Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a beach lover, or simply seeking a weekend getaway, Faro has something for everyone. So pack your bags, prepare to be captivated by its beauty, and let Faro work its magic on you.
Where is Faro?
Faro is a coastal city located in southern Portugal. Situated in the Algarve region, it is the capital of the district of Faro. This city is known for its historical and cultural significance, as well as its beautiful beaches and scenery. Faro is conveniently located near the Faro International Airport, making it easily accessible for tourists. The city is surrounded by the Ria Formosa Natural Park, a natural reserve that is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna. In the city center, visitors can explore the charming old town, which is filled with narrow streets, historical buildings, and traditional Portuguese architecture. The city also boasts a rich cultural and artistic scene, with various galleries, museums, and theaters. Faro is a popular tourist destination, offering a mix of history, nature, and modern amenities.
What is Faro like?
Faro is known for its historic center and picturesque old town, offering a unique blend of ancient and modern attractions. The city is renowned for its stunning coastline, with beautiful sandy beaches and crystal-clear waters. Visitors can soak up the sun, enjoy various water sports, or simply relax by the sea. Faro is also home to a vibrant culinary scene, offering an array of delicious seafood dishes and traditional Portuguese cuisine. The city boasts a rich cultural heritage, with Moorish influences evident in its architecture and historical sites. One of the main attractions is the Faro Cathedral, a beautiful example of Gothic architecture. The city is also a great base for exploring the surrounding region, with popular day trips to the nearby Ria Formosa Natural Park, where visitors can admire diverse wildlife and enjoy stunning landscapes. Overall, Faro is a delightful destination that offers a combination of natural beauty, cultural richness, and relaxation.
What’s the weather like in Faro?
Faro enjoys a Mediterranean climate, characterized by hot summers and mild winters. The weather in Faro is generally sunny and dry throughout the year, making it a popular destination for beach lovers and sunseekers. In the summer months, temperatures can soar up to 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit) or higher, and rainfall is rare. However, it is worth noting that summers can also be quite windy, with occasional gusts of wind coming from the Atlantic Ocean. Winters in Faro are mild, with temperatures rarely dropping below 10 degrees Celsius (50 degrees Fahrenheit). Rainfall is more common during this time, but it is still relatively moderate compared to other regions in Europe.
What’s the easiest and fastest way to get to Faro?
The easiest and fastest way to get to Faro is by flying. Faro has its own international airport, Faro Airport, which is well-connected to major cities in Europe. Many airlines operate flights to Faro from various destinations, making it convenient for travelers to reach the city. The airport is located just a few kilometers away from the city center, making the journey quick and hassle-free. From the airport, there are several transportation options available to reach your desired destination in Faro, such as taxis, buses, or rental cars. Taxis are a popular choice for those looking for a direct and comfortable transfer to their accommodation. Buses are also a convenient and affordable option, with regular services running between the airport and the city center.
Where to stay in Faro?
If you want an authentic and immersive local stay in the historic centre, look for accomodation in Cidade Velha.
Stay near the Marina for a more relaxed atmosphere and beautiful waterfront views.
If you want to enjoy the beach, Praia de Faro is ideal.
Best time to visit Faro?
The best time to visit Faro is in the spring or fall, when the weather is mild and there are fewer tourists. During these seasons, temperatures in Faro range from the mid-60s to the mid-70s Fahrenheit, making it the perfect time to explore the city and its surrounding areas. In the spring, the flowers are in bloom and the landscape is lush and green, creating a picturesque setting for sightseeing and outdoor activities. In the fall, the tourist crowds have thinned out and the beaches are less crowded, allowing for a more peaceful and enjoyable experience. Additionally, visiting Faro during these seasons will also help travelers avoid the scorching temperatures and high humidity of the summer months.
How to spend 2 days in Faro
Day 1: Exploring Faro
A Portuguese breakfast
Start your day off with a traditional Portugese treat – pastéis de nata. You’ll be able to find these sweet treats all over Faro. It’s an egg custard tart that’s been topped with a sprinkle of cinnamon, and they are delicious.
Explore the marina and old town
Faro is quite small, so easy to explore in one day. Start by the marina and enjoy the sea view. Faro Cathedral is well worth a visit – it’s a traditional Roman cathedral that’s been built on the site of an Arab mosque. It’s a wonderful blend of different architectural styles that’s evolved over the centuries. You get some amazing views over the city from the rooftop, including the Ria Formosa lagoon (more on that later!).
The old town of Faro is different from the rest of the city. Take your time walking the cobbled streets, and enjoying the local antique shops and cafes. The most central entrance is through the 18th century gate, the Arco da Vila which is next to the Turismo.
Know as the Museu Municipal de Faro, this lovely museum was founded in 1894. It has beautiful gardens to enjoy, but there’s plenty to see inside. It’s filled with Roman artifacts and pre-historic collections, as well as a stunning mosaic of the god Oceanus. The entrance fee is only €2, so definitely worth a stop!
Igreja do Carmo
Another must visit in Faro is Igreja do Carmo – the most famous church in the city which was built in 1719.
It’s known for the bone chapel, or Capela dos Ossos. This can be accessed for 2 EUR inside the church and is decorated with the skeletal remains of over 1,200 monks.
When you need a break from walking, stop for a delicious local lunch. Faro is known for its amazing seafood, so we’d recommend grabbing some octopus, prawns or tuna to enjoy.
Chill out on Praia de Faro
Faro’s nearest beach is Praia de Faro, a long sweep of sand with a sea facing and lagoon facing side. It’s a developed area with bars and restaurants, based southwest of town.
Day 2: Ria Formosa Island Tour
One of the 7 natural wonders of Portugal, Ria Formosa is a system of small islands that are connected to the sea. It’s home to many migratory birds and wildlife such as storks, flamingos, and ospreys, spanning over 170 km of natural beauty. We’d recommend spending your 2nd day in Faro on a tour of this beautiful lagoon.
The islands have a real mix of eco-systems which is why the wildlife is so varied. You’ll get to explore canals, islands, marshland and sandy beaches, and there are people living and working on the islands as well. Traditional activities that take place here include extracting salt and gathering shellfish, and there are some lovely restaurants on the islands serving these up.
Ria Formosa Faro Islands Catamaran Tour
Set sail to the beautiful Ria Formosa Natural Park by catamaran, departing from Faro. You’ll get to stop at the magical islands of Farol and Deserta, seeing the amazing Santa Maria Lighthouse and getting some time to enjoy the island cuisine. In Deserta, there are rolling sand dunes and unique landscapes to see.
You’ll get plenty of time to have a swim on both islands, enjoying their secluded beaches. You’ll also get a full commentary on board the catamaran from your guide to learn more about the islands.
Price: from £34.50 per person
The best day trips from Faro
If you have more time to explore the area, one of the best day trips from Faro is to visit Benagil cave. It’s situated in Lagoa, which is just 50 minutes from the city. The cave itself is only accessible by swimming, and is known for its unique geological formation, including a large central dome with a hole in the top. If you drive here, you can park at the beach where there will be plenty of options for boat tours or kayak hire to get you to the caves.
The caves can get crowded, but the views are worth it. If you’re looking to kayak, make sure you check the tide schedule, as you may only be able to get there during low tide.
Benagil Cave and Marinha Beach Guided Day Trip
Travel from Faro to Benagil Beach, where you’ll enter the cave with an instructor. You’ll get time to swim and relax inside the cave, before heading to Marinha Beach, one of the most beautiful in Portugal.
Price: from £47.45 per person