Faro: Your Guide to the Capital of Algarve
The Algarve is a beautiful and sunny region in southern Portugal
known as a perfect travel destination. Faro, the region’s capital, is
known for its coastal beaches, entertainment, restaurants, and old
streets filled with magnificent historical architecture.
there is plenty to do and see in Faro, with activities for all types of
travelers from history buffs to foodies and adventurers, it remains
largely unexplored by tourists giving those who do make the trip, a more
intimate and authentic experience.
Here’s everything you need to know to make the most of your visit to Faro:
How To Get To Faro
The main airport in the Algarve is located in Faro which means it is easy to book a direct flight. Flights into Faro can be relatively inexpensive and it makes a great starting point if planning to explore other points in the Algarve or Southern Spain.
There are many connecting flights headed east from Faro into Olhao and Tavira, Portugal as well as Madrid and Seville, Spain. If heading west, you can fly to Sagres, Lagos, Portimao, Silves, and Albufeira.
If traveling by car from Lisbon, Faro is about a 3-hour drive. From the popular town of Tavira, Faro is just 35 minutes!
But why rush to somewhere else? Take some time to explore Faro for yourself!
What To Do in Faro
Faro is the largest city in the Algarve and widely considered to be a resort area but in reality, it offers so much more.
The beaches are fabulous, the food, drinks, and culture are out of this world so really, what more could you ask for?
Here are some things you simply must check out while in town!
Faro boasts beautiful beaches, where the sun shines on the golden sands.
Beachgoers will enjoy swimming in the area, finding fantastic
restaurants and bars at which to eat the fresh Mediterranean cuisine and
sip a drink or two after spending the day relaxing on the sand dunes.
beaches are relatively deserted because the islands are only accessible
by boat or ferry. You may even find yourself alone on your very own
beach for the day!
In fact, why not bring lunch from one of Faro’s great restaurants and have a secluded, romantic or peaceful picnic?
and nature lovers alike will flock to the natural parks on the islands
of Ilha Deserta (also known as Ihla da Barreta), Ilha do Farol, and Ilha
de Faro in order to marvel at the flora and fauna located here.
you are visiting the area, book a boat trip on an old tuna fishing
barge and catch Portuguese Waterdogs being used in the traditional way
to herd fish into the nets. You can find clams, mussels, and oysters
being farmed and harvested for market sale, or for use by local
restaurants. If you are looking for authenticity, this is it!
Deserta and Ilha do Farol are both almost completely undisturbed,
accessible only by ferry or boat trip and have unbelievable golden sand
Ilha de Faro
Ilha de Faro is accessible by car, and you will find Praia de Faro here.
Praia de Faro is well-known as one of the best beaches in the area.
de Faro stretches for 5 kilometers and is well-attended compared to the
rest of the beaches in this list. However, it is still possible to find
seclusion if you really want it.
Praia de Faro is located
conveniently close to the airport, and transportation by bus is very
inexpensive. There are bars, restaurants, and hotels in the very near
vicinity, just waiting to be explored.
Ilha Deserta (Ilha de Barreta)
Ilha Deserta is one of the five barrier islands in the Ria Formosa Natural Park. This is a one-stop vacation destination with beaches, nature, and walking trails.
Cape St. Mary is located on the southernmost point of mainland Portugal on Ihla Deserta. Take a walk along the curving white sand beach for about thirty minutes to reach Cape St. Mary, then throw down your towel and relax.
If you have rented a car and are looking for a day trip, Tavira’s many beaches are waiting! Learn more about Tavira’s beaches and islands here!
Santa Maria Boardwalk
Taking a walk along the Santa Maria Boardwalk will take you through an incredibly biodiverse landscape.
will be able to see the barrier islands, which protect the Ria Formosa
from the mighty Atlantic Ocean. There is a salt marsh biome, in which
you can spy salt-loving plants and seagrass. The sand dunes are a
wonder to behold, and when you step off the boardwalk, you will be on
the beach where you can relax, or take a dip in the ocean.
If you’d like to know more about the natural surroundings of the boardwalk, hire a local guide to walk you through it all!
Faro is a migratory link between Europe and Africa which means that you
can see a large number of bird species on Ilha Deserta. The nature park
has become a breeding ground for many species, including flamingos.
may also be lucky enough to spot sandpipers, terns, short-toed larks,
storks, grebes, razorbills, spoonbills, ospreys, stilts, shanks, and
different varieties of plovers.
There is no doubt that travelers will marvel at the beauty that surrounds Faro.
Cathedral of Faro
On your visit to Faro, you must also check out the Faro Cathedral.
Cathedral was built in 1251, and you can scale the Cathedral’s tower to
get a birds’ eye view of the city and the Ria Formoso natural park
Inside the Cathedral, behold the beautiful altar and
chapel, festooned in ornate gold azulejos, the beautiful ceramic tiles
found throughout traditional Portuguese architecture. The interior of
the Cathedral does have a small entrance fee, but the design inside is
more than worth it.
Arco da Vila
This archway was created in Moorish times but was given a facelift in the early 1800s after it experienced damage in the 1755 earthquake. Passing through the archway, you can still see the 1000-year-old stonework
You will want to note the statue of St. Thomas Aquinas, who stands guard over Faro, as the Patron Saint of the city.
This striking welcome on the waterside entrance of the city is a must-see.
Igreja do Carmo
A visit to Faro must include a visit to the Igreja do Carmo.
beautiful church was built in the middle of the 18th century and
features Baroque architecture and beautifully gilded wood that was
created by the most renowned woodworkers of the Algarve region. There is
gorgeous stained glass and beautifully laid tile to enjoy.
While inside the church, do not miss the ossuary.
Capela dos Ossos (Chapel of Bones) features the bones of over 1200
Carmelite monks, laid as a solemn reminder of how fleeting and temporary
life can be.
Roman Ruins of Milreu
Just outside of Faro is the village of Estoi where you can find the Roman ruins of Milreu.
ruins were discovered in 1877, and feature beautifully preserved
mosaics of fish, flowers and other figures. This Roman villa that was
uncovered was probably in use from the first century right up until the
Golf is one of the most popular activities for visitors to the Algarve
and If golfing is your game, you will be pleased to find Quinta do Lago.
Just a 20-minute drive down the road from Faro city, Quinta do Lago has a choice of 3 championship golf courses.