Insufficiently appreciated, few consider visiting Faro on a holiday trip to the Algarve except for passing by.
The capital of the Algarve, the most coveted bathing destination in the south of Portugal, has much more to offer. It has more than enough historical, natural, and cultural heritage to put it at the top of the list of cities to visit in the Algarve. It has dynamism and vision. There are people with fresh ideas that want to make it happen.
It has good old-fashioned cuisine and new cuisine to enjoy the terrace. It is cosmopolitan, energetic, and progressive in good Algarve fashion!
The natural heritage of Faro includes the queen of nature reserves in the Algarve, the Ria Formosa Natural Park. In front of Faro, the estuary reaches its maximum width of 6 km. Now, the dune cord of consecutive islands – barriers that protect the ocean estuary, contributed to the formation of the famous Beaches of Faro, between the Ancão Peninsula and the Culatra Island, that even though they are not two steps from the city, they are very popular in the bathing season.
Next time you go on vacation to the Algarve, go visit Faro as it deserves! Get to know what to do in the capital of the Algarve with our suggestions on of 1-day itinerary in Faro, with a map of the main tourist attractions to visit, the best beaches in Faro, and must-see places for walks near Faro, our favorites among the hotels where to sleep, and the usual local tips to make the most of your time visiting Faro.
Where is Faro? How to get to Faro?
Faro is the capital of the southernmost region of Portugal and is in a central position in the territory. It is one of the best-served cities for transport in the Algarve region and has good road, rail, and air connections to the main Portuguese cities. Thus, the best way to get to Faro depends on your location, being able to choose between car, bus ( bus ), train, or plane.
- By plane: Faro is served by Faro International Airport ( FAO ), the third-largest in mainland Portugal. If your point of origin is outside Portugal, the plane will probably be your best option to reach the capital of the Algarve. Several airlines, between conventional and low-cost, operate daily flights to the capital of the Algarve, whose frequency increases during the summer bathing season. There are also direct flights to Lisbon Faro, operated by TAP, and Porto Faro, operated by Ryanair.
- By car: most people choose the car as a way to get to Faro because it is more practical and faster since the capital of the Algarve has road access facilitated by the A2 motorway. Faro is about 270 km from Lisbon ( 2h30m travel ) and 550 km from Port road trips, opt for the scenic coastal road of Costa Vicenti for mythical Estrada Nacional 2 159016. It saves no time, but saves on tolls and washes your eyes with landscapes.
- By bus: There are daily buses to Faro, operated by EVA and RedeExpresos, departing from the main Portuguese cities. The trip is more extended and more time-consuming, but it is the most economical solution to reach the capital of the Algarve, especially if you travel alone. Consult schedules and prices on the respective road.
- By train: the train is another possible way to reach the capital of the Algarve. Depending on your place of origin, there are Alfa Pendular, Intercidades, and Regional train services provided by CP – Comboios de Portugal. See schedules and prices on the CP website.
Both the train station and the Faro bus station are conveniently located in the city center.
How to get from the airport to the center of Faro?
Distance from Faro International Airport to central Faro: 7.5 km
- Bus: it is not fast but it is the most economical way to reach the city center from the international airport, which is served by line 16 of the buses of the urban transport company of Faro Line 16 – Praia de Faro > > Bus Terminal ( via Montenegro and Airport ). The trip ticket costs € 2.35.
- Taxi: the taxi rank is – if just outside the arrivals terminal. The estimated price for a taxi ride to the city center is € 11 on weekdays between 6 am and 9 pm and € 13 on the night, weekends, and holidays.
- Transfer service: The most comfortable and quick option to reach your hotel is with a service of transfers. There are plenty of them.
When to visit Faro?
Faro may not have the 365 days of sunshine in the Algarve advertising slogan, but it is close by. Faro’s climate is characterized – by the Mediterranean, which, due to the influence of North Africa’s winds and currents and proximity to the Ria Formosa, translates into mild temperatures throughout the year. The high seasons are Christmas and New Year, the weeks glued to Easter and summer between June and August.
If your goal is to enjoy the beaches, then the best time to visit Faro is summer ( June – September ). To know the natural heritage, in the spring ( April – May ) and the autumn ( September – October ) Faro has more pleasant moderate temperatures for activities outdoor.
With a cultural agenda filled the whole year, you can visit Faro at one of its festivities and emblematic events to feel its vibe
- January: Charola Festival
- June: Popular Saints (the most emblematic festivals in the city)
- July: Alameda Beer Fest
- July/August: International Motorcycle Concentration
- August: Faro Book Fair, FolkFaro
- September: Festival F.
- October: Feira de Sta. Iria
- November: Organ Festival
- December: Christmas Concert Cycle and New Year
Where to sleep in Faro? Accommodation suggestions
If you need to sleep in Faro, you might want to decide to enjoy the beaches or want to set up a base in the city.
Our local guide’s recommendation is to stay in the center of Faro, to be close to everything. The city currently has all kinds of accommodation, from budget hotels to luxury hotels, through the hostel for travelers on a limited budget and varied local accommodation, whose quality improves from season to season.
We suggest that you search Booking.com in advance, read other guests’ reviews, compare prices, and book at the best price, preferably free cancellation accommodation if your travel plans change.
Below we suggest our favorite accommodations ( tested and approved by us ) and we leave some more suggestions for accommodations in Faro that have the best quality ratio – price.
The 4-star4 star Eva uses promises “sophisticated comfort in the capital of the Algarve”. And it does! An affordable luxury that does not neglect any detail of guests’ comfort. Very central location, with a rooftop bar with an outdoor pool and views of the marina, for the city and the Ria Formosa which are a delight.
In terms of apartments, Casa D’Amelie is by far our favorite. The name drew – attention to the immediate association with the film Amélie Poulain’s Fabulous Destiny. And when we entered that “dream house”, expectations were more than exceeded. The house is just fabulous! With a score of 9.9 on Booking.com, it has to do with your eyes and life on your skin.
Aqua Ria Boutique Hotel
It has modern and elegant accommodation on Rua de Santo António, Faro’s shopping street, but with great tranquility inside. The boutique hotel has a comfortable atmosphere, with refinement details that stand out. Aqua Ria Boutique Hotel has modern rooms, with hygiene products from Saboaria Portuguesa ( a thoughtful touch ), and a breakfast – delicious lunch.
More economical, the Sunlight House is a 10 perfect. All details show care and esteem for an inspiration decoration kitsch with good taste, without exaggeration, and very harmonious for the objective: pure and holy rest.
The brand new 3HB Faro ( opened in June 2021 ) is the the5-star5 star hotel in Faro, it is a contemporary minimalist design hotel. It presents rooms and excellent services, such as a spa, rooftop, infinity pool, gourmet restaurants, and bar. For the demanding traveler looking for an environment with a cosmopolitan style and refinement.
Visit Faro: what to see and do in 1 day?
Faro receives a large number of tourists. However, because they do not have beaches “at hand to sow”, most lands at the airport and quickly head to another city or the most popular beach area in the Algarve. Many ignore ( or belittle ) that visiting Faro is to go into – an old city, one of the most authentic and busy in the region. See what you can do in Faro on 1 visiting day.
The Historic Center of Faro divides – into three neighborhoods: Vila Adentro, Mouraria, and Bairro Ribeirinho.
The most emblematic attractions to visit in Faro are the picturesque Vila Adentro, the oldest town in the city girded by the ancient walls of the “old city” over 2000 years old when Faro was called Ossónoba.
A walk through Vila Adentro is one of the unmissable things to do in Faro. Stoned, narrow, and labyrinthine streets and alleys, guide the visitor through 16th-century houses, houses with typical scissor roofs, airy squares, and monumental buildings.
The whole history of Faro is written on its walls, from the late foundation – Roman to the present. The original Moorish construction, the reinforcement after the reconquest, the plundering of Faro by the English in 1596, and post-Restoration reissue until the 1755 earthquake left their mark. If the stones spoke …
Arches and towers interrupting the walls, originally Moors, tear access doors of which stand out Arco da Vila 194590, and an undervalued Porta Nova. Choose the first for a triumphal entry, the second for a more authentic time travel sensation for the Reconquest.
Tip VacationWorlds: the other reason why it may be more convenient to enter Vila Adentro through Arco do Repouso is the park of free parking at Largo de São Francisco, where you can leave the car.
Arco da Vila
Tearing the Moorish wall since the 11th century, the current neoclassical arch is mandatory on a visit to Faro. A Arab Gate, inside, is the only horseshoe arch in its original location in the entire Algarve. There is – if Interpretative Center of Arco daily, dedicated to the history of the city.
Passing the bow, turn your gaze to the top of the bow. No round path on the wall is the legendary Ermida de Nossa Senhora do Ó , former chapel
Largo da Sé
After so many visits to Largo de Sé, we still remember with pleasure the first time: in t, the air there was the perfume of orange trees in bloom. The gaze immediately focuses on – Sé Caedrathe l or the Church of Santamaria, which is considered preceded by a Roman temple and Arab mosque converted into a church after the Reconquista. To the taste of each era, – Renaissance and Baroque details were added, especially in the interior, and a bell gives us the idea of a fortified structure. Going up to the ower you will find one of the best panoramic views over the city, the I, islands, and canals of the Ria Formosa.
In the surroundings of the Cathedral, enjoy two notable buildings, the Episcopal Palace and the Episcopal Seminary of S. José and Passos do Concelho, the current City Council.
Square D. Afonso III
Visiting Faro inevitably passes through its squares, and Praça D. Afonso III should be no exception. Centered by a statue of King Dom Afonso III, a tribute from the city to the king who conquered Faro from the Moors in 1249, is the Convent of Nossa Senhora da Assunção that dominates the attention.
Faro Municipal Museum
It is this convent that houses the Faro Municipal Museum with permanent exhibitions of sacred art and archeology. As bonuses, a building and Renaissance rooms, and especially the cloisters of the convent, are of a beauty that justifies the visit.
Arc de Rest
Legendary, another of the entries in Vila Adentro that you cannot miss on your visit to Faro is Arco do Repouso. Inside one of the albarran towers, – is nested at Ermida de Nossa Senhora do Repouso . Leaving the Arc from the home, and surrounding the outer perimeter of the wall, you will find the following points of interest in Faro.
Fruit of a wealthy bourgeoisie, in the 19th and 20th centuries Faro expanded – out of the wall. In the vicinity are – if some of the luxurious buildings and residences that reveal these golden times. Examples of this are Palácio Belmarço and Consulado Geral do Brasil de Faro . <
Convento de São Francisco
It is one of the important convents in the city of Faro, but currently hosts the Hotel School, so you can be content – if you only appreciate the facade.
Beer Factory – Faro Castle
Integrated into the walls you will see a huge building. It is the Beer Factory, a reinforced concrete building built in the 20th century and, it seems, was implanted in the area where the castle is believed to have been.
By this time, it will have already been seduced by the countless terraces that spread through Vila Adentro. Give in to temptation or follow the street until Porta Nova towards Ria Formosa, the reserve to know what Faro you have.
Baixa de Faro
A Dom Francisco Gomes Square is the visiting room of the historic center of Faro, downtown. Lined on a Portuguese sidewalk, it is embellished by Jardim Manuel Bivar. The center of the city’s social and cultural life, is Faro Marina, the picturesque dock with public art ( illuminated at night is an m, that most calls attention and is a starting point for adventures and boat trips to the Ria Formosa.
Rua de Santo António
Stops Rua de Santo António, an open-air shopping center, for the opportunity to enjoy a beautiful Portuguese sidewalk, delight – if with traditional Algarve sweets sold in pastries or know the ethnography of the region no Faro Regional Museum 1
In the former neighborhood of fishermen and large traders, it is in the neighborhood of Ribeirinho neighborhood that the Maritime Museum, Church of Nossa Senhora do Carmo, better known by Chapel of Faro Bones, is attached, and, the patron saint of the seamen.
Faro’s new “attraction”: a roundabout! Wait. It is not just any roundabout.
It is the brand new roundabout on the Portuguese sidewalk, at the intersection between Avenida Calouste Gulbenkian and Rua do Alportel, which marks the last kilometer of the mythical Estrada Nacional 2, km 738. The Roadtrippers of N2 does not lose the usual photo at the roundabout that does not say “end” but 738. Perhaps it does not arouse your curiosity and is your starting point for this great adventure of touring Portugal from north to south through the interior of the country?
What to do in Faro at night
The Bairro Ribeirinho is the area of nightlife and par excellence. Bars, clubs, and snack houses spread – in the streets and alleys around the commonly called Rua do Crime ( ironically, the official name is Rua do Prior ).
Best Rooftop Bars in Faro
The best rooftop bars from Faro for a drink in an environment or for good music:
- Rooftop Eva ( at Hotel Eva Senses )
- O Castelo Cosmopolitan Rooftop Bar ( at the top of Hotel Faro )
- and LAB Terrace.
When visiting Faro there is likely live music outdoors, an exhibition or a theater, dance, or music show that piques your interest. Be sure to peek at the posters of Theater of Figures and Teatro Lethes.
Ria Formosa Natural Park
Visiting Faro is history but it is also nature. Faro encompasses a representative part of the Ria Formosa Natural Park, with its islands – barrier, canals, marshes, dunes, and salt flats. The variety of habitats makes this natural park a sanctuary for biodiversity. For nature lovers and birdwatching who are going to visit Faro, an incursion into the Ria Formosa is essential.
The most popular activity is the boat trip through the Ria Formosa Islands, a memorable experience, and an excellent alternative if you visit Faro outside the bathing season or if you don’t want to go to the beach.
At the Marina de Faro dock, several companies are operating, with a wide range of boat trips, cruises, and activities at sea, with different durations which means that you can always fit some in your itinerary to visit Faro. You have for example catamaran rides through the Ria Formosa channels stopping at the islands of the Lighthouse and Desert.
Local Guide Tip: take your time when visiting Ria Formosa. You should need at least 3 hours to enjoy all the surroundings at a slow pace.
Best Beaches in Faro
The beaches of the municipality of Faro are located – between the Ancão Peninsula and Ilha da Culatra, in the heart of the Ria Formosa Natural Park, composed of islands – dune barrier, marshes, and inland water channels, which protect the Algarve coast of the Atlantic Ocean. Turn – south and you will have a smell of the bravery of ocean waves. Turn – to the north and you will have the placidity of the shallow and warm waters of the Ria.
The concept of “going to the beach” in Faro is different from the conventional one: most of the time it requires a sailor spirit, to venture – on a boat and let the salty air blow into the hair.
Ancão Peninsula: accessible by car, has all services and infrastructure
Praia da Barrinha
Ancão Peninsula: leave your car at Faro Beach, go through the walkways ( ~ 1.5 km ) to the sand tongue – Barra de São Luís
Praia da Barreta or Ilha Deserta
Ilha da Barreta: access by sea, in the boats of Cais da Porta Nova ( Portas do Mar ); a quiet sanctuary at the southernmost point of mainland Portugal, the wildest, concrete-free island – has only one restaurant. Naturist beach on the west side.
Ilha do Farol or Culatra: urban and tourist beach, with access by the sea in the boats of Cais da Porta Nova ( Portas do Mar ). A must-see: go up to Cabo de Santa Maria Lighthouse for stunning panoramic views.
Ilha da Culatra: access is by sea, with landings in the fishing village of Culatra crossing the dune on a walkway to the sea beach; only swimmer – savior and WC during the bathing season.
What to visit near Faro?
If you are looking for places to visit near Faro, in addition to the beaches and the Ria Formosa Natural Park, check out our suggestions below:
The town of Estoi, 10 km from the capital of the Algarve, holds two great treasures. The charming Estoi Palace is considered the best example of a noble palace and 19th century Rococo gardens in the entire Algarve, converted into a luxury inn, and the Roman Ruins of Milreu, an archaeological site with traces of a Roman villa dating from the 1st century.
The Ludo Trail is one of our favorite trails in the Algarve and our pedestrian route of choice in Faro. Perfect for a family walk, the wonderful landscapes through the lagoon system of Ria Formosa, between marshland areas, salt flats, golf courses, freshwater lagoons, and forest areas, clearly demonstrate why Ria Formosa was elected one of the 7 Natural Wonders of Portugal.
It is possible to observe countless species of water birds ( flamingos, herons, ducks, zarros, loons, and galleys ), in the observatories created along the route, without disturbing them. A true paradise for lovers of birdwatching! Click for more information on the Ludo Trail.
Practical information about the Ludo Trail
- Distance: 7 km
- Circular: yes
- Technical Difficulty: Easy
- Departure / Arrival Location: Faro Beach Parking
The historic city of Tavira is one of the most authentic cities in the Algarve. Let – seduce yourself through its corners, from the banks of the Gilão River to the walls of its towering castle with “enchanted” views over the houses, the river, the salt flats, and the sea on the horizon.
In addition to the Roman Bridge and the Castle of Tavira, we highlight the following points of interest: Praça da República and Jardim do Coreto, the churches of Misericórdia and Santiago, the riverside on the banks of the Gilão River, the Salinas de Tavira and, obviously, the island of Tavira for the sea beach ( an excellent alternative to the beaches of Faro ).
Fishing village typically Algarve, with hidden charms, Olhão, receives the largest fishing port in the Algarve. The jewel in Olhão’s crown is its fantastic market that, daily ( except Sundays ), is filled with life, in addition to fresh fish and seafood. After visiting the market, be sure to wander around the rednecked candlesticks of the old fishing districts and take a pleasant walk along its waterfront. And it is precisely from the margin of Olhão that boat trips through the Ria Formosa Natural Park take off.
Local Guide Tip: Pay attention to the places you will visit during the tour and the duration. Anything less than 3h 30m from Olhão is to be avoided. A good excursion should always include Ilha do Farol, a visit to the fishing village of Ilha da Culatra, and a passage through the bay and Ilha de Armona ( also known as Ilha da Fuseta ).
Loulé is a city distinct from all other cities in the Algarve and the “genuinely Portuguese atmosphere”, as foreign tourists perceive it, attracts more and more visitors. In Loulé, the Municipal Market, the Loulé Castle, the Clock Tower, the Church of São Clemente, the Amuados Garden, the Sailing Tower, and the Islamic Baths stand out. Outside the historic center, the highlight goes to the Sanctuary of Nossa Senhora da Piedade, where the greatest pilgrimage of Marian devotion to the south of Fátima takes place.