While most people who visit Portugal’s Algarve flock to the beach resorts, those who stay in the region’s capital, Faro, are always glad they did. You can explore nearby beaches (Praia da Culatra and Barreta), dine at a marina-side restaurant, shop along the mosaicked lanes of Old Town and enjoy the nightlife. For a local experience, stay in a holiday apartment or house – bookable with Culture Trip.
A stylish stay beside the shopping lanes
Courtesy of Faro Central – Holiday Apartments / Expedia
On a quiet street just outside Old Town, these one- and two-bedroom apartments balance homely and chic, just so. Kitchens come fully equipped for self-catering, and lounges provide a comfy place to flop if you’d rather stay in for the night. Couples fit perfectly into the smaller flats, while the bigger ones can accommodate up to eight. The Old Town shopping lanes are just a hop away, and you can get to the marina on foot in less than 10 minutes.
A fabulously kaleidoscopic azulejo-tiled facade certainly makes this converted traditional townhouse hard to miss. Inside, it’s been elegantly modernised, with a spiral staircase connecting the open-plan kitchen and living area with the upstairs bedroom for two. While it sits on a peaceful road, it’s also close to Faro’s bar zone – ideal if you’re keen to sample the city’s nightlife scene. The more sedate Old Town is also just a five-minute stroll away.
This studio duplex is in the same flamboyantly fronted building as the apartment above and features the same layout. A downstairs kitchen-lounge space is modern and bright and extends to a shower room, while the upper floor bedroom has a double bed. You’re not far from most of the best bars and shops in the city.
The views from this eighth-floor apartment are unsurprisingly a real highlight. It has three bedrooms sleeping up to six guests, a full-size kitchen and two bathrooms with walk-in showers. From its residential neighbourhood, you can walk to Faro’s Old Town in around 10 minutes. Its location also means easy access by car to nearby beaches and the bird-rich Ria Formosa Natural Park, comprising five barrier islands and two peninsulas.
This cheerfully decorated flat features a modern design and a bougainvillaea-adorned terrace with a small table and chairs for morning coffee and evening wine. Stairs link the downstairs kitchen and dining room with a mezzanine sleeping area with two single beds. Although it’s on a quiet and largely residential road, the apartment is within walking distance of lively bars and charming shops.
Courtesy of Dreamers Duplex With Seaview / Expedia
This bright and colourful apartment provides enough space to fit six people comfortably and offers an excellent sea view from the terrace, complete with a table that’s perfect for meals under the sun and stars. A five-minute walk is all that stands between this lovely apartment and the historic downtown area, public transportation, restaurants, bars and marina. It’s a perfect romantic spot for couples or a convenient resting place for a small group of friends or a family.
This traditional townhouse in Olhão, just outside Faro, provides a unique Algarvean experience, from the azulejo walls to the Moorish rooftops. It’s also close to the historic fish market. In addition to the two bedrooms, two bathrooms, fully equipped kitchen and living room, this beautiful house also comes with a barbecue area and shady places to sit outside on the terrace.
This bright and traditional house provides an unforgettable island escape just off Faro’s coast on the Ilha da Culatra, a charming secret island in the Ria Formosa Natural Park, a lagoon system that’s one of Portugal’s Seven Natural Wonders. It’s easily accessible by ferry or on a scenic water taxi ride. This beach house, a short walk from the sea, is perfect for a family of six, with two bedrooms and four beds. Standout features include a pool and fireplace.
Nina Santos contributed additional reporting to this article.
These recommendations were updated on April 22, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.