What to do and where to go in Faro

Faro, the capital of Portugal's Algarve region, is a mesmerising blend of historic charm and modern living, serving as both a gateway to the sun-kissed beaches of the south and a destination rich in cultural heritage.  

Beach in Faro


Faro continues to offer a unique experience for every type of traveller, whether you're seeking relaxation on pristine beaches, exploring ancient sites or indulging in the local gastronomy. If you’re planning a trip in 2024, then there are plenty of must-visit landmarks and attractions that are sure to enrich your holiday.  

Faro's appeal lies in its diverse attractions, from the labyrinthine Old Town to the Ria Formosa lagoon's natural beauty. Despite being a popular entry point for visitors to the Algarve, Faro retains an authentic Portuguese charm often bypassed by tourists heading straight to the beaches. Its mild climate, historical monuments and welcoming atmosphere make Faro a year-round destination.

Explore the Old Town  

Begin your journey in the heart of Faro by exploring the Old Town. This historic area is enclosed by ancient city walls that date back to the Roman era. Enter through the Arco da Vila, an impressive archway designed by Italian architect Francisco Xavier Fabri. Once inside, you'll be transported back in time as you wander through narrow cobbled streets lined with traditional Portuguese houses, cafes, and shops. Do pop into these quaint little shops which stock unique and authentic items that capture the essence of the Algarve region and Portuguese culture. These items would make great souvenirs to take back from Portugal.

And while in the Old Town, don't miss the Faro Cathedral (Sé Catedral de Faro), where you can climb the tower for incredible panoramic views of the city and the Ria Formosa. 

Discover the Ria Formosa Natural Park

The Ria Formosa Natural Park is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts and a must-visit. This series of saltwater lagoons and islands is home to a diverse range of bird species, including flamingos, making it one of Europe's most important areas for aquatic birds. Take a guided boat tour to explore the islands, such as Barreta Island and Farol Island where you can enjoy tranquil beaches far from the crowds. The park also offers opportunities for kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding and other water sports.

Powered by GetYourGuide

Relax on Faro's beaches

While Faro is not as famous for its beaches as other Algarve towns (like Albufeira), it boasts some hidden gems. Praia de Faro, accessible by a short bus ride from the city, offers miles of golden sands against the backdrop of the Atlantic Ocean. It's the perfect location for soaking up the sun, swimming and water sports. For a more secluded experience, take a ferry to one of the Ria Formosa's islands, where unspoiled beaches await.

Visit the Palace of Estói

No trip to Faro would be complete without a visit to the 'Pink Palace', a lesser-known yet fascinating attraction. Located a short drive from Faro, in the quaint village of Estói, this Rococo palace, dating back to the 19th century, is a marvel of architectural beauty and historical significance. After years of meticulous restoration, it now stands as a proud reminder of the lavish lifestyle of the Portuguese aristocracy.

Indulge in local cuisine

No visit to Faro is complete without indulging in the Algarve's rich culinary traditions. The city's restaurants serve a variety of seafood dishes such as cataplana, a seafood stew and grilled sardines, showcasing the fresh produce from the Atlantic. For a truly local experience, visit the Mercado
Municipal de Faro, where you can sample local cheeses, chorizo and other delicacies. Don't forget to try a glass of the region's famous almond liqueur.

Experience Faro's cultural events

Faro's cultural calendar is bustling with events throughout the year. From the Faro International Motorcycle Rally, one of Europe's biggest motorcycle events, to the Ria Formosa Festival, celebrating the region's natural heritage, there's always something happening. The city also hosts various music and arts festivals, providing a glimpse into the vibrant local culture.

Book a hotel by the marina

As a first-time visitor to Faro, it’s recommended that you stay in the Marina de Faro. As the name implies, you’ll be merely steps away from the city’s beautiful marina and Ria Formosa lagoon. The majority of the hotels here, including Hotel Faro & Beach Club and Eva Senses Hotel, offer seaside views and rooftop lounges, only adding to the relaxing atmosphere. What makes this location even better is its close location to the airport. Once you land, all you need to do is jump in your pre-booked Faro transfer and you’ll be at your accommodation within 15 minutes. The marina is also conveniently close to Faro’s city centre, meaning you’re able to explore the Old Town with ease.

Explore the Chapel of Bones

One of Faro's most intriguing and somewhat eerie attractions is the Capela dos Ossos, or Chapel of Bones, located within the Igreja do Carmo church. This small chapel is an unforgettable sight, lined with the bones and skulls of over 1,000 Carmelite monks. Built in the 18th century, the chapel serves as a memento mori, reminding visitors of the transient nature of human life.

Enjoy Faro's nightlife

As the sun sets, Faro's nightlife comes alive. The city offers a range of options, from traditional fado houses where you can experience Portugal's soulful music, to modern bars and clubs. The Rua do Prior and surrounding streets are the epicentres of Faro's nightlife, where locals and tourists alike gather to enjoy a vibrant atmosphere.

Whether you're exploring ancient ruins, relaxing on secluded beaches, or enjoying the local gastronomy, Faro promises an unforgettable experience. Beyond its attractions, it's the warmth of its people and the relaxed pace of life that will captivate your heart, making you want to return time and again. 

No comments

Powered by Blogger.