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With steep streets and villas staggered up and down the hillside, Albufeira resembles a North African seaside community. The big, bustling resort town rises above a sickle-shape beach that shines in the bright sunlight. A rocky, grottoed bluff separates the strip used by sunbathers from the working beach, where brightly painted fishing boats are drawn up on the sand. Access to the beach is through a tunneled rock passageway.

After walking Albufeira's often hot but intriguing streets, you can escape and cool off at Zoomarine, N125, Guia (tel. 28/956-03-00; www.zoomarine.pt), 6.5km (4 miles) northwest. It's a popular water park, with rides, swimming pools, gardens, and even sea lion and dolphin shows. It's open Tuesday to Sunday 10am to 6pm. Admission is 24€ for adults and 15€ for children 10 and under.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.