Most visitors to Faro simply pass through on their way to the resorts of the Algarve – which is excellent news if you do stop over.
You get this atmospheric town with its beautiful medieval architecture and stand-out seafood to yourself. Come for the beaches, of course, but stay for this enjoyably unpretentious, pretty historic town and its natural surroundings.
Capela dos Ossos
The somewhat grisly Capela dos Ossos – Chapel of Bones – is a fascinating little church tucked away behind the Igreja do Carmo in the northern part of the city centre. The chapel’s walls are lined with the bones of 1,250 of Faro’s monks from the 19th century.
Faro’s beautiful cathedral, known locally as the Sé, is the heart of the city’s Old Town. Parts of the building date way back to 1251, but it was severely damaged by an earthquake in 1755, after which most of it was rebuilt.
Faro Jewish Heritage Centre
Faro’s Moorish history is clear in the crumbling architecture of the Old Town, but less obvious are signs of the city’s Jewish past. This fascinating site contains a traditional Jewish cemetery and a small museum, with artefacts telling the story of the history of Jewish people and culture in Faro.
Museu Municipal de Faro
This brilliant archaeological museum has been welcoming guests since 1894, and is a great place to learn about Faro’s long and colourful history. It spans prehistory, the Roman period, and medieval Moorish rule through a range of fascinating exhibits, with some dating back thousands of years, such as mosaics and Roman busts.
Praia de Faro
No stay in Faro would be complete without at least one trip to the city’s fine beach, Praia de Faro. The beach has long been popular with Portuguese tourists, and is great for both water sports and relaxing in beachfront bars.