A 2 day trip.
Faro is not as popular as Porto or Lisboa and I went there to find out why (and celebrate my 29th birthday over there). A few more curious souls joined and we discovered that it has quite a small city center with an old, closed church and a few restaurants that can be covered in under 5 minutes. The old city center has small houses with mostly decayed walls but it is surrounded by quite new, tall buildings.
I noticed a few houses for sale right in the city. It was obvious that nobody had been in for years for those broken windows and half fallen locks. I wonder where did people go, maybe Lisboa? I have never been there but I heard that it is overcrowded there. But don't get confused, this is not necessarily a poor region. All along the coast there were golf resorts made up of luxurious villas and restaurants.
Without a specific town in mind we drove in the direction of Lagos and we found Praia del Lobo. It was a paradise of iron-tinted sand and broken shells.
It is very different than Caribbean beaches where the sand is almost baby powder. The salt in the Algarve region is formed of large grains and broken shells. Anyhow, it was beautiful and the sea has an amazing temperature! I had forgotten that strength of the sea, like wanting to push you out of its depth.
Of what I saw in only two days, I definitely recommend Praia Marinha. The water is clear and with a perfect temperature for swimming.
The result of rock sedimentation is a spectacle. Also, you can explore the area by foot and using your climbing skills and discover some caves yourself or join a boat tour for 30 euro. We decided to discover by foot.
It has a natural "Arc de Triomphe" made of sedimented shells.
Also, you may discover some beautiful caves and structures of fossilised sea life.
The rocks that are closest to the sea are covered by this green, not so slippery green carpet.
The most touristic place of the region is Albufeira, mostly with British young families and young Dutch students. The beach is not that amazing but it offers more options for partying.
It is not easy to find vegetarian options beyond a tomato-onion salad or a risotto. Some restaurants more used to tourists will offer and mark the vegetarian option. Restaurants offer mostly sea food, cod and octopus to be precise, and a variety of typic desserts. One of them is a cream of mango and maracuya and another one is a sort of Tiramisú without the Alcohol. There is no tap water so you gotta get large plastic bottles to keep hydrated in the heat.
It is often windy in the region so the heat is not annoying. Concluding this exploration, Faro may not be as popular as Porto or Lisboa because it is about the Algarve region instead of the city itself, so better arrange a way to move around from town to town.
Bye bye :)