A day out in Faro

Vista de Faro sobre Ria Formosa
Place: Faro
Photo: Turismo de Portugal
Photo: Turismo de Portugal

Don't miss
  • discover Muslim traces in the “vila-adentro”
  • visit the Cathedral and climb the bell tower for a view over the city and the estuary
  • have a rest at the Arco do Repouso, like King Afonso III did
  • unwind, strolling along the riverbank
  • marvel at the sunset on the Faro Islands or Culatra beach
  • climb to the Cape Santa Maria lighthouse, the most southerly point of mainland Portugal and admire the landscape
  • during the summer, spend a day on the beach on Deserta Island to enjoy a space untarnished by humans

The capital of the Algarve since 1756, Faro is also the gateway for those arriving by plane. The Manuel Bivar Gardens are a beautiful reception area for visitors, where everything overlooks the marina, the Ria Formosa and the sea.

The Arco da Vila gives access to the old town, known as "vila adentro" (into the town). Here you will find the 11th century Arab Gateway, the oldest horseshoe arch in the country, which was the gate through the walls for those arriving by sea. From here, a tangle of streets begins that are well worth meandering through to explore their nooks and crannies. Many archaeological finds that testify to the city's history are to be found in the Municipal Museum at the 16th century Convent of Nossa Senhora da Assunção.

In Largo da Sé, dominated by the buildings of the Bishops’ Palace, you will find the Cathedral, erected in 1251 after the Christian reconquest on the site formerly occupied by the mosque. Inside is one of the most remarkable collections from the 17th and 18th centuries in the Algarve, a period that is also well represented in the Church of São Francisco with its beautiful gilt carvings and tiles. Nearby lie the two watchtowers that protected the Arco do Repouso, so named because, according to the story, it was here that King Afonso III rested during the conquest of Faro.

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