Faro is a popular holiday destination in its own right and makes a great base to explore the rest of the Algarve. Often overlooked, Faro has some well preserved sections of 18th century Moorish architecture near the harbour, making for a lovely stroll in the charmingly traditional atmosphere. The beach that runs along Faro is several miles long and it is easy to find a quiet spot, even at the height of summer. Several beach stalls and cafes are dotted along the coast and it is well served with the local bus. Regular boat trip and cruises run along the Rio Formosa that promote environmental tourism. The Capela do Ossos in the Carmo church is decorated with the bones from 1200 monks and makes an odd but interesting place to visit.
Faro is not just a pretty town with beaches and a port; it is also the gateway to exploring the Algarve coastline and countryside of Portugal. Faro Airport receives flights from across Europe including all main British Airports, although some of these operate only during the peak summer months. Year-round daily direct flights to Faro can be taken from London's six airports including London City and Southend. These have a flight time of just under three hours. Flights from other UK airports do not always depart daily.
Faro International Airport sits on the coast just outside the city of Faro to which it is linked by local buses and taxis. The airport has undergone recent modernisation and is the third busiest in Portugal after Lisbon and Porto. Its facilities include car parking, car hire desks, passenger lounges, WiFi, banking and currency services, shops and cafes.
Airlines offering direct year-round flights to Faro from London airports include easyJet, Ryanair, Norwegian, Jet2.com and British Airways, while TAP offers routes that involve connections at Lisbon or Porto and Lisbon. Aer Lingus and Flybe operate seasonal routes from airports such as Dublin, Belfast, Doncaster Sheffield and Southampton.
While it is possible to drive to Faro, travelling by plane is a direct and, with direct flight times of just under three hours, much quicker way of reaching this popular holiday destination. With the comfort of airport lounges and on-board services that include the sale of refreshments and duty-free products, it is also a relaxing way of making the journey.
While many people head straight out of Faro Airport to coastal resorts such as Albufeira and Praia da Luz, the town of Faro is worth exploring. Within the medieval walls of the old town, there is still a distinctly Portuguese feel, while a boat ride of just a few minutes takes visitors from Faro port to the countryside and beaches of the Ilha de Faro and the Ilha da Barreta. While in the old town, a climb to the towers of Faro Cathedral gives stunning city and coastal views, and nearby is the 19th-century Capela dos Ossos, built from the bones and skulls of hundreds of monks.