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Albufeira was a small town, 20 years ago, but it flourished after Portugal joined the European Union. Maybe it’s because Cliff Richard has a home near here that Brits flock to it, hoping to bump into the pop star.
Sir Cliff planted a vineyard just up the road at Quinta do Miradouro – the vineyard is called Adega do Cantor, and you can visit.
The town was named Baltum by the Romans and re-named Al-Buhera by the Moors. Signs of Romans and Moors remain but much of the area was destroyed by the earthquake in 1755.
The traditional town has two beaches, and there is a popular marina on the western side of town.
Modern travellers tend to gravitate around The Strip – which is populated by bars and nightclubs, much like you might find in Ayia Napa or Faliraki.
The town is so driven by tourism that the views are dominated by hotels and restaurants. The best features are to the east and west, along the beaches of the small villages near the town.
One thing to be aware of - the main artery in the Algarve that links east to west, the A22, is a toll road with automatic toll cameras. The tolls are paid using a special box that you must have installed in the car. Ask your Easyjet representative about this locally.
Take a drive to Sesmarias, in the west, and Olhos da Agua in the east. There are also golf courses nearby, including the Pine Cliffs Golf and Country Club.
Many Algarve visitors come for the golf. Using Albufeira as a base, you can drive to one of several wonderful courses, including Faldo Amendoeira course, the popular Vale do Lobo and Quinta do Lago – to name just three.
Pay a visit to Vilamoura – the marina where all the rich Portuguese keep their boats. A popular bar there is the “Bar Sete” on the marina – so called because that was the number worn by its owner, Figo, when he played for Portugal.
Take a drive west along the coast to Carvoeiro, a fishing town which is a popular holiday town with Brits and Germans. Further west, you arrive at Portimao. Continue even further and you will come to Lagos.
For a longer drive inland, take a trip north into the Alentejo, which is the region north of the Algarve. Many Portuguese agree that the wine from the Alentejo is the best in the country, although opinions are divided.