The Algarve is the southernmost region of continental Portugal. It has an area of 4,997 km2 with 451,006 permanent inhabitants, and incorporates 16 municipalities.
The region has its administrative centre in the city of Faro, where the region's international airport (IATA: FAO) is located.
Tourism and related activities are extensive and make up the bulk of the Algarve's summer economy. Production of food, which includes fish and other seafood, different types of fruit such as oranges, figs, plums, carob beans, and almonds, are also economically important in the region.
The Algarve is still considered to be the biggest and most important Portuguese tourist region, having received an estimated total of 7.1 million tourists in 2017.
Faro Airport (Portuguese: Aeroporto Internacional de Faro) (IATA: FAO, ICAO: LPFR), also known as Algarve Airport, is located 4 km to the west of Faro in Portugal. The airport opened in July 1965. The airport became a hub for the first time in March 2010, when Ryanair decided to base seven of its aircraft there.
Faro Airport is capable of handling six million passengers a year. There are 22 stands of which 16 are remote, with 60 check-in desks and 36 boarding gates.
Faced with growing traffic demand and passenger safety and satisfaction needs, the development plan for 2009–2013 saw Faro airport undergo extensive improvements to runway and infrastructure, as well as a widespread renovation of the airport terminal and commercial areas.
Faro airport hit the 9 million passengers milestone in 2019.
Being the District Capital and the location of the Algarve's airport, Faro is the city where the major part of the tourists arriving the Algarve land.
Faro is a municipality and bishopric, the southernmost city and seat of the district of the same name, in the Algarve region of southern Portugal. With a population of a liitle mmore than 118,000 inhabitants in 2012 Faro is the biggest city in the Algarve with an area of about 202.57 km2.
The Ria Formosa lagoon attracted humans from the Palaeolithic age until the end of prehistory. The first settlements date from the fourth century BC, during the period of Phoenician colonization of the western Mediterranean. At the time, the Faro area was known as Ossonoba, and was the most important urban centre of southern Portugal and commercial port for agricultural products, fish, and minerals.
Between the second and eighth centuries, the city was under the domain of the Romans, then the Byzantines, and later Visigoths, before being conquered by the Moors in 713. From the third century onwards and during the Visigothic period, it was the site of an Episcopal see, the Ancient Diocese of Ossonoba (306-688). The Byzantine presence has endured in the city walls' towers that were built during the Byzantine period.
With the advent of Moorish rule in the eighth century, Ossonoba retained its status as the most important town in the southwest corner of the Iberian Peninsula. In the 9th century, it became the capital of a short-lived princedom and was fortified with a ring of defensive walls. At this time, in the 10th century, the name Santa Maria began to be used instead of Ossonoba. By the 11th century, the town was known as Santa Maria Ibn Harun.
During the Second Crusade soon after the Anglo-Norman forces took Lisbon in 1147 a detachment of this group sacked Faro on their way to the Holy Land. Again in 1217 during the Fifth Crusade a Frisian fleet of Crusaders on their way to Acre, sacked an burned the city.
During the 500 years of Moorish rule, some Jewish residents of Faro made written copies of the Old Testament. One of Faro's historical names in Arabic is 'Uhšunubah. The Moors were defeated and expelled in 1249 by the forces of the Portuguese King Afonso III. With the decline of the importance of the city of Silves (which was made the regional bishopric as Diocese of Silves shortly during and properly after the Reconquista), Faro took over the role of administration of the Algarve area.
After Portuguese independence in 1143, Afonso Henriques and his successors began an expansion into the southern Iberian territory occupied by the Moors. Following the conquest by D. Afonso III, in 1249, the Portuguese referred to the town as Santa Maria de Faaron or Santa Maria de Faaram. In the following years, the town became prosperous, due to its secure port and exploitation of salt. Consequently, by the beginning of the Portuguese Age of Discovery, the town was well positioned to become a leading commercial centre.
The great devastation across the coastal and lowland regions was caused by a tsunami in 1755, which dismantled fortresses and razed homes. Almost all the coastal towns and villages of the Algarve were heavily damaged by the tsunami, except Faro, protected by the sandy banks of the Ria Formosa lagoon. With the capital Lagos devastated, Faro become the administrative seat of the region the following year, 1756.
Faro today is an historic and culturally rich city that boasts a variety of fascinating tourist attractions. Faro is often overlooked, considered purely for its airport from where tourists arrive and depart, but spendin some time in Faro, we can discover a charming and authentic Portuguese city.
The delightful historic centre (the Cidade Velha) of Faro is encircled by ancient city walls and contains a Gothic cathedral, the Paço Episcopal palace and pretty cobbled backstreets. Outside of the city wall is a modern city centre, with pedestrianised shopping streets, scenic plazas and variety of restaurants and bars.
As some Highlights of Faro city worth a visit not to miss:
• The Gothic Se cathedral and view from the tower
• The neoclassical Arco da Vila gate, set within the ancient Moorish city walls
• The macabre bone chapel, lined with the bones of over 1,000 monks
• The peaceful Jardim Manuel Bivar plaza
.Museu Municipal de Faro
Some things you can do during your holidays in Faro:
• A boat tour of the Parque Natural da Ria Formosa
• The deserted beaches of the Ilha Deserta
• The small fishing community on the Ilha da Culatra
• The bustling summer beach resort of Praia de Faro
. Shopping at Forum Algarve
Some good hotels to saty in Faro:
. Hotel Faro
. Eva Senses Hotel
. Luxury Beach Guest House
. Casa Bela Moura Boutique Hotel
Where to eat in Faro:
. Vila Adentro
. Pigs and Cows
. À do Pinto
Public transports are not the best in the Algarve.
The main cities are served by more or less efficient city bus services, but when traveling between locations we cannot "go when we want". There are bus routes between the main cities but not as often and the same happens with the trains that run across the Algarve from Vila Real de Santo António to Lagos.
There is no railway connection between Faro airport and Faro city. The closest station to the terminal is located at 6 kilometers, at downtown Faro.
Faro Airport is connected to several destinations not only in Algarve, but also to some cities in Spain. To take the bus in the airport, follow the signs outside the terminal, in front of the taxi rank.
You can also get a Taxi at Faro airport and get within 10 minutes to downtown Faro.
In these conditions, it is undeniable that the most practical and flexible transport available to tourists arriving in Faro, wishing to make some trips at their leisure to discover the region and the localities and beaches around the city of Faro and even beyond, it is without doubt a rental car.
Most local car hire companies in the Algarve are based at Faro airport, from where tourists who land in Faro can collect their previously booked Faro car hire online and travel freely to their destinations.
You Drive offers a simple and practical online booking system to allow you to book rental cars from any computer or smartphone at https://www.youdrive.cc and a quick delivery and collection service at Faro airport, fast and without bureaucracy.