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  • Overview

    The southern Portuguese province of the Algarve is divided from the rest of the country by a series of low-lying mountains. It is one of Europe's most popular coastal holiday destinations, catering for millions of tourists every year. The region's capital, Faro, is built around a charming harbour beside a wide lagoon. An international airport was opened near Faro in 1965 to cater for the incoming tourists, making the city the hub of the resort trade.

    Most of the Algarve's trendy, modern holiday resorts were formerly little fishing villages. They still feature central areas with narrow streets, whitewashed houses and ancient churches, but it is the region's long sandy beaches which have ensured its place as a holiday Mecca. The coastline stretches 100 miles (161km) from Cape St. Vincent to Vila Real de Santo Antonio on the border with Spain, and much of it today is built up with high-rise hotels and holiday apartment blocks, particularly the area to the west of Faro.

    A special feature of the Algarve is the myriad almond trees that are found throughout the region; in late January and early February, the countryside is blanketed with white almond blossom. There are also groves of lemons, oranges, carobs, pomegranates and figs growing inland in what is known as the 'garden of Portugal'. Also characteristic of the province are swathes of green golf courses, associated with real estate developments and major resorts, which have proliferated since the tourist boom began in the early 1960s.

    If you ever get bored of lying around on the beautiful beaches of the Algarve, why not head inland to the timeless village of Guia, just three miles (about 5km) north of the coast. This small though bustling village is full of interesting things to see and makes for a great excursion from any of the coastal resorts.

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    The Algarve region has a Mediterranean sub-tropical climate with moderate rainfall and plenty of sun throughout the year. This makes it an ideal year-round destination. Summers are hot and sunny, but are often refreshed by cooling breezes off the coast; the farther west you go, the windier it becomes. July and August are the hottest months of the year and can be fairly unbearable inland. The weather in the autumn and winter months is mild, and January is the coolest month of the year. The Algarve gets most of its rainfall over the winter months with rain being rare between June and September. The Atlantic Ocean is cold but slightly warmer to the east, thanks to the influence of the Mediterranean.

    Faro Airport
    Location: The airport is 2.5 miles (4km) west of Faro.
    Time: GMT (GMT +1 from last Sunday in March to Saturday before last Sunday in October).
    Getting to the city: There is one bus line that runs between the airport and the Faro city centre from around 5.20am to 00.10pm daily. The journey takes 20 minutes. Buses to other parts of Algarve are available from the city centre. Alternatively, there is a taxi rank outside the terminal building with drivers waiting to take you to other destinations around Algarve. Their vehicles are identified by their black and green or beige colouring.
    Car Rental: There are a number of car hire companies that operate out of Faro Airport, both local and multinational. These include AurigaCrown, Auto Jardim, Avis, Budget, Europcar, Guerin, Hertz, Sixt and Goldcar.
    Fascilities: The airport has several restaurants, bars and shops, cafés, a duty frese store, wifi access, ATMs, bureaux de change, a massage service, a post office and a bank.
    Parking There are six different parking areas. These include short term parking and drop offs, varying low cost options, car hire, private coaches and transfers. All six are within acceptable walking distances to the terminals.

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    No direct flights from Heathrow to this Destination