Useful Information Tips for Tourist and Visitors
Here are some tips and recomendations that can be helpful for your stay in Albufeira or your trip in the Algarve.
Here are some facts and advices we believe will be good to know for those who come and visit Albufeira and the Algarve region for the first time. In this tourist guide, you’ll find a collection of tips, recommendations and contacts on diverse matters such as how to move around, average costs of things, precautions to take, a helpful phone book, links to websites of interest, etc.
Clothes, what to pack
To gain maximum comfort whilst on holiday, here are a few tips about what kind of clothes to bring in your suitcase.
Cool and baggy clothing is ideal for daywear. In the evening, the temperature can come down a little, so it’s better to always keep a jacket or cardigan handy and wear long skirts and trousers. For a luxury evening out, for example to a five-star restaurant or the Casino, it is necessary to dress more formally like a suit or dress. Something that should always be very handy is your beach-towel and swimwear.
Rest of the year
Visiting the Algarve out of the summer will still garantee you some very pleasant days. You should pack conformly each season (see our weather and climate page). In any cases it is always a good idea to bring a t-shirt and a pair of shorts to enjoy a walk whenever the sky opens as it often does in our region.
If you forget to bring any one of these items, you can always purchase some locally.
Taking care in the Sun
As can be seen on our weather page, during the Summer, temperatures in the Algarve can be very high and the periods of sun are long. It is common knowledge that excess sun can cause illnesses such as skin Cancer.
The safest procedure is to use plenty of high-factor sunscreen, especially children. A hat is an indispensable accessory, as are a good pair of sunglasses. It is advisable to avoid exposure to the sun during its strongest point in the day, between midday and 4 o’clock in the afternoon.
In the case of sunburns or sunstroke, do seek medical attention.
For more beach and sea safety information, visit our interactive beach guide.
Several public and private health facilities are available in the region should you require any treatment whilst on holiday. For medical emergencies, the first step would be to visit the local public health centre («Centro de Saúde») in Caliços, Albufeira or calling an ambulance (INEM) Phone: 112 for serious emergency. There are reciprocal health agreements with other European nations (E111 card) as well as the UK but it is advisable to have travel insurance to cover any large and unexpected medical expenses.
For more serious emergencies and treatments, patients will be transported to the Hospital Distrital de Faro.
Albufeira has numerous pharmacies within the city which sell common prescriptions and over the counter medicines but you will need a doctor’s prescription to get antibiotic from the pharmacist.
Medical, dental and beauty treatments are of high standard here and can turn out to be much more affordable than on your own country for some cases as there is an increasing number of medical tourism lately. See our directory for local suppliers.
Private Hospital: Albufeira has one of the largest private hospital in the region, Hospital Lusíadas with 24 hours service providing medical and surgical care for both inpatients and outpatients
Automated External Defibrillator (DAE): Albufeira is one of the first municipalities in the country to facilitate access to first responders and proximity rescuers to automated external defibrillators located at strategic points across the county.
Go to our Emergency section for more detailed information.
People with disabilities
The Portuguese laws protect people with disabilities in many aspects. Access to public buildings, sidewalks, car parks, lifts are ensured by law but not enforced on private businesses. Some areas in Albufeira are difficult to reach for people in wheelchairs or walking with difficulties because of their high locations (some steep hills), space shortage or lack of investment in proper accessibility but there are many places where it is unproblematic to stroll around with little obstacle.
In the last few years, quite a few beaches in the region have earned a flag from a program aiming to elevate the quality of the available infrastructures for people with reduced mobility. The municipality has also been upgrading its facilities in some areas with this in mind. For instance, there is now an outdoor lift taking people directly to beach level at Praia do Peneco, and outdoor escalators also take people from sea level up the cliff at Praça dos Pescadores (Fishermen’s square), both in Old Town.
Security and Safety
Albufeira and the Algarve region are quite a safe place (crime rate in the country continues to be one of the lowest on the continent) although there are occurrences of petty theft, often involving pickpockets like anywhere else in the world. Be sure to take care of your belongings and keep important valuables and identification on your body to avoid any problems. It is advisable to remain careful if walking back to your accommodation late at night especially in dark and isolated areas, avoiding being alone or intoxicated.
Albufeira has a municipal police as well as the GNR (Guarda Civil Republicana), the portuguese "gendarmerie", to insure security and order. Go to our Emergency section for more detailed information.
Shops usually open around 9.30am until 1pm and reopen at 3pm until 7pm or later (week days). On Saturdays, many close at 1pm for the week-end although some remain open during the afternoon. During high season, many shops stay open at night in areas where most of the tourists are found.
They open from 10am until 11pm or midnight, every day of the week.
Normally open for lunch at 12am until 3pm and than reopen later in the afternoon (±6pm) until 10pm or later.
Bars, Pubs and Discos
Bars and Pubs must close at 4am. Discos stay open throughout the night and many are seen leaving after sunrise.
Most banks open from 8.30am until 3pm non-stop from Monday to Friday closing on week-ends and holidays. Some agencies have adopted a different timetable opening and closing at later times.
Most of post-offices open at 9am until 6pm without break.
The electrical current in Portugal is of 220 Volts / 50 Hz and the plugs, using two rounded pins, and sockets are under European regulations.
In some hotels, it is possible to be supplied with adaptor plugs for 110 Volts. The best thing would be to equip yourself with a suitable transformer before travelling, to avoid damaging any electrical appliances.
Quality of the water
In Albufeira, tap water is considered perfectly drinkable but might taste different to what you are used to due to its mineral composition. Some people prefer to buy bottled water (which can be found for ±0,60€ for 5 litres) for daily consumption and only use tap water for making tea or coffee.
Since climate change is also influencing the Algarve region, periods of drought are getting more frequent and last longer. We encourage our visitors to use water sparingly to ensure future generations will keep having access to it.
In Portugal, waste separation is identified by four main colors. Green for bottles and other glass recipients; Yellow for packaging, plastics and metal; Blue for paper and cardboard and Red for batteries. Organic matter and non-recyclable garbage is to be disposed in the regular grey bins. There are several collection points across town so please please try to sort your rubbish accordingly to help keep the place clean.
On beaches, there usually are small sponsored conic ashtrays that smokers can grab and use to avoid leaving their cigarettes butts in the sand.
Smoking is not allowed inside public places or inside commercial areas (bars, pubs, restaurants,...) unless there is an authorized smoke extraction system and "smoking allowed" signs are visible. The ban extends to all public transport, taxis, museums, theatres, indoor car park, sport facilities, schools and hospitals naturally.
Non-smoking signs are normally present where applicable but when in doubt, smokers should ask around before lighting a cigarette, a cigar or a pipe and not risk to be fined up to 750€.
Public toilets are free to use for everyone. No charge is taken from customers for using the W.C. at the bars and restaurant establishments or at the shopping malls. Unlike in some other countries, most public toilets are kept very clean and hygiene is regualy controlled.
All available information presented here has been gathered from online sources and from personal experiences. If you have any suggestions to make or find inaccurate, incomplete or outdated detail, please contact us and we’ll correct the information as needed.