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From Faro to Vila Real de Sto António

From Faro to Vila Real de Sto António

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The Algarve capital since 1756 has been Faro, where the Ria Formosa - a natural park considered the most important wildlife sanctuary in the Algarve - hints at its´ true splendour and size. One of the last places in Europe to preserve intact it´s coastal zone composed of lagoons, canals ,off-shore islands and marsh-land ,stretching still further east until Manta Rota (close to Vila Real de Santo António). Around 1500 species find refuge in these damp 18,400 hectares extending for over 60 km.

Of all the historical sites of Faro, in the heart of the Old City, the highlight is the Cathedral, the elegant Episcopal Palace (17th century) that surrounds it, and the Arch of the Town. Outside the walls, the Church of S. Francisco (18th century), the Church of Sao Pedro and the Church of Carmo complete a generous collection of religious buildings. The main meeting place of the city is the Manuel Bivar Garden, along with the elegant and busy pedestrian street of Santo Antonio, full of shops and restaurants. At the municipal market in Largo Sá Carneiro you can find fresh food and handicrafts, and at the hermitage of Santo Antonio don´t miss the beautiful panorama over the sea and the salt-beds.

The beach (at 8 km) is like a big tongue of sand separated from the land by the Ria, full of life and with excellent conditions for sailing or for an interesting and relaxing walk or boat-trip. The islands around Faro are a characteristic of this city embraced by the Ria Formosa, and it´s only 45 minutes by boat (from Faro or Olhão) to the island of Culatra, which is the southernmost point in continental Portugal. Here can be found the lighthouse of the cape of Santa Maria, which can be seen from both Olhão and Faro.

Nearby one can find the Roman complex in Milreu ( 1st or 2nd century ). Though the baths still have their original tiles, the major part of the pieces you´ll find in the Archeology Museum in Faro.

Leaving Faro, heading eastwards, pass through Olhão, "cubist town", and Tavira, one of the most typical Algarve cities.

As for gastronomy, "bolos folhados", Dom Rodrigos, fish stews, fish dishes, the local wine and leg of lamb are delicacies not to be missed.


From Faro to Vila Real de Sto António
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