If you’re planning your holiday to the Algarve, and you’re wondering what to do in Faro, then look no further than our guide to the best things to see and where to go in this Portuguese town.
What to Do in Faro When You Arrive
Once your airport transfer has dropped you off at your hotel, it’s time to get into the holiday spirit. Faro is a lively student town, with plenty of nightlife and friendly bars to choose from, as well as some great spots to sit back and relax after your journey. Once you’ve settled into your stay, you’ll find some great clubs on the outskirts of the city, towards Quinta do Lago and Vilamoura. But if it’s a night of cocktails on a roof terrace you’re after then there are plenty of bars in Faro’s Old Town. Columbus Bar, facing the park in the heart of the town, is a popular choice for skilfully crafted cocktails and one of the longest drinks menus around.
Sightseeing in Faro
Faro’s historic centre, or Cidade Velha, is a pretty, pedestrianised part of the city full of shops and plazas and surrounded by the ancient city walls. Go for a stroll around its pleasant cobbled streets and take in the mix of architecture, or grab a cool beer at a local café. Topping the list of must-visit buildings are the Sé de Faro (or Faro Cathedral, once an old Roman temple and then a Moorish mosque before becoming the building it is today) and the Palácio de Estoi and its beautiful palace gardens.
Faro’s Best Beaches
Faro is the perfect destination for beach lovers and is near to some of the best beaches in the Algarve. Faro’s main beach, Praia da Ilha de Faro, is a long and narrow sandbar with a sea-facing side and a sheltered lagoon-facing side. If it’s natural beaches you love, then head to the Ilha Deserta (also called Barreta Island) where you’ll find pristine beaches and only a handful of visitors a day – save for the local flamingo population. This little isle can only be visited by an organised tour or taxi boat, and its only building is an exclusive seafood restaurant.
Where to Eat in Faro
Faro’s local cuisine features some wonderful, fresh seafood dishes, as well as plenty of other local delicacies, that mustn’t be missed during your stay in the Algarve. Some of the must-try dishes include Carne de Porco com Amêijoas (Pork with Clams) and Raia Alhada (Skate with Garlic, Olive Oil and Potatoes). There are plenty of restaurants to choose from in Faro’s old town, but for a plate of homecooked, honest Portuguese food you should get a table at A Venda, a trendy backstreet place popular with both tourists and locals.
Places of Interest in Faro
Some of the most interesting places to visit in Faro include the city’s impressive churches, such as the 16th century Igreja de Misericordia and the 18th century Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Carmo, with its gold-filled interiors. Even more unusual is the Capela dos Ossos (or ‘bone chapel’) at the Igreja do Carmo. This ossuary at the back of the church is constructed from, and decorated with, the bones and skulls of more than 1200 monks, with a completely gold-coated skeleton that hangs in front of the chapel.
Day Trips from Faro
By far one of the most beautiful places to visit in the Algarve, and often considered one of the ‘Seven Wonders’ of Portugal, the Ria Formosa is a wetland wildlife reserve made up of lagoons, islands and salt pans. Various guided tours are available to and around the park, including hiking, cycling and kayaking tours, where you can get closer to the natural birdlife and other protected species.
How to Get to Faro
Faro is only a 7km drive from Faro Airport, making it a great place to stay and discover Portugal’s Algarve region. Faro Airport is very easy to fly to from the UK, with lots of regular flights from all the major cities across the country. The airport is served many of the low-cost airlines, including Ryanair and easyJet, making it the ideal destination for budget-friendly beach holidays and family trips.
From Faro Airport, it’s just a 20-minute taxi transfer to Faro city centre with HolidayTaxis. Pre-book your Faro Airport transfer with us and we’ll make sure you get to your accommodation stress-free, with no queues at the airport when you arrive.