Faro has a great old-timely charm during the day but at night it wakes up. There's a whole range of night-time activities to suit everyone's preference. There's a wide range of eateries ranging from traditional to international cuisine, lively bars to quiet places to enjoy a glass of something local, traditional entertainment to upbeat nightclubs; Faro has it all. The university in Faro gives the city an exciting vibe all year round and the students know how to party. The cobbled streets of Rua Conselheiro Bivar and Rua Infante Dom Henrique, along with the roads branching off from them, are the focal point for student nightlife and where you'll find the liveliest bars and clubs. The revelry continues until dawn with Thursday nights favoured by students when many discounts are offered by the establishments.
The marina area offers a more mature and refined night out with great views to match. During the day the marina area makes a great spot to have a leisurely stroll whilst enviously admiring the luxurious yachts. There are plenty of waterside cafés that make great stopping-off points en route. The Porta Nova Pier, past the Algarve Life Sciences Centre, is where boat trips to the Ria Formosa disembark. Further along, the promenade follows the line of the old town walls to the old castle (Castelo). From here you can gain access to the old town or Vila-Adentro or continues onto the Largo de São Francisco. The Largo de São Francisco serves as a car park for most of the year but in late October it's transformed into the week-long Feira de Santa Iria festival.
The Ria Formosa lagoon has drawn inhabitants to the area since the Palaeolithic period. The Romans established an important trading outpost at Faro known as Ossónoba which is mentioned in the writings of Strabo, Ptolemy, Pliny, Mela, and in the Antonine Itinerary.
After the Romans withdrew from the Iberian Pennisula the town was taken over by the Visigoths. Faro's importance grew further during the Moorish occupation of Portugal in the 8th Century and for a short period in the 9th Century Faro was the capital of an independent princedom. The Moors built a ring of defensive walls which still can be seen today. By 1249 AD the Christian reconquest of Portugal arrived at Faro and the city changed hands once more. Faro prospered during Portugal's age of discovery, the lagoon offered a protected harbour and it became the centre of Algarve's salt trade. During this time there was a thriving Jewish community in Faro that played an important role in the development of Faro's commerce. By the late 15th century Faro's development exceeded the confines of the old town walls and in 1540 Faro was elevated to the status of a city.
In 1596 an expedition jointly led by the Earl of Essex and Lord Howard of Effingham made raids on both Cadiz and Faro. In Faro, the library of the Bishop of the Algarve was looted and the city was sacked and set alight sabotaging its fortifications and its churches. The raids formed part of the nineteen years of war that existed between the crowns of England and the United Monarchy of Spain and Portugal between 1585 and 1604.
During the War of Restoration (1640-1668) when Portugal grappled independence back from Spain new fortifications were built encircling the whole city and tracts of arable land in a huge semi-circle facing the Ria. This new boundary was only exceeded in the 19th Century after years of continual growth.
Faro's charming old town or Vila-Adentro has survived the city's checkered history and has preserved its narrow cobbled streets enclosed within the remains of 13th Century ramparts. The most impressive entrance to this district is through the eighteenth-century town gate, the Arco da Vila located at the south end of the Jardim Manuel Bivar. The arch is crowned by a bell tower and a statue of St Thomas Aquinus, Faro's patron saint stands within a niche.
A stroll along the narrow Rua do Município on the other side of the arch will lead you past old whitewashed houses to the Largo da Sé. In this beautiful orange-tree-lined open space, you'll find the cathedral (Sé).
Faro Cathedral is a confusion of various architectural styles due to rebuilding work following an earthquake in 1755. The cathedral originates from 1251 but of the original building, only the tower and south window remains. Faro cathedral is built on the site of former mosque, which in turn was built on a Roman forum.
Inside there are three naves with Tuscan columns with fine eighteenth-century azulejo tiles adorning the walls. A climb up to the bell tower will reward you with views over the old town and the lagoon. The chancel has an altarpiece with images of Nossa Senhora da Assunção (Our Lady of the Assumption), São Pedro (St Peter) and São Paulo (St Paul), and a choir stall, both dating from the 17th century. The chancel chapel of the Most Holy Sacrament contains an altarpiece from the 17th century. It has a distinctive monumental throne in the shape of a pyramid. The chapel of Santo Lenho (the Holy Cross) contains the only altarpiece-reliquary in the Algarve. The tomb of D. António Pereira da Silva, the Bishop who commissioned the cathedral, is set into the side wall.
Monday – Saturday: 09h00 – 12h30/ 13h30 – 17h00, Sunday: 10h00 – 12h00 (mass) | €1.50
11 Largo da Sé, 8000-138 Faro, Portugal. | 37° 00' 47.9" N | 07° 56' 06.0" W
Elsewhere in the square in front of the cathedral, there is the the town hall (Cámara Municipal) and the Bishop's Palace (Paço Episcopal). The Episcopal Palace was built after raid of English troops of the Earl of Essex. The orange pyramid-shaped “tesoura” roofs, typical in the Algarve, contrast with the plain white façade. Fine 18th ccentury rococo tiles line the walls in the atrium, stairwell and three ceremonial rooms. The long west wing was added to the original building in the 18th Century. Standing on his is a statue of Bishop Francisco Gomes de Avelar.
Faro's newest attraction is located on the Largo da Sé and aims to convey to visitors in a fun-like way the interesting history of Faro and the Algarve and its unique habits. The exhibits are categorised into the main moments of the city’s evolution. The tour ends in a recreation of an old tavern, where the local diet is explained, its importance, and the produce of the Algarve.., The Faro Story Spot is a fun attraction designed for the whole family and makes a great way to start your visit to obtain a sense of local culture.
Daily: 10h00 – 22h00
6 Largo da Sé, 8000-138 Faro, Portugal. | 37° 00' 46.4" N | 07° 56' 06.8" W
To the north of the Igreja São Pedro church lies the broad Largo do Carmo with the twin-towered Igreja do Carmo church at its heart. It was constructed in the middle of the 18th century and is Baroque in nature. The Igreja do Carmo church is often referred to as the golden church due to the extensive array of gold and gilded décor and artefacts. At the time of construction, the region's best artisans were employed to craft its gilded woodwork. Igreja do Carmo is most famous for a more macabre feature, the 19th-century ossuary. A door to the right of the altar leads into the sacristy and departing with a token entrance fee enables you to enter the Chapel of Bones.
Within the Chapel of Bones (Capela dos Ossos) are the skeletal remains of more than 1,200 Carmelite monks. The remains were exhumed from the adjacent monastic cemetery. The walls and the vaulted ceiling are completely covered with bones and skulls reminding the living how fleeting life can be.
Monday – Friday: 10h00 – 13h00/15h00 - 18h00, Saturday: 10h00 – 13h00, Sunday (mass): 09h00
Largo do Carmo, 8000-148 Faro, Portugal. | 37° 01' 12.7" N | 07° 56' 05.6" W
The Ria Formosa Natural Park is a long natural feature that runs 60kms along the Algarve coastline from the town of Ancão west of Faro to Tavira. This protected landscape consists of five barrier islands (Culatra Island, Barreta Island, Island of Armona, Island of Tavira and Cabanas Island) and two peninsulas (Peninsula of Ancao and Peninsula of Cacela). This coastal habitat has an area of roughly 170 km² and is comprised of lagoons, mudflats, salt marshes and golden beaches. The Ria Formosa reserve is a sanctuary for migrating birds and thriving flora and fauna. It's considered one of the seven wonders of Portugal, and rightly so. It remains undeveloped by humans and visited by those who wish to experience its tranquil beauty away from the crowded beaches. Activities available on the Ria included walking/hiking, bird watching, boat trips, scuba diving. paddle boarding, kayaking and cycling. [ More About ► ]
The Archaeological Museum (Museu Arqueológico), sometimes referred to as the Museu Municipal, is located within the walls of the 16th-century convent of Nossa Senhora da Assunção (Our Lady of the Assumption). The building is remarkable in its own right with beautifully preserved cloistered gardens. Its function as a museum started in 1894 following the dissolution of the monasteries in Portugal in 1834.
There is a large selection of Roman artefacts on display including a third-century AD Roman mosaic of Neptune encircled by the four winds. It was discovered buried close to the train station and excavated in 1976. Other exhibits date back to the Neolithic, Moorish and medieval periods. There's also a collection of religious art and paintings from 20th-century Futurist artist Carlos Porfirio, portraying scenes from regional legends. Standing in front of the entrance is a statue of King Afonso III (ruled 1249 – 1279) brandishing a crucifix.
Tuesday – Friday: 10h00 – 18h00, Weekends: 12h00 – 18h00, Monday: CLOSED
14 Praça Dom Afonso III, Portugal. | 37° 00' 46.4" N | 07° 56' 06.8" W
The charming village of Estoi, less than 10 km from Faro, has retained an authentic Algarvian medieval feel. With hilly narrow cobbled streets lined with whitewashed houses and a medieval church, Estoi is a postcard place. There's a very laidback atmosphere here, in contrast to the energy of Faro. Albeit the village's charm visitors come to Estoi for its two major attractions; the Palácio de Estoi and the Roman Villa of Milreu.
The Palácio do Visconde de Estoi is a short distance from the village's main square. This newly renovated 19th-century palace has a distinctive fine pink Rococo facade and now serves as the town's pousada. Its gardens are its main attraction and where visitors enjoy a stroll amongst the palm trees, statues and fountains.
A short distance from the palace are the ruins of the ancient Roman complex of Milreu. The site is centred around a villa dating from the 2nd century AD. Here you will find time-worn columns, a former temple and several mosaics once part of a bath house. [ More About ► ]
In the centre of Faro, located within a short distance of Lethes Theatre and Carmo Church & Bones Chapel, Cosy Avenida Apartment offers free WiFi, air conditioning and household amenities such as a dishwasher and kettle. The apartment is equipped with three bedrooms, two bathrooms, bed linen, towels, a flat-screen TV with cable channels, a dining area, a fully equipped kitchen, and a balcony with city views. The property offers a paid airport shuttle service.
Avenida 5 de Outubro 28 2 esquerdo, 8000-076 Faro, Portugal.
37° 01' 01.2" N | 07° 55' 43.5" W
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Roots Hotel features air-conditioned guest accommodation in the centre of Faro. Complimentary WiFi is provided throughout the property and private parking is available on site. The accommodation comes with tiled floors and features a fully equipped kitchenette with a dishwasher, a dining area, a flat-screen TV with satellite channels, and a private bathroom with a shower and a hairdryer. Some units include a seating area and/or a balcony. The aparthotel offers a terrace. A business centre and vending machines with drinks and snacks are available on site. A bicycle rental service is available at the accommodation.
Rua Francisco Barreto nº 32/34, 8000-344 Faro, Portugal.
37° 01' 07.9" N | 07° 56' 16.5" W
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Featuring two restaurants, a bar and city views, 3HB Faro is set in Faro, 4.3 miles from Faro Airport. This five-star hotel offers a 24-hour front desk and room service. The hotel also features family rooms.
The units come with air conditioning, a flat-screen TV with satellite channels, a kettle, a coffee machine and a desk. They also include a wardrobe and a private bathroom with a walk-in shower and a hairdryer.
Guests at 3HB Faro can enjoy a buffet breakfast. The accommodation offers a terrace with city views, an infinity pool and an outdoor fireplace.
Rua Vasco da Gama nº33, 8000-442 Faro, Portugal.
37° 01' 00.9" N | 07° 55' 57.2" W
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The Ria Formosa restaurant occupies the roof terrace of the Hotel Faro with breathtaking panoramic views over the city and is the showcase for Algarvian cuisine. The restaurant's prime focus is selecting only the best local ingredients to be crafted into the finest creations by a team of dynamic chefs who constantly challenge themselves. This is the perfect place for both businesspeople and groups of friends to enjoy lunch or to relax after visiting the city's historical sites. Arrive in time to enjoy a pre-dinner drink or cocktail whilst marvelling at the magnificent sunset. Over the years, thousands of people have been carried away by the richness and quality of the gastronomic experience with which the Ria Formosa Restaurant continues to amaze its customers.
Breakfast: 07h30 – 10h30, Lunch: 12h30 – 15h00, Dinner: 19h30 – 22h30
Praça D Francisco Gomes Nº2, 4º Andar, Praça Dom Francisco Gomes 2, 8000-168 Faro, Portugal.
37° 00' 58.9" N | 07° 56' 05.9" W
+351 289 830 830 | email@example.com | Website
The art of small plates perfected. Located down a cobbled lane 8 Tapas is definitely searching out. A mix of international influences yet usuing the best regional ingredients, especially the fine cheeses and deli meats. The establishment is very laid back and friendly. It is a great opportunity to try different flavours at your leisure and eat your fill. Try the pork cheeks, they're something special. There's a great choice of Portuguese wines available to accompany your meal.
Tuesday – Saturday: 11h30 – 15h30/18h30 – 23h30, Sundays: CLOSED, Monday: 17h00 – 00h00
Rua Rebelo da Silva 8, 8000-417 Faro, Portugal. | 37° 00' 56.9" N | 07° 55' 59.5" W
+351 969 223 839
The Alameda is a relative newcomer to Faro's gastronomical scene. Located just outside the old town this top restaurant showcases the passion of the chefs and the excellent quality of local produce. Harmoneously bringing together traditional and contempory techniques and ingredients. Experimenting with flavours and textures, the dishes are as colourful and exciting to look at as they are to consume. There's are set tasting menus champion the produce from the Ria Formosa national park, including octopus from nearby town of Olhão. There is also a selection of facinating options on the à la carte menu to choose from.
Thursday – Monday: 19h00 – 00h00, Tuesday & Wednesday: CLOSED. Sunday lunch: 12h30 – 15h00 | Rua da Polícia da Segurança Pública, 10, 8000-151 Faro, Portugal.
37° 00' 57.7" N | 07° 55' 43.0" W
+351 289 824 831 | firstname.lastname@example.org | Website
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• Eva Transportes run services across the Algarve linking the main resorts and towns, as well as a hostess service to Lisbon. Also worth considering are their tourist passes if you're planing to visit different places: Website