Hello everyone, today after our short but nice break in India (click here on Darjeeling if you missed our “escape” to understand what we are talking about, even if we know that you are always present, isn’t it? Eheh) it’s time to restart our trip to Portugal, we are heading to… Faro. Let’s get to know it.
Faro is a Portuguese municipality separated from the sea by a lagoon, which it extends along the coast of the “Algarvian sotavento” and is protected by the Parque natural da Ria Formosa (what a view!), but this is another story, there we will tell you during our tour. It is also a fishing port and tourist locality of the Algarve located on the Atlantic coast and is an important university city as well. At the transport level it is well connected and offers many possibilities to move around quickly but also to reach it, offering the most important airport in the Algarve. We are sure that our destination will give us great satisfaction, as it is rich in traditions, culture, beautiful natural landscapes (a source of great attractions) and many but many beaches.
To know more (what to eat, where to eat, where to have fun, things to visit…) continue to read.
Given the presuppositions, we can’t wait to start, so let’s do this!
PLACES TO VISIT (MUSEUMS/THEATERS…)
Sé Catedral de Faro
- Sé Catedral de Faro: the cathedral is located right in the historic center. Its style is Gothic, but the interior is in Baroque style (like the organ, for example). The cathedral includes a tower (characterized by a brownish color compared to the rest of the structure of white color, very particular as visual effect) and in its highest part, although it hasn’t a great height, from the top it is visible the wonderful view of the city and the sea.
- Igreja do Carmo: this church is classified as a monument of public interest and we have already told you half of the reason why to visit it; the rest is all to discover. The exterior is very beautiful, it is flanked on either side by two towers and it overlooks a small square. The interior is quite luxurious but also a bit macabre. Why? Because the building also owns a very unusual chapel, the chapel dos ossos (bone chapel) covered (both walls and ceiling) entirely with human bones. Oh yes, you get it! Are you brave enough for it? Ahaha just kidding! However also this building like the previous one has a beautiful view of the city and the sea at its highest point. If still these religious buildings were not enough for your tastes, we want suggest you a surplus, the Cathedral of Silves, another beautiful church to visit.
- Museu Municipal de Faro: it is the archaeological museum of the city and owns a large collection of artefacts that go from Roman to medieval periods (mosaics, artifacts, paintings and other interesting objects); important is the Arabic influence. The building is certainly another reason to visit it, its Moorish (Arab) architecture makes it as beautiful as it is “rudimentary” (if we can define it like this). The museum consists of two floors and in the inner part a kind of patio with a garden, visible also from the terraces of the upper floor that overlook it. And if we want to find another reason to visit the museum is its very central position that makes it perfectly reachable. Enjoy your visit!
- Castelo de Silves: it is a fortified castle located in the Faro district Silves. Also this great structure is the work of Arab architects, it has crenellated towers and thick walls. However, these are ruins and it is more appropriate to say that it is an open-air museum since it is not indoors of course. It is really an exciting feeling to take a ride on the ancient walls and think and imagine that once below there were galleries used as shelters or that served as prisons.
- Algarve Live Science Center: this science museum is suitable for all ages thanks to the most varied and interesting activities that the museum offers, but we think that surely it is a place most loved by children or maybe by those who are passionate about science. However the museum hosts exhibitions both inside and outside of the nice and yellow structure.
- Museu Regional Do Algarve: the museum, located near the cathedral in the old part of the city, offers a vision of what was the daily life of the past local communities (especially of the peoples who lived in the countryside). Inside there are objects of craftsmanship and pieces of architecture typical of the Algarve region that constitute a precious collection. Precisely the purpose of the museum was to build a local identity and we can say that they got it!
- Fabrica dos Sentidos: the entry of this kind of modern art gallery is really bur really unusual. No beautiful buildings, no colorful building, nothing but a sign and a door. Defining and describing this place is not very easy but we can say that it is both artistic and creative. There are many objects on display, both in darker and brighter rooms, lots of good music, books, records, vintage clothes, vinyls, so many of these items are also for sale. In addition to this there is a space in which you can have some drinks or take a coffee (outdoors the structure as well) in this place full of so many vibrations. Truly a unique place that you don’t see every day!
- Arco de Vila: one of the medieval gates that represents the entrance to the historic city center. To reach this beautiful arch you have to arrive to the “Cidade Velha” (old part of Faro). The strong point of the door, as well as what has become the symbol of the city, is the stork’s nest located on the top of the structure. Really beautiful, it reminds of a building facade. Another door of the city to visit is the Arab Gate, testimony of the ancient muslim walls. And then there are the muralhas de Faro, ancient remains of the city walls to touch and get to know a piece of the architecture that reigned in the old Faro and which fortunately is still visible.
- We want to let you know about the Galeria Municipal Trem, but we must say that there is much more to visit outside, as there are photos along the avenue, than inside because the structure is composed of two small rooms with some paintings inside. However only the characteristic avenue, the Rua do Trem, is worth the visit.
The two great theaters of Faro are: Teatro Lethes, Teatro das Figuras.
Museu Municipal de Faro
There are lots of things to do in Faro, we just have to discover them.
- Parque Natural Ria Formosa: designated as a World Heritage Site this huge park is truly one of the most beautiful and important attractions of Faro. It consists of a series of protected lagoons and mud that are home to migratory birds and a unique wildlife, among the rarest ones, all to be admired. The beautiful thing is that you decide how to visit the park, and if you want to include some stops for example some beaches (which will obviously increase the cost of tour) or choose to visit the park by boat (to be more precise on a catamaran) perfect to explore its river channels. Sea, nature, everything blends perfectly in this magnificent place.
- Staying on theme here are the most beautiful beaches of Faro: Culatra Island (which owns the lighthouse Cabo de Santa Maria), Barreta Island, Isola di Tavira, Cabo de Santa Maria, Praia da Ilha do Farol, Faro Beach (East), Praia de Faro, Ilha do Farol. There are so many beaches and all so beautiful that we have grouped the main ones. Well, we wouldn’t want to be in your shoes and take the hard decision of which to visit!
- Jardim Manuel Bivar: a beautiful garden, finely designed. It is a long circular corridor that owns various types of trees, flowerbeds, benches, a small bar, all this is next to the marina which creates a magnificent atmosphere. Such a beauty!
- Walking through the city of Faro you will run into many beauties including: the “cidade velha” the old city (beautiful in the evening, beautiful by day, beautiful always) with a series of characteristic alleys with small shops, bars, colorful houses and then there are small squares and a small port where you can sit on the steps and enjoy a beautiful Portuguese sunset hehe! The old town of Faro is still enclosed by the ancient arab wall, which makes it all the more magical and as icing on the cake the delicious smell of the orange trees that you will breathe in the air (just like at the square Rua do Municipio). Inevitable like in any center there are them, the markets, like the flea market that is held regularly in the square of the historic center. To be completed are part of the historic center: Igreja da Sé, Arco da Vila, Jardim Manuel Bivar, Paço Episcopal and so on. Arc of Repouso, historic gate located in the historic center (so it’s really sure that you will run into it). Belmarco Palace, the residence of a wealthy merchant, now houses the administrative offices of the municipality. Rua de Santo Antonio is a trendy pedestrian area, full of shops and many restaurants and cafes.
- Among the many other activities to do in Faro we have: Islands 4 You a tour on a hydrofoil to know the beautiful little islands of the city. If you prefer a walking tour and then enjoy the city walking around, here is Faro Free Walking Tours. And for a few hours of total fun, there is always the legendary Faro escape game.
- If you want and you have the time to explore, there are good places near Faro where you can spend a pleasant day. One of these is Ossónoba. Here you will make a real immersion in the history, you will be able to discover the true origins of our destination. Why? Because it was the ancient city of Faro where the Romans created their first settlement in the Algarve. Here you can admire the ancient archaeological finds dating back to the nineteenth century (such as mosaics, columns and the remains of the walls and thermal baths). Another place not to be missed is the village of Estoi. This features the amazing Rococo-style Palazzo di Estoi, the only castle in the Algarve and the archaeological site of Milreu where you can admire the ancient Roman ruins.
Jardim Manuel Bivar
About the nightlife there is to say that being frequented by students is always very lively and when they aren’t there, there are many tourists attracted to Faro especially in the summer; therefore there isn’t the risk of getting bored both in winter or summer.
Usually the frequented area are: Quinta do Lago or around the Rua do Prior and Conselehiro Pivar. But for those who want to move from the center, just outside the city there is Vilamoura where there are clubs and several discos. However will not be missed the quieter nightlife in the center of Faro.
Here are some suggestions among the various clubs in the area:
- Music Hall Faro By Night: nightclub
- Havana Club: bar
- COCKTAIL & wine bar COLUMBUS
- DUX: disco
We are sure that Faro also as concerned the food, it will not disappoint us.
The typical Faro cuisine, being so close to the sea, as you can imagine, the dishes are almost all fish based (very fresh fish!). Among the traditional specialties we have the percebes for example, they are special crustaceans in a bizarre shape so much that they are impossible to describe! However there are also typical dishes based on meat (such as pork or chicken) but also dishes such as sweet potatoes, almonds, figs and chestnuts (all typical products) without forgetting the petiscos, or Portuguese tapas strictly accompanied by local beer.
Now anyway we go into the detail of some typical dishes of Faro.
- Caldeirada: a fish soup in which are mixed different varieties of fish (turbot, mackerel, sardines, squid, shrimp). All accompanied by potatoes and tomatoes.
- Cataplana: a dish in which clams and mollusks are cooked together with pancetta, or as an alternative there is the sausage, in a special copper pot (cataplana from which the name of this dish derives) that allows to preserve flavors and aroma.
- Xerém: this dish that reminds the polenta consistency and beyond this mixture we find clams, bacon and ham or also pork and sardines.
- Dom Rodrigo: they are almond-based sweets (prepared with eggs and almonds, to be precise) with a consistency that is not at all compact, they are dense filaments compacted only thanks to the wrapper. The sweets are enclosed, as if they were candies, in colored papers. Too cool (and tasty, of course!).
- Morgadinho de amêndoa: they are sweeties made with glazed sugar, egg yolks and almonds. These ones are tasty as well!
WHERE TO EAT (RESTAURANTS/CAFE’…)
And also as regards to the restaurants we are sure that Faro will surprise us, don’t you think?
- A do Pinto: Mediterranean, European cuisine.
- Crepes N’Roll: French, Portuguese, healthy cuisine.
- EPICUR – Wine Boutique & Bar: wine bar/gastropub.
- Papaya: European and healthy, vegetarian cuisine vegan options, gluten-free menu options.
- Mercearia São Pedro: Mediterranean, Portuguese, vegetarian cuisine.
- Taberna ze-ze: Mediterranean, Portuguese cuisine.
- O Gimbras: Mediterranean, European, Portuguese cuisine.
- Petisqueira 3 Em Pipa: European, Mediterranean cuisine.
- Tasca do Ricky: Portuguese cuisine, gluten-free menu options.
- Portas de São Pedro: Mediterranean, European, Portuguese cuisine.
Well, our tour in Faro is over with the hope that you will not have completely lost your energy for a new Portuguese adventure.
Let us know your opinions about this place. If you liked it or not, if you’ve been there or you’re going to go there? What you liked the most or least? We’re curious to read your opinions.
A big kiss to everyone.
Below we will list the accommodations that you can find in Faro.