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.
Faro's annual Feira de Santa Iria is the region's oldest fair and takes over the Largo de São Francisco. Expect stalls, local crafts and live entertainment,16 to 25 October. The town's impressive Christmas lights bring colour to the central pedestrianised streets from early December.
The Feira do Carmo in mid-July is one of Faro's liveliest events, with food stalls, live music and entertainment. For something rowdier, check out the Concentração de Motos show near the airport, a biker's rock festival featuring the Stranglers and other bands, on 16-19 July. visitportugal.com
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.
Vilamoura hosts the Portugal Masters golf tournament from 15 to 18 October, but non golfers will find plenty to do around the marina packed with luxury yachts. Boat trips depart daily, with the chance to spot dolphins.
Head to the pretty village of Pêra for the eye-popping International Festival of Sand Sculpture, where local sculptors create an amazing array of giant sand figures and buildings up to 12m high using 40,000 tonnes of sand. fiesa.org
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.