When we decide on a holiday destination, we can often rely on looking at areas in the immediate vicinity of the Airport itself. But with many of us booking a hire car from the Airport, why not drive a little further afield and experience something different?
Faro Airport sits in the middle of the popular Algarve region of Portugal but rest assured, it’s not all sun, sea and golf. Within an hour’s drive of the Airport you could be in the surf town of Lagos, party capital Albufeira or experiencing the natural beauty of Vale Do Guadiana National Park. You could even hop across the border to Spain!
So, if you are thinking about Portugal this summer, here are some options for places to stay or visit within an hour of Faro Airport.
The city is a popular haunt for surfers, with some great waves to be found here and along the coast towards the equally popular Sagres.
But even if you don’t plan to grab a board, you can still enjoy the old walled town, stunning cliff walks and beautiful sandy beaches. Castles, lighthouses and churches litter the coast and is worth visiting even if you aren’t staying in Lagos itself.
It is also a popular area with families with older children due to the water parks, surf schools and theme parks in the region. Slide & Splash Water Park is close to the nearby town of Lagoa and Lagos Zoo is great for children of all ages. There are also many boat trips from Lagos, giving all the family the chance to experience the nature and coastline of the area.
Vale Do Guadiana National Park
There are two national parks within driving distance of Faro Airport, the South West Alentejo and Vicentine Coast to the west and Vale Do Guadiana to the North-east. Vale Do Guadiana offers a completely different perspective on visiting Portugal, with rivers, ravines, waterfalls and picturesque medieval towns lying in the hottest and driest part of the country.
Popular with walkers, the area can also be explored via canoe on river Guadiana or by car. With stunning scenery and rare birdlife, this area of Portugal is well worth the visit.
Isla Cristina actually sits over the border in Spain but is only an hour’s drive from Faro Airport. While the city itself is fully working as one of Spain’s most important fishing ports, it is also a popular tourist spot – particularly with Spaniards themselves.
There are miles of sandy beach at nearby Playa de La Gaviota - with not a high-rise in sight, it has a lot more in common with its Portuguese neighbours than some of the more famous Spanish ‘Playas’ we know. Nearby Isla Canela is also famous for its beaches and marina and provides the perfect day trip by ferry.
Known for its busy nightlife strip, Albufeira is long been Portugal’s go-to place for a great night out. But the resort is also popular with young families, with the sandy beaches and extensive range of attractions a pull for anyone wanting everything in one place.
The popularity of the town with tourists means that there are plenty of day trips available, with frequent public transport taking holidaymakers to towns including Silves, Faro and Loule.
If you fancy getting out of the town and onto the sea, there is a plethora of boat trips available from the marina, offering everything from dolphin spotting to deep sea fishing. You can even jump on an all-day party boat if the mood takes you!
Ryanair flies to Faro Airport between April and October – book here