More than just the gateway to The Algarve, Faro, the region's capital is also far more than just another resort and party town. It offers the usual mix of accommodation, but many of the best places to stay in Faro can be found in the surrounding countryside.
With its reputation for 300 sunny days a year, many travellers just pass through on their way to the beach, or the golf course, but there's a lot to this very Portuguese feeling town. It's got a beautiful, medieval old town with a warren of tiny lanes to explore, a wealth of pretty parks and plazas and a very nice marina. And of course the nearby beaches - both on the islands of the Ilha de Faro and the more au naturel coves and lagoons of the Parque Natural da Rio Formosa.
Early summer is especially lovely here, though if you time your visit for mid to late August you'll get to appreciate some of the lively, colourful treasures of the annual folklore festival.
The old town dates from the 9th Century, and if you're here for the history, stay within the old medieval walls, which were originally built on top of a Roman forum.
Visit the local produce market for the taste testing, then run the gauntlet of the appetising delis, Rua de Santo Antonia boutiques and outdoor cafes to the marina. Eat at Faro e Benfica.
For those who want to explore The Algarve, Faro makes an excellent off-season base. With the added bonus of having beautiful white-washed, Iberian and Moorish architecture which is particularly spectacular while photographed under a the sunlight of a Portuguese winter.
Faro itself is also know for its unusual vehicles - this is a town of many unexpected, but pleasurable discoveries waiting to be made.
While some places are closed in the low season there are still plenty of excellent choices.
An historic 18th century Rococo palace in the village of Estoi, ten kilometres from Faro. Now a comfortable hotel with a swimming pool, spa and restaurant O Visconde serving Portuguese specialities. The original ornate rooms are paired with contemporary furnishings, bedroom suites are luxurious.
A prestigious 5* star property in the Algarve with fantastic facilities, panoramic views and private bridge to the beach. Suites are spacious and well decorated with balconies and a great selection of restaurants. Enjoy the luxurious beach life with a range of activities, pools and spa treatments.