I really enjoy giving my plastic cards a good workout when I go away on holiday; in fact, you could call me something of a shopaholic. Although places like New York, Milan and Los Angeles are synonymous with great shopping, I think the Portuguese city of Faro is also well worth heading to. Read my guide to the coastal destination and I think you’ll soon realise why.
Of course, if you’re planning on taking a shopping break you ought to select somewhere that has a brilliant range of shops and markets. There are certainly plenty of these in Faro, so I don’t think you’ll struggle to splurge on some new purchases. First of all, however, I’m going to look at some of the other reasons behind the city’s appeal.
Among these is the good availability of routes to the destination. I recently took a Monarch flight to Faro and, as you can get to this part of Portugal from Manchester, Birmingham and other UK cities, it’s relatively quick and easy to fly there. Add to this the variety of good-quality accommodation and fantastic year-round weather, with temperatures in the summer months averaging 30 degrees C, and I’m quite confident that you can have an amazing break.
Perhaps one of the best places in which to splash the cash is Rua de Santo Antonio. Not only is this one of Faro’s most picturesque shopping areas, it is also incredibly historic. This thoroughfare served as the main link between the harbour and its tanneries back in the 13th century, though it was not given its current name until the 15th century. It was at this point where a church dedicated to St Anthony (or Santo Antonio in Portuguese) was built nearby.
Today, you’ll not only discover a wide variety of traditional architecture but will also find some terrific independent businesses that sell all manner of goods. You’re certain to come across fascinating items to buy here!
I also recommend a trip to the city centre market. This complex is open every day of the week and is a fantastic place to grab a bargain or two. Although the majority of stalls here sell clothes, shoes and fashion accessories, you ought to discover that you can pick up souvenirs and other items too. For a really unique shopping experience, I suggest you come here on the first Sunday of the month. This is when the TrocAqui exchange programme takes place, a fun event that sees businesses and individuals alike swap and trade goods – rather than paying for things with cash.
Those looking for a traditional shopping mall are sure to find Forum Algarve a great place to visit. Located on the EN125 highway that connects Faro to the local airport, this complex is home to shops that sell everything from perfume and jewellery to electrical goods and sporting equipment. You’ll find that the stores here are situated around an open-air square which contains several cafes, so you can enjoy a bite to eat and soak up some sunshine before carrying on shopping.
Should you feel like travelling a little further afield to go shopping (and I often do), you might want to travel to nearby Estoi. This small town hosts a market on the second Sunday of the month where you can pick up homemade goods such as baskets, mats and hats. Many of which have been handwoven by local residents.
The above is just a selection of the fabulous shopping opportunities that Faro has to offer, but if you’re planning on splashing the cash in the city let us know what you’d like to buy while you’re there. We’d love to hear from you!