Faro is often overlooked by tourists who use it only as a gateway to the beach resorts that line the Algarve coast, but this place has a lot more to it than just the airport. So before following the bikini clad crowds, spare a day or two to discover what this cute little town has to offer. One full day is the perfect amount of time to get to know Faro.
Time seems to stand still in this sleepy little town, and there is an overall sense of calm to the whole place. Don’t come here planning to rush from sight to sight. Take your time to enjoy the atmosphere and soak in the laid back culture of Faro.
Guest post by Ashleigh and Sean Murphy
Blog: Traveling Together
What’s the best time to visit Faro?
The Algarve is based along the southern coast of Portugal and gets really hot and busy during the summer months. May and September are still sunny, but it’s a little cooler and much more comfortable.
One day in Faro itinerary
Top things to do in Faro, Portugal
Follow this guide and make the most of your trip even if you’re short on time. These are the top sights and things to do during your one day in Faro.
09:30 – Start the day right with an incredibly healthy (and yummy!) breakfast at Madalena, you will feel healthier just looking at the menu. A fresh bowl of blended fruit and yogurt, topped with granola and strawberries for only €5.
Visit the Cathedral
10:30 – Take a 5 minute walk up towards the cathedral Igreja do Carmo and take some obligatory photos. On the way, you will pass the also beautiful Igreja de Sao Pedro.
11:30 – Wander back downhill towards the small town centre and it’s time for a coffee at one of the many outside cafes in Faro, or maybe treat yourself to a beautiful homemade ice cream at Chelsea.
Stroll the center of Faro
12:30 – The centre of Faro is quite small, an hour strolling through the streets and marveling at the architecture is more than enough time to appreciate the tilled store fronts.
Have a lunch
13:30 – Stop for lunch at The Woods, sit upstairs on Thor rooftop terrace and enjoy a Mediterranean salad and maybe a cheeky lunchtime cocktail as you take in your first sight of the marina.
Walk around the marina
14:30 – After lunch, take a walk around the marina and pick which boat you’re buying after you win the lottery! Don’t forget to take the all-important selfie next to the big Faro sign.
Gawk at the storks nesting
15:30 – Stop to gawk at the storks nesting above the main gateway to the old town, there are hundreds of them nested all over the Algarve. Even after you’ve seen the first 15, you will still be taking photos of every single nest you pass. If you’re lucky, you will pass one with a few baby chicks poking their heads out.
Visit the Faro Old Town
16:00 – Bird watching out the way, head under the archway into the old town and spend a few hours getting lost in the cobble stoned alley ways. At the centre of the old town is yet another church, the Igreja de Se, which stands as the centrepiece of a beautiful courtyard surrounded by orange trees, (you will need to be tall to pick one though).
It’s time to cool down and have some cocktails
18:00 – For pre-dinner drinks, stay within the walls of the old town and head to O Castelo for some fantastic cocktails with a beautiful view over the lagoon at their outdoor seating area. Its right on the seafront, and the breeze makes it a perfect place to cool down after a day of walking.
19:30 – For dinner, try some real Portuguese food at Vila Adentro, (they also have a good vegetarian section).
Nightlife in Faro
21:30 – Walk back through the marina and onto R. Conselheiro Bivar, which is where most of the nightlife happens. Aperitivo has a nice décor and atmosphere, their outside area is decorated with fairy lights wrapped around orange trees. There are also one or two night clubs along this road for those who are really adventurous.
If you have a little bit more time to spare, then book yourself onto a boat tour of the lagoon. There are a few different companies that offer daily tours from the main jetty just outside the old town walls. Or even spend an hour or two in the Museum ‘Museu Arqueologico’ in the old town, tickets are €5/pp.
Where to Stay in Faro
Faro Boutique Hotel
Faro Boutique Hotel is a super stylish boutique hotel, located only a short walk from the Old Town. The hotel has a really fine design, and bright and modern rooms make it a perfect for all types of visitors. Some rooms have a furnished balcony. The hotel features a rooftop terrace with views of the Ria Formosa and the city of Faro.
Stay Hotel Faro Centro
Stay Hotel Faro Centro provides comfortable and modern stay in the center of Faro, only a short walk to Rua Santo António and not that far from Cathedral. The rooms feature simple furniture, tile floors and typical regional decor. The hotel has a terrace and a bar where it offers you rich buffet-style breakfast.
The Guest House Sao Filipe
The Guest House Sao Filipe is a very present surprise for the price. Room have private bathrooms and are clean and modern, there is a small laundry room and an outside area with washing lines set up for you to dry your clothes. Rooms are compact but perfect for 1 or 2 nights, and it’s right next to the train station.
If you prefer a hostel stay, Casa da Madalena Backpackers Hostel is one of the top rated hostels in the area, centrally locates. Another great hostel is Well’Come! to The Backyard House right next to the bus station. Besides dormitory room, Well’Come! to The Backyard House features private rooms as well.
Extra tips for visiting Faro
– The airport is about 10 minutes to the city centre in a taxi and will cost you approx. €10-€15. Once you are there, everything is within walking distance. The train station is about a 10 minute walk to the marina area.
– Visa: UK Passport holders do not currently need a visa to enter Portugal.
– Vaccinations: At the time of writing (May 2017) there are no vaccinations required.
– Money: The currency in Portugal is Euro. Exchange rates on 9th May 2017 below:
£1 (GBP) = €1.18 (EUR)
$1 (USD) = €0.92 (EUR)
– It was really easy to find a cashpoint (ATM), but it’s worth mentioning that we did notice quite a few signs in café windows etc. that said ‘cash only’.
– Food and drink all over the Algarve is very reasonably priced, we spent 10 days here and never spent more than €25 per meal.
– Make your trip to Faro even more exciting! Check out Tripadvisor for all the activities and organized tours in Faro or around the area. Make sure to purchase your tickets to all the attractions right away to skip the queues.
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