This is the beginners guide to Albufeira in the first 24 hours of arrival, what to know, where to see, what to do and why.
Arriving at Faro airport can be either a simple or complicated task depending on how well equipped you are to deal with things. Firstly, most cheap airlines (Easyjet, Jet2 and Ryanair) don’t pay the fees to have their planes dock at the main airport terminal, and as most of us will be travelling with them you need to know the plane will on 90% of occasions park around 500 metres from the actual terminal this means, the doors will be delayed in opening as they have to wait for the ground crew to drive buses, ramps, luggage carts etc into place before you can disembark the aircraft, so stay in your seat, don’t bother standing up to get your baggage down and then stand uncomfortably in the aisle being kicked by other passengers and having luggage dropped on you as people try and drag their belongings to the floor, or worse, if you had a window seat with your head pressed against the overhead lockers hoping to god they open the doors. Just sit back relax and don’t get wound up, switch on your mobile, check Facebook or even post a picture or two to Instagram, nobody can go anywhere as even when the doors open the first idiots who rush off the plane have to wait in a 90 degree coach on the runway while everyone else gets off.
Once inside the terminal you will traverse all kinds of stairs and doors and actually pass the passengers that are about to get on your plane back to the UK, don’t delay, head straight for the automatic passport machines, believe it or not the passport machines are not the norm in Portugal even in 2020, most passengers prefer to queue up and have their passport checked by the miserable looking guy or girl sat behind the glass window, the automatic machines work perfectly so get on them as its far quicker than waiting in-line.
Jump in a taxi, definitley not!
Like all airports there are legions of taxi's waiting like lines of ants outside the arrivals hall, but as we are talking about a 45 minute (without traffic) journey, a taxi will set you back around €50 to €80, depending on the driver, his mood, how many extra kilometres he adds on while the metre runs. Don’t get me wrong there are fair and great taxi drivers but with Uber, lots of mini-bus and airport transfer companies there are just better ways to do it. In an ideal world you would have booked your airport transfer prior to arrival and you will meet your driver as you walk through the arrivals hall, everything will be pre-paid (you can expect to pay between €25 and €50 for an 8 or 9 seater mini-bus so considering a taxi is licensed for 4 you are saving a huge amount by booking the transfer. If you haven’t and your reading this guide as you wait for your cases to arrive on the carousel (not recommended) using your Uber app (same as the UK one) book a car and wait out front for them to arrive.
Checking in to the hotel.
Now you would think everyone can check into a hotel but believe it or not there are ways to do it and ways not to. All major hotels is Albufeira basically refuse the right to refuse anyone entry or to charge anything they see fit for your security deposit, so your behaviour on arrival is key. If 10 of you run into the lobby, pissed and singing expect to either be asked to leave (and yes its happened before), or expect to be paying €100.00 to €150.00 security deposit just to get into your room. Most rooms need to be vacated at around 11.00am and check in isn’t until around 16.00 (all hotels are different), so you may have to stash your bags so you’re not carrying them around town for 3 hours while your rooms are prepared. All of this adds up to a simple rule of thumb, on arrival make sure your group are polite, quiet, well behaved and not too pissed (hide the ones who are) this will mean the receptionist of the hotel will help you, check you in without demanding hundreds of Euro's in security bonds and will happily look after your bags while you get your stag or hen weekend off to a happy start. Remember it’s nice to be nice!
Where am i staying?
You wouldn’t believe the amount of phone calls we get from group members at 3 or 4 in the morning asking how to find their hotel. They are always totally wasted and have no idea where they are so it’s almost impossible for us to help. All hotels have business cards available at reception, with the name and address of where you’re staying, grab a handful and make sure you dish them out to your group, if anyone gets lost, heads off to a different bar, gets too drunk or a mixture of all three, they can at least hand the card to a taxi driver who will get them home.
Your second option is to find a bar near your hotel, get everyone there have a few pints and make the bar your base for the weekend, save the name to phones, get business cards, remember the name or whatever else it takes to have some reference point close to your accommodation, believe us when we say after a few to many drinks you wont have a clue where you are, so prepare yourself.
Shops, water and food
I know you will think we are idiots to say this and by the time you arrive you will probably be well on your way to being at least a bit pissed, but take a break when you arrive, hit the nearest supermarket, but loads of bottles of water (you cant drink tap water here), Milk, cereal, protein bars, bananas, fruit juices and paracetomol. Trust us when we say if you wake up in the morning/middle of the night/middle of the day and your dehydrated, hungover and generally feeling like shit you will be glad of the water, fruit juice and tablets to get you back to normal. One of the most common reasons members of the group will start to feel like shit on day 2 of your 3 day weekend is due to dehydration 2 days of drinking, pissing, drinking, pissing, eating a kebab, shitting, drinking and then pissing again, takes its toll, a bottle of water and some fruit juice will save your life, litterally
You survived 24 hours
So you have followed of 24 hour survival guide, you have made it through the airport, arrived in Albufeira, checked into your hotel, stocked up on some provisions, this is where we leave you to get on with your holiday and enjoy yourselves. Good Luck!