Friday Flyday: A dinner run to Faro, Portugal


An old city gate in Faro, Portugal

It was a strange confluence of events that led me to having a dinner in Faro, Portugal at the beginning of July. I was wrapping up a vacation in Iceland and set to be in England the following week for the Farnborough Airshow but nothing really planned for the intervening days. So when a great sale popped up for British Airways Club Europe flights ex-Gatwick (where I was arriving from Keflavik anyways), I jumped on the deal. A weekend jaunt to anywhere was my plan given the cheap airfare and expectation that nearly any of the options would be cheaper than staying in the London area for the weekend. In fact, so haphazard was my flight search that I actually didn’t know where Faro was when I booked the flight. I chose Faro based on flight times. There was an afternoon departure and a return on Sunday in time for me to get over to Farnborough. And I’d figure the rest of it out along the way.

The outbound was a typical Club Europe experience on British Airways. Blocked middle seat, marginal legroom, an afternoon tea service and other passengers concerned about my use of a GoPro to record the takeoff and landing sequences of the flight. Fortunately the flight attendant was very understanding and agreed that it was no problem for me to be making the recording.

Club Europe afternoon tea service on British Airways. I plated the sandwiches properly rather than the plastic bag they are typically served in.
Club Europe afternoon tea service on British Airways. I plated the sandwiches properly rather than the plastic bag they are typically served in.

The trip was supposed to involve two nights in Faro, a proper weekend excursion. At one point I planned a drive to Gibraltar. At another point I was just going to bum around the waterfront and explore the city center. I would not be out at the beaches, mostly because I had no desire to sit still like that for the weekend but also because they are somewhat isolated and more expensive having been booked solid for holiday-makers from England. Instead it turned out I would be returning to London a day early so that I could be in Farnborough on Sunday in time for a flight on the Bombardier CSeries CS100. As such I truly was in town just long enough for dinner and then back to the airport. Explaining this at immigration in Gatwick and then at Faro and then at Southend (more on that in a moment) was rather interesting. I grabbed a room at the Hotel Sol Algarve via Hotels.com for 75 euro and set out to explore.

Landing at Faro, Portugal. Gorgeous water that I never did get to explore.
Landing at Faro, Portugal. Gorgeous water that I never did get to explore.

This was also the first night I’d seen the sun set in two weeks so I was slightly disoriented as I walked around town looking for a dinner option.

Fun street art in Faro, Portugal
Fun street art in Faro, Portugal

A recommendation had me at Faz Gostos not long after and I enjoyed the meal, though in retrospect I probably would have preferred an outdoor dining experience over the slightly stuff dining room it offered. Food was delicious and service was stellar so no valid complaints to be made.

Scallops for dinner in Faro
Scallops for dinner in Faro

From there it was back to the hotel, albeit with a bit of meandering through the old city and the narrow streets lined with cafes and bars. Buskers were out, as were tourists and locals alike. I can see how the city would be considered a vibrant summer holiday destination. I was off the next morning, back to London so I could be on time for work. And flying on arguably the worse of the two tickets I had at my disposal, though I still swear it was the correct choice.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

5 Comments

  1. “I would not be out at the beaches, mostly because I had no desire to sit still like that for the weekend but also because they are somewhat isolated and more expensive having been booked solid for holiday-makers from England. ”

    What to you mean by this? Beaches in Portugal are always free, private beaches are illegal. Even the ones that have paid services can only dedicate 1/3 of the area for paid stuff, the rest must be free to access by everyone.
    If you’re talking hotels, there’s plenty of options, from cheap motel-like establishments to airbnb’s and such. Not expensive at all.

    1. Getting to the beaches from the airport costs more. Staying on beaches rather than in town on a peak summer holiday weekend typically costs more. Food & drinks are often more expensive, too.

      I try to avoid AirBnB on one night stays so as to not be a pain for the hosts. And it was last minute – I booked from the departure lounge at the airport before boarding – leaving little time to hunt and negotiate with hosts.

      But mostly it was the more expensive transfer and longer distance to get to/from that were deal-breakers for me. Had I stayed longer I probably would’ve used the rental car I booked and gone to Gibraltar.

      1. That is true 🙂
        Public transit is not very good in the region, so always a pain to get anywhere outside the city.

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