Do you want to discover the Algarve and visit Faro? We take stock of things to see in Faro and around Faro for a good stay in the Algarve. Where to go and what to do in Faro? Here is top 10 things to do in Faro.
Where To Go And What To Do In Faro?
Once in Faro, do not jump right in the shuttle that will bring you to your hotel: here are 10 reasons to visit the historic capital of the Algarve.
It would be a mistake to think that Faro is just the name of an airport. Admittedly, many travelers join their luxury hotel as soon as arrived at destination, this being, this city of southern Portugal is very attractive. From its chocolate boxes to its picturesque historic center to its seafood restaurants, art galleries and museums that will tell you the history of the Algarve, things to do in Faro are not lacking. You can also admire an architectural creation by Gustave Eiffel and take a boat trip on a desert island where you can play Robinson Crusoe for a day. You will even see that one can easily settle for a weekend in Faro as there is plenty to do and see around the city.
1. Praia de Faro: the most beautiful beach in Faro
Do not wait to arrive at your hotel to go to the beach. Go ahead when you arrive! We are serious. Just follow the road behind the airport to get to Praia de Faro, a vast expanse of sand dotted with cafes and bars. To enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of Faro, put yourself directly in “travel” mode.
Faro Beach is several kilometers long and is right next to the Ria Formosa Natural Park. You only have to walk along the beach to admire the wildlife, in winter, flamingos and herons will be there! Praia di Faro is an excellent base if you spend a weekend in Faro. But Faro beach is also the access point to Praia da Barrinha on the Ancao peninsula, another beach to see in Faro, accessible by boat or through a wooden footbridge, but very isolated.
2. Visit Faro for a weekend: explore the historic center
You only spend two or three days in Faro? Enjoy the atmosphere of the place by visiting the old neighborhoods of Faro. Go under the big “Arco da Vila” and go explore the cobbled streets of the old city center. You can admire buildings of various architectural styles, the result of many earthquakes and British bombings. These same bombings that finally left few historical monuments in Faro. Raise your eyes to observe the stork nests, located on the roofs of the city. There are also many cafes and bars. We particularly advise you to stop at the bar O Castelo. It’s not just a bar, cafe and restaurant. This property organizes many cultural events and you can spend the evening in their courtyard. You can also join the locals and enjoy the view of the lagoon by having a cool Sagres beer in hand.
Where to sleep in Faro? To stay in Faro, the city center is ideal, with many apartments and houses for rent in the heart of the city. In addition, the beaches are easily accessible on foot or by transport from the center.
3. Which monuments to see in Faro? Se.
Where to go and what to do in Faro? The Se, or cathedral, is one of the most charming buildings in the city. Located on the site of an ancient Roman temple, it later became a Moorish mosque. Today, this building – Romanesque and Gothic – is used as a cathedral. Inside, you can admire a Baroque organ. Feel free to climb to the top of the cathedral to admire a magnificent panorama of the city. If you had been here in 1596, you could have spotted the Earl of Essex ransacking the cathedral …
Moreover, when we talk about history, the main museum is worth seeing if only to admire the main building, the Convent of Our Lady of the Assumption. Do not miss to admire the Mosaic of the Ocean – which dates from the third century – as well as the busts of the Roman Emperor Hadrian and Empress Agrippina.
4. The Trem Art Gallery
The municipal art gallery Trem – free – gave a new lease of life to a string of buildings in the old city center. It houses temporary exhibitions that will allow you to discover works by talented local artists as well as works by Portuguese and international artists. You can also find out about the list of cultural events that you can visit during your stay in Faro.
5. The churches to see in Faro
Faro is home to many whitewashed buildings adorned with richly decorated earthenware tiles. The city is also home to many churches all more impressive than each other. We recommend visiting the Igreja de Misericordia, a 16th century church that houses a portico that survived the 1755 earthquake, as well as Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Carmo. Dating back to the 18th century, this church houses two twin towers richly decorated with Brazilian gold. You can also visit nearby Capela dos Ossos, which was built using the bones and skulls of over 1200 monks.
6. Eat at a restaurant in Faro
Where to go and what to do in Faro? Where to eat in Faro? Although there are still active fishermen in the Algarve, the majority of Faro’s tourist restaurants are mediocre. Rather, go to the Faro E Benfica restaurant, where you can see fishermen’s boats.
Let the dynamic servers serve you delicious freshly caught fish. If you are looking for something typical of the Algarve, feast around a lobster cataplana with rice, seafood and herbs.
7. A market to see next to Faro: the Eiffel Fish Market
Located a 10-minute train ride from Faro, the small town of Olhao is home to a picturesque fish market on the waterfront. Its metal frame will give you a sense of “déjà vu”: the architect who imagined the market is none other than … Gustave Eiffel! Take the time to explore the small stalls: you may be tempted to taste a freshly caught fish. Located near the market, the restaurant “Vai e Volta” offers a menu less than 10 euros where you can enjoy freshly grilled fish at will!
8. One of the most beautiful beaches in the Algarve: Ilha Deserta
Where to go and what to do in Faro? Located in the Rio Formosa National Park, “Ilha Deserta” is an island of sand that, as the name suggests, is deserted. It is one of the many sandy islands off the coast between Faro and the Spanish border. Embark on a ferry or rent a boat, which will allow you to visit some of these islands with class.
If you particularly like the islands, the islands of Ria Formosa will delight you because they are numerous! Among them, the island of Cabanas and its 7 kilometers in length, the beach of Tavira and its many bars (but also a campsite), the beach of Barril with old fishermen’s houses, Armona and its decorated houses and even a beach dedicated to naturism in Faro, the beach of the Naked Man (Praia de Homem Nu)! Finally, if you really like fishing villages, opt for the island of Culatra and its three fishing villages (Farol, Culatra and Hangares).
9. For a nature weekend in Faro: visit the Ria Formosa
If you are traveling to Faro, you can not miss the Natural Park of Ria Formosa since you will be “right in it”. The Ria Formosa are the salt water lagoons that you can admire, as well as the flats, and especially the many species of birds and animals that live there in all serenity.
For a weekend in Faro, it is a haven of peace to relax. You can also navigate in its channels by means of one of the many possible cruises, from 10 euros. You can also hike in the Ria Formosa, starting from the Centro de Educação Ambiental de Marim or the beach of Quinta Do Lago. Do not hesitate to stay in Ria Formosa homestay for a more authentic experience.
10. What cities to visit around Faro?
To visit around Faro, the city of Albufeira, often cited for its beautiful neighborhoods, beautiful beaches and atmosphere conducive to good mood. If the tourists do not scare you and you want to party around Faro, it is in the resort of Villamoura that you can find your happiness.
If you like churches, the city of Tavira will make you happy with thirty churches and chapels. To see: the Antigo Convento dos Eremitas of São Paulo and its altarpieces in carved wood.
Finally, if you want to discover a village near Faro, the fishing port of Olhao is to see, and the village of Estoi in which is located the beautiful Estoi Palace with beautiful azulejos and the Roman ruins of Milreu.