City Breaks in Faro

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All too often overlooked by visitors who simply pass through the city on their way to one of the Algarve resorts, Faro has much more to offer than many realise. A charmingly compact, historic, authentic and lively city, Faro earns the right to be a city break destination of its own standing. It's still near enough to a choice of beaches, which means you can fit in a bit of sun, sea and sand during Faro city breaks too. A far cry from the resort towns of the Algarve region; Faro is the real Portugal. 

Faro is a small city, especially in comparison to Lisbon or Porto. Much of the centre, including the Old Town found within the city walls, can easily be navigated on foot although an excellent bus network is also available.   


Things to see in Faro

  • The Ria Formosa Nature Park is made up of a series of saltwater lagoons and is a haven for wildlife and birds; take a boat trip from the Porto Nova for a guided tour.
  • Faro Cathedral, or Se, is also a must-see attraction in the city, while fans of Neo-Classical architecture will appreciate the Arco da Vila gate: the rather grand entrance to the Old Town.
  • The haunting Bone Chapel, or Capela Dos Ossos, is also well worth a visit. Located within the Carmo Church, this collection of monk's skulls was gathered here when the cemetery became overcrowded and was placed in a way to create a rather macabre gallery. On a lighter note, when it comes to dining out, those in the know head to Vila Adentro, Faro's must charming gourmet restaurant.

Faro Beaches

It's no secret that the Algarve region of Portugal is home to some of Europe's top-rated beaches, many of which are in easy reach from Faro including those found on the sandbar islands that lie close to the city. Faro Beach is one such choice. This long sandy beach encompasses the entire sea-facing coast of the Ilha de Faro. The island is accessible by bus or car and also by ferry from the Porta Nova marina.  The beach is long enough to offer a choice of spots like the centre where lifeguards, shops and cafes are found as well as quieter areas to the eastern and western edges. All of the beach on the Ilha da Barreta is ideal for those seeking solitude. This beach is almost completely undeveloped, as is the island itself. Only accessible via ferry, there is one restaurant here, should you forget to take a packed lunch. 

Faro Facts:

  • Faro is one of the best cities in Portugal to witness such a wealth of historic cultural influences. These include Phoenician, Roman, Jewish and Moorish.
  • It was ruled by the Moors for 500 years and was the last city in Portugal to be gained back by Christians.
  • In 1596, The Earl of Essex plundered the city and burnt much of it to the ground, taking precious texts including the first printed Torah of Faro, which can now be seen in the Oxford Bodleian Library.

Faro Weather

Like the rest of the Algarve, Faro enjoys a Mediterranean climate, which makes it mild to hot for most of the year and means virtually no rain from June to September. The summer months of July to August have average temperatures in the high 20s to high 30s (Celsius), while spring and autumn regularly see temperatures hit the mid-20s, making these seasons the ideal time for Faro city breaks, especially for those looking for cheap holidays outside of peak travel times.