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Albufeira, Algarve region and its gastronomy

I have visited Albufeira a couple of times. Firstly staying at the Hotel Real Bellavista Spa, then more recently at The Auramar Beach Resort just half a mile from the strip. Portugal is such a beautiful and interesting country. My stay in Albufeira on the Algarve was perfect, with its array of shops, bars and restaurants.

Albufeira - Algarve

People know Avenida Francisco Sá Carneiro as “The Strip”. It is the center of Albufeira’s nightlife, although it is a bit further from the city center. It’s popular with the younger generation, clubs and bars, with music and dancing going on until the early hours of the morning. It’s definitely a place to observe and people watch.

I don’t know if it’s my age, but I actually preferred the Praia dos Pescadores or the Fishermans Beach. The beach is at the eastern end of the towns seafront. An outside escalator was definitely a welcome sight for my ageing 45 year old creaking bones in my body.

Here, my Son and I enjoyed pleasant strolls around the typically narrow, winding streets, with waiting staff eagerly trying to entice us into the vast amount of restaurants and cafes.

The smell of freshly caught fish tantalised our senses as it wafted through the air. 


Albufeira- Algarve South of Portugal

Local dishes of Algarve in Albufeira

Local Algarve dishes, as a retired chef, are my attraction. An example of a local dish is the Cataplana (named for the kitchen utensils used in the preparation of the dish), which is a local seafood stew. Caldeirada (another fish stew) and simple grilled sardines were also popular dishes on menus.

After my first visit to the Algarve about six years ago, on return I thought I would try to recreate a dish called lulas fritas (fried calamari).

Personally I thought it tasted quite nice, with a tartare sauce dip to accompany it, 

But It was to the disgust of my son Jay, who was only about 15 years old at the time. He said it was the “worst onion rings he had ever tasted”….I’m so glad his palate has matured greatly.

The waters around Albufeira are teeming with wildlife, and you don’t necessarily need to dive under the surface to encounter some exotic animals. 

There’s a high chance of spotting the common dolphin, bottlenose dolphin, and the minke whale if you decided to take one of the many varieties of tours advertised by boat companies situated around the harbour.

Local dish of Algarve

Speed boat rides and dolphins

The best times to actually spot the wildlife is in the summer. Most species move closer inland to escape the Colder waters of the Atlantic Ocean.

Now this was another one of my travel stories that involved being forced by my son, Jay into one of the activities advertised…..High Powered Speed Boat Rides to spot Dolphins and take in the beautiful cave formations.

Now anyone who knows me, knows about my fear of the sea, I love it don’t get me wrong, but best viewed from the beach…which is strange as my Father was a sailor in the Royal Navy!!

After the beauty of the caves and the truly overwhelming experience of seeing dolphins playing around the boat, we were off!

And I mean off – heading straight in the direction of North Africa.

The coast of Portugal was getting smaller and smaller, but my heart was beating faster and faster as we bounced off the waves, to the sadistic smirking of the captain / pilot / driver / lunatic or whatever he called himself.

With my face being contorted with what seemed like G-force, I managed to turn to Jay, as I was fastening my life jacket even tighter and said: “The way we are going we will end up in Morocco by teatime if we don’t turn around.”

Conclusion of the beautiful memories of Albufeira and Algarve region

That was when I realised that maybe I shouldn’t have taken Jay on holiday in school time,

When he replied ‘but that’s Ireland over there’ (geography still isn’t his strongest subject).

Eventually we did turn around and head back to dry land.

Beautiful memories of albufeira and Algarve region, I will definitely return one day.

In conclusion, if you want to know more about the experiences and recipes of the travelling chef, look at Recipes from my travels 

However, if you want to know more about the culture and gastronomy of other places, look at our Blog.

Author: Paul James

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