Faro

Destination Schedule Operator Booking
Faro 15 May - 14 Sep Book Now
Faro 28 Mar - 24 Oct Book Now
faro

Image used under Creative Commons from M. Martin Vicente

The capital of the spectacular Algarve region, Faro boasts endless sunshine, beautiful beaches, a historic old town, delectable seafood, and activities both adventurous and leisurely. Once you touch down you can take Urbanas Bus to get into the city centre in just under 20 minutes.

Exploring Faro

If you’re planning to explore some of Portugal’s other main attractions during your stay, Lisbon is roughly three hours away. Accessible by train (the fast train takes just under three hours or you could while away close to four with the Intercity option), bus (3 hours 45 minutes approx), or car (2 hours 45 minutes approx), there’s miles of breathtaking scenery and captivating stop offs along the way to Portugal’s capital. You also have the option to fly but at roughly €160 one way for a 45-minute flight, going by land is probably the best option.  

Image used under Creative Commons from Bert Kaufmann

Surrounded by popular resorts such as Vilamoura, Quarteira and Albufeira (all approximately 30 minutes from Faro Airport), Faro is a city dripping in history. Having begun life as a settlement during the Palaeolithic Age, ownership of the city has changed hands from the Romans to the Moors to the Christians. To get a taste of Faro’s storied past, start your visit in the old part of the city, which is still enclosed by 9th century Roman walls. 

From there, it’s a short walk to Freedom Square (Praça da Liberdade), the hub of Faro’s numerous museums including the Algarve Regional Museum, the Ramalho Ortigao Maritime Museum, and the Faro Archaeological Museum. All of these offer a great insight into life on the Algarve, both past and present. 

Beaches

Of course, beautiful beaches are Faro’s primary draw – though they do tend to get very crowded during high season. If you want to find somewhere more tranquil, you can hop on the ferry boat to Praia da Barreta, a very secluded beach on the nearby island of Ilha Deserta.

If golf is your thing, you’re in for a real treat. With almost guaranteed good weather and over 30 quality courses, the Algarve is a golfer’s paradise. Courses designed by Nick Faldo and Jack Nicklaus are just a stone’s throw away from the centre of Faro and visitors are always welcome.

Visitors with a sense of adventure should hit the local diving centre, Hidroespaco. After teaching you the basics, the centre’s knowledgeable divers can take you on an underwater voyage through Faro’s natural reefs. Highlights include examining shipwrecks and meeting Faro’s famous seahorses. 

Eating Out

With all this activity it’s likely that you’ll work up an appetite. Luckily, Faro is packed with fine restaurants and cafés at prices that certainly won’t break the bank. The local cuisine is based around the fresh fish and seafood caught along 200 kilometres of coastline. Sardines, tuna, bream, monkfish, oysters, prawns, octopus and squid are all popular, and are usually grilled over a low charcoal fire. However, Faro is best known for its superior clams so don’t leave the city without sampling Amêijoas à Bulhão Pato (clams in white wine sauce). A glass of wine or beer over dinner is also great value.

Shopping

Shopaholics should make tracks for Rua de Santo Antonio, Rua de Francisco Gomes, Rua de Portugal and the Galerias Faro for some unique independent boutiques and real bargains. Party animals tend to congregate around St. Peter’s Cathedral and then disperse into the clubs and bars on Rua Conselheiro Bivar, Rua Do Sao Pedro, Rua Do Compromiso and Rua Do Prior. 

Five for free

  • Brave the Chapel of Bones (Capela de Ossos)

    One of the best known monuments in Portugal, the Chapel of Bones is so-named because the interior walls are covered with human skulls and bones. Built in the 16th century by a Franciscan monk, this macabre chapel has a famous and chilling warning etched into the entrance: “Nós ossos que aqui estamos pelos vossos esperamos.” (We, the bones that are here, await yours). A €1 donation is recommended.

    Image used under Creative Commons from Ken and Nyetta
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  • Soak up the Festival Atmosphere

    Faro hosts a number of festivals in summer and early autumn which bring the city to life. The Faro Music Festival, held in late May and early June, is a celebration of classical music and features renowned orchestras such as the Algarve Orchestra. Late July brings the International Motorcycle Rally, one of the most popular summer festivals in the Algarve region. Live entertainment and mouth-watering food stalls are just some of the activities on offer. Finally, the Feira de Santa Iria is held in the last two weeks of October. It boasts great exhibitions, food and craft stalls, and amusements for the kids. 
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  • Hit the Beach

    Faro is famous for its white sands and crystal clear water, so what better way to spend a day than lazing on the beach? Praia de Faro is a popular stretch on the Ilha de Faro peninsula which is accessed by crossing a one-lane bridge. Lively cafés dot the coastline but be warned, this beach gets busy in the high season.

    Image used under Creative Commons from fotografar
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  • Birdwatch at the Ria Formosa Lagoon

    Recently named one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Portugal, the Ria Formosa Lagoon is home to over 30,000 birds across hundreds of different species. Look out for kingfishers and flamingos!

    Image used under Creative Commons from szeke
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  • Haggle at the Market

    The Algarve region is famed for its flea markets and Faro is no exception. The Estoi area hosts vibrant food and craft markets throughout the year. Woven baskets and handmade pottery are particularly popular.

    Image used under Creative Commons from romainmo

    market
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