Bem-vindo to Faro, the compact capital city of the Algarve. With a lovely beach vibe and hours of sunshine each year, breeze through the airport from Southampton and you’ll be there in just two and a half hours.
With many holidaymakers bypassing its charms and heading straight to the Algarve’s plentiful resorts, chances are you’ll share this delightful city with just the friendly locals and handful of fellow tourists. Stop off and stay awhile to sample its medieval cobbled streets and surprisingly quiet beaches, fabulous nightlife and tempting seafood bars.
Faro also has idyllic island beaches as well as the stunning Ria Formosa nature reserve nearby. Closer to home the very pretty Old Town is nice and compact, with lots of things to wander round, including good shopping, Faro Cathedral and the Bishop’s Palace.
But when the sunshine beckons, take a water taxi and bliss out on what Faro does best – namely miles and miles of beautifully quiet beaches.
Flybe takes you to Faro’s international airport from Southampton Airport in just two and a half hours.
A car is highly recommended for a stay in this part of Portugal, although the airport is only 4kms from Faro. You’ll find all the major rental companies at the airport. There are taxis there to take you to the city centre for about 10 euros, or use public transport and catch a bus or coach.
Top things to see and do
Peaceful cobbled streets, meandering lanes within medieval walls, the Cidade Velha is the oldest part of the city.
Tuck into a cataplana, the popular Algarve fish cooked in a deep, belly shaped copper dish. With plenty of fish restaurants dotted around the marina and near the cathedral there’s always something cooking!
For your own slice of Desert Island decadence, take a boat from the Porta Nova Pier to Ilha Deserta, a deserted island forming part of the Ria Formosa. Yes please.
Off the beaten track
11km from the city, Estoi is the site of extensive Roman ruins dating back to the AD100-200, with columns and original mosaics.
With Portugal a mecca for golfers, Faro has its fair share of championship courses to play. Head west and the Quinta do Lago and San Lorenzo courses are the closest for an eagle, or two.
Visit the Igreja do Carmo, an 18th-century church with more than a touch of the macabre - a Chapel of Bones. That’s right, it’s a chapel made of 1,245 boney bits.