Faro is the gateway to the Algarve, bucket-and-spade holiday land. Dozens of airlines serve the airport, UK and European, and rarely is there a spare seat at any time of year. This part of Portugal is a magnet for sun-loving British and European tourists, drawn by the sun, sand, sea and relaxed way of life. Faro might be just an airport name to most tourists, who speed along the coast to their resorts, but it has plenty to occupy visitors. If culture is what you’re after pay a visit to the sublime Archaeological Museum, housed in a 16th-century convent. If you’re feeling brave, walk under the cloisters and inspect the gargoyles. Continuing the spooky theme, Carmo Church in Largo do Carmel has a ghoulish Chapel of Bones. Its walls and ceiling are covered with the bones and skulls of monks’ bodies removed from the cemetery in 1816.
Driven by Faro’s student population, Rua Conselheiro Bivar and Rua Infante Dom Henrique, and the narrow alleys that branch off them, are the places to party. There are dozens of bars and clubs in this area. Galeria Bar Patrimonio on Rua do Prior, Bar dos Arcos on Travessa dos Arcos and Cruzeiro on Largo da Madalena are all worth checking out. Hop off a direct flight to Faro and head on down to the main shopping area, which is in the heart of town along the Rua Santo Antonio and the Rua Francisco Gomes to pick up some great bargains. This Portuguese city is the kind of place that you’ll want to come back to on more than one occasion - returning will be the first thing on your mind when you get home.