Photo of Faro

Visit Faro

Faro is the capital of the Algarve region of Portugal and also home to the airport for the reason. For this reason thousands arrive at Faro each year but many pass straight through and on to their final destination and miss the quiet charms of this pretty Portuguese town.

Explore Faro

Faro is towards the eastern end of the Algarve coast. The town sits on the sea front and has a pretty Marina and also looks out over the Ria Formosa lagoon which is a Natural Park and full of bird life.

Along the sea front the main row of shops includes some beautiful buildings including the Bank of Portugal and you will find the very pretty and ornate Arco da Vila which is the arched gateway to the old town.

Arco de Vila gateway into Faro old town

The tourist office is located next to this arch and they can give you a map with the main sights of the town.

Inside the old town most of the houses are painted white and often have the windows and doors painted in different colours, a very typical style for the Algarve.


As you wander through the quaint streets you will pass occasional bars and restaurants where you can sit out to eat or enjoy a glass of wine - including wine from Cliff Richard's local vinyard!

At the centre of the old town is the main square, the Largo da Sé, with the cathedral on one side and the Episcopal palace on another. The cathedral is very simple in style on the outside but inside it is rather more ornate with gilded carvings and decorated tiles.

You can walk to the top of the tower for views over the square and the old town.

Next to the cathedral the Episcopal palace is a long white building whose simplicity is made beautiful with its rows of identical windows and series of pyramid shaped rooves. Another style feature which is typically Portuguese.

Episcopal palace in Faro

One of Faro's more unusual sights is the Chapel of Bones. The interior of the chapel is decorated with bones and skulls of the monks who worshiped here! More than 1000 monks decorate the walls of the chapel.

Lagos was originally the capital of the Algarve region but the very destructive earthquake of 1755 which destroyed many buildings throughout the region was followed by an even more destructive Tsunami which caused lots of damage along the Algarve coast but from which Faro was protected by the sandbanks of the Ria Formosa.

Places to Visit Nearby

From the Porta Nova pier you can take a boat trip through the Ria Formosa Natural Park and the beaches of the Ilha de Faro islands. A very pleasant way to enjoy the unusual marshy scenery and the sea birds that feed here.

10km north of Faro is the village of Estoi with its beautiful pink palace and also some Roman ruins. The Estoi palace and gardens is now a hotel but can still be visited.

Continue westards along the Algarve coast to the buzzing marina and restaurants of the Vilamoura tourist complex.

Albufeira is a busy resort in the Western Algarve and is close to one of the Algarve's best beaches, the Praia da Marinha.

Head east beyond the Ria Formosa park and you come to the pretty village of Carvoeiro, a former fishing village with pretty white houses, a lovely beach and the remains of a fort. It is also popular ith celebrities and Bonnie Tyler and Charlie Dimmock both have houses here and Cliff Richard has a house and vineyard here.

You can find more local travel ideas in the Faro guide, and the Algarve guide.

See also: 

Photos of Faro

Click any picture to start the gallery

  • arco-de-vila
  • city-walls
  • episcopal-palace
  • faro-centre
  • historic-building
  • marina
  • museum
  • storks
  • town-hall
  • typical-street

Map of Faro and places to visit


Faro places to visit



Vilamoura is a large and prestigious tourist complex on the Algarve

Vilamoura guide


Albufeira is the most popular resort on the Algarve

Albufeira guide
Praia da Marinha

Praia da Marinha

The Praia da Marinha is a fabulous beach on the Algarve with beautiful rocky cliffs.

Praia da Marinha guide
Benagil Cave

Benagil Cave

The Benagil Cave and other caves on the Algarve coast can be seen on a boat trip from Benagil

Benagil Cave guide


Silves is a historic town and home to the Castelo de Silves - the best preserved castle on the Algarve

Silves guide


Carvoeiro is a fishing village and resort on the Algarve popular with families

Carvoeiro guide