Faro: More Than A Gateway To The Algarve.

The Algarve in southern Portugal is one of Europe?s most popular holiday destinations, with a warm year round climate and hundreds of miles of beaches. This area of Portugal is also very popular with golfers, boasting many top class golf courses. Visitors to the Algarve will touch down in Faro airport, approximately a three hour flight from the UK. Although many tourists embarking on holidays in Portugal will just use Faro as a gateway to their various Algarve resorts, the city itself is worth a visit.

Faro is a lively and modern working city with an interesting history. Both Arab and Roman ruins can be found in Faro but the majority of the present buildings were built following the earthquake of 1755. The old part of the city is particularly popular with holiday makers and is surrounded by Roman walls from the 9th century.

Possibly Faro?s most famous attraction for holiday makers is the 19th century ?chapel of bones? at the Igreja do Carmo. The chapels walls are lined with the bones of over one thousand monks exhumed from nearby graveyards. Also worth visiting is the church of Sao Francisco, home to striking tiled scenes depicting the life of Saint Francisco, and Faro?s historic centre at Largo Da Se.

Other tourist attractions in Faro include the maritime museum, presenting a large collection of model boats and for ornithologists and nature lovers the Ria Formosa Natural Park is an 18,000 hectare wildlife sanctuary where bird life is abundant.

Faro has a large student population and as such provides holiday makers with an active nightlife. The majority of bars and clubs can be found along the Rua do Prior and in the streets off Rua Conselheiro Bivar and Rua Infante Dom Henrique.

Being a marine city, seafood dishes are always on the menu in Faro?s restaurants, although food to suit all tastes and budgets is available. Holiday makers should also sample the local cakes and desserts, many of which contain local figs and almonds. A glass of Medronho (fig brandy) is a great way to conclude a meal.

If you are planning a holiday in the Algarve, why not consider planning a few days to explore Faro a little before moving on.