Welcome to Faro!
The southern region of Portugal boasts perpetual sunshine with stretches of gorgeous golden sand beaches, that complement the warm waters of the Mediterranean Sea. Considered to be just a gateway to resort towns nearby, the capital of the Algarve region is often overlooked, leaving its quintessential Portuguese beauty undiscovered. A cultural hub brimming with history, Faro, Portugal, helped shape the country into what it is today. Discover the charming city of Faro as you walk through its quaint squares and rustic cobblestone streets. This is a worldwide local’s guide to ensure that you make the most of Portugal’s most southern city.
Begin in the Old Town
Faro’s walled Old Town is its centerpiece and an attraction in itself, showcasing its wonderful architecture untouched by time. The Old Town is filled with narrow cobbled streets that take you to homey, local family-run Faro restaurants that serve scrumptious seafood and ornate historical buildings. Explore the historical interior as you walk through Arco da Vila, and see structures that were made in different periods, throughout time. From spots of Romanesque styles to Moorish influences, wandering through the Old Town is a walking history lesson.
Worldwide Local Tip: The Igreja do Carmo is one of the city’s most beautiful churches. It has a stunning white exterior and its lavish interior, but it holds an eerie secret within. The walls of the Capela dos Ossos are crammed with human skulls and bones, to remind people of their own mortality. It’s a surreal place to visit and one not to be missed.
Get Outdoors in Faro
From the air, as you descend into Faro Airport, you can see Ria Formosa, a natural park that is thriving with flora and fauna across its winding lagoons. Stretching to almost 170 kilometers (106 miles) of sandbanks and swamps, it is a haven for bird watchers due to the abundance of different species, that flock to the reserve. Hop on a Segway tour to explore its alcoves, containing the salt pans of the backwater and locals harvesting fresh clams. Grab a ferry from the Porta Nova Pier, at the picturesque marina, for the most convenient way to get there.
Worldwide Local Tip: Avoid the huge crowds in the popular resort towns west of Faro. Instead, head to the small town of Cacela Velha east of the city. It has great beaches and a relaxed atmosphere retaining its local authentic character of a small Portuguese town. Like in Faro, food is delicious and drinks are strong.
Step Back in Time
Faro’s colorful history dates back to the golden age of the Roman empire and on the outskirts of the city in the village of Estoi, you can see the remnants of a once thriving civilization in the Roman ruins of Milreu. The remains of a Roman villa that was constructed in the first century, offers a glimpse of the town’s vibrant past. You can see intricate mosaic designs from abstract shapes to pictures of fish inside its chambers, showing decorations way ahead of its time.
Worldwide Local Tip: Book a boat tour of the lagoon to fully experience Ria Formosa. Enjoy stunning views of the city from the water, or swim off the shore of the idyllic Ilha Deserta. There are many local tour companies that provide great value for the price.
Enjoy Your Visit!
A forgotten city, where the locals are proud to show their cultures through their warm hospitality, Faro and the Algarve regions are much more than just its touristy resort towns and crowded beaches. Hop on the Lisbon to Faro train to discover a city rich with traditional culture. Exploring Faro as a worldwide local will grant you unlimited access to its rustic allure.