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Six reasons to visit...Faro

EAT

Great fish, seafood or steaks - take your pick at Baia (7 Largo Dr. Silva Nobre, tel: 289 822 845). House specials include ensopada de eiros (eel stew) and monkfish cataplana (the Algarve style of steamed cooking in a copper pot). For partridge, hare or wild boar, try Vinhao (63 Estrada de Sao Luis, tel: 289 829 267). It’s also famous for its bacalhau (salted cod fish) dishes.

Mesa das Mouros or The Moors’ Table (10 Largo da Se, tel: 289 878 873) sits opposite the 13th century cathedral. A rustic atmosphere and local specialities such as javoli com molho de frutos (wild boar with fruit sauce) make it a popular haunt. Sardines on the barbecue don’t come much better than at the tiny Taberna Modesto nearby - minimalist to the point of having no menu, address or phone number. Just follow your nose, sit down and enjoy.

At O Aldeão, (54 Largo de Sao Pedro, tel: 289 823 339) order the black pork, octopus or authentic mixed cataplana. And don’t miss the fabulous starters. And the harbourfront Faro e Benfica (Doca de Faro, tel: 289 821 422) serves sea-fresh fish and seafood specialities, including the trademark açorda de mariscos (seafood stew).

Close to the railway station, Adega Nova (Rua Francisco Barreto, tel: 289 813 433) specialises in regional fare that’s hard to find elsewhere, including pasta with razor clams, bean stew with sea snails, and cuttlefish and bean stew with sweet potatoes. Down on the beach, Piri-Piri (Avenida Nascente da Praia Praia do Faro, tel: 289 817 442) serves charcoal-grilled grouper, sea bass and sole as well as stuffed squid with rice and bacalhau com migas (a delicious salted-cod and bread dish). Another great restaurant for fresh fish is Camané (Avenida Nascente da Praia, Praia de Faro, tel: 289 817 539), whilst Wax (Avenida Nascente da Praia, Praia de Faro, tel: 912 251 111), serves up good food and perfect beach views - a split-level building comprising restaurant, bar and rooftop terrace, cleverly converted from one of the original beach houses into a sophisticated and hip venue.

And for something a little bit special check out the panoramic views - and the great food, a sophisticated twist on traditional Algarve cuisine - at the Ria Formosa restaurant at the Hotel Faro (2 Praca D Francisco Gomes, tel: 289 830 830).

DRINK

Upa Upa (51 Rua Conselheiro Bivar, tel: 289 807 832) draws a mix of visitors and locals, and plays good music, with the crowds spilling out onto the spacious patio in good weather. It’s open daily from 9pm to 4am. Another of Faro’s hippest nightspots is Millennium III (23 Rua do Prior, tel: 289 823 628), a large warehouse-style club with DJs and live music, with a mix of mainstream and Latin. But you’ll need to be a night owl - nothing much happens here until midnight.

SHOP

Designer stores and local boutiques come together in Faro's main shopping street, Rua de Santo Antonio, whilst the nearby pedestrianised area is lined with smaller shops and cafes. The Forum Algarve (EN-125 going towards Faro, first roundabout from the airport) is the region’s largest indoor shopping centre, housing hundreds of stores, a supermarket, a multi-screen cinema and a range of restaurants. Regular events include fashion shows and model contests.

KIDS

Make astronomy fun at the interactive Centre for Living Science (Rua Comandante Francisco Manuel, tel: 289 395 399) - perfect for inquisitive kids, with exhibitions, games, an observatory and a flight simulator.

PLAY

The Museu Arqueologico e Lapidar Infante D. Henrique (near the castle) is housed in a former convent, and contains an impressive collection of 17th and 18th century art. The historic centre of Faro also has some superb churches, including the Sé, the central cathedral inside the old fortress walls; Igreja de Sao Francisco, with its traditional tiles, gilded work and religious figures; and the Baroque-style Igreja do Carmo, which houses some astonishing gilded artwork.

SLEEP

See our Property Rentals section (click HERE) for options across the Algarve.


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