Located in the popular Algarve on the southernmost tip of sunny Portugal, Faro is a place that when you visit, you’ll just want to stay for a whole lot longer. A lovely warm climate, scenic beauty all around and stunning architecture all come together to make this one of the most mesmerizing parts of Europe. You’ll want to bring your camera with you, but even if you don’t, the sights will stay with you forever! Here are some suggestions of things to do in Faro.
>> Arco da Vila <<
The Arco da Vila is built on one of the medieval gateways to the city of Faro and is the entrance to the Cidade Velha – the old city. The arch was inaugurated in 1812. On one of the inner niches you’ll see a statue of St. Thomas of Aquinas. You can still see the old Arab entrance way inside as well, which was part of the old Muslim walls and constituted the entry point for anyone arriving by sea. Yes, in case you didn’t know – the word Algarve stems from the Arabic word ‘Al-gharb’ which means ‘the west’ – the influence can be seen everywhere in the country, making this part of the world an even more fascinating place to visit!
>> The Sé Cathedral of Faro <<
Situated in the Cidade Velha, it represents something of a centerpiece, combining Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque features. It is also where you can access the museum which holds some curious historical pieces, such as chalices and religious vestments and the forearms of St Boniface. Equally obscure, you can admire an 18th century shrine that has been built out of bones. A climb up the tower will reward you with mesmerizing views of the remains of the defensive walls of the town and the nearby estuary islands.
>> The Dolphins of Vilamoura <<
Some people think you have to travel all the way to the Caribbean or Australia to see dolphins in their natural habitat. They’re wrong! Jump into the car to the near-by town of Vilamoura, which is a mere 30 minutes drive away from Faro, and you can take a tour from the Marina to watch the dolphins. Keep your eyes peeled as you are hopefully witnessing one of the most fascinating animals in their element.
>> The Museu Municipal <<
This museum, which stands within the 16th century Convento de Nossa Senhora, the convent of our holy lady, in the former Jewish quarter, offers the opportunity to find out about local legends as depicted by the works of local Faro artist Carlos Filipe Porfírio. Other key exhibits in the museum include the Paths of the Roman Algarve, an interesting display of monumental stones, and the 3rd century Mosaic of the Ocean.
>> The Silves Castle <<
Who can resist the charm of a castle? Sitting majestically on a hilltop in the town of Silves, the castle and the cathedral stand aglow, surrounded by numerous orange and lemon trees, giving it the traditional Southern European charm, and are the first buildings you see as you arrive in this town that was once a Moorish Capital. The castle itself has 11 towers and the view from the battlements is simply splendid. And guess what? It is here where you’ll find the municipal library which is actually situated inside one of the towers. Quite the setting, isn’t it?
>> Illha Deserta <<
Located within the Ria Formosa Natural Park, the Illha Deserta which literally means ‘deserted island’ is actually a beach! It is only accessible by ferry but really easy to get to and totally worth it! The island is uninhabited and is also one of Portugal’s best beaches. This makes it the ideal spot for some tranquil relaxation. So, if you have some unexpected free time and decide at the last minute to get away for a few days, you should definitely think about visiting Faro. This warm and welcoming part of Portugal patiently awaits your visit.
Who wouldn’t want to be on a deserted island, somewhere in Europe?
Have you ever been to Faro? Have you seen any of these sights? I would love to read your thoughts in the comment section below.
So if you have some unexpected free time and decide at the last minute to get away for a few days, you should definitely think about visiting Faro. This warm and welcoming part of Portugal patiently awaits your visit..