LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwire - Sept. 14, 2012) - A favourite amongst holidaymakers for the last half a century, the Algarve has more or less everything you could want from a sunny retreat: great beaches, reliably warm climate, fantastic cuisine and, thanks to flights to Faro with Monarch, affordability.
Faro is the capital of the Algarve region and Portugal's southernmost city. It is a fantastic gateway to the surrounding area, where activities include topping up the tan on the beautiful beach of Praia da Marinha or partaking in some serious relaxation at the spa town of Caldas de Monchique. The city itself merits more than simply passing through, though, with a lovely old-world charm and some fantastic historical sights and architecture.
Faro is steeped in history at almost every turn, and a walk in the old part of the city takes you on a trip down through the history of European culture. Surrounded by Roman walls, the city's Gothic cathedral dominates its centre, which is peppered with Renaissance and Baroque-period designs. An alternative, surreal, but unmissable cultural attraction is the Capella de Ossos, or 'Chapel of Bones', where the skeletal remains of 1,245 former monks of the chapel line the walls and ceiling. It is both macabre and spectacular.
For a more conventional taste of the Algarve, Faro is also host to a fine array of restaurants. Those looking for a great example of traditional, Portuguese cuisine will find themselves spoilt for choice. For gourmet twists on local fare, Mesa dos Mouros offers a terrific menu with a fantastic choice of seafood and rural dishes, all served on a little terrace next to the cathedral. Another top choice for food is the Adega Nova, along Rua Francisco Barreto, which offers rustic charm, local dishes and excellent service.
Guests looking for a cultural fix should head down to the Teatro Lethes; an exquisite, beautifully-restored 16th-century theatre that regularly plays host to a variety of drama, music and dance. Alternatively, make your way to the city's Municipal Museum, housed in a former convent and home to a large collection of Roman and Islamic artefacts. The Trem Gallery has a regular turnaround of new work by local and international artists, photographers and sculptors.
With fantastic offers from Monarch Airlines, it's never been easier to grab a cheap flight to Faro, starting from just £39. Monarch's scheduled flights to the city depart from Birmingham, Manchester, London Gatwick, London Luton and East Midlands. You can find more information about Monarch's affordable flights to destinations around the world by visiting www.monarch.co.uk.