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I actually didn’t know much about Albufeira before I visited. I just knew that the Faro region of Portugal had some stunning beach locations and I wanted to stay somewhere that had easy beach access and Sao Rafael Atlantico Resort in Albufeira was the perfect place to do just that.
I discovered that Albufeira used to be a little fishing town and is now full of European tourists enjoying the beautiful beaches and the thriving nightlife of Old Town and New Town. They were both located about 3.5 km from the resort, which was an easy 9-minute Uber ride. My friend, Stephanie from Ginger on the Go, and I ventured out one day to see what these two towns were all about!
Old Town is a family-friendly town with lots of restaurants, bars and shops. You can get beautiful views of Albufeira from the hill overlooking Praia dos Pescadores. From there, we took the escalators down to the beach area which was busy with families, friends and couples enjoying some beach activities.
Next to the beach are all the restaurants, bars and shops. There is a nice outdoor area of locals selling clothing, souvenirs, treats and more. We had a wonderful dinner outside on the deck at Esplanada Do Tunel with beautiful ocean views. Our waiter, who we assume was the manager or owner, was very friendly and hilariously flirtatious which made me laugh quite a bit.
I was in a mood for some dessert and really craving crepes so I found this restaurant that had a menu of at least 30 different kinds of desserts and thought it was the perfect place to enjoy a delicious dessert outdoors. Sadly, my crepe dessert was very disappointing. It was cold and almost frozen with little flavor. Stephanie was disappointed with hers as well. Hers didn’t even look anything like the picture on the menu.
I felt cheated and still needed to satisfy my crepe cravings. Luckily, I found a little crepe store that made fresh crepes and it was just what I was looking for. I wish I would have found this place first. I chatted with the friendly owner about how we both preferred plain crepes instead of having all those toppings added to it. The crepe itself is sweet enough in our opinion.
I wish I could remember the names of these restaurants but sadly, I did not write them down. I know I failed as a blogger, but the lesson here is to always look up reviews before eating anywhere.
After we browsed around at some shops, we headed to New Town.
I was actually a bit scared to visit New Town at first because I heard it was a party town and one of the restaurant promoters in Old Town told me to stay away from New Town as it was full of shady people that robbed tourists. Obviously he was trying to get me to stay in Old Town but he did have me worried a bit.
If you want to walk to New Town from Old Town, it’s possible but it’s about 3.2 km and a 40-minute walk. We decided to take an Uber since we really didn’t know where we were going. It was about a 6-minute ride and our friendly Uber driver told us about some spots we should check out in New Town.
New Town has pretty much the same things as Old Town with a beautiful beach, restaurants and shops but the main thing this town is known for is their hardcore partying and karaoke. I had no idea Albufeira had such a thriving nightlife until I started doing some research on things to do in the area.
We walked down the hill to Praia da Oura where there were some restaurants and bars. Like all the other beaches of Albufeira, Praia da Oura is another photogenic beach. We took some pictures along the water and then headed up to the main strip of New Town.
Apparently, there are a lot of Ireland vacationers here, hence why there are so many Irish bars on the strip. We stopped by one of the bars and just people watched for a bit. We didn’t witness anything crazy since the night was still young, but as it got later, we could start to see the crowd change with louder, more obnoxious folks. The craziness usually starts around 10pm, so we left around 9pm and called it a night.
As we were waiting for our Uber, I noticed this drunk man hassling a middle-aged bartender at one of the bars but it almost looked like a comedy skit because the drunk guy just wanted her attention and she would just blow her whistle at him so he would get lost. For some reason, he loved it and wanted more. This was just a taste of what the night would be like if we stayed.