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Faro - Algarve

Faro, Algarve - Itinerary to visit the capital of the Algarve

Faro, capital of the Algarve and gateway to thousands of tourists that visit the Algarve and Portugal. However, it is a calm city, with historical interest and an ideal place to visit the Ria Formosa and its islands and also beaches.

 

Faro, in recent times (before pandemic) became different. Recently tourism has started to see the city with different eyes. Guided visits to the historic center are made along all the narrow streets inside the old walls. In front of the small marina there are stands for sale tours along the Ria Formosa, the salt water lagoon, that take visitors to the beaches of Farol or Desert Islands. Tourist accommodation in the city has also grown and the bars / cafes and restaurants have increased the capacity to welcome all who visit this city.

 Marina de Faro

Faro

Faro Map - Algarve

 


Want to know more about the Algarve

The Algarve is the most touristic region in Portugal and has a lot to offer visitors.

 

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How to get to Faro

There are four different ways to get to Faro. By car, bus, train or plane.

If you choose to arrive by car, the city is next to the A22 motorway, which connects all municipalities in the Algarve with the A2 motorway, the motorway that connects the south to the north of Portugal. From Lisbon it is more or less 186 miles and from Porto it is more or less 311 miles away.

Who likes to travel on secondary roads, Faro is on the first or last km (depending on the point of view) of the mythical N2 road that crosses the country through the interior. From Alentejo to Faro on the N2, it crosses the entire Algarve mountain range and the Alentejo plains, through magnificent landscapes and small towns.

 

Interior algarve

  Algarve inland

 

Serra Algarve Mar

   Algarve Inland - sea view

Faro is connected to the rest of the Portugal and also to Spain by several routes and bus companies and its terminal is right in the center of the city. Traveling by bus in Portugal is easy and often the best alternative. As a general rule, buses are in good condition and comfortable. Connecting Faro to the rest of the country and also to Huelva or Seville in Spain you can travel by the company Rede Expressos. Currently, there are already other companies that connect Spain to Faro and later to other cities such as Flixbus

In Portugal, trains between regions are usually in good condition, so getting to Faro by train is economical and the time it takes from Lisbon or Porto is similar to what it would take if you came by bus. The best trains are called AlfaPendular, as they are more comfortable, faster and with fewer stops. Between the cities in the Algarve it is possible to travel by regional train. Faro station is in the central area, next to the bus terminal.

Arriving by plane is the method most used by visitors arriving from Europe. Faro International Airport receives flights from all over Europe and also from Lisbon or Porto. The more know low cost companies in Europe, such as Wizz, Ryanair, Easyjet travel to Faro airport. If arriving outside from Europe the flight arrive at Lisbon International Airport or Porto.

 

aeroporto faro

 Faro Airport


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What to see in Faro Historic Center

The historic center of the city of Faro is located next to the marina and the Ria Formosa within the walls. It is known as the "old city" or "vila adentro". Getting lost in the narrow streets of this historic center is like a return to the past and the best way to visit. Enjoy and visit the museums, art galleries and snack in its restaurants and bars. The more visited entrance to the old city is the called "Arco da Vila" located next to the Manuel Bivar Garden and has the Tourist Office right next to it. Visit this Tourist Office as it has a small exhibition and one access to the upper part of the arch. Here you can admire the huge storks' nests, a symbol of the city of Faro and observe the entire surrounding area.

 

Vista cidade velha - Faro

Old city

 

Vista Telhados Arco da vila

  View from the top of the "porta da vila"

 

After passing the village arch, the old city door, and always going up you will arrive at "Largo da Sé" where the Cathedral is located. The most interesting tourist point of this monument is not the Cathedral itself, but the climb to the tower that allows a panoramic view over the Old City and the salt water lagoon Ria Formosa. You will not have to climb many steps, but these are narrow and steep, as is normal in these buildings.

Sé Catedral - Faro

 

Sinos da Sé Catedral

View from the Sé Catedral tower

 

When you leave the Se Cathedral you are very close to the narrow door named Porta Nova, an entrance / exit door to the old city. If you are lucky enough to walk through the door at sunset, you will certainly be dazzled by the water mirror, formed by the salt water lagoon reflecting the sun. You can cross the train line and relax a little over the calm waters where boats that go to the barrier islands dock.

Returning to the Old City, you can once again walk through the small streets and continue towards the small gallery of contemporary art Trem or the Bar / Restaurant O Castelo located next to one of the walls and overlooking the Ria Formosa. Here you can have an aperitif, dinner and dance over the night. Near the Castle is the Old beer factory, a old building, but which receives some exhibitions throughout the year. In square D. Afonso III is the Museum of Faro, which in addition to the permanent exhibitions is worth a visit, for its cloister, rooms and the beauty of the building itself.

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what to see outside of the historic center

The small Marina of Faro is located in its central area, close to the historic center, the area of bars, restaurants and the two main hotels in the Algarve capital. Next to the Marina is the main shopping street (Rua de Santo António) in the city. As for me, one of the places that deserves a mandatory stop to make use of your camera or mobile phone, is located between the marina and the train line (on the spot it is easy to see where it is). Here you will find two cafés with a terrace that allows a view of the the salt water lagoon Ria Formosa, over the train line. If you don't want to be on the terrace you can cross the train line. Sometimes, the serenity of the water and the sun are interrupted by the planes that pass through here at low altitude towards Faro airport.

marina ria formosa

Ria Formosa at sunset

A little further from the center are two points of interest, although distinct that are worth a visit. One of them is Alameda garden, a green area where you can find some shade, benches and some animals to see. Next to the garden, is the building of the Municipal Library that was recovered but kept its old design.

jardim alameda biblioteca

 Alameda Garden - Library view

 The Church of Nossa Senhora do Carmo is also worth a visit, due to the fact that it is a majestic Baroque building decorated with gold inside and because it has on its exterior a macabre Chapel of Bones, built with skulls of more than a thousand monks. It is one of the six Bone Chapels in Portugal, the most famous and well known, is the Chapel of Bones of Évora.

 

What to see outside Faro city: the islands and beaches

The beach named as Faro Island is the one with the easiest access since it is accessible by bus or car. Faro Island (which is not really an island) is a line of sand that separates the sea from the Ria Formosa and its a very busy beach as there is a great urban pressure on Faro Island itself. So, for those who like more city beaches, restaurants and bars this is the ideal place. However, even on the island of Faro, if you go to its extremes and walk along the wooden walkways, you will find beach areas with very little movement.

praia de faro

Faro Beach - ocean view

 

Praia de Faro vista ria

Faro Beach - Salt water lagoon view

 

Farol Island or Desert Island are only accessible by boat. They are also barrier islands that protect the Ria Formosa from the sea, with its visitors having the possibility to stay in the beach on the ocean side but also on the side of the salt water lagoon. The boats that leave Faro work mainly during the summer season and tickets are bought next to the old walls near the marina of Faro. Ilha Deserta or Desert Island is the most calm and natural, with only a beach support and lots of sand and walkways to discover. The Farol Island (in english is the Lighthouse Island) has a community that inhabits it all year round. On this island there are cafes, mini markets, school and several houses that can be rented.

Ilha do Farol

Farol Island - Sea View

 

Currently, next to the Faro marina, there are several companies that sells tours along the lagoon, tours to see dolphins and tours with visits to the Islands. These tours are very interesting as it allows you to see all the fauna and flora in the Ria Formosa

 

What to do: Walking routes

Faro has walking routes that can be covered by walking or cycling. Its also easy to rent bicycles to visit these routes. In the link below there are two routes that end at Faro Beach  and pass through Ria Formosa.

Walking Routes

 Passeio Pedestre Ria de Faro

Walking Route

 

Plan your trip using the following tools and / or websites

To find the best hotels rates, use the Booking. It is one of the best booking websites for hotel stays. To compare prices for stays you can use the Hotels Combined or hotellook. These search engines show the different prices of other websites to the same destination. If you need to travel by plane, search for flights on a price comparator. Highly recommend is the jetradar. To search for activities you can access this existing comparator on the scannertripTransfers to and from the airport can be purchased through the website kiwitaxi. So you do not need to get in touch with the different companies in your destination looking for the best price. To find the best car rental price you can use the autoeurope website that compares the prices of different companies.

Using the links above and the tools on the website you will helping to keep Scannertrip. For the use of this links and tools you will not pay more for it but for Scannertrip will makes all the difference!

 

 

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