Pick up your hire car at Faro airport and you're just minutes away from Portugal's Algarve. And there's more than just beaches.
"Hey, the Algarve isn't just about the beaches - we're a charming , rustic, coastal town complete with Roman walls, 18th-century cathedral, charming open squares... and an airport!"
Most tourists flocking to Faro are indeed headed straight out of town in search of the sun and sand of the Algarve. But those quick to leave are missing a trick.
The quiet charm of the old town and the natural beauty of the nearby nature reserve make Faro the perfect place to unwind.
Faro is a university town so you'll definitely pick up a youthful vibe, though it's more refined than the raucous beach bars of the Algarve.
Warm enough for palm trees. You might see a bit of cloud December to February but it's doubtful you'd need an overcoat.
As you'd expect from any coastal town seafood should be your order of the day. Think simple and rustic... with lots of garlic.
Last year Faro hosted the celebrity wedding reception of ginger TV and radio personality Chris Evans. He was marrying pro golfer-cum-model Natasha Shishmanian.
Faro comes to a standstill for a weekend every year when the annual motorbike rally hits the streets, celebrating the weird and wonderful of the biking tradition.
"Stop here and think of the fate that will befall you." - inscription above the door of Faro's Chapel of Bones
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Nestled in the old town surrounded by Roman walls, the Episcopal Palace is the official residence of Faro's bishop and boasts beautiful domed roofs.
The palace has its own dedicated car park, where you can park your hire car for free.
The Ria Formosa is a 38-mile stretch of natural park made up of golden sandy beaches and dunes all surrounding a huge tidal lagoon.
There's free street parking on the many small roads that run parallel with the natural park and also at the visitor centre on Rua Calouste Gulbenkian in Olhao.
The old town is Faro's most enchanting quarter. While away an hour or four strolling leisurely back in time through the city's beautiful backstreets and cobbled courtyards.
It's easy to explore the Old Town on foot, so park in Rua do Repouso or a nearby street and get walking!
The Chapel of Bones is as exactly what the name suggests - a macabre yet enthralling chapel decorated with the remains of 1,245 former monks.
There's plenty of free street parking on the streets surrounding the Chapel of Bones, such as on Largo do Camo.
Faro's archaeological museum is hidden away in a former convent ghoulishly decorated by gargoyles. Dare to journey inside and you'll find a breathtaking Roman floor mosaic.
Another Old Town location, which has its own car park where you can leave your hire car for free.
The village of Estoi just outside the city is a tiny rural hotspot that boasts a 19th century pink palace with beautiful formal gardens and some 1st century Roman ruins.
Head north out of Faro on the N2 then follow signs to Estoi. It's about seven miles away.
If you're after a birdie of the non-avian kind then head straight to the seaside town of Albufeira, home to some of Portugal's best golf courses.
Take the IC4 out of Lisbon then join the A22 - Albufeira is situated off exit 9.
If you're keen to top up your tan but want to get away from the city then head north-west to the Praia de Faro. The offshore island should provide all the peace and quiet your heart desires.
Scoot around the airport on the N125-10 and then cross the small bridge to Praia de Faro.
The charming whitewashed houses and quaint fishing boats are worth the drive to Olhao but the biggest draw is the market, selling everything from live chickens to scrumptious seafood.
Head east out of Faro along the N125. Olhao is about six miles away.
" It's a good idea to hire a car in Faro because there isn't much public transport after 7pm so it could take you a long time to get home otherwise if you go out in the evenings. Faro is an easy and enjoyable city to drive around. Perhaps the biggest hazard is in the centre of town where the bars and restaurants are located, where people tend to just walk in the road. Be careful not to run anyone over! "