Faro On a BudgetFaro (or sometimes Faros) is the capital city of the scenic Algarve Region of Portugal, located at the edge of the Ria Formosa National Park. This is a fantastic place to experience the beauty, culture, and traditions of Portugal in laid back atmosphere, away from the hustle and bustle of the larger cities. Faro offers everything from ancient architecture to beautiful beaches all while being surrounded by the natural beauty of the Algarve Region.
Faro has a Mediterranean climate, meaning hot and sunny summers with temperatures ranging from 85-95° Fahrenheit from May-September. Although temperatures rarely dip below 50° F, Autumn through Spring tends to get more rain and cooler temperatures.
SightsFaro is known for its ancient architecture, which can be seen throughout their Old Town which is encircled by an ancient Moorish stone wall. Wander around the perimeter of the wall and you'll find the Porta do Sol gate, one of the original entrances into the city. In the center of the Old Town, there is a clock tower which you can climb to get incredible views of the surrounding area. Here, you'll also find the Faro Cathedral which dates back to the 14th century with an interior decorated in beautiful carvings and the famous azulejos tiles. Just outside of the Old Town is the Capela dos Ossos, an old bone chapel which makes for a strange and intriguing sight to behold. The chapel was built in the 16th century when cemeteries became overcrowded so they decided to incorporate the bones into the designs of the chapel!
NeighborhoodsFaro is essentially divided between old town and new town. Old Town is located on the southwest tip of the city, right on the coast. This walled section of the city is home to ancient architecture and some of the top sights. Outside of the walled area is the newer area of Faro, including the Porta Nova Pier, the marina, and pedestrian streets full of shops and restaurants.
Praia de Faro beach is located twenty minutes outside of the city and has its own small village on the beach called Ilha de Faro. This is where you'll find many of the bars and cafes that serve beach goers.
Right outside of Faro is the small village of Estoi which is home to the stunning Palacio de Estoi, a pink palace, and the Milreu Roman ruins.
ActivitiesThe Ria Formosa National Park, located on the edge of Faro, is a fantastic place to spend a day getting lost in Portugal's natural beauty. The Park features saltwater lagoons, mudflats, and excellent bird watching opportunities. You can either tour the Park on foot, or catch a boat from the Porta Nova pier in Faros and enjoy the scenery on the water. No stay would be complete without visiting the beautiful Praia de Faro beach which is features golden sands and dazzling blue waters. You can lay on the sand, go for a swim, or even go scuba diving with the help of one of the scuba companies located on the beach. For more personalized activities, check out Lands, a local company that offers sailing, kayaking, and bird watching tours.
Food and DiningWith their close proximity to the sea, it's no surprise that Faro's specialty is fish and seafood! You'll find the freshest seafood prepared in traditional ways in restaurants throughout the city, with grilled sardines being one of the most popular fish dishes. Another common dish is Couvert, which is a tray of bread, olives, sardine pate, and olive oil that is served at the beginning of your meal. It is common for this to be placed on the table as you arrive, but it is not complimentary, so if you don't want to pay for it, ask the waiter to take it away.
There are cafes, restaurants, and bars scattered throughout the area, most of which serve traditional Portuguese cuisine, although there are a few serving international fare. Keep in mind that many of these restaurants are aimed at Portuguese customers, so do not expect your waiter to speak much English.
TransportationFaro is home to the Faros International Airport, which is located just 5 miles southwest of the city. There are trains and buses that run directly from the airport to Faros.
There is cheap and reliable public transit throughout Faro and the entire Algarve Region, making it easy to navigate the city and surrounding area. When touring the city itself, you can easily get around on foot.