The Portuguese city of Faro, well served with boutique hotels and hostels, fine restaurants and first class travel connections to the wider Algarve region, is the perfect base from which to explore the surrounding country on excursions and day trips.
Cheap flights to Faro from airlines like Jet2.com arrive daily, from which a short drive to your city accommodation will give you your first glimpse of the landscapes you might explore.
A day-trip to Sao Bras de Alportal can provide the perfect tonic to those weary of city streets and jostling crowds. Here, rugged cliffs and rocky peaks shelter abundant groves of naturally growing almond and fig trees, and local vendors and market stalls offer the best and freshest of the produce for hikers and ramblers.
Hotel pick-ups can take you to neighbouring Seville, another wonderful specimen of Portuguese history and city life. A full day trip, a guided tour will make sure you don’t miss a thing, from the Torre del Oro, the city’s former prison and watchtower, to the Seville bullring, where the bullfighting season runs from April through to November, and whilst certainly controversial, the fights are undeniably a living aspect of Hispanic soaked in culture and history – or blood, depending upon your point of view – and tickets can be easily found. The free hours in the afternoon of your tour are yours to fill as you please, sampling local delicacies and tapas and the city’s restaurants and cafes before it’s time to return.
The city of Faro owes much of its very existence to the sheltering landscape and hilly surrounding countryside that protected its inhabitants from the worst of a devastating earthquake in the 1700s, but locals and visitors alike also pay tribute to the areas stunning natural beauty. Indeed, the Ria Formosa National Park is the perfect way to spend a day, hiking, exploring or simply lounging under the rays of the sun at the edge of a crystal clean lagoon.
A mere bus ride from Faro city centre down to the Algarve coast, the dunes and grasslands of the Park are a Mecca for rare bird species and bird-spotters alike, enjoying the protection afforded by the drifts and surrounding hills. Clear, calm and tranquil, pack your hiking boots or a picnic, and enjoy the day as you wish, removed from the crowds jostling for space at the city beaches.