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Monday, August 20, 2007

The magic of Faro

We've just been back to Faro in the Algarve for a long weekend. We did the same last year, in September, when I suddenly decided I must bask in the sun for one last time before winter. This year, we went earlier (August) but our holiday in June seems a long time ago and the British summer seems to have given up the ghost.

I would fully recommend Faro if you want a simple, authentic, pretty place with a wonderful hotel overlooking the marina that has a "grown-up" outdoor swimming pool on the top floor.

The hotel in question is the Hotel Eva, which is just across the road from the pretty narrow town centre streets. There you will find very few big international shops. With the exception of Spanish retailers Mango and Zara, the shops are local, some selling pottery, one, Bijou Brigitte, selling lovely necklaces and beads. The streets throng at night with the sociable Portuguese (who outnumber the foreign tourists), and there is always entertainment, singing or dancing, in an outdoor stage next to the marina. There are plenty of outdoor restaurants offering locally caught fish.

Faro is not a seaside resort, although if you want a beach there are plenty of small boats in the marina which will take you to fairly nearby beaches. We were too lazy for that. For us, it was straight up to the top floor and the big, rectangular swimming pool, pool bar which does great salads at lunchtime, and a comfortable lounger. It was very relaxing with hardly any children. I had expected August to be really busy, but it wasn't painfully so.

Getting to Faro is easy: Easyjet have numerous flights each day (we counted four landing within 15 minutes of each other, one morning as we were having breakfast).Ryanair and BA also fly there. From Faro airport it's an eight euro drive, lasting 10 minutes, to get to the Eva and your own piece of heaven.

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