If you’ve always dreamed of visiting Portugal, then you’re not alone – it’s an incredibly popular and beautiful destination. Don’t overlook the capital though, as most tourists arriving head straight out of the city and off to the resorts. Here are the best things to do in Faro:
- Praia de Faro
Don’t rush off to a resort but stay and explore the capital. Just behind the airport you can follow the road straight to the Praia de Faro, a wide stretch of soft sand dotted with relaxed beach bars and cafes for you to get straight into Portuguese living and out of traveller mode.
- Cidade Velha
The old city is a must-visit area that boasts a range of architectural styles to take in, along with storks who nest along the rooftops. There are quaint cafes and bars to choose from, from which to watch the world go by or visit the O Castelo, with its calendar of cultural events and live music in its courtyard.
- Sé de Faro
This is the iconic cathedral that rose from the site of an ancient Roman temple and once served as a Moorish mosque. It is now a stunning Romanesque Gothic style place of worship with stunning views of Faro and an impressive Baroque organ. For flights to Faro from Airports in Ireland, visit https://irelandwestairport.com/
- Municipal Museum of Faro
Before you even get inside, you’ll be wowed as the architecture alone is a sight worth seeing. Featuring a mosaic from the 3rd century and busts of Roman Emperor Hadrian, there’s plenty here to keep you gripped. Telling the story of Faro from birth to present day, you’ll also find some artworks from Carlos Porfirio.
- The churches of Faro
Faro is the perfect place to see beautiful churches in the traditional white-washed, tiled buildings you expect to see in this region. Be sure to include the Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Carmo, an impressive twin-towered edifice with an interior glazed with Brazilian gold. For the more morbid among you, the Capela dos Ossos is not far away and made from the skulls and bones of over 1,200 monks!
- Olhao fish market
The building that provides a home to the Olhao fish market was designed by none other than Gustav Eiffel! (yes, of Eiffel Tower fame). Sitting on the waterfront, it’s the ideal place to sample some of the region’s best fresh fish.
- Ria Formosa
Described as one of the most beautiful places in the whole Algarve, this is a natural park and a haven for wildlife. The area consists of salt pans, barrier islands and lagoons, making it the perfect destination for biking, hiking, kayaking or partaking of a guided tour. Go bird spotting and look out for the other many protected species that thrive here.
- Palácio de Estoi
No visit to Faro would be complete without seeing these gardens designed by aristocrat, Fernando de Carvalhal in the 1800s. The gardens are home to hidden, romantic grottos, calming fountains and stunning areas decorated with blue porcelain tiles. The palacio is now a luxury hotel but you don’t have to be a guest to enjoy a look around and a coffee on the restaurant balcony that boasts incredible views.