As package tour operators book up most rooms in hotels and pensões during high season, you may find it difficult to get hold of a room in an Albufeira hotel if you haven't booked in advance. If you do happen to turn up in Albufeira without a room, you have several ways of finding one at the last minute. Try heading to the tourist office (turismo) on Rua 5 de Outubro where they have a list of private rooms or quartos and are happy to help you locate one. Be prepared, however, to pay for any phone calls that they make on your behalf. You can expect to pay around €30 for a double room in a quarto.
The second method is not recommended if you are travelling alone, particularly if you are female, but if all else fails you may want to take up the offer of a room of one of the touts at the bus station, which will at least buy you some time and put a roof over your head whilst you look for somewhere else to stay. Just make sure you keep your wits about you.
Keep an eye open for out-of-season bargains in Albufeira's hotels as they try desperately to snap up any of the tourists that remain after the flocks have migrated north again at the end of the season. Some hotels even reduce their prices by half! However, many places close entirely off-season and so it could be just as hard to find a hotel in Albufeira in November as it is in July.
A couple of things to note: pensões may insist that guests take full board during the summer months, which means that you have to eat and sleep in the hotel (or at least pay for both even if you don't eat at the restaurant), which is rather limiting. This can, however, be a good thing if the restaurant is good and has something for everyone on the menu. Also look out for self-catering apartments or flats and apartment-hotels, of which there are many on the hills surrounding Albufeira.
The Camping Albufeira (289 587 629) is remarkably well appointed and has pools, shops, bars, restaurants, tennis courts and all manner of things on offer. It is situated near Alpouvar about 2km north of Albufeira off the N396, and all the buses to Ferreiras pass by the front door. Expect to pay around €5 per person, per night, plus another €5 for each tent.
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