Guia is a large village in the municipality of Albufeira, Central Algarve, about 5 km away from the sea, which offers a large number of accommodation, ranging from large beach and golf resorts to self-catering villas with swimming pools.
HistoryLegend has it that the Virgin Mary once appeared to the local people, which is what gave the village its name, Guia, which means ‘guide’ in Portuguese. The location of where this is supposed to have happened in now commemorated by the Hermitage Nossa Senhora da Guia.
LandmarksThe Torre Velha, or the ‘Old Tower’, was erected in the second half of the 16th Century to reinforce and protect the coast. Today it is part of a tourist lodge with pool, bar and great views over the sea.
The Igreja de São Sebastião is a pretty old 17th Century chapel with mural displays, which were discovered when the church was erected. There’s also Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Visitação, the main church of Guia, decorated with beautiful tiles.
Galé BeachGalé Beach is just a 10-minute drive away from Guia. Divided into two parts by a cliff and linked by steps, the west side has dunes and extends to the Beach of Salgados, while the east side is confined by cliffs and has small coves and sun shelters for visitors at low tide, which is useful in the summer months. This is a popular blue flag beach with sun loungers, beach bars and good quality water. You can also practice water sports here, like windsurfing.
It is said that the origin of the name ‘Galé ‘stems from the fact that a galley ship was once shipwrecked on this beach.
Manuel Lourenço BeachThis is a small beach located east of the Gale Beach. It has natural sand dunes, with calm waters in a small bay, surrounded by rocks, and is named after owner of the beach facilities, Manuel Lourenço. It has parking, a restaurant, toilet and life guards on duty during the bathing season. This is also an excellent spot for diving.
The major local tourist attraction in Guia is Zoomarine, a theme park and wildlife and marine life park, where you can swim with dolphins.
Food and DrinksGuia has a great selection of cafés, taverns and restaurants running down the main road. Running alongside Galé Beach you’ll also find several bar-restaurants. Guia is also known as "The Capital of Chicken" and is home of the very first Portuguese spicy “chicken piri-piri”, supposedly grilled here in 1974. If you’re looking for something a little more speedy, the food court in Algarve Shopping sells fast food meals, as well as numerous other types of quick meals.
Shopping and NightlifeWhile shopping in Guia is very limited, the Algarve Shopping Mall is only about 1.6 km from the village on the main N125 road. This large shopping centre has plenty of shops, a big supermarket and a nine screen multiplex cinema. For the best nightlife visit the main town of Albufeira.