By Ilona Kauremszky

Q: We are renting a villa in Albufeira Portugal next month and would like to know what is in the area for sightseeing. Could you please suggest some ideas? Also, what kind of weather will there be as I'm not sure on what clothes to pack. Any information you have is greatly appreciated.

A: Albufeira itself is a small town located right at the centre of the Algarve coast. So if you have time, Maria do Carmo Nogueira from the Portugal Tourism Office says, “I would not hesitate to explore at least along the coast east and west of Albufeira.” This seaside enclave was first discovered by tourists in the 1960’s and the resort has since become a major tourist destination.

For sightseeing, here’s a short must-see list: the Clock Tower which is the emblem of the city; Misericórdia Chapel which was originally an Arab mosque but in 1499 it was converted into chapel; St. Sebastian’s Church; Parish-Church and St. Anne’s Church all of which are 18th century; Chapel of our Lady of Orada which is only 1 km outside town; the Castle Walls which have vestiges of one of the castle wall towers located on Rua Joaquim Pedro Samora on the Northern or Beach Gateway; Fishermen’s Beach which has a charming view of Albufeira; the beach with the hustle and bustle of the picturesque fishing port; and the Engineer Duarte Pacheco Square, a shopping and entertainment district. “There are also lots of restaurants, bars and cafés. You should try the typical piri-piri chicken, a local specialty,” suggests Maria.

Within a 6 km range you can find other villages such as Olhos d’Água which translated means “Eyes of Water.” Here, the numerous freshwater springs bubble-up both on the beach and offshore underwater.

The average temperature in February is around 12º C. It is warmer in the day time but might be cooler at night. Pack casual clothing that can be layered. A couple of warmer sweaters and an all-weather jacket should do the trick.

Maria says, “It might still be too cold to swim in the ocean, but there are heated swimming pools and you should be able to enjoy the sun on the beaches and walk and sightsee.” If you wish to get more information while there, be sure to visit the local tourist offices scattered around the Algarve.

There is also a tourist office in Albufeira where you can receive useful information, local maps, suggest itineraries and information on local tours and bus schedules.

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