Albufeira (Portuguese pronunciation: ) is a city, seat and municipality in the district of Faro, in the southernmost Portuguese region of the Algarve. The municipality population in 2011 was 40,828, in an area of 140.66 square kilometres .The city proper had a population of 13,646 in 2001. It is 250 kilometres (160 mi) from Lisbon, and is within close proximity of Paderne Castle. Lagos is located 30 kilometres (19 mi) to the west, and Faro 45 kilometres (28 mi) to the south-east. A tourist destination (due to its coastal conditions), Albufeira expands to approximately 300,000 residents during the summer and during New Year celebrations, owing to the number of hotels and lodgings in the district, that includes marina facilities, golf courses, restaurants and bars for the annual flood of visitors.
Tourism and commerce are the main activities in Albufeira. Most tourists arrive via Faro Airport. After sunset, the centre of Albufeira comes alive with bars, restaurants, and shops to suit most tastes, from authentic Portuguese-fare to Irish, English, and Dutch restaurants and pubs.
The tourist areas are divided into two main areas, Areias de São João, known colloquially as The Strip, and the Old Town. The Strip’s main street is Avenida Francisco Sá Carneiro which is full of bars, restaurants and open-air discothèques. It is not a pedestrian street so cars pass through the crowd at all hours. It is a very nightlife oriented area, very popular with young people. The Albufeira Bull Ring is close by, as is the Kiss-nightclub.
The Old Town is situated right at the seafront and is predominantly a pedestrian area. Street-artists entertain the crowds and there is a large choice of restaurants, bars and shops. There are open-air discothèques and many bars that have a live band every night (the most famous being Vertigo on the central square). Measured in number of bars and restaurants the Old Town is about four times the size of The Strip.
A local culinary specialty is a rich steamed stew dish of local shellfish, traditionally referred to as Cataplana (named for the cookware used in its preparation), which is a well known dish from the Algarve. Similarly, the Caldeirada (or fish stew) and the simple grilled sardines, are also popular examples of the traditional dishes, typical of the Portugal and coastal areas.