From small fishing village to bustling tourist hub, Albufeira has come a long way in 50 years.

One of the leading lights of the Algarve on Portugal's south coast, Albufeira's history dates back to Roman times, where it was named Baltum, which also reflected the Arab influence on its development. The name of Albufeira comes from the Arab “Al-Buhera” which means “Castle of the Sea”.

It was awarded its charter in 1504 under the control of Portugal, and it stayed a relatively sedate fishing village until the middle of the 20th century.

With the growth of package holidays and increased foreign travel the towns warm climate, beautiful beaches and proximity to Faro airport meant it became the ideal destination for tourists – and the subsequent economic boom that followed.

Today it remains one of the most popular destinations in Europe for beach holidays, but has still managed to retain some of its old world charm. It is that delicate balance of old and new, loud and quiet, that makes this area so special.

Its two beaches, Praia dos Pescadores, the “Fisherman's beach”, and Praia do Túnel, or the “tunnel beach” offer sun-worshippers the perfect opportunity to top up their tan while the active among you can enjoy a variety of watersports in the warm, crystal clear sea.

The fishing port has been converted into a modern marina, allowing tourists to explore further along the Algarve coast, though early risers can still see the small fishing boats making off to sea for their day's catch.

The old town offers a glimpse to its past, with the early Roman and Arabic influence still visible. But for the night owls who like to party hard the new town, Areias de São João - or more commonly known as the strip – is where you will find your flurry of neon lights, pumping speakers and beer sozzled, sun-kissed tourists.

Accommodation wise Albufeira also does its best to cater for all, from luxurious hotels and resorts with spas and golf courses, to family friendly self-catering apartments.

Whatever you put into Albufeira you will get out a significant return with interest, so you will be hard-pressed to find a visitor – be it a party animal, culture buff, or sun worshipper – coming away from the region not feeling anything less than 100% satisfied.

Written by Alex Corcoran, online travel blogger. All content is 100% original and attributed to the writer.