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Friday 24th May, 2013
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Albufeira is centrally placed along the Algarve coast, and with only a short transport time from Faro airport, Albufeira has become the tourist capital of the Algarve.
Historically, Albufeira was a busy seaport with its own castle. Sadly this was destroyed in the great earthquake of 1755, but fortunately a big part of the town survived and has since been carefully maintained. In Roman times Albufeira was called Baltum, and was later changed by the Moors to Al-Buhera which means “Castle of the Sea”. The rebuilding after the earthquake was slow and costly, and it took several decades before Albuferia began to recuperate, but finally in the middle of the 19th century, the fishing industry grew enormously and helped to revive the economy. Albufeira stayed a small fishing village until the 1960s where tourism began to boom and the village started to expand into the major holiday resort it is today. Even today the place is still expanding to cater for the constantly increasing demand for holiday apartments and hotels.
Despite all the new developments and holiday complexes in the outskirts, Albufeira has managed to preserve some of its historic Moorish character in the old part of the town. Albufeira Old Town is very picturesque with pretty whitewashed houses, charming cafes and nice little boutiques all to be found in the labyrinth of steep, narrow streets which lead down the hillside past the main square Largo Eng. Duarte Pacheco to one of Albufeira’s many beautiful beaches.
To the west of the old town, in great contrast to the historic buildings, you find Albufeira Marina, a controversial new development named Lego land by local residents for its very colourful buildings.
The newer part of Albufeira, on the eastern side, is centred on Areias de São João, and mostly known for its long street of bars, restaurants and night clubs called “The strip”. The whole area has a great buzzing holiday atmosphere and starts at the top of the Montechoro hill and continues for about 2 kilometres down to the popular beach Praia Oura.