Often used as a gateway to The Algarve, visitors usually land in Faro and then drive off to their holiday destination. However, this city is a thriving place that you’ll be glad you didn’t miss out on. The pretty marina and colourful, mosaic-lined pedestrian areas give Faro a more Portuguese feel than other resorts in The Algarve. There are also the golden beaches, the lively nightlife and the historic old town to explore.
Beautiful sweeping beaches aren’t usually something that’s associated with Faro. However, you’ll actually find some of the most stunning coastlines in Portugal near this city. Catch a ferry over to Ilha de Culatra where natural scenery is a real draw for visitors. For real peace and quiet though, Ilha Deserta has 10km of sweeping white sands and only one building on the island – a restaurant that serves up fresh seafood dishes and traditional Portuguese food.
Originally a Roman settlement, Faro still shows off its historic side in the form of Faro Cathedral which is in the heart of the Old Town. Climb to the top of the watchtower and you’ll be rewarded with beautiful views over Faro from this old, white-washed building. The Cathedral is surrounded by cobbled pathways that are bordered by small restaurants and bars, which now make up a big part of Faro’s café culture.
Although Faro is a historic town, there is also a large student population here that gives the city a cosmopolitan feel without being too crazy. The Rua do Prior is the centre of Faro’s evening scene and is home to some of the best nightlife in the area. For a more sophisticated night, the marina offers classy bars where you can sip a cocktail against the backdrop of the glistening water.