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Albufeira

Once a scenic fishing village, Albufeira gained popularity for its sharp, red-gold sand beaches. Today, it's devoted to mass-market tourism, particularly cheap package deals, and has all but lost the vestiges of its past. Fishing boats are now moored at the ultramodern marina southwest of the centre, and the old town – with its pretty cobblestone streets and Moorish influences – is concealed by gaudy signs, English menu boards and rowdy bars.

Even if this isn't your sort of place, Albufeira has good transport links to lovely beaches, such as Praia da Galé to the west. There are loads of activities and there's a relaxed holiday atmosphere away from the British pubs. To explore the pretty inland villages and the area’s high-quality rural restaurants, you will need your own transport.