Faro is the main city in the Algarve, the stretch of Portugal's coastline that many believe to be the best holiday destination in Europe if you are looking for a great beachside break. The city itself has a distinctly 'Portuguese' atmosphere to it, whereas some of the other major towns and resorts along the coast have suffered from an attempt to cater too much for the needs of the tourists who, admittedly, bring so much money into the area.
Faro is the most southerly city in Portugal and can trace its occupation by humans right back to the ancient Paleolithic age. The gloriously long sandy beaches have long been an attraction to holidaymakers, but the real boom in visitors began with the dawning of the age of air travel in the Seventies.
Nowadays flights to Faro land at AeroPorto de Faro, which is to be found two and a half miles to the west of the city itself, making transfers from it a very simple and relatively cheap process. Over five million passengers a year go through the airport, making it the busiest in the region.
Regional airport connections
In recent years, airlines such as Flybe schedule flights to Faro going out from Exeter and Southampton airports in the UK, making the trip an extremely enticing prospect for those living in the south west of England and Wales – making the long trip to one of the major airports such as Heathrow a thing of the past.
Faro has a large public university, meaning that it is well suited to entertainment offered to a student visitor, and inter-regional bus services make it an ideal base from which to explore other resorts and towns in the area. Faro is a working seaport which boasts an impressive marina, and another major attraction is the 30,000 capacity football stadium Estádio Algarve, which was one of the star venues of the Euro 2004 tournament.
Sites in Faro
Nature Faro is a nature reserve located next to the Ria Formosa lagoon, located about five miles from the city centre, and is basically a long sandy outcrop that is accessed over a bridge. What makes it such a popular tourism site is the fact that hundreds of different species of birds stop there during the migratory periods twice a year. If you are in the region at the right times, in either spring or autumn, it is truly a sight worth seeing.
Holidays in the Algarve offer many different opportunities to relax, whether it’s exploring the spectacular mountains or enjoying the many world class golf courses that attract visitors from around the globe. Other more unusual attractions include the 'Igreja do Carmo' or Faro International Motorcycle Rally, which is one of the most famous of its kind in the world.
Of course, the unspoilt beaches and wonderfully unique Atlantic and Mediterranean mixture of atmospheres is unique amongst the many wonderful European holiday destinations there are to choose from. Cheap flights from many UK airports and airlines mean that the Algarve's delights are available to every kind of budget, and it is no longer the secret getaway destination that only the well-heeled could afford just a few decades ago.