Albufeira became as popular as it did due to its beaches of sharp, red-gold sand. Praia do Peneco, through the tunnel near the turismo, is usually head-to-toe with sunloungers. East and west of town are beautifully rugged coves and bays, though the nearest are heavily developed and often crowded. These include Praia da Oura, at the bottom of ‘the Strip’ 3km to the east and accessible by the blue (azul) line bus (catch it above the escalators by the old fishing quarter); Praia da Falésia, a long beach 10km to the east; Balaia and Olhos de Água. Buses run to Olhos de Água (10 minutes, half-hourly), mostly continuing to Praia da Falésia (20 minutes).

One of the best beaches to the west, Praia da Galé, about 6km away, is long and sandy, not so crowded and a centre for jet-skiing and waterskiing. Eva buses run to Praia da Galé (€2.25 one way, 20 minutes, seven daily) or the red line (bus 1 or 2) heads there every half-hour in summer (€1.40).