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Photo: Shutterstock
Photo: Shutterstock

When in: Faro

The warm winter months have always drawn golf lovers to Faro, the capital of the Algarve since 1756, but whether you’re a history buff, a birdwatcher or just a curious traveler, there is much to keep you busy here. Here are a few ideas.

Faro´s Old Town Photo: Shutterstock

Old Town

Once you go through the Arco da Vila you enter the Old Town. Along the meandering route you will come across centuries-old architectural sights, Roman passages, a 16th century convent and a museum with many archaeological findings. Also be sure take a stroll down the shopping lane at the town’s center and when the need for refreshment arrives, there are plenty of cozy cafés to choose from. Tip – as most of the city center is cobblestoned, be sure to bring a good pair of walking shoes with you.

Ilha Deserta

A boat trip out to the uninhabited island of Barreta, also known as Deserta, is a treat at any time of the year, although off season it is much less crowded.. It’s perfect for a peaceful stroll along the easy trail across the island and good for birdwatchers, who can, weather permitting, expect to see Sardinian warblers, waders and waterfowl as well as the ubiquitous gulls. Although nobody lives here, there is a fine restaurant and basic facilities for refreshment.

Barreta

Barreta Island, Faro,

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Photo: Monte Rei

Golf på lyxiga banor

Of course there’s golf, and lots of it. Not surprisingly it is an all year-around sport here, and most high-end courses are part of an upmarket resort. You are never far from a top class course in this neck of the woods, but top of most player’s lists are the Jack Nicklaus-designed Monte Rei, Nick Faldo’s Oceanico Faldo, which offers two championship courses and the Quinta do Lago, featuring a beautiful seafront hotel.

Monte Rei

Monte Rei Golf & Country Club, Vila Nova de Cacela

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Arco da Vila

This monumental archway, originally commissioned by Bishop Francisco Gomes de Avelar in the early 1800s is built on one of the medieval gateways to the city and was the main entrance for those coming by sea. Part of the Muslim Walls, it remains one of the most spectacular pieces of Moorish architecture in Portugal.

Arco da Vila

Arco da Vila, Rua da Misericórdia

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Photo: Shutterstock

The Cathedral of Faro

The Cathedral of Faro (Sé), a National Monument of Portugal, lies in the heart of the Old Town. Originally completed in 1251, it has a chequered past. Much of it was damaged in the English raid of 1596, and it was destroyed by a 1755 earthquake before being subsequently rebuilt in several different styles, which include Baroque, Gothic and Renaissance. If you’re feeling energetic, climb up to the miradouro (bell tower), from where you can enjoy fine views over the sea and mud flats.

Katedralen i Faro

Largo da Sé, Faro

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Text: Geoff Mortimore

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