Faro is a popular town in the Algarve. They have an airport and the city has a lot to offer. We have explored the city of Faro and present a complete guide to you on what to do while there. We recommend that you stay in Faro for a few days and visit all of the sights that the city has to offer.
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Faro – The heart of the Algarve
A lot of people often use Faro as a stepping stone into their vacation. They land at the airport and then they travel to their destination at once. Whether it be Albufeira or some other true beach destination. According to us, you want to start your vacation in the Algarve by exploring Faro and what this town has to offer.
Don’t just land and leave… stay and explore this amazing and beautiful city. And yes – Faro also has some amazing beaches where you can get your relaxation started!
What to do in Faro
Being the capital of the region of Algarve, Faro has a lot to offer when it comes to places to visit and what you can do while being there. Here are our favorites that we found while spending some time in this beautiful city.
Visit the Old Town in Faro
Stroll around cobbled streets and among Faro’s old history. The old town of Faro is the perfect place for a lazy day of exploring and enjoying the town. Make sure to explore the relics that are left and the wall that was protecting the city from invasion.
You can easily walk all of the Old Town in Faro in an hour or two but there is no need to hurry. Stop by and have a drink or something to eat in one of the many restaurants.
Read all about our stroll around the Old Town of Faro.
Faro Cathedral – Lets you see Faro from above
The cathedral of Faro is well worth a visit. This cathedral allows you to see the whole inside of the chapel from the above. You walk some stairs and then the whole chapel is allowed to be seen from another point of view. Usually, you walk inside cathedrals with your head tilted upwards. No need for that here!
Address: Largo da Sé 11, 8000-138 Faro, Portugal
Opening hours: Monday – Friday: 10.00 – 18.30 (last admission 18.00). Saturday: 09.30 – 13.00 (last admission 12.30). Closed on Sundays.
Entrance fee: 3,50:- euro per adult.
Read all about our visit to the Faro Cathedral.
Bone Chapel in Faro – Let your freak side out
It looks like a regular chapel – but it’s way more morbid than that! And it is weird to go inside the chapel and see it be filled with human bones and skulls. There is a bigger bone chapel that is more known in Evora, Alentejo. However, we both feel that the chapel in Faro is well worth a visit.
Address: Largo do Carmo, Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Carmo, Faro 8000-148, Portugal.
Opening hours: Monday – Friday: 10.00 – 13.00 and 15.00 – 17.30. Saturday: 10.00 – 13.00. Closed on Sundays.
Entrance fee: 2 euro per person (2017).
Read more about our visit to the Bone Chapel and watch a video.
Learn more about Science at Viva Algarve
We got so much more than we expected when we visited this place. We thought that we would be done within a couple of minutes and this place was more for children. But we were wrong – this place is awesome and you learn so much when you visit. Tip number one is that you want to ask the staff if there is something that you don’t understand in the exhibition. The staff is super friendly and they will give you all the information that you need. Here you will learn all about astronomy, the birdlife of Rio Formosa and whats in the waters of Rio Formosa, amongst other things. Fun for the whole family.
Address: R. Cmte. Francisco Manuel 41, 8000-250 Faro, Portugal.
Opening hours: Tuesday – Friday: 10.00 – 17.00. Saturday – Sunday: 10.00 – 18.00. Mondays closed.
Read more about our visit to the Viva Algarve Science center.
See the peacocks in the “Garden of Alameda” park
The urban park offers you a peaceful place in Faro. The highlight is the high concentration of peacocks that live in the park. They wander around and offer you some company while you walk around in the green area. There are some places where they have other birds in cages and you can pay to feed them. Please don’t do that because the birds should be free and not in cages.
My favorite part was the training area where you can get your workout done. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not a gym kind of girl (unless it’s in Pokemon Go) but I loved their bench where you could sit down and pedal like you were biking. The park is free for everyone.
Address: Rua da Policia da Seguranca Publica 1, 8000-151 Faro, Portugal.
Opening hours: Daily 07.30 – 20.30.
Walk in the harbor of Faro
The harbor in Faro is not that big but it offers a nice walk and a strand of restaurants. Make sure to take your picture by the Faro- sign during your visit. There are bars and restaurants here. We ended up at “Eme Lounge” and we were not that impressed.
First, it took us about an hour to get the burgers we ordered and once we got them, they were pretty bland. So since there are more restaurants to choose from, you might want to try another one.
Take a train ride in Faro
If you are not up for a walk while in Faro you can take a train ride on the cutest train ever. The “Greece- colored” small trains in blue and white offer rides to all the main highlights in town. The train rides all year round but they have an evening tour through the summer (June to September). The tour takes about 45 minutes.
The price is 2,75 euro per person and you buy your ticket onboard the train. The train departs at 10.00, 11.00, 12.00, 13.00, 15.00, 16.00, 17.00, 18.00 and the last train leaves at 20.00. The train starts at “Jardim Manuel Bivar”.
Visit the nature reserve Ria Formosa
When you are in Faro you will automatically see the nature reserve Ria Formosa. Since it takes up a lot of the Algarve and its waters is a must to visit. The waters are so clear that you can often see the fish swimming in the lagoon. And one awesome thing is to see all the farms where the clams are being harvested.
The Ria Formosa runs through several cities and offers a lot of birdwatching and nice walks. Make sure to check it out while spending some time in Faro.
Read more about Ria Formosa here.
Shopping in Faro
If you want you can do some serious shopping while in Faro. There are several boutiques that sell souvenirs and things that are typical for Portugal and the Algarve. You can also find the well known brands Like Tally Weil and Mango in the city center amongst others.
If you want to go to a shopping mall there is one in Faro and the best part is that it is within walking distance from the city center. This shopping mall is really modern and is home to a lot of the big chain stores like H&M, Bershka and more. You also have a food court where you can choose what to eat and then you can enjoy your meals together (even if you all choose different food).
There are restrooms that are fresh and even if the mall is not that huge they have a great selection of stores. And they have my all time favorite store Fnac. Apparently, Fnac is a French chain but they have lots of them in Portugal too. They sell everything nice (if you ask me). Electronics, beautiful notebooks and all things cool!
Information about Forum Algarve:
Address: 8005-145 Faro, Portugal.
Opening hours: Daily 10.00 – 23.00. On weekends they close at midnight.
Go Island Hopping
You can get to the island of Culatra from the harbor of Faro or from the city of Olhao. But there are more Islands that you can visit while being in Faro and we really recommend you to make sure to visit some of the islands.
Culatra and Farol
You might want to go here mainly for the beaches but there is much more to explore on this island. We recommend that you take the ferry, or speedboat to Culatra and then walk to the city of Farol and take the ferry back from there.
Culatra is a small fishing village and it is pretty primitive and there is some really “easy living” vibes going on there. After strolling there for a while you want to get to the beach and just enjoy the magnificent white sand and blue waters. The beach here is super nice and we can guarantee that you will enjoy it. This is the place where a lot of people come during the summer.
Read more about our visit to Culatra and Farol.
Ilha Deserta – Barreta
The name of the island literary mean “deserted island” and the name is the proof that the island doesn’t have permanent inhabitants. The beaches here are like from a movie = picture perfect. However, if you are planning to come here during the summer – be aware that it gets very hot here and there is no place to find shade. Well except for one restaurant but that is not the point if you want to lay in the sand.
There are boats that go daily to the island of Barreta. And during the summer they go very often. But make sure to book your return ticket before you go to the island because it might get really crowded here!
Read all about our visit to Ilha Deserta here.
Visit the beaches of Faro
So a lot of the beaches are included in the Island hopping that you can read about up here. However, there are some beaches in Faro that are not places at secluded islands. And Faro has five beaches that all are worth a visit and that has something to offer.
Praia De Faro – Peninsula do Ancao
This place might be crowded during the summer when a lot of the locals go on holiday and want to cool off. You might also be prepared to see some shellfish gatherers during low tide.
You can get here by car and there is a good parking spot where you can leave the car. There are restaurants, toilets and recreation facilities here. During the summer you will also find lifeguards on duty. And if you don’t have your own car you can take a boat from the harbor of Faro straight to the beach.
GPS Coordinates: N 37 0’27,40 W 7 59’42,77.
Barrinha – Peninsula do Ancao
This beach is not as well visited as the Praia De Faro and you are likely to find yourself deserted on this beach. The beach of Barrinha is also called Barra de S. Luis and this area is full of natural beauty. You won’t find restaurants or buildings here but you can enjoy the ever-changing landscape. Due to the winds and waves, the configuration of the coastline constantly changes here and each visit provides you with something new.
This beach is for those that are looking for a peaceful place where they can enjoy the beach and nature. Due to the currents and their strength, you should only cross the lines of dunes on the walkways. Because let’s face it – you want to preserve this beautiful place.
GPS Coordinates: N 36 59’19,41 W 7 58’2,82.
Where to Eat and Drink in Faro
There are loads of restaurants and cafés in Faro. I believe that you could be here for a month and still don’t get a chance to try them all. Here are some of the places that we visited and that we feel that we want to recommend.
Baixacaffe serves a great breakfast
If you want to start your day with a full stomach and some great coffee, Baixacaffe is the place for you. You get a lot of food for a fair price and their coffee is awesome (read strong). The location is also good for exploring Faro and there are a lot of shops nearby where you can either do some serious shopping – or just look inside their windows.
Address: Rua de Santo Antonio 54-56, 8000-283, Portugal.
Opening hours: 08:00 – 20:00 daily.
Serve: Breakfast, lunch and dinner. They also serve alcohol.
More about our visit to Baixacaffe.
A great Steakhouse that is open all day
Faaron Steakhouse in the center of Faro serves a really good Surf n’ Turf. They are opened all day and don’t close until midnight every night. The restaurant has great and friendly staff that will take good care of you. And they have a really good selection of wine as well.
Address: Tv. Ivens 7, 8000-168 Faro, Portugal.
Opening hours: Daily from 09.00 – 24.00.
Read more about our visit to Faaron Steakhouse.
Have a cocktail under romantic lamps
At “Columbus Cocktail and Wine bar” in Faro, you can have some snacks and drinks during a nice walk. They serve bruschettas and toasts and have a big selection of drinks. My favorite part of this place is all the lamps that they have hung on the terrace. It made me think of the middle east and Morocco and I loved the idea with the lamps. This is the place to visit for some great cocktails. The bartenders here have been awarded several prices for their drinks.
Address: Praca Dom Francisco Gomes 13, Jardim Manuel Bivar n13, Faro 8000-168, Portugal.
Where to stay in Faro
There are about 150 hotels and hostels in Faro so there is a lot for you to pick and choose from. Since we live in a motorhome full time we did not spend any nights in any hotels and we don’t like to write about places or things that we have not visited ourselves. However, we have seen that there is a huge price range for the hotels in Faro.
You can spend 15 euros per night at a hostel that has a great location or you can burn 150 euros at a fancy hotel – that is all up to you! And if you prefer resorts, Faro have a lot of them too. Most of them are connected to the beach and you can buy “All inclusive” if that is your cup of tea!
Camping in Faro
Hopefully, this text will need to be edited in the near future and we will add a camping in Faro here instead. Today the only way to stay in Faro in a motorhome is to do some “wild camping”. There are several parkings that allow motorhomes and we have been to two of them.
If you want a camping and not “just a parking” there is a great one in Olhao, just outside of Faro. At Camping Olhao you have everything you need and you are still close to Faro. You can walk to the train station and take the train to the city center of Faro.
Other cities close to Faro
Faro is the hub of the Algarve. However, there are several cities that you might want to see while staying in Faro. The train goes daily to many cities and they are well worth a visit.
- Olhao – This city is only a short train ride away. You want to come to Olhao and see their fish market on a Saturday.
- Fuseta – A small fishing town that has a really slow pace. Here you can enjoy the beach and the peaceful way of living.
- Estoi – 10 kilometers north of Faro you have Estoi that houses an amazing palace. The palace is also a hotel but you don’t need to stay the night to be able to see the place. They allow visitors inside to see both the inside and the beautiful gardens.