Touring in Faro: What to Do and Visit?

26 May, 2023
Touring in Faro: What to Do and Visit?

There is a unique beauty in the south of Portugal, more precisely in the biggest city of Algarve, one of the most popular tourist destinations for adventurers and beach lovers. In Faro, there is much to discover! Filled with historical corners, crystal clear beaches, and deserted islands, Faro is an undiscovered secret.

The Algarve is a synonym for beach and nature. While many tourists seek the entertainment of exciting cities like Portimão, and others look for the comfort and calm of smaller villages like Lagos, it is not new that Faro has become a transit place for many tourists, given the excellent accessibility of Faro's Airport. However, Faro is still an undiscovered gem and it holds one of Algarve's best-kept secrets.

With excellent cuisine and welcoming people, exquisite historical heritage, and the typical summertime dynamism of the Algarve region, Faro City has a lot to offer. And, for that reason, we have prepared a list of 6 must-see top destinations to discover the beauty of Faro, in the Algarve region:

1. Explore the Natural Park of Ria Formosa

Known to be one of the 7 Natural Wonders of Portugal, the natural park of the Ria Formosa is full of crystal-clear beaches, natural streams, and extensive sand shores. An overwhelming landscape of natural beauty and a sanctuary of biodiversity. For nature and birdwatching lovers, it is a must-go destination!

For those looking for an immersive experience in this natural paradise, the boat trips around Ilha Formosa are a memorable way to not miss this refuge and an excellent alternative for those visiting the city out of the bathing season or if you don't want to go to the beach.

Ria Formosa || Source: Viator

2. Discover Desert Islands:

Ilha Deserta or Barreta Beach is the wildest, most natural, and most deserted location in the Algarve region. Besides the biodiversity and the natural landscape covered with crystal clear waters and sandy shores, the main attraction of this island is Cabo de Santa Maria, the southern point of Portugal.

A sanctuary of calm and tranquility, perfect to relax with a partner or the family, surrounded by clear and calm waters. On the island, you can also find a restaurant with traditional delicacies and fresh seafood.

Ilha Deserta || Source: TripAdvisor

3. Visit Culatra and Farol Islands

One of the oldest fishing villages in the Algarve, Culatra Island can be reached by sea, landing directly on the beach. This island is populated by mostly fishermen who still maintain their traditions in these two little villages full of details of the fishing trade. To the east, travelers can also find Farol Island with a 19th-century lighthouse called Cabo Santa Maria Lighthouse, with 46 meters high and a range of 40 km. Climbing to the top of this beautiful lighthouse is mandatory, where tourists can contemplate a magnificent view over the island of Culatra and Ilha Deserta, surrounded by a beach with warm, calm waters. Visits can be scheduled every Wednesday during the summertime. 

Ilha do Farol || Source: Ibis

4. Explore Faro’s Historical heritage

The historic center of Faro is divided into three cultural neighborhoods that are worth visiting during summer mornings or fresh evening endings. They are Vila Adentro, the Mouraria and Bairro Ribeirinho. The influences of the ancient Arab invasions remain in some of the details such as the traditional stone sidewalk in the narrow labyrinthic streets.

Wander through alleys of simplistic and tiny houses which lead to charming squares and historic buildings like the Sé Catedral square, which is believed to have been preceded by a Roman temple and an Arab mosque converted into a church after the reconquest.

Vila Adentro || Source: Itinary

5. Visit Belmarço Palace and Faro City Walls

The Belmarço Palace reflects the sophistication of the wealthy bourgeoisie that has expanded outside the city walls, after the Arab invasions. The building adds to the luxurious residences which reveal the details of the golden age like Renaissance and Baroque.

The history of Faro is written along the walls that surround the city, filled with traces that reflect the Portuguese reconquest to the Arab civilization, the sacking of the city by the British in 1956, and its rebuilding after the earthquake of 1755 left their strongest scars. An authentical journey back to moments that defined Portugal's history.

Belmarço Palace || Source: Estações Nórdicas 

6. Discover Faro's Marina

In the city’s downtown the Dom Francisco Gomes Square is the visiting room of the historic center of Faro. Covered in the traditional Portuguese pavement, the square is adorned by the Manuel Bivar garden, with a bandstand and stalls. Within this emblematic center, full of life and color, travelers can visit the picturesque Marina of Faro, the marine docks that are the starting point for new adventures and boat trips to the beautiful Formosa Island.

Faro's Marina || Source: Faro's City Council 

Besides being a distinct city from the Algarve region, Faro city is the perfect balance of tranquility and entertainment, for any type of vacation and a quick getaway. After the sunset, the Ribeirinho neighborhood fills with joy after giving a new atmosphere to the city lights that surround the streets with small pubs, traditional taverns, and cozy rooftops where you can enjoy a cocktail and other refreshing drinks.

Faro is also enriched by a diverse and flavorful gastronomy with freshly caught fish and typical Mediterranean dishes, from the southern European cuisine influences.

Read more articles about Algarve, here!