Portugal’s Algarve is an incredibly popular tourist destination. Somehow I’ve managed to miss out on visiting it on my travels around Europe… until recently. Wow, have I been missing out on a fantastic place to spend a few days away, or what! This is a fantastic place to spend a long weekend, or even a week or more.
First off, where and what is it? Well, it’s way down on the very southernmost part of the Portuguese mainland. It faces south, looking out over the Atlantic. If your eyes were really good, and you could see around the curve of the Earth, you could see Casablanca if you looked straight south. In some respects it could be considered a party town since it does cater to tourists, but… that aside, when you wander the streets of Faro, or even better, you get out of town and explore a little of the surrounding countryside, you really begin to appreciate just how beautiful it is here.
Getting there was very easy. There are regular direct flights out of London. We lifted off from Heathrow, and it felt like we had barely reached cruising altitude, and we were into the descent already. I love short flights like that.
The hotels in the town are all over the service map. There are loads of simple rooms and hostels, but I like a little comfort when I travel, and I opted to book into a place that was a bit more expensive, the Eva hotel. The hotel offered fantastic views of the harbour, and was right in the heart of the oldest and most scenic part of the city. To me that’s the perfect combination, and worth that little extra.
A little exploring on foot, and I bumped into some really unusual sights. One that really stuck in my mind was the Igreja do Carmo church. It is just a few streets away from the hotel I stayed in, and has a rather, shall I say, macabre feature. The church is decorated on the inside with the skeletons of former monks! It was really fascinating to visit, and as odd as it may sound, really one of the highlights of my trip. Of course there is a lot more to see and do. I spent my Saturday checking out the golf courses, and played a round on a course known as The Old Course, located just to the west of Faro. I also made a point of checking out the local eateries, and my favourite was a place called Camané located out on the beach.
All-in, I’d highly recommend Faro as a great place to spend a long weekend. You will hopefully enjoy it as much as I did, and come home feeling like you were 10 years younger.