20 Years From Now...

"20 YEARS FROM NOW," Mark Twain said, “you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than the ones you did.”THIS online journal is dedicated to our next 20 years!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Exploring Albufeira

This past week we've explored the area around our apartment as well as the beach and old section of Albufeira. 

While we walked along the beach past the hotel (above) on the way to town I found my "new winter boots". Last time I'd seen them was two years ago in Florida and I honestly feared I'd lost them for good. Not so!

Albufeira was originally a sleepy fishing village in the Algarve region of Portugal, but it is now a popular tourist destination.

The population is around 40,000 including 4,000 foreigners who now call it home. The old town's narrow streets wind up and around the surrounding hills and while a 1755 earthquake destroyed most of the buildings there's always something in the 'newer' architecture that catches the eye - such as this elaborate stone exterior. It's a work of art!

A good portion of the shops are closed as January is the off season, but there are still enough open to appease visitors in need of some 'retail therapy'.

John's checking out the menu of this restaurant. We haven't tried it yet, but will before the end of the month when we leave and we'll be sure to get a table by one of the balcony windows.

The old town is a maze of connecting streets. Shops and homes are often above or below each other and there are stairs everywhere.

The tunnel in the centre of the above photo leads to the ocean and this gorgeous sand coloured building. 

Then we returned via the tunnel to the shopping area. There's very little concrete here. The sidewalks are mosaics made of grey and white stones that are as smooth as marble.

This is the view from the top of the stairs.

The Church of St. Sebastian is now a museum for religious artifacts.

However, the alter is still the highlight of one's visit.

The town's beginnings can be traced back to the Romans when it was called Baltum. Trading with North Africa eventually led to Moors settling throughout the Algarve. See that arch behind us? A mosque used to be on site but eventually was replaced by a Christian church that was destroyed in the 1755 earthquake. All that remains today is the arch.

Tiles are commonplace. They're used to create street signs or on the exterior of buildings.

Most buildings are white or cream colour but sometimes there's a splash of something bolder.  

The Bell Tower has 8 bells and chimes on the hour. Did you notice the orange tree?

Back down at sea level at Fisherman's Beach is this sculpture dedicated to Albufeira's maritime past.

Returning to the eastern part of town and our apartment involves climbing the cliffs - or if you're lazy like us taking the escalator!

The view at the top is spectacular...

...while the various sizes and shapes of homes along the stroll back are varied and impressive.

I snapped the next photo because of the height of the poinsettia tree.

It's not difficult to understand why four thousand expats have made Albufeira their home. From the scenery to the climate to the locally produced food and wine what's not to love?!

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  1. Beautiful! Love the expanse of the header photo. You'll have to let us know what is on the menu of that restaurant when you go!

    1. Grilled sardines was one item as I recall. When I get the others I'll let you know!

  2. Beautiful Dianne!! So glad you found your winter boots again. I love the mosaic sidewalks and recall the beauty of them in Lisbon too! When we were in the Algarve we stayed at a beautiful little village called Salema. I'll have to look up Albufeira to see where it is!

    1. I checked the map and Salema is only 20km from Lagos where we'll be in February, Rosella. Would you recommend a day trip?

    2. We stayed there for two nights while on our Rick Steves tour. It is a beautiful small village. One of the highlights was a fisherman's boat tour down the coast where we got a stunning view of the cliffs. It may not be that different from Lagos? You can google Rick Steve's description of this place and see what you think. Enjoy!!!

    3. Hi Rosella, I re-read Rick Steves Portugal guide and he's mentioned Salema and another town that's east of Albufeira. We'll do our best to check both of them out. Thank you!

  3. Beautiful pictures! We spent 2 weeks in the Algarve but only stopped by Albufeira on our second last day because we knew that it was a "tourist" town. Actually we never even went into the town itself we only walked along the cliffs and the beach. We were sorry we didn't stop by there earlier in our visit because we really enjoyed the beach and now seeing your pictures, I think we missed a very pretty town. Guess we will just have to check it out some other time.

    Hope you make it some of the other pretty towns in the Algarve.


    1. That's the joy of travelling off season, Ruth. We miss all the crowds and just get to enjoy a place with the locals. Neither John nor I would want to be here in July or August when the beach is filled and the nightclubs go all night, but that's just us. We prefer a more laid-back atmosphere!

    2. When we were there it was at the end of March beginning of April but when I say tourists I mean that that is the destination for a number of North Americans as well as many British because they have lots of deals for airfare and apartment rentals at that time of year for people who want to get away from the cold. As I said though I think we were a little wrong in our thinking as it did look like a beautiful spot. I agree, we definitely wouldn't want to be there during the summer.

      We stayed at a little place further east of there up in the mountains. It was very remote and quite and the scenery was fantastic.

  4. Hubby and I had tossed around the idea of going to Portugal on more than one occasion. From your pictures, I think the location has just moved to the top of our "must see" list. Great shots. Looks like you both are having oodles of fun!!

    1. We're really enjoying it, Pat, and definitely plan to return next year. It's one of our favourite destinations to date. Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment. :)