Gateway to southern Portugal
Faro is the capital of the Algarve region of southern Portugal. Once a Roman settlement, and later occupied by Moors for over 500 years, Faro played an increasingly important role in the local administration of the Algarve. After being snatched from Moorish rule by the Portuguese King Alfonso III in the 13th century, Faro continued to flourish and became the capital of the region after a 1755 earthquake laid waste to much of the former capital, Lagos. For most people Faro is best known as the location of the regional airport. Flights to Faro airport take thousands of British holidaymakers to the Algarve every year, although most never spend enough time in the city to appreciate its many favourable attributes, instead heading off to resort towns such as Vilamoura, Albufeira and Vale do Lobo.
More than just an airport, Faro is a cultural gem in the heart of the Algarve. Enjoy dining out in some of the local restaurants in Faro to sample some of the locally caught fresh seafood. If it all becomes too cultural for you, the Algarve has more lush golf courses than you can shake a 9-iron at.
When to Go?
As with most European destinations, Faro is hottest between June and September, but spring and autumn temperatures are also very mild. There is very little rainfall in Faro during the summer, but obviously flights and accommodation are more expensive. Flights to Faro are available off-season and you should have very little trouble finding a Faro flight any time of year. Spring is a particularly pleasant season in the Algarve due to the blossoming citrus and almond trees.
How to get there?
There is certainly no shortage of direct flights to Faro from the UK, as it is the main airport hub for the Algarve region. Fly to Faro from Birmingham, Leeds Bradford, Bristol, Bournemouth, London Gatwick, East Midlands, Cardiff, Newcastle, Exeter, Edinburgh, Glasgow and quite a few others! Faro flights are available from charter airlines such as Thomas Cook and Thomson, as well as a number of low cost carriers including easyJet, Jet2, Ryanair and bmibaby.
Despite being almost burned to the ground in 1596 by the Earl of Essex, Faro still has several historical sightseeing opportunities, particularly in the old town or Cidade Vehla. The most well-known attraction in Faro is the macabre Igerja do Carmo, a chapel with walls decorated by the bones and skulls of more than 1200 monks. The Ria Formosa National Park is just a short distance from Faro and there are first century Roman ruins to be found in the sleepy village of Estoi to the north. Head down to the local markets to pick up handmade embroidered goods, local wines and ceramics.
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