Most visitors to Faro simply pass through on their way to the resorts of the Algarve – which is excellent news if you do stop over.
You get this atmospheric town with its beautiful medieval architecture and stand-out seafood to yourself. Come for the beaches, of course, but stay for this enjoyably unpretentious, pretty historic town and its natural surroundings.
Arriving at Faro Airport
Faro Airport (FAO), also known as Algarve Airport, sits about four miles (7km) west of Faro city centre, which is easily accessible from the airport via car and public transport.
Proximo bus routes 14 and 16 run between Faro Airport, the bus station in the city centre, and Praia de Faro beach. Route 16 runs daily between 0515 and 0000, and takes around 20 minutes to get from the airport to the city centre, and five minutes from the airport to the beach. Route 14 runs from the airport to the city centre four times a day, and from the airport to the beach seven times a day.
Taxis are easy to come by at Faro Airport, with a taxi rank near the exit to the terminal building. You can book in advance but it's just as easy to find one on the day. Taxis throughout Portugal are easily recognisable by their colours: most are black and green, while some are white and beige.
Another popular option here is to rent a car – particularly if you are heading beyond Faro. Book in advance with London City Airport and you can pick up your car on arrival.
As the jumping-off point for holidays in the resorts of the Algarve, Faro has something of a reputation as a party town, with its nightlife boosted by a strong student population – the University of the Algarve has its two campuses in the city.
For lively bars, head to the part of town near the harbour centring around the Rua do Prior. This cobbled street and several branching off it are lined with restaurants and bars such as the buzzing Bar CheSsenta, where you’ll find regular live music, and a novel night out with karaoke. This part of town is particularly popular on Thursday nights, as students throng the streets and make the most of cheaper entry fees and drinks offers.
For a slightly more refined evening away from the younger student crowd, head to the Old Town, where you’ll find live music to suit all tastes. O Castelo, a local institution on Rua do Castelo, is a restaurant and café during the day but becomes a venue at night, with singers performing traditional fado songs. For Latin music and cocktails, head to Havana, a Cuban club on Avenida Nascente, near the beach.