Faro is an enchanting introduction to the Algarve, and before you head onwards to the beach it's well worth pausing to soak up this authentic Portuguese city.
With its ancient old town and medieval walls, shimmering marina, and restaurants bursting with local flavours, there's so much to see and do.
Away from the town centre and one place you'll not want to miss is the jaw-dropping Parque Natural da Ria Formosa - a 60km estuary with beaches, islands, canals and marshlands. Not only does its varied eco-system attract a wide variety of wildlife, but the sandy beaches are simply a slice of paradise.
The deserted island Ilha Deserta comes with a fantastic sandy coastline and is another highlight. A real hidden gem.