In early-mid july 2011 I went to Albufeira, which is situated in the Algarve, south of Portugal. Our group consisted of 11 lads and 7 girls. We stayed for 7 nights.
I’m not British, but come from the Flemish region of Belgium so excuse me if my written English is questionable quality and please enjoy my Albufeira review.
Albufeira has two town centers.
-The old town centre where we went only once, was very cosy with lots of narrow streets and beautiful restaurants. This is a typical family destination for people of all ages. There is a big and beautiful beach, a lot of souvenir shops, little marketplaces,…
Around the main square there are some bars with quite a lot of young people of many different nationalities, but it ain’t wild nightlife.
-The new town centre which is called ‘Praia de Oura’. This is where we were staying. There is a ‘strip’ with quite some bars, restaurants and lots of neon lights everywhere. There is also a beautiful sandy beach, one of the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever seen. The beach is actually situated between cliffs.
Nightlife – The nightlife is situated around the ‘Montechoro’-strip. There are some bars filled with young people like Matt’s bar, Reno’s, LaBamba, The Garage, Mambo, Patcha, Celebration, Wild&co…
In the mid-week times: Monday to wednesday, it ain’t too busy over all, but some bars like Matt’s or LaBamba will be filled up after midnight, or 1 am. All the bars at the strip have to stop at 4am, except some strip clubs, they go on until 6 or 7 (I think there are two strip clubs close to the strip).
From Thursday to Sunday the strip is packed. A lot of bachelor parties (stag&hens) are there up for a long weekend of sun&partying; saw a lot of silly dressed up people. It even reminded me of Malia sometimes, although the strip at Albufeira is a lot smaller and most of the time less busy.
There’s also one real nightclub with a capacity of about 1500, which is Kiss. Kiss is situated a few hundred meters from the Strip and is busy every night from around 3 am to 6-7am. Most days of the week there are British deejays playing, one or two days a week there are some ‘famous’ Dutch house-deejays spinning.
Prices – I would say the prices in Albufeira are good. Our accommodation was rather expensive but the restaurant-prices were very reasonable. For about 10-12€ you can have a tasty main dish and something to drink. There are a lot of restaurants who try to get you in so if you’re in a (large) group you can negotiate to get some free stuff. Things we got for free when we went out to eat: 4 bottles of wine, garlic bread, bread with tuna, olives,… Particularly if you’ve got some girls in your group you can achieve a lot! If you go off the strip you can find even better deals. One time we found an Italian place where you could get a 3-course meal for just 15€.
I also recommend the old town to go for a supper and a wandering around the cosy streets before heading back to the new town. Taxi’s are widely available and cost about 4 to 5€ for the 3,5km ride. I won’t go by foot, because it is really hilly.
The prices at the bars on the strip were good as well. All bars were free to get in and in most of them you got a pint of beer for only 3€ and a spirit&mixer for 3,5€. Cocktails were shaken right before your eyes for 7€ and they were big, they were served in pint-glasses and weren’t watered down. I haven’t seen any drink offers like 2for1 or anything like that, but it’s possible that some places did this.
The prices at the Kiss nightclub were a lot higher. Without flyers are entry-card you had to pay 15€ just to get in. A beer served in a long-drink glass cost 4€ and a Corona was 5. Cocktails 8 are more.
Nationalities – Speaking only on the Albufeira new town: It’s mainly British (or Irish, I do not hear the difference), I’d say about 70% of all people, maybe slightly more in the weekends. Aside from British there are quite a lot of Dutch youngsters, I’d say up to 15%. The rest is Portuguese or maybe some Spanish. These nationalities were kinda divided over the bars:
Matt’s bar – Rnb/hiphop/dnb/dubstep – mainly British, some Dutch.
LaBamba – Top40 charts – Mainly Portuguese and Dutch, less British
Reno’s – Top40 &dance – Mainly British
The Garage & Patcha bar – Garage/rnb/dance – Mainly British
Wild&co – Mostly live music – a good mix of nationalities
Celebration – Dutch party music/dance – 90% Dutch, British could be refused entry.
Kiss Club – Depending on the theme – a good mix of nationalities; most of the days slightly more British.
à Of course, there are more bars, but these are the most popular ones.
Male/female ratio – Depending on the day. Some days there are a lot of birds, some days guys outnumbered the girls completely. I’d say most of the time it’s like 60/40 boys to girls, which I thought was fine.
Overall – Albufeira is no where near a mental resort as Malia or Lloret the mar. But we were with a large, mixed group of youngsters aging 19 to 23 and had a lot of fun. There was enough going on, and I could have been there having a good time for some more nights before I would have got bored of it.
It’s only a 2.40h flight (from Brussels) and there is no time difference (between Portugal and the UK). I wouldn’t go there for a whole week anymore, but I do recommend it for a long weekend. It’s fairly cheap to go out, the weather is great (although the sea-water was quite cold), and it’s a relatively short flight. Transfer from the airport to the resort is about 45minutes.
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