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Lagos or Faro.

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Lagos or Faro.

Hi, I'll be travelling to the Algarve at the end of August. I'm wondering which town would be better suited to base our trip to the Algarve. We'll be flying to Faro and I'm not quite sure whether to stay there or go west to Lagos or east to Tavira, I'm basically looking for a place with good night life yet retaining that mystical portugeese essence. A good cultural town would also be good and a beach is a must. I'm looking for a town which is not touristy but has all the amenties. Also, I'm wondering if do we need to book our hostels(not hotels). We'll be in the Algarve for 4 days from 29th of August to early september. You're help will be appreciated.

Aberdeen, United...
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1. Re: Lagos or Faro.

Faro is not at all touristy, it is a working city and commercial centre for the south. It is very Portuguese with "normal" shops (you'll struggle to get buckets and spades) and offices. Some nices building and good, reasonably priced places to eat. Faro does not have direct access to a beach, but thereis a sand spit beyond a lagoon/marsh/salt-flats affair, and this is accessible by car. Nightlife will be 100% Portuguese, I'd imagine. Nearby loule is quite attractive also, but i've done little more than pass through on the old road. Not sure about hostels.

Lagos is a tenth the size and is quite touristy, but by no means ruined. It still retains a certain Portuguese je ne sais quoi, but us also popular with backpackers/interrailers. Nightlife is fairly lively, but civilised and rarely loud, more european than Portuguese. It's growing outwards, but not upwards like some of the concrete jungles in the Algarve. Building in the old town is strictly controlled, so there are hardly any tall or modern buildings (just one or two eye-sore exceptions). Plenty of hostelly type places, but you've picked a busy time.

Tavira is smaller again, and I haven't been there for years, but it's certainly very pretty and full of Portuguese charm. I imagine it's much busier with tourists than on my last visit back in the 90s.

Trains link Tavira and Lagos with Faro (but not the airport).

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2. Re: Lagos or Faro.

I mostly agree with fletch, except that the outskirts of Faro are quite honestly awful: like many major cities.

Albufeira, Portugal
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for Algarve, Faro
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3. Re: Lagos or Faro.

Thirded - I'm afraid you won't find much of the "mystical Portuguese essence" in this part of the world as the tourist dollar (or more correctly tourist pound) holds sway over almost everything.

Faro is 100% not a tourist town; both Lagos and Tavira have been prettied up to a certain extent with town centres pedestrianised and smelly, messy activities (eg fishing) moved to the outskirts. I cannot speak for the night life in either but Tavira has rather less 'English' bars than Lagos. Lagos seems to be always full of Canadians when I go there!

4. Re: Lagos or Faro.

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