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The place to head for in Portugal: Faro

Faro Beach

Faro’s club scene is the stuff of legends, with a reputation for being the place to head for in Portugal if you want to party long and hard into the night. But travellers who use Faro as a base to explore the more remote areas of the Algarve in the off-season will experience much more of the real Portugal – a relaxed, easy going way of life that in the villages and towns further down the coast hasn’t changed for centuries.

Thanks to a proliferation of flights to Faro from UK destinations, this region of the Algarve has opened up to year-round tourism. In the winter Faro is a peaceful corner of southern Europe that remains unspoilt despite its summer transformation into Portugal’s party-central. The result is a destination with two very different personalities, both with their own unique attractions.

A full range of accomodation

Faro has a thriving trade in both package deal hotels for those all-inclusive holidays, and short-term apartment rentals for those who prefer the flexibility of a self-catering stay. In addition, the local people are now opening up their own homes to travellers, allowing the more adventurous to experience Portuguese hospitality first-hand. It is advisable to book accomodation well in advance for holidays during the summer months, as rooms in the most sought-after hotels go quickly.

Discovering the attractions of the Algarve

Faro offers an ideal base from which to explore further afield, if lying on a sun-drenched beach for two weeks has limited appeal for you. The Old City, or Cidade Velha, is a well-preserved section of town close to the harbour, lined with cobblestone streets and 18th Century Portuguese and Moorish-influenced architecture. The coastline is ripe for exploration, and a boat trip into the Rio Formosa – a nature reserve that stretches along the tips of Portugal into Spain – costs around 20 Euros for a two and a half hour trip, and includes a 40 minute stop-over on a island.

Faro is a multi-faceted destination with plenty to offer visitors of all ages, depending on the time of year you choose to visit.

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