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THIS city, on the southernmost point of Portugal, is often overlooked, however with a wealth of things to do and see and a fascinating history behind it, there are a plethora of reasons to love sundrenched Faro.

Top Sees for Free HIT the beach for a spot of sunbathing or surfing. Faro boasts some magnificent beaches with the most famous being the pristine golden sands of Praia de Faro which stretch for more than a mile.

Popular for water sports and jet skis in particular, head towards the centre for bars and restaurants - or secluded areas can be found.

Soak up the ancient history of Faro's charming Old Town or Ciudad Velha, behind ancient city walls. Enter the city through the impressive Arco da Vila archway and make your way along the narrow cobbled streets. Head to Faro Cathedral at the heart of the city and climb the narrow, winding staircase to the Bell Tower for spectacular views over Faro and the Ria Formosa lagoons.

Get away from it all on a visit to Ilha Deserta, which literally means 'desert island'. Also known as Ilha da Barreta the idyllic white sandy beach and crystal clear waters on this deserted island are totally unspoiled and it's famous for being one of the most remote beaches in the Algarve.

Top Sees for a Fee TAKE a boat trip to explore the wildlife and wilderness of Rio Formosa Natural Park. Chosen as one of the seven wonders of Portugal, this series of protected salt-water lagoons is sheltered from the sea by a series of barrier islands and a peninsula.

With unique landscapes, flora and fauna, it's a famous spot for birdwatchers to gather due to the thousands of birds which stop here on their migration between Europe and Africa. [euro]25 for 2h 30min guided tour.

Imagine how life was in Ancient Rome on a visit to Roman ruins of Milreu. Just a short bus ride away in Estoi, admire elaborate mosaics on the floor of the once-opulent villa, see a Roman bathing-chamber and explore the remains of a temple. [euro]2. Pay a visit to the beautiful Igreja da Carmo church, where to the rear is 17th Century Capela dos Ossos, also known as the Chapel of Bones. The interior walls of this Franciscan chapel are plastered with patterns made from thousands of human skulls and bones.

Delve into the chapel's history in the adjoining museum, once a friars' dormitory, which features artwork, sculptures and a nativity collection from all over the world. [euro]5 per adult and seniors [euro]3,5.

Getting Around FARO is easily navigated with cheap, reliable public transport readily available. A hire car isn't a necessity for a visit here, with local buses connecting the airport to the city centre and stopping off at the beach. High-speed trains run twice daily to Lisbon in just two-and-ahalf hours, while daily bus services link with the capital and Sevilla and Madrid in Spain.

Going Out TAKE a tour of Algarve Rock Brewery, a micro-brewery and new concept for the area brewing a range of designer beers from organic ingredients. Sample brews such as the enticing Piri Piri Pilsner, and chow down on locally-sourced freshly made cuisine.

Feast on freshly-caught fish in Olhao, the largest fishing port of the Algarve. Just ten minutes' drive away from Faro, it's popular for waterside fish restaurants and morning fish and vegetable markets.

Visit the Saturday market for locally-sourced fresh vegetables, fruits and honey while the seafood festival held every August is a draw for thousands of visitors.

Compiled by Emma Boff Hotels LUXURY: Offering glamour and style in equal abundance, the classically-designed Pousada Palacio Estoi was once an 18th Century Palace inhabited by a viscount. Now beautifully restored, this peaceful fourstar property features elegant French-style gardens and rooms with scenic views. Amenities include a health club with Turkish bath, sauna and a heated indoor pool together with outdoor pool. Rua de Sao Jose, Faro 8005-465, Portugal. +351 21 040 7620. PS63-PS221.

MID-RANGE: Enjoy a relaxing, rejuvenating break at sleek, chic Hotel Faro with picturesque views overlooking the marina and Ria Formosa Natural Park. Conveniently located within the city centre, it's within easy reach of public transport options. This familyfriendly hotel offers large light, airy rooms with facilities including a sauna and gym, and a rooftop terrace with stunning views. Praca D. Francisco Gomes 2, Faro 8000-168, Portugal. +351 289 830 830. PS47-PS215.

BUDGET: The popular Hotel Ibis Faro ticks all the boxes, offering excellent value accommodation with modern, spacious rooms in a convenient location for both the airport and the beach. Facilities include a restaurant, bar with terrace area, swimming pool and private parking. Rua Poeta Antonio Aleixo 204 | E.N. 125 Pontes de Marchil, Faro 8005-174. +351 289 893 800. From PS36-85 per night.

Ilha Deserta, meaning 'Desert Island', also known as 'Ilha da Barreta', Faro, Portugal PIC: Animaris


Faro Cidade Velha, also known as Old Town, Faro, Portugal PIC: Husond

Ria Formosa Natural Park, PIC: Natalia

17th Century Capela dos Ossos (translates as Chapel of Bones), PIC: Julian Hacker
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Manchester Evening News (Manchester, United Kingdom)
Geographic Code:4EUPR
Date:Mar 3, 2019
Next Article:Children's favourites set to arrive.

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