Cheap flights to Faro
Faro is the gateway to the Algarve, a wonderfully sunny area of Portugal welcoming thousands of tourists every year. With year-round sunshine, miles of beautiful sandy beaches and flower-decked, whitewashed villages it’s not difficult to see why Faro is such a popular holiday destination.
Head to towns like Albufeira and Lagos to explore historic Portugese streets and stop a while in one of the region’s many restaurants to sample the mouth-watering local cuisine; Faro is not a place to head to if you’re on a strict diet. Venture along the beach-lined Atlantic coast to find resorts to suit every need, from the activity-filled child-friendly Lagos, Albufeira and Praia da Falesia to the luxurious marina at Vilamoura, and the historic towns of Silves, Tavira or Sagres.
For a dose of local tradition, seek out the Festa da Mãe Soberana, with its colourful procession welcoming the statue of a saint to the town of Loulé on Easter Sunday. louleuncovered.com
There are several carnival processions in the Algarve, the best being held in the market town of Loulé, with the main avenue hosting three days, on 14-17 February, of live music, stalls, dancing and a grand parade on the Saturday.
Top golfers descend for the Portugal Masters at Oceanico Victoria Golf Club (oceanicogolf.com) in Vilamoura (9-12 October). Faro's Feira de Santa Iria (during the last two weeks of October) is the city's main festival, when the area around the Old Town is taken over by craft and food stalls and exhibitions, with nightly entertainment.
One of Europe's best beachside festivals, Sudoeste takes place just north of the Algarve in Zambujeira do Mar on 6-10 August and this year's event features the likes of John Newman and Jamie Cullum (sudoeste.meo.pt). Also, throughout the summer, check out the amazing creations at the FIESA Sand Sculpture Festival, with whole cityscapes created from over 30,000 tons of sand at Pêra (fiesa.org).
The border village of Castro Marim has two impressive castles facing Spain across the River Guadiana. In August, the Medieval Festival recreates the town's heyday, with crafts, medieval games and entertainment. cm-castromarim.algarvedigital.pt
Spring and early summer are the best times to visit the tiny mountain resort of Caldas de Monchique, set in a tranquil, vivid green valley dotted with chestnut trees. It's long been a famous thermal spa, with a cluster of attractive restaurants and with great local walks into the hills. monchiqueuncovered.com
It might not quite be swimming weather but with sea temperatures rarely below 10ºc, this time of year can be perfect for surfing. Head to the Algarve's surf capital of Sagres: its position means there's always one local beach that catches the best breaks.