The capital of the Algarve, the southern region of Portugal, Faro is a nice, versatile city and the gateway to the natural wonders of the area. Situated on the coast, Faro is the ideal destination both for anyone wishing to embrace the pleasures of the sun, sea and beauty of the natural surroundings, and for those seeking a cultural break. Beaches, excellent fish restaurants, unique ecosystems, unspoiled islets and a delightful old town are the highlights of this city.
With its authentically Portuguese air, the attractive marina, parks and squares inviting you to take a break and a picturesque cidade velha, Faro is a lovely stop to include in your tour of the Algarve.
The winding pedestrian cobbled streets, the squares and the whitewashed buildings of the old town house museums, churches and outdoor cafés. The Cathedral, which stands in a beautiful square lined with citrus trees and also overlooked by the town hall, dates back to 1251; the inside of the church is worth a visit, as it’s embellished with glazed ceramics and multi-coloured azulejo tiles. You can also climb its Gothic tower, from where you can enjoy lovely views of the streets of Faro and its lagoon.
The lagoon itself, known as the Ria Formosa, is one of the main local attractions; this enormous natural park, 60km long, is a labyrinth of watercourses running between islets and giving life to a habitat that’s perfect for a multitude of bird species. The beaches in the area are also appealing. Praia do Faro, for example, is a long stretch of sand 20 minutes from the city, and Ilha Deserta can be reached by ferry from the Porta Nova pier, in the centre of Faro.
Other must-sees in Faro are the Arco da Vila, a 19th century archway that’s one of the original gateways into the walled city, and the Municipal Museum, also known as the Archaeological Museum, housed in a beautiful 16th century convent.