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5 reasons why you should visit Faro this summer

The city of Faro in and its neighboring towns are rich in Portuguese history. This collection of sunny settlements is worth a look before making a beeline to the area’s popular beaches.

The capital of the south, Faro rises up within medieval walls that today constitute the city’s well-preserved old town (vila adentro) where traces of the Arab presence that once ruled these lands are still easily spotted. Navigate its tangle of streets and explore its churches, making sure to look for the local storks nesting in bell towers. Take in the city’s dusty red rooftops and views of the Atlantic.

If there’s time, it’s worth venturing into the neighboring town of Olhão – from high up you can admire the hundreds of açoteias (roof terraces), common to the region and used long ago for collecting rain­water and drying figs. Another treasure not to be missed is Loulé, with its Arabic­inspired covered market, tree-lined plazas and cobblestone streets featuring the distinctive mosaic paving that has become a signature feature of the country. 

Here’s our guide to the best spots to visit on your next sojourn in this charming city.

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Ria Formosa

The Ria Formosa natural park is an enchanting lagoon that covers 60km. It’s a bird­watcher’s paradise, a nursery for marine life, as well as home to barrier islands, tidal flats, dunes, saltpans and a collection of sandy beaches perfect for swimming and sunbathing in summertime.

Ria Formosa

Ria Formosa, Portugal

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Cafe Aliança

In its first life, Aliança, situated in the heart of Faro opposite the marina, was one of the country’s oldest coffee houses. After careful renovation work to maintain its magnificent columns and balustrades, the grand establishment has been converted into a traditional Portuguese cervejaria serving steaks and draft beer.

Cafe Aliança

Praça Dom Francisco Gomes 26, Faro

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Photo: Pinta Roxa

Pinta Roxa

The colorful Pinta Roxa boutique sells an impressive collection of eye-catching arts and crafts that stand out from the crowd. Its offerings include beautiful modern ceramics from Olhão-based brand Casa Cubista, textiles, floral sun hats, jewelry, wooden toy boats and prints by local painter and illustrator Joana Rosa Bragança.

Pinta Roxa

28 Avenida 5 de Outubro, Olhão

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Photo: Casa Modesta

Casa Modesta

A former fisherman’s residence dating back to the 1940s, Casa Modesta has been transformed into a stunning modernist nine-room hotel by the Fernandes family. Patios offer hammocks, while inside there are vaulted brick ceilings and traditional terracotta floor tiles. The kitchen uses a traditional wood-fired oven and sources organic produce from its own garden.

Casa Modesta

Quatrim do Sul, Olhão

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Casa Brava

Casa Brava

Born in France to Portuguese parents, Marco Pinto and Julie Pereira swapped Paris for the Algarve to start a business making organic cosmetics. The pair produce a range of handmade soaps to moisturize and tone the skin, which use local organic ingredients, including extra virgin olive oil and carob. In addition, the owners ­operate a rustic bed-and-breakfast, where guests can relax by the rocky outdoor pool and sip organic wine.

Casa Brava

18 Rua da Barbacã 18, Loulé

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