flag beach also has excellent facilities with loungers, umbrellas and restaurants and toilets.

Vale do Lobo

Praia do Ancao via @ Wikicommons

Praia de Barreta on a practically deserted island, the untouched sands of Praia de Barreta make it a perfect choice for total relaxation. This Blue Flag beach is away from the crowds and is accessible by boat. There are basic facilities, with loungers, umbrellas and a couple of snack bars.

Ilha Deserta

Ilha Deserta via @ Thilo Hilberer

Read more: Purple Hearts Lisbon

Praia do Carvoeiro Another Blue Flag favourite near Lagoa, this one has extensive facilities, such as loungers, umbrellas and lots of restaurants or snack bars. However, it still manages to retain a quiet atmosphere and the caves nearby are well worth a visit.

Praia do Carvoeiro

Praia do Carvoeiro via @ ReservadeCoches.com

Praia do Beliche Sagres’ best kept secret, this beach is a taste of the real beauty of the Algarve. Huge cliffs serve as a backdrop offering protection to the waters too. There are a lot of steps down to this secluded beach, so bear this in mind. It’s not really developed, so grab a picnic to take with you, or head for one of the restaurants on the neighbouring road. 

Praia do Beliche

Praia do Beliche via @ 07janeka

New Years Detox Holidays

After a month spent knocking back mince pies and downing one too many glasses of mulled wine, January is an international period of detox. For some, this necessitates a strict diet of raw food and juices, while others just need a week away to recover mind, body and soul. Here, PurpleTravel.co.uk searches for the top ten New Year detox holidays. Attention please…


Castel Monastero, Tuscany

Castel Monastero is a stylish retreat overlooking Chianti vineyards, placed within an 11th-century settlement. Its therapeutic wellness programme was designed by Dr Mosaraf Ali, the director of the Integrated Medical Centre in London. This programme focuses on weight loss, detox and rejuvenation – perfect for beating the Christmas bulge.

Expect daily yoga, toxin-eliminating Marma massage, cellulite-busting Trattamento Lipolitico mud wraps, a personalised dietary programme by Gordon Ramsay (delicious), and profuse amounts of fasting tea (gross). Come here if you’re looking to go home with more energy, lower stress levels and ease of sleep.

Viva Mayr, Austria

Based on Franz Mayr’s research on the idea that many ailments are actually caused by poor digestion, Viva Mayr, the Centre for Modern Mayr Medicine, in southern Austria prides itself on excellence in allergy and food intolerances. Run by Harold Stossier, the centre’s programmes combine traditional and modern naturopathic therapies, each with a different focus, whether it be on allergies, stress or anti-ageing. Its beautiful lakeside setting, indoor pool and beauty parlour make for an even more luxurious stay. However, don’t be fooled, this is not a holiday; everything is geared towards achieving optimum health, cleansing the digestive system and re-education of eating habits.


Longevity Wellness Resort, Algarve

Portugal’s first anti-ageing medical spa lies within a nature reserve by the quiet spa town of Caldas de Monchique. Recently built, the modern concrete and glass structure is eco-friendly, with grass roofs and solar panels. In partnership with La Clinique de Paris, specialists in ageing management, the Resort spa offers a variety of holistic personalised wellness programmes, lasting from three days to one month. For New Year, why not try Dr Chauchard’s 15-day Fast Slimming and Detox programme, which includes full medical consultation, a diet plan and related treatments? You will stay in one of the apartment-like suites, with its own kitchenette with Smeg and Bosch appliances and living and dining areas.

Fusion Fitness, Hotel Aguas de Ibiza, Ibiza

The Fusion Fitness holiday at Aguas de Ibiza offers seven personalised one-on-one activities and treatments, focusing on cardio, strength, sport, mind and body and renewal. Whip your body into the best shape to start the New Year with in the beautiful surroundings of Ibiza.


Hotel Palace Merano, Italy

Henri Chenot’s detox programmes are like catnip for yoga bunnies. His method is called Biontology, which combines Chinese medicine with Western technology. His regular clients visit to lose weight, boost their energy levels and rejuvenate their bodies, but those at the Hotel Palace Merano  also benefit from being in the foothills of the Dolomites in northern Italy. Enjoy calorie-controlled, salt-free recipes, trips to the spa and medical centre and picturesque views.

Yeotown Radiant Health Retreat, Devon

Located within 50 acres of organic farmland in north Devon, the incredibly stylish Yeotown Radiant Health Retreat is home to a convoy of fitness, nutrition and yoga experts. Here, you have the option of reconnecting with nature in the beautiful English countryside, while enjoying the range of outdoor activities on offer. For New Year, you should try their signature programme, an intensive four to seven-day detox called the Yeotox, which involves a combination of private consultations and specialised massages, plus daily activities to boot.

the retreat

The Golden Rock Retreat, Bali

A journey towards radiant health, the Golden Rock Retreat on the eastern tip of Bali is a private resort in the most tranquil of settings. Beachfront bedrooms and tailor-made programmes will help you get away from it all. Nutrition, fasting, yoga, meditation and qigong are all included, with the aim of deep-cleansing the system and re-energising the body. Whether you opt for the four-day Elemental Cleanse, with bowel flushes, massage, reflexology and other components or the 20-day Golden Rock Retreats, you’ll leave the Retreat feeling like a new person.

Forte Village, Sardinia

The Spa Thaermae del Forte at Forte Village houses six seawater pools at varying temperatures to heal by thelassotherapy. Resident doctor, Mosaraf Ali provides clients with advice on exercise, relaxation, yoga and massage to get you back on form after the Christmas season. His impressive list of patients include Prince Charles, the Sultan of Oman, Richard Branson and Michael Douglas.

penninghame house

Penninghame House, Scotland

On the exterior, Penninghame House is a quaint family home, but further inside you will discover a modern macrobiotic health retreat. Located on a remote 19th-century estate (an hour and a half’s drive from Glasgow in Dumfries and Galloway ), the House offers various courses, including cookery lessons and dine evenings, where their chefs will demonstrate a range of dishes, with ingredients chosen for their effects on the body, mind and energy levels.

The January health week (16-22) is perfect for your New Year’s resolutions, having a specific detox focus, which will help you clear your body of toxins, fat and acidic imbalance. You will also take home the skills needed to maintain a healthy balance in the future through lectures and home remedy sessions.

SHA Wellness Clinic, Albir, Spain

Alfredo Bataller Parietti’s used macrobiotic principles to tackle and recover from a disease he had suffered since childhood. With his SHA Wellness Clinic, he fuses ancient Oriental disciplines with Western techniques to create personalised macrobiotic diet programmes that include organic, locally sourced Mediterranean and Japanese fusion cuisine. The atmosphere is further enhanced by the resort’s fresh, contemporary design and its setting within the natural beauty of the Sierra Helada National Park. The seven-night, full-board Detox Holiday (already on our Christmas lists),  includes a medical check-up at the beginning and end, clinical analysis, consultation with a personal coach, massage, colonic hydrotherapy, acupuncture, daily yoga, t’ai chi, cooking demonstrations and a personalised post-treatment health plan plus two months of follow-up coaching.

Need a detox holiday? Let us help you find the right one. Learn about the latest deals from Purple Travel.

Sweet Tooth in Portugal: A guide to Portuguese desserts

The Portuguese sure like their food. Although a relatively small country, their cuisine is somewhat diversified and distinctive in each of the different regions. They value their meats, their seafood is some of the freshest in the world and their vegetables are cooked to perfection, but most of all – the Portuguese love their desserts. You will never have your plate cleared in a Portuguese restaurant without being asked, “What would you like for dessert?”

For those of you that have visited Portugal, you will have probably noticed that every street has at least one pastelaria (pastry shop), usually occupied by a line of locals and tourists alike who have followed the sweet smells of fresh bread and toasted almonds. Dessert specialities include more than a whopping 200 different types of pastries. This national penchant for sweets seems to have originated during the Moorish occupation; in the 15th century, there was the sugar cane planted in Madeira. Then, sometime in the 17th and 18th centuries, Portuguese convents began to be known for their sweet pastries, including specialities such as “toucinho do céu” (heaven’s lard) and “barriga de freiras” (nun’s belly). The convents would frequently compete to see which could produce the best sweets and desserts. There are even stories of the famous Belém pastries, whose recipe remains a closely guarded secret, or the ‘Abade de Priscos Pudim’, dating back to a 14th century legacy from one of the best Portuguese cooks.

There are simply too many desserts to list them all, but if you have one week in Portugal, this is a list of the best seven Portuguese desserts – one for each day of your stay:

The seven best Portuguese desserts

Toucinho do Céu | Translating to ‘Heaven’s Bacon’, this dessert was originally made with pork lard by convent nuns. These were women who understood the intrinsic ingredients of any good dessert: ridiculous amounts of sugar, a boat load of egg yellows and of course, more calories than you can imagine.

Differing from modern almond cakes, Heaven’s Bacon is extremely moist, rather than battery. You can find Toucinho do Ceu anywhere in Portugal, but for a more traditional (and delicious) version – head north to the city of Guimaraes.

Aletria | You will be surprised to hear the main ingredient for this dessert – a very thin kind of noodle (like vermicelli) that was brought into Portugal when the Moors settled. The Portuguese, sweet-toothed by nature, then turned these noodles into a sugary treat by boiling them in milk and adding butter, egg yolk, lemon zest and a sprinkle of cinnamon, creating something a little similar to rice pudding. A very traditional dessert, no Christmas table in Portugal is complete without a generous tray of Aletria.

Ovos Moles | Another dessert that centres on Portugal’s favourite ingredient combination: sugar and eggs galore. Ovos moles means ‘soft eggs’, which pretty much sums up what this dessert is. Portuguese nuns once used egg whites to iron their garments and create this recipe accidently – so as not to waste the remaining egg yellows. Ovos moles come in rolled cakes, inside traditional clay pots or, more famously, inside light wheat dough in the shape of items that symbolize Aveiro and its river.

Azevias de Mertola | Another dessert with origins inside religious institutions, Azevias de Mertola originates from the southern town of Mertola, where nuns devoted themselves to God and to making heavenly treats. The dessert is made up of fried dough pockets, filled with a smooth and creamy paste made of mashed chickpeas. Don’t worry, it tasted nothing like humous; Azevias are super sweet and extra delicious.

Egg threads from Purple Travel

Image via @ Wikicommons

Bolinhos de Amendoa | Aside from sun, white sands and crystal waters, the Algarve is famous for the creative use of almonds. 
Marzipan is taken to a whole new level by Algarvian sweet makers, filling the almond paste with an egg and sugar concoction known as “fios de ovos” – egg threads. Bolinhos de Amendoa is one of the most attractive sweets in the entire country, being most popularly presented in fruit shapes.

Blog Pastel

Image via @ Wikicommons

Pastel de Belem |These egg custard tarts are probably one of the most popular desserts amongst tourists. Originating from the area of Belem in Lisbon, Pastel de Belem is found all over Portugal, under the name Pastel de Nata. Pastel de Belem has been elected one of the “7 Wonders of Portuguese Gastronomy” (yes this is a real thing!); people queue up in Belem to taste this cake where it was originally created, served warm straight out of the oven, with a burnt crust on top, a crumbly pastry base and a sprinkle of cinnamon on top. This take-away treat is the perfect companion to a cup of coffee or tea.

Bolo Rei from Purple Travel

Image via @ Wikicommons

Bolo Rei (King Cake) | A traditional Portuguese cake that is typically made at Christmas and eaten up to Dia de Reis (the day of Kings). Its shape resembles a king’s crown. Made from soft, white dough, raisins, nuts and crystallized fruit, it is not so dissimilar from an English Christmas cake. When families bake this cake, they usually include a little prize within it and whoever slices the piece with the prize has to either bake or buy the next cake the following year.

You should read… Purple Hearts… Albufeira

Purple Hearts… Albufeira Portugal

When you think of Albufeira Portugal the tourist capital of the Algarve, you first think of its golden beaches and pulsating nightlife. These features attract droves of holidaymakers from all over Europe, particularly during the summer months when you can’t swing a lilo without banging into another tourist. Coming under the municipal area of Faro, Albufeira covers an area of approximately 140 km², with more than 40,000 resident inhabitants including a whopping 4,000 foreigners who have chosen to live here. But how has Albufeira earned so much popularity and yet retained its traditions? Read on to find out why, this week, we heart Albufeira Portugal…

The history of Albufeira

Back in Roman times, bustling Albufeira was called Baltum, up until in the 8th century when the Moors who occupied the town renamed it Al-Buhera – The Castle on the Sea. Today, vestiges of aqueducts, roads and Roman bridges can be still be seen in Paderne and Guia. Much later, in the middle of the 19th century, the fishing industry did much to revive the economy of the town, soon becoming the principal means of income for the region. Tourism only began to flourish from the ‘60s onwards, providing a new breath of air for the locals, leading to the town becoming a city in 1986. Thanks to an ever-growing tourist industry, Albufeira has become one of the most desired holiday destinations in Europe.

Best beaches in Albufeira

Albufeira beaches are the most popular in the Algarve, yet with more than twenty golden, sandy beaches to choose from, many of which are blue flagged, they never get too overcrowded. The most well-known is Fisherman’s Beach, where many of the Algarve’s summer parties are held. Despite this, the beach has managed to retain its traditional appearance, of which the fishing industry is still very much a part – expect to see colourful Algarve fishing boats dancing on the waves both day and night. Falésia Beach, a huge length of fine golden sand running from Albufeira to Vilamoura, is another great spot, particularly if you’re bringing the kids as its blue flagged. Similarly, Olhos d’ Agua or “eyes of the water” as it translates to, is a safe beach that’s very popular with tourists due to its myriad resort places to eat and drink along the beach. It gets its name from the freshwater springs underneath the sands, which can sometimes be seen to bubble up at low tide. Praia do Túnel, is situated at the front of the old Albufeira town. It is a magnificent wide stretch of golden sand, embraced by soft golden-red cliffs and boasting striking rock formations in the water. Access is through a ‘tunnel’ in the cliffs under a hotel just past the tourist office with a few steps down to the beach – hence its name.

You should read… Getting Married in Portugal, a Bride’s Guide

What to see in Albueria

Albufeira’s old town centre has a charming traditional feel. White-washed houses and narrow, cobbled streets lined with cafés and boutiques lead to a picturesque central square. In the square, you will find yourself surrounded by bars and restaurants where you can taste some of the local fish-based gastronomy. The historic centre exposes Albufeira’s Arab past through its impressive architecture. The charming, meandering streets are narrow and the jasmine-scented air makes walking through the neighbourhood a pleasure. You can walk to the Castillo del Mar from here – the ‘castle by the sea‘ – a fortress built by the Arabs as a significant point of defence. Culture enthusiasts will enjoy discovering the rich heritage of Albufeira, particularly if they visit the Museum of Archaeology. The museum showcases fascinating artefacts from the pre-historic, Roman, Muslim, medieval and modern periods. The Church of São Sebastião on Praça Miguel Bombarda has an impressive Manueline doorway that provides an excellent photo opportunity. From there, Rua 5 de Outubro leads through a tunnel to the Fisherman’s beach, where you can see Albufeira’s colourful fishing boats surfing the waves. One of the best attractions in Albufeira is the Zoomarine Aquarium, where visitors can watch animal shows and even have a chance to swim with dolphins. Go-carting and horse-riding are also popular activities.

Where to party in Albufeira

And if you’re looking for some late night revelry, there’s plenty of it in fun-loving, lively Albufeira. The Strip is the place to head to – a succession of booming bars, restaurants and clubs – and the hub of Albufeira’s nightlife scene. The owners of the bars and restaurants are frequently expats, who make you feel at home straight away and enjoy nothing more than a good natter. For adult holidays there are happy hours, strip clubs and late night partying on balmy summers evening. And the best bit? Drinks are seriously cheap.

What to eat in Albufeira

In the foreground of Albuferia’s dining scene is its fishing industry.  Traditional Algarve dishes include the famous Cataplana, a seafood and shellfish dish, and grilled sardines. Tuna, sea bream, monkfish, horse mackerel or alimados, squid and many other delicacies are prepared mostly in stews, ragouts or grilled, or boiled – any of which is sure to be excellent. You won’t find fresher fish than here. Desserts are another strong point; cakes are mostly made from dried fruits, and other titbits are made from almonds, figs and carob beans. There is an ice-cream of carob, the Dom Rodrigo, and we recommend you try the Almond Liqueur, Alfarroba (carob) liqueur and Medronho.

You should read: Sweet Tooth in Portugal: A guide to Portuguese desserts

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