A Travel Price Comparison for Families, Couples, and Backpackers Albufeira vs. Marbella for Nightlife, Resorts, Scuba Diving & Snorkeling, and Beaches

Should you visit Albufeira or Marbella?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Should I visit Albufeira or Marbella? This is a common question asked by many travelers. By figuring out which city has activities that align with your interests along with knowing which is more affordable, you'll understand where you can get more bang for your buck. So, let's dive into the details and the data, which all comes from actual travelers.

Albufeira

Albufeira is a party hard, vibrant, and touristy resort town. It's a large city, so you'll find plenty of things to do around town. The beauty of this spot is also one of the main reasons why visitors come. Visitors also love the hiking, nightlife, and food.

Marbella

Marbella is a fun-filled, high energy, and ritzy resort town. The beauty of this spot is also one of the main reasons why visitors come. And you can't forget about the beaches, shopping, and nightlife.

Albufeira and Marbella: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Good scuba and snorkeling destination
  • Popular beach
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Impressive beauty
Cons
  • Less popular for shopping
  • Less walkable
Pros
  • Good scuba and snorkeling destination
  • Popular beach
  • Good for shopping
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Very walkable
  • Impressive beauty
Cons
  • Less popular with backpackers


How is Albufeira different from Marbella?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Marbella and Albufeira. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Is Albufeira or Marbella Better for Food?

Albufeira
Marbella

Foodies will find both Albufeira and Marbella both to be unique destinations.

Eating is part of the travel experience when you visit Albufeira. As the largest resort town in the Algarve, the city also has the widest selection of restaurants. There are traditional options that serve up classic dishes like grilled sardines, as well as international restaurants with traveler favorites. As expected, you'll find a lot of seafood, but you'll also find inland influences from local farms in the area.

Marbella is becoming an appealing option for foodies. The area is filled with tourists, so finding an authentic dining experience can be difficult. Several favorite dishes include croquetas, boquerones, and pulpo.


Is Albufeira or Marbella Better for Nightlife?

Albufeira
Marbella

It's hard to distinguish whether Albufeira or Marbella has a better nightlife scene.

People head to Albufeira just to party. It's probably the most infamous party destination in the Algarve and it won't disappoint. During the peak summer months you'll find the streets around the popular "Strip" filled with tourists and party-goers. There are hen and stag parties, backpackers, and drunken travelers out for a good time. The Strip has become so popular that there are now bars and clubs on the adjacent streets as well. If you're not staying in the area, you'll likely want to take a taxi, as it's a couple kilometers outside of the town center.

The nightlife in Marbella is well established with world renowned clubs and venues. European tourists flock to the town for its beaches and resorts. The town has a glamorous nightlife scene with exclusive clubs and ritzy cocktail bars, particularly in Puerto Banus and along the Golden Mile.

Is Albufeira or Marbella Better for Resorts?

Albufeira
Marbella

Albufeira and Marbella offer a relatively similar set of luxury resort options.

For the ultimate resort vacation, Albufeira is a great choice. As the largest resort town in the Algarve, you'll find a wide selection of hotels to choose from. Party-goers will want to stay near the Strip while families will prefer the old town or resorts in Olhos de Agua.

If you're looking for a fantastic resort destination, Marbella is a perfect choice. From luxury to family-friendly, this area has plenty of resorts to choose from. Popular resorts in the area include Marbella Club Hotel, Puente Romano Marbella, and Don Carlos Resort and Spa.

Is Albufeira or Marbella Better for Scuba Diving and Snorkeling?

Albufeira
Marbella

There's scuba diving or snorkeling available in both Albufeira and Marbella.

Many visitors partake in scuba diving or snorkeing while visiting Albufeira. There are countless vendors who will take you by boat to explore the underwater world, either by snorkeling or scuba diving. The marine life is impressive and the water is generally clear.

The scuba diving and snorkeling in Marbella is not to be missed. There are more than 100 dive sights and endless snorkeling opportunities in the area. There are deep offshore reefs that you can explore as well as shallower wrecks and caves.

Is Albufeira or Marbella Better for Beaches?

Albufeira
Marbella

For a relaxing beach holiday, both Albufeira and Marbella are good choices.

Travelers come from around the world to visit the beaches in Albufeira. With their golden sands and blue waters, the beaches are world class. The area also has a diversity of beaches that are perfect for all types of vacationers. For water sports, head to Praia dos Alemaes but for relaxation and catching some rays check out Praia da Falesia. You'll find some interesting rock formations at Praia dos Olhos de Agua. One of the most convenient beaches to town is Praia dos Pescadores. For nightlife you'll want to head to Praia da Oura.

With world-famous beaches, Marbella is a very popular vacation destination. The area boasts some of the best beaches in Europe. They are hubs of activity with lots of energy, and there are more than 18 miles of sandy beach in the area. Popular options include Guadalmina Beach, San Pedro de Alcántara Beach, and Nueva Andalucía Beach.


Is Albufeira or Marbella Better for Shopping?

Albufeira
Marbella

Marbella often provides a better shopping experience than Albufeira.

The abundance of shops in Marbella make it a world-class shopping destination. This area attracts vacationers from around Europe and the shopping is some of the best in Europe.

Shopping in Albufeira can be found for those interested. You'll find most of the shops are geared toward souvenirs or beach items, particularly near the beach and marina. If you look hard you might find some nice ceramics or items made of cork.

Is Albufeira or Marbella Better for Families?

Albufeira
Marbella

Kids will enjoy a visit to either Albufeira or Marbella.

You'll find plenty of kid-friendly things to do in Albufeira. Despite it's reputation as a party-hard city, there are actually a lot of family-friendly activities in the area. Because it's the largest resort town in the Algarve, it also has the most activities to choose from, including theme parks, water parks, dolphin watching, ropes courses, go karting, and more. The best area's for families are in the old town or the most of the family-friendly resorts outside of town. Families should avoid staying near "the Strip."

You'll find plenty of family-friendly things to do in Marbella. The area has beautiful, family-friendly beaches and many resorts with pools that are great for kids.

Is Albufeira or Marbella Better for Couples?

Albufeira
Marbella

With fun activities for couples, both Albufeira and Marbella make for a good place to visit.

Albufeira makes for a terrific place to visit as a couple. For an active honeymoon or couple's retreat, this resort town has it all. Beautiful beaches, adventure-filled activities, a wild nightlife scene, and excellent resorts and restaurants all make for a memorable couple's getaway.

For those traveling as a couple, Marbella has plenty to offer. The area has luxury resorts, nice beaches, water sports, golf, and water activities that are perfect for a honeymoon or a romantic weekend or a honeymoon.

Is Albufeira or Marbella Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Albufeira
Marbella

Most people consider Albufeira to be better for backpackers than Marbella.

Backpackers and budget travelers come from all over the world to visit Albufeira. If you're looking for a party, then you found it. The area is a top pick for European holidays, so you'll find plenty of energy and activities around town. There are also golden beaches and a decent selection of hostels to choose from.

It's common for backpackers to visit Marbella. There are a few good hostels in the area for backpackers who want to enjoy this part of Spain's cost. There's also a lively nightlife scene and plenty of opportunities to meet others.


Is Albufeira or Marbella Better for Public Transit?

Albufeira
Marbella

You'll find somewhat comparable public transit options in both Albufeira and Marbella.

Public transit is generally limited in Albufeira. There are regional buses and even trains, but do take note that many of the train and bus stations are a good distance outside of town.

Public transit is mostly limited in Marbella. There is a bus system through the area, but most visitors prefer to get around by car.

Is Albufeira or Marbella a more walkable city?

Albufeira
Marbella

Marbella is considered more walkable than Albufeira.

Marbella is a very walkable resort town. The old town is particularly walkable and there are a number of hotels and nice resorts within a short walk of the town along a nice promenade.

Albufeira is generally not a very walkable resort town. Most people prefer to hire a car, but if your hotel is near the beach and you're ok with walking to restaurants, then you may be able to get away without one. If you hope to travel into the countryside at all then a car is necessary.

Should I spend more time in Marbella or Albufeira?

How long in Albufeira or Marbella?

In either Albufeira or Marbella, you'll find plenty of activities to fill your time. Most visitors tend to spend more time in Albufeira than Marbella because of the overall number of sights and activities.

The ideal length of time for a trip to Albufeira is 3-7 days, and the ideal length of time for a trip to Marbella is 2-5 days.


  • How many days in Albufeira or Marbella? Ideal Length of Stay
    Albufeira 3-7 
    Marbella 2-5

One day in Albufeira or Marbella?

The beautiful resort town of Albufeira offers nightlife and food. Most people come for the beaches. With so much to do, one day is probably not enough time to see everything. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.

You'll find nightlife and live music around the resort town of Marbella. People often spend their time relaxing at one of the resorts. Since there is so much to do in the area, one day is probably not enough for all of it. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

A weekend in Albufeira or Marbella?

Albufeira is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. People enjoy relaxing at one of the resorts. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than a weekend exploring. Take your pick from the many activities offered here.

You'll find live music and food around the glamorous destination of Marbella. People usually spend lots of time at the beach. This is a popular place to visit for a weekend.A weekend should give you a good understanding of everything this resort town has to offer. This resort town offers a variety of activities to choose from.


Five days in Albufeira or Marbella?

Albufeira is a popular choice for travelers. Five days here is typical. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Albufeira, five days is sufficent for most. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

You'll find food and scuba diving and snorkeling around the fun-filled resort town of Marbella. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision. If you have five days, this resort town makes for a great vacation. It's also a relaxing resort destination. Five days should give you a good understanding of everything this resort town has to offer.

A week in Albufeira or Marbella?

Albufeira is a great place to explore. It is common to spend one week here. It's also a great beach destination, too. One week is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Albufeira has to offer. This resort town offers something for everyone.

Marbella is a popular choice for travelers. People enjoy relaxing at one of the resorts. One week is usually plenty of time to spend here with extra days to spare. With this much time, visitors often visit nearby destinations or take day trips. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.

Which city is cheaper, Marbella or Albufeira?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Albufeira is €118, while the average daily cost in Marbella is €93. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each city. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Albufeira and Marbella in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Albufeira 59
    Marbella 49
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Albufeira 118
    Marbella 98
Compare Hotels in Albufeira and Marbella

Looking for a hotel in Albufeira or Marbella? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Albufeira


Hotels in Marbella


Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.


Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Albufeira Hotel Prices and Marbella Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Albufeira 27
    Marbella 19

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Albufeira

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Albufeira:

  • Transfer Galé - Boavista Golf (Lagos): $77
  • Transfer Galé - Benamor Golf (Conceição): $100
  • Transfer Galé - Balaia Golf (Albufeira): $36
  • Transfer Galé - Alto Golf Pestana (Alvor): $62
  • Transfer Galé - Alamos Golf (Portimão): $62
  • Transfer From Albufeira Algarve To Lisboa: $235
  • Transfer Algarve - Up to 7 People: $871
  • Transfer Algarve - Up to 3 People: $746
  • Transfer Albufeira to Faro Airport: $36
  • Transfer Albufeira - Boavista Golf (Lagos): $77
  • Transfer Albufeira - Benamor Golf (Conceição): $100
  • Transfer Albufeira - Balaia Golf (Albufeira): $19

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Marbella

Also for Marbella, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Departure Private Transfer Business Car Marbella to Malaga airport AGP: $62
  • Departure Private Transfer Luxury Van Marbella to Malaga airport AGP: $92
  • Marbella to Malaga Airport (AGP) - Departure Private Car Transfer: $61
  • Marbella to Malaga Airport (AGP) - Departure Private Van Transfer: $45
  • Private Transfer Marbella, Malaga, Gibraltar or Tarifa to Seville SVQ by Minivan: $698
  • Private Transfer Marbella, Malaga, Gibraltar or Tarifa to Seville SVQ by Sedan: $568
  • Private Transfer from Elviria to Malaga (AGP) Airport: $111
  • Private Transfer from Hotel Marbella Beach Resort to Malaga (AGP) Airport: $111
  • Private Transfer from La Quinta Golf Resort to Malaga (AGP) Airport: $151
  • Private Transfer from Las Chapas to Malaga (AGP) Airport: $111
  • Private Transfer from Lomas De Cabopino to Malaga (AGP) Airport: $111
  • Private Transfer from Los Monteros to Malaga (AGP) Airport: $122

Is it cheaper to fly into Albufeira or Marbella?

Prices for flights to both Marbella and Albufeira change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Albufeira 38
    Marbella 31

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Marbella

For Marbella, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • Cooking courses at home & online: $75
  • Tapas & Paella Cooking Course: $80
  • Food Tour: $85

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Albufeira 31
    Marbella 15

Tours and Activities in Albufeira

Here are a few actual costs in Albufeira for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:

  • 'Leaozinho' Pirate Ship Cruise from Albufeira: $30
  • 1.5 Hour Quad Off-Road Tour from Albufeira: $31
  • Abulferia: 3-Hour Yacht Cruise to Benagil: $34
  • Albufeira 1.5 hour Off-Road Tour Buggy Adventure Tour: $40
  • Albufeira 1.5-Hour Off-road Quad Tour: $75
  • Albufeira 3-Hour Off-Road Quad Tour: $137
  • Albufeira Beach Tour: $25
  • Albufeira Coast and Countryside Mountain Bike Tour: $73
  • Albufeira Jeep Safari Tour (Full Day): $65
  • Albufeira to Algibre Trails Bike Tour: $73
  • 2-Hour Caves and Cliffs Kayaking Experience: $40
  • 2.5-Hour Dolphin Watching and Caves Cruise: $31

Tours and Activities in Marbella

For Marbella, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:

  • Secrets of Marbella walking tour (Group): $19
  • Marbella small group walking Tour: $24
  • Marbella group walking tour: $32
  • Bike City Tour Marbella: $32
  • Full-Day Gibraltar Shopping Tour from the Costa del Sol: $33
  • Guided Wine and Tapas Bike Tour: $40
  • Marbella Like a Local: Customized Private Tour: $41
  • Paddle Boarding Tour on the beautiful Marbella Coast: $49
  • Sunset SUP Tour in Marbella: $61
  • Can-am Route Experience: $77
  • Original Marbella Tapas Adventure: $86
  • Marbella Gourmet Tapas Tour - Do Eat Better Experience: $88

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Albufeira 21
    Marbella 4.57

Sample the Local Flavors in Albufeira

Also in Albufeira, these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:

  • Small group Wine Tasting Tour from Albufeira: $61
  • sunset wine tasting from Albufeira: $87
  • Half Day Small Group Premium Wine Tour from Albufeira: $93
  • Wine Tour & Walking 7 Hanging Valleys - Coast Algarve: $156
  • From Algarve: Medieval Évora with Lunch and Wine Tasting: $319
  • Algarve Art and Wine Tour from Albufeira: $653

Sample the Local Flavors in Marbella

Also in Marbella, these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:

  • Tour of the Old Town with Wine Tasting & Tapas: $112
  • E-Mountain Bike & Wine Tour from Marbella to Sierra Blanca: $123
  • Manilva & Gaucin Wine Tour from the Costa del Sol: $160
  • Ronda Full Day Wine Tour from Marbella: $210
  • VIP Wine Tour through the Guadalhorce Valley & Wolf Sanctuary Visit: $360
  • Ronda Private Wine Tour and Tapas from Marbella: $406
  • VIP Ronda Wine Tour and Tasting and Gourmet Lunch Experience with Winemaker: $778


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Albufeira and Marbella, we can see that Albufeira is more expensive. And not only is Marbella much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Marbella would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Marbella and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in Albufeira would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Albufeira than you might in Marbella.


When is the best time to visit Albufeira or Marbella?

Both places have a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. As both cities are in the northern hemisphere, summer is in July and winter is in January.

Should I visit Albufeira or Marbella in the Summer?

The summer brings many poeple to Albufeira as well as Marbella. Many travelers come to Albufeira for the beaches, snorkeling, the hiking, the city activities, and the family-friendly experiences. Also, many visitors come to Marbella in the summer for the beaches, snorkeling, the music scene, and the family-friendly experiences.

Albufeira is around the same temperature as Marbella in the summer. The temperature in Albufeira is usually 25°C (78°F) in July, and Marbella stays around 25°C (77°F).

Albufeira usually gets less rain in July than Marbella. Albufeira gets 1 mm (0 in) of rain, while Marbella receives 2 mm (0.1 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Albufeira 25°C (78°F) 
    Marbella 25°C (77°F)

Should I visit Albufeira or Marbella in the Autumn?

Both Marbella and Albufeira are popular destinations to visit in the autumn with plenty of activities. Many visitors come to Albufeira in the autumn for the hiking trails, the city's sights and attractions, and the natural beauty of the area. Also, most visitors come to Marbella for the shopping scene, the music scene, and the natural beauty of the area during these months.

In the autumn, Albufeira is around the same temperature as Marbella. Typically, the autumn temperatures in Albufeira in October are around 19°C (67°F), and Marbella is about 19°C (67°F).

In October, Albufeira usually receives more rain than Marbella. Albufeira gets 67 mm (2.6 in) of rain, while Marbella receives 54 mm (2.1 in) of rain each month for the autumn.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Albufeira 19°C (67°F) 
    Marbella 19°C (67°F)

Should I visit Albufeira or Marbella in the Winter?

Both Marbella and Albufeira during the winter are popular places to visit. Most visitors come to Albufeira for the cuisine during these months. Furthermore, the winter months attract visitors to Marbella because of the shopping scene and the cuisine.

In January, Albufeira is generally around the same temperature as Marbella. Temperatures in Albufeira average around 11°C (52°F), and Marbella stays around 12°C (54°F).

Albufeira usually gets around the same amount of rain in January as Marbella. Albufeira gets 78 mm (3.1 in) of rain, while Marbella receives 83 mm (3.3 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Albufeira 11°C (52°F) 
    Marbella 12°C (54°F)

Should I visit Albufeira or Marbella in the Spring?

The spring attracts plenty of travelers to both Albufeira and Marbella. The spring months attract visitors to Albufeira because of the beaches, the activities around the city, and the natural beauty. Furthermore, the beaches and the natural beauty are the main draw to Marbella this time of year.

Albufeira is around the same temperature as Marbella in the spring. The temperature in Albufeira is usually 15°C (60°F) in April, and Marbella stays around 16°C (60°F).

In April, Albufeira usually receives around the same amount of rain as Marbella. Albufeira gets 38 mm (1.5 in) of rain, while Marbella receives 40 mm (1.6 in) of rain each month for the spring.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Albufeira 15°C (60°F) 
    Marbella 16°C (60°F)

Typical Weather for Marbella and Albufeira

Albufeira Marbella
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 11°C (52°F) 78 mm (3.1 in) 12°C (54°F) 83 mm (3.3 in)
Feb 12°C (54°F) 72 mm (2.8 in) 13°C (55°F) 75 mm (3 in)
Mar 14°C (56°F) 39 mm (1.5 in) 14°C (57°F) 59 mm (2.3 in)
Apr 15°C (60°F) 38 mm (1.5 in) 16°C (60°F) 40 mm (1.6 in)
May 19°C (65°F) 21 mm (0.8 in) 19°C (66°F) 24 mm (0.9 in)
Jun 23°C (73°F) 8 mm (0.3 in) 22°C (72°F) 13 mm (0.5 in)
Jul 25°C (78°F) 1 mm (0 in) 25°C (77°F) 2 mm (0.1 in)
Aug 26°C (78°F) 4 mm (0.2 in) 25°C (78°F) 5 mm (0.2 in)
Sep 24°C (75°F) 14 mm (0.6 in) 23°C (74°F) 15 mm (0.6 in)
Oct 19°C (67°F) 67 mm (2.6 in) 19°C (67°F) 54 mm (2.1 in)
Nov 15°C (58°F) 86 mm (3.4 in) 15°C (60°F) 115 mm (4.5 in)
Dec 12°C (53°F) 94 mm (3.7 in) 13°C (55°F) 102 mm (4 in)


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Albufeira vs. Marbella Travel Comparison

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