Albufeira is known as The Capital of Tourism in Portugal. The name Albufeira comes from the Arabic ‘Al-Buhera’ which means ‘Castle of the Sea’ and this could have come from a fortification built on the rocks on the lower part of the town.
It’s original name was Baltum and was first occupied by the Romans and there are still traces of them in roads and bridges. Trade with the North Africans then led to the Moors occupying the Algarve. They developed agriculture and introduced new techniques, tools and water wheels to pump water from the wells.
However the Moors were driven out in 1249 by the Knights of the Order of Santiago in the reign of King D. Alfonso III. The town was awarded its Charter on the 20th August 1504 and ever since has been governed with the rest of Portugal.
An earthquake in 1755 caused massive damage and ended with a tidal flood that destroyed most of the buildings and this took decades to rebuild. In the 19th century dried fruit and the fishing industry provided most of the income in the region. In the 1960′s tourism flourished and so there was new income that helped Albufeira grow and grow and in 1986 it became a city.
Now with the tourist industry firmly in place probably because of the climate which has over 3000 hours of sunshine per year. Many foreigners have settled in the area for many reasons such as the water sports, fantastic beaches, golf courses, nightlife and the cuisine. Summers in the Algarve are hot and dry – this is influenced by the Mediterranean Sea. Winters are mild with not much rain.
The sea temperature is around 14c in January and reaches around 22c in August. If you like driving it is a pleasant drive along the coast from Faro calling at Vilamoura, Albufeira, Portimao, Lagos, Prai De Luz, Sagres and on to the end of the world. For something a little different a visit to Monchique is worthwhile.
Praia da Luz
Looking for Algarve Apartments – Nothing can be easier as there are literally thousands of websites advertising holidays and apartments on the Algarve.
The first time I went on holiday to Albufeira it was quite easy to find accomodation on the net. Without the advantage of a site like this with plenty of info I just googled Algarve Apartments and soon found a suitable apartment near the Marina.
Prices vary acccording to whether you need a one, two or even a three bedroomed apartment. Or do you fancy a Villa? Don’t worry all prices are catered for. In no time at all I had booked online and sorted the flight out to Faro as well.
Algarve cheapest holiday destination in Europe
The Algarve has been rated as the cheapest holiday destination in Europe for British travellers looking to get the most for their pound.
While the region still attracts celebrities looking to enjoy the spectacular beaches, enviable golf courses and hospitable nature of the Portuguese, over the past few years businesses looking to attract more custom have slashed their prices.
The Worldwide Holiday Costs Barometer 2011 from the Post Office looks at the prices of eight popular holiday expenses and compares them around the world with Portugal coming out as the cheapest holiday destination.
Sarah Munro from the Post Office said: “Families looking for the best value in Europe will get far more for their money in Portugal.”
The eight items, which were all purchased in the tourist destination of the Algarve, included a cup of coffees, a bottle of local beer and suncream and the total value of these essentials came to only 32.84 pounds.
When this figure is compared to neighboring Spain, which has always been seen as the bargain destination of the Iberian Peninsular but comes in with a shopping list totaling almost €4 more than Portugal, it is easy to see why the Algarve is becoming the premier cheap holiday destination of Europe.
Sarah Munroe from the Post Office added: “Over the past two years, the popular resorts in the Algarve have suffered badly from a drop in UK visitors who have been put off by the prospect of higher costs because of the weak pound.”
She added: “The restaurants and bars have responded to this by slashing their prices in a battle for business.”
The Algarve has always been known for its high quality yet reasonably priced restaurants and the Post Office findings confirmed that the Algarve is one of the cheapest places to enjoy a meal out in Europe with a three course meal with house wine for two adults being found to be only 16.07 pounds.
Low cost golf on holiday in the Algarve
The Algarve has won many awards for its golf courses in the past and once again this year a top German Golfing magazine has named the Algarve the best destination for golf in Europe.
With the Portugal masters held in the region and a Ryder Cup 2018 bid in the pipeline, Portugal really is a premier golfing destination.
Just because it has some of the best greens and fairways in the world it doesn´t mean that you need a millionaires budget to be able to play here.
For regular visitors to the region the Pestana Group, which owns the Gramacho, Vale da Pinta, Silves, Alto and now the Vila Sol course near Vilamoura, offers some great pay and play membership offers while a yearly membership is perfect for those looking to play some of the best courses in the Algarve all through the year.
For those just looking for a couple of rounds while here on holiday then preparation is key when looking for low cost golf while on holiday in the Algarve, with just a little bit of homework you can quickly see where there are special offers and deals to be had.
Early booking is often key in getting the best deals while group bookings will always recieve handsome discounts so it is best to give a call to your course of choice to see exactly what they can offer.
While an 18 hole course is impressive and certainly a challenge there are also nine hole courses that sharpen up your short game and can be much cheaper than their 18 hole sisters.
A great value for money nine hole course can be found at Vale de Milho near Carvoeiro, this attractive short course has great offers and some good twilight deals to be had, they also do not have a strict dress code so no money needs to be spent buying golf attire you forgot to pack into your suitcase!
Low cost ways to treat yourself on holiday in the Algarve
A trip to a health spa is usually associated with a nasty whack to your wallet but in the Algarve their are many ways to get more for your money when you are looking to pamper yourself.
Take a break from sunning yourself on one of the beautiful beaches of the region and pop into one of the many top quality spas dotted across the Algarve and if you are over here during October or March then the discounts are huge.
Last year the very first Algarve Spa Week was launched in a bid to promote the facilities that already exist here. It proved to be so popular with visitors that organisers are holding another two this year during 2011 with the first promotional week running from March 5 until March 12 and the second of the year taking place between October 1 and 8.
Anyone booking treatments during the promotional weeks will receive 50% off making a trip to the spa a cheap and low cost treat in the Algarve.
The choices are huge with ten of the best 5 star hotel spas in the region taking part offering any treatment at half price for the entire week and you do not have to be staying at the hotels to make the most of the offers. Just contact the spa you are interested in and ask for the rates and make a booking- it is as easy as that.
Some of the hotels taking part in the week include the Hilton Vilamoura, Real Marina in Olhão, Vila Vita Parc in Porches and the Crown Plaza in Vilamoura.
Meanwhile, if you are unable to make it over here for the promotional weeks then there are always special offers from spas taking place throughout the summer months.
Simply visit the websites of the spas in the region and have a look at what is currently on offer to give you more choices when enjoying your low cost Algarve holiday.
Our Fantastic Christmas Holiday In Albufeira
Fancy having your Christmas dinner in the sun instead of the rubbish weather in the UK? We were lucky enough to do that in 2011 and it was a pleasure to get away from the terrible weather we have had here. Up to now January 12th 2012 I would say it has rained more or less every day in the north of England for the past six weeks.
We went to Albufeira on the Algarve from the 20th December until the 27th and it was blue skies every day with a temperature of around 68c.
We made a booking at the Quinta Pedra Dos Bicos Apartments and they were just fantastic. We didn’t know what to expect but we certainly had a surprise when we arrived.
We had two bedroomed apartments that were modern, spacious and clean. Look at the photographs below. We also had access to a private beach a few hundred yards from the apartments.
The apartments were in excellent condition with nice furnishings in every room plus satellite television and air conditioning – fridge, toaster, microwave and everything you need in the kitchen. Free wi-fi as well just in case you took your laptop with you.
All this for around £160 each including flights.
On Christmas day we had our Christmas lunch at the Cottage Restaurant which is at the top of the strip on the right. That was a great choice as well – we chose The Cottage because of the excellent reviews on the internet. We had a traditional 3 course Christmas dinner with a Buck’s Fizz to start and coffee, mints and a liqueur to finish all for just 30 euros. The staff were bubbly and friendly and I would recommend The Cottage to anyone who wanted excellent food. http://www.the-cottage.biz
Guess what we will be doing next Christmas? Click on a photograph for details…
Quinta Pedra Dos Bicos Apartments
Quinta Pedra Dos Bicos Apartments Beach