Much more than a stopover en route to the Algarve, this atmospheric town spoils you with beautiful medieval architecture and stand-out seafood.
Come for the fantastic beaches, of course, but stay for the enjoyably laid-back town and its pretty, natural surroundings. * Please note this route is seasonal
The airport sits about four miles (7km) west of Faro, making it easy to get into town by car, taxi and public transport. It’s a small city and simple to traverse on foot, particularly the centre.
1 hr ahead of GMT
NEIGHBOURHOODS TO SEE
The Old Town: for history
Much of the beautifully preserved architecture in the Centro Historico or Cidade Velha dates from medieval times. Highlights include the Sé, the city’s cathedral, and the 18th-century baroque church Igreja de São Francisco.
Praia de Faro: for the beach
While there’s much more to this lovely region than sun, sea and sand, it has some of the Med’s finest beaches. The 5km-long Praia de Faro is always popular, but its size means it’s rarely too busy!
Jardim Manuel Bivar: for shopping
For a pretty setting and buzzy atmosphere, head to the area around the Jardim Manuel Bivar, a pedestrianised shopping precinct with everything from international chains to local souvenirs.
ESSENTIAL SIGHTS Capela dos Ossos
The Chapel of Bones is a fascinating little church tucked away behind the Igreja do Carmo in the north of the city centre. Its walls are lined with the bones of 1,250 of Faro’s monks from the 19th century.
The Sé, Faro’s beautiful cathedral, is in the heart of the city’s Old Town. Parts of the building date back to 1251, though it was mostly rebuilt in the 1750s after severe earthquake damage.
Faro Jewish Heritage Centre
This fascinating site contains a traditional Jewish cemetery and small museum, with artefacts tracing the history of Jewish people and culture in Faro.
Museu Municipal de Faro
Learn about Faro’s long and colourful history in this brilliant archaeological museum, open since 1894. It spans prehistory, the Roman period and medieval Moorish rule through a range of fascinating exhibits.
FOOD AND DRINK
Dining-wise, Faro is pretty multicultural but local traditional cuisine is the highlight. Head to the marina for the greatest concentration of seafood restaurants or enjoy fine dining in the Old Town at some of the city’s best restaurants.
JULY-AUGUST | Festa da Ria Formosa
A celebration of Algarve cuisine, particularly from the Ria Formosa wetlands region. Seafood-lovers love this one, all held in the Largo de Sé, a park overlooking the nature reserve.
AUGUST | FolkFaro
An international festival bringing together musicians, dancers, actors and more to honour rich folklore traditions from Portugal and beyond. Entertainers visit from as far afield as Kazakhstan and Costa Rica to give performances and workshops for people of all ages.