Famed for its dramatic landforms and hidden pockets of golden sand, the Algarve coastline near Albufeira is beloved by travelers of all ages. Once the domain of pirates who hid treasure in the sea caves, today these iconic shores attract visitors from near and far.
Albuferia boat tours are the best way to explore the limestone grottos and secret coves, as well as seeing dolphins playing in the waves.
What are the most popular boat tours in Albufeira?
There are several Albufeira boat cruises on offer, including thrilling jet boat rides and full-day pirate ship voyages.
Looking for independence and privacy? Then charter a luxury yacht and sail along in style.
Jet boat tours
Get your heart pumping as you bounce along the cliffs on a high-speed adventure. Hold on tight as the boat performs 360-degree turns and power breaks.
Albuferia jet boat tours last between 30 minutes and 2.5 hours, departing both morning and afternoon.
Dolphin watching and sea cave (Benagil) trips
Relax on the cruiser deck, keeping your eyes peeled for dolphins as you sail along the coast. A marine biologist will be on hand with fascinating facts about these friendly sea creatures.
Admire unusual rock formations, swim off hidden beaches, and discover the famous sea caves at Benagil.
Beach barbecue cruises
Spend the day at sea, visiting mysterious sea grottos and photographing rocky landforms. Then anchor at a beach accessible only by sea and enjoy swimming or snorkeling in the cove.
Tuck into a hearty barbecue and listen to live music as the sun goes down.
Pirate ship adventures
Many Albufeira boat tours can be enjoyed on board a traditional pirate ship, and you will visit legendary caves that were once used to store buccaneer treasure.
Choose from 2-hour scenic trips or swashbuckling full-day jaunts.
Private yacht charters
Up the luxury with a private yacht tour, spending the day as you please on excursions lasting 4 - 7 hours. Relax with glasses of Champagne, or head to shore on the jet rib and discover caves and beaches.
Head out to sea in the late afternoon, and watch as the setting sun bathes the ocean and surrounding cliffs with fiery reds and oranges. The sunset cruises are particularly romantic over the bay of Armaçao de Pêra.
How much do boat tours in Albufeira cost?
Albuferia boat tours vary in price according to length of trip and type of vessel:
- The price for a jet boat ride starts at €29 per person for 30 minutes, rising to €35 for 2.5 hours.
- Dolphin watching and cave cruises range from €28 per person for a 2-hour trip, to €35 for half a day. Prices differ according to boat size.
- 6-hour beach barbecue excursions start at €55 per person and include an open bar and a meal.
- Pirate ship tours cost €22 for a 2-hour voyage, €29 for 3 hours at sea, or €57 for a 6.5-hour trip that includes dinner on the beach.
- Sunset cruise prices are €23 for a couple of hours, or €59 for a 6-hour afternoon Albufeira boat trip.
- Private yacht charters range from €879 - €1759 depending on the number of passengers and type of boat. Champagne and an open bar are included.
Which places are seen on a boat tour from Albufeira?
The highlight of any Albufeira boat tour is the stunning sea cave at Benagil. Hidden away on the Algarve coast between Praia do Carvoeiro and Armação de Pêra, the cave can only be reached by water. Formed over centuries by powerful waves crashing against the rock, this grotto has its own secret beach.
The best way to see the cave is on a boat trip, while intrepid explorers can visit by kayak or stand-up paddle board. Dramatic arches sweep overhead, with a natural rock skylight known as the “eye” casting sparkling sunbeams down onto the sand.
Praia de Nossa Senhora da Rocha
The towering sea cliffs jutting out from this beach make Praia de Nossa Senhora da Rocha a dramatic stop on an Albufeira cruise. These imposing rocky walls mean the bay is sheltered and ideal for swimming.
See if you can spot the sinkholes cut into the eastern cliff, and marvel at all the colorful shells washed up on the sand. Fancy a leg stretch? Then climb up onto the promontory and visit the charming chapel overlooking the cove.
Praia da Marinha
This iconic beach is home to some of the most imposing rock formations you will see on your trip. Turquoise seas swirl around the bases of amber-colored sea arches and lofty limestone stacks, while the sandy beach is small yet perfectly formed.
Snorkeling is particularly fun here, and it is a popular place for swimming during boat tours. Climb up the steep cliff steps for sweeping views that you may recognize from travel brochures.
Often seen during dolphin watching and sea cave cruises, Alfanzina Lighthouse stands proudly on a rocky promontory near Praia do Carvoeiro. The white tower and red lantern make it a favorite subject for photographers.
How long does a boat trip last?
Albufeira boat tours range in duration from quick 30-minute blasts on a jet boat to a full day of exploration lasting up to seven hours. The shorter trips take in rock formations and hidden bays, while longer excursions will swing by the sea caves and include stops for swimming, snorkeling, and beach barbecues.
Sunset cruises are either a couple of hours or half a day, depending on how long you want to spend out on the water.
Where do boat tours leave from?
Most boat trips depart from the Marina de Albufeira, which is located next to the harbor. Hotel pick-ups are not included in the tour price, so a transfer by taxi or bus is recommended and can be arranged through your accommodation provider.
Meanwhile, for private yacht charters, you will need to make your way down to the Vilamoura Marina, which is half an hour away by road from Albufeira.
When is the best time for a boat trip in Albufeira?
The best time of year to go on an Albufeira boat tour is during the summer, when the weather is sunny and the sea is warm enough for swimming and snorkeling.
The months between June and September are the most popular, so if you want to avoid the crowds, consider visiting during Spring or Fall. The temperatures remain mild in April, May, and October, and there will be fewer other tourists around.
Sunset tours take place during the early evening, departing at around 5.30 PM so you can enjoy some time out on the water before the sun goes down.
Which other water activities can be done in Albufeira?
- Jet-skiing: power through the waves as you journey along the coast, getting up close to dramatic cliffs and unusual rock formations.
- Kayaking: paddle to secret beaches that are only accessible by water, and drift into caves that were once the haunt of famous pirates.
- Parasailing: glide high in the sky and feel the wind in your hair as you are pulled along by boat, enjoying a bird’s-eye view of the beautiful Algarve.
- Stand-up paddle boarding: explore the world-renowned caves and coves along the Albufeira coast on a relaxing paddle board tour.
- Surfing: learn some basics on the beautiful Falesia Beach before taking to the waves to show off your newly acquired skills.
- Jet boating: hold on tight as you plunge through the ocean in search of adventure, hurtling past coastal landforms and enjoying the cooling spray.
- To bag your preferred time slot and find the best price, make sure you reserve your cruise in advance online.
- Keep details of your embarkation point handy, and plan to arrive around half an hour before the tour departs.
- Take plenty of sunscreen and water during summer, as well as sunglasses and of course your camera.
- Pack swimming gear and a towel for trips that include snorkeling or taking a dip in the sea.
- Dress comfortably and remember it may be breezy out on the water so take a light jacket or sweater just in case.