Albufeira is a beautiful seaside resort in central Algarve, on the South coast of Portugal. It became popular with tourists in the 60s and since then Albufeira has grown into a major tourist destination with numerous restaurants, shops and entertainment in the form of bars and nightclubs that have given Albufeira a reputation of being the place to party in the Algarve.
Albufeira is made up of the Old Town, the Marina and Areias de Sao Joao also known as “the Strip”. Albufeira Old Town is set on a hill overlooking one of the most spectacular beaches in the Algarve, while the town itself is a delightful array of narrow winding streets and old traditional fishing cottages that made up the traditional fishing village that Albufeira started as. Albufeira Marina is more modern with multicoloured houses and boats lining a waterside promenade with a selection of restaurants, bars and cafes. And on the other end of Albufeira is”the Strip”, where you will find an amazing collection of restaurants, bars, clubs and shops, which is enough to keep you busy all day and all night.
It is not clear when the first settlements specifically formed in the Albufeira region, although scientific research suggests the origins during prehistoric times, and that the city of Albufeira formed as an out-Port of sea fishing. The primitive settlement was occupied by the Romans, called Baltum, introducing a centralized administrative structure and developing intensive agricultural activities along with trade. The Romans built aqueducts, roads and bridges, of which the parts still remain.
The name derives from the Arabic Al-Buhera, which means castle of the sea, because of its position along the coast, or alternatively alBufeira, for the lagoon, in reference to the lagoon that formed in the plains. The Arabs built strong defensive structures, making the area almost impregnable, allowing this area to remain in the hands of their forces longer than other possessions in Portugal. The development of agriculture during this period has been remarkable, with the introduction of new techniques and plant species. The Moors used ploughing and fertilizers, as well as winches to lift water from wells, introducing irrigation of fields, building dams and transforming uncultivated areas into gardens and orchards.
The Christian conquest of the region began at the end of the 12th century. When Alfonso III of Portugal occupied the throne, most of the Algarve had already fallen into the hands of Christians. Knights Templars and Hospitallers, military and religious orders who supported the Reconquista, assaulted many of the lands occupied by the Arabs, but never managed to take Albufeira. It followed the capture of Faro that the siege of Albufeira became unbearable. Surrounded by enemy forces on all sides, he fell in 1249 to the forces of Afonso III, who donated land to the Aviz Order in 1250. The Moors were terribly persecuted by the victorious army, which pursued the forces remaining in a cave, now known as Cova do Xorino, located near the southern borders of the old town. The city became part of the Kingdom of Portugal and the Algarve. King D. Manuel I awarded a card (Foral) to the city of Albufeira on August 20,1504 and from that day the city was governed by the legislation in force for the rest of the country.
Albufeira was one of the Algarve’s most affected cities by natural disasters, but it was the 1755 Lisbon earthquake that caused the worst damage. The sea invaded the city with waves of 10 meters (33 ft), destroying almost all the buildings along the coast. In the correct city, only 27 residential buildings survived the natural disaster, but in states of ruin. The parish church, an old mosque adapted by Christians, where many of the residents sought refuge during the cataclysmic period, collapsed causing 227 deaths. Following these events, the Algarve continued to experience aftershocks, until 20 August of the following year, which hindered reconstruction under Bishop Francisco Gomes de Avelar.
In 1833, during the liberal wars between absolutist and liberal forces, Albufeira was surrounded and attacked by Remexido soldiers: a popular absolutist leader, who deeply damaged the village and executed many of its inhabitants. After the 19th century, the community grew through the expansion of fishing. This is why the locals annually celebrate annual festival de peixes’ festival, which has been tradition and serves to honor the fishing in Albufeira that has contributed with the growth of the city.