Faro: The Capitol of the Algarve Region of Portugal

Faro is a beautiful town on the southern coast of Portugal known for its narrow cobbled streets that wind through its charming old town, beautiful sandy beaches and fabulous climate. Although not a resort town, this regional capitol of Algarve is a great place to visit. With a population of over 55,000 people, this university town offers great shopping, wonderful restaurants and a lively nightlife made up of bars and clubs bustling with energy after 10pm. It is easy to get to with the Faro International Airport located just 7km from the center of town. Once in the city there are buses and taxis, but the historic center is easily visited by foot.

Like many places in Portugal, Faro and the rest of the Algarve Region were once inhabited by both the Romans and the Moors. The architecture in the older part of town, with its balconies and whitewashed walls, testify to the influence of the 500 year Moorish occupation. This was ended in 1249 when King Alfonso II finally liberated the area, the last part of modern Portugal to be taken back from the Moors. Interestingly, even during the Moorish period, Faro was home to a large Jewish population who was responsible for transcribing many copies of the Old Testament there. After the expulsion of the Moors, Faro became one of the most important port cities in the region. Today you can still see examples of the city’s past, including the ancient city wall that still encircles the historic center, but many of the older structures were destroyed in the earthquakes of 1532 and 1755. So, much of Faro’s architecture dates from the 16th– 18th centuries, but that does not lesson its charm.

While in Faro, visit the beautiful sandy beaches and magnificent grottoes, or relax over a game of tennis or golf at one of its famous courses. Walk through the historic old town and visit its museums, old churches and lovely shops. Feel the charm of this ancient city as you pass by the old wall that still encircles the historic district and enjoy the grace of its Moorish architecture. Relish the local cuisine at its many restaurants and spend a great night on the town at Faro’s many bars and clubs. Faro offers something for everyone, whether you are a history buff or love the outdoors. Be sure to enjoy all it has to offer.


Ria Formosa Lagoon

Located between the mainland and the sea, this 170 square km nature preserve is made up of sandy beaches and a beautiful lagoon which is home to hundreds of migrating birds including Flamingos. Located just 7km outside the city center, this is a great place not only for bird lovers to visit, but also anyone who enjoys the sand and sea, for there are many beaches complete with umbrellas and restaurants. Ilha de Faro is one of the better known, complete with a beach house, restaurant and tourist facilities.

The Cathedral

Located in the center of the old town, the cathedral was built in the mid 13th century in the Roman-Gothic style. Within one finds Italian paintings, baroque carvings, relics and the tiled decorations that Portugal is known for. The many chapels are each unique and worth visiting.

Church of the Ordem Ferceira de São Francisco

This church dedicated to Saint Francis has a number of Italian paintings which depict the Saint’s life as well as some wonderful tiled panels that date from the 17th and 18th centuries. There is also a tiled polychrome panel of the Coronation of the Virgin which is beautiful. In the dome over the transcript is an amazing carving in the Rocaille style, and in addition, the church has an interesting collection of carved mannequins used for religious processions.

Igreja do Carmo

The Carmo Church, with its twin towers outside, is known for its gilded wooden interior which dates from the 18th century as well as the 9 painted statues within. It is even better known for its Chapel of Bones, one of the creepiest places in Faro. The Chapel’s walls and vaulted ceiling are covered in bones, specifically 1,245 monk’s skulls that were removed from the nearby cemetery and placed here as a warning with the phrase, “Stop here and Think of the Fate that Will Befall You,” written above.

Muséu Arquelógico

This archeological museum is housed in the Convento Nossa Senhora da Assunção, a convent built around 1519 which includes some late medieval remains and the cloister which was built in the Portuguese Renaissance style. The municipal museum includes archeological finds from around the region, paintings from the 16th and 17th centuries, gargoyles and even a huge Roman mosaic which features the image of Neptune.

Algarve Regional Museum

This museum celebrates the culture and history of the Algarve Region with a nice collection of both objects and photographs.

 Maritime Museum

The port has always been important to the history and culture of Faro, and even today the marina is central to the city’s activities. This museum celebrates the town’s relationship with the sea, looking at its maritime history, with numerous displays which includes models of the many vessels that have past through its port.




Una Risposta to “Faro”

  1. Great article, I have a couple of webpages with Faro information on them and some pictures here:



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