municipality and city in Portugal

For the island in Sweden, see Fårö.

Faro is a city in the Algarve region of Portugal that is a popular sun destination in the summer, and a base for exploring the surrounding area.

Understand edit

Faro (FAH-roo, /ˈfa.ɾu/) is the southernmost city in mainland Portugal. During summer, Faro is a popular destination for sun-seekers from northern Europe and the UK, especially due to the presence of its international airport. It also enjoys a reputation as being more friendly than many other parts of the region.

Outside of summer, the beach-goers are mostly gone, but it is still a base to explore the more remote areas of the Algarve, a convenient stop between Lisbon and Seville (or Spain in general), and what it loses in partying outside summer, it gains in peacefulness, reverting to a quaint and charming small city.

Get in edit

 
Map of the region around Faro

 
The city center of Faro

By plane edit

  • 1 Faro Airport (FAO IATA Aeroporto Internacional de Faro). A small airport with a few cafes. Many package tour and discount airlines arrive from the UK and Ireland, mainland Europe and Canada; as of Nov 2023 by far the largest share of regular flighs is operated by Ryanair. There is a large group of car hire agencies if you turn right after the main exit. From the airport, you can go to the city by buses 14 or 16 operated by Proximo, departing roughly twice per hour from early till late. The price is €2.70. In the opposite direction, lines 14 and 16 go to the Praia de Faro beach. The airport is also covered by the e-hailing services Bolt and Uber. To the city centre it's about €5-7.    

Other airports around are in Lisbon and Seville.

By train edit

  • 2 Faro train station (Estação de Faro) (about 3 minutes walking from the bus station). A small building which contains a ticket office, a small waiting area, and a cafe. There are no luggage lockers inside the train station, but it is possible to store your luggage in tourism agency on 1st platform. The Alfa Pendular, a high-speed train, runs generally twice a day from Lisbon. About 2½ hours, €20-25 one way, €30 on first class. There are three additional Inter City daily trains which take a little longer, with more stops, about 3½ hours. The tickets on the trains to Lisbon and further can sell out. There are also regional trains along the Algarve coast from Lagos to the west and Vila Real de Santo António at the Spanish border to the east. Parts of the line are single-track, causing delays usually up-to 10-20 minutes as the trains wait for the free track. It looks like the connections are preserved in case of delays.

By bus edit

  • 3 Faro bus station (Terminal Rodoviario Urbano) (at the edge of the city centre). There is a daily bus service from Lisbon and Porto in the north of Portugal, and from Madrid and Seville in Spain. A fare from Lisbon to Faro costs either €18 (for an "Expresso" connection takes about 4 hours, stopping in Albufeira, Vilamoura and Quarteira) or €19 (for a "Expresso Qualidade" direct connection which takes just over 3 hours and includes a movie projection, a stewardess, and a mini-bar service) and can easily be bought at the bus station just before boarding. This bus station in Lisbon is next to a subway stop called Jardim Zoológico.

For buses from and to local nearby towns and cities, check out the list of lines and their timetables at the Algarve transport company Vamus Algarve page.

By car edit

Car hire is an option for visitors. You can arrange car hire at the airport, however, as with many tourist locations it is wise to arrange your vehicle hire prior to arrival - this can save both money (the airport car rental desks can be far more expensive) and disappointment as availability during peak season may be very limited. Organising it from home before you arrive is now a very simple process with numerous companies specialising in pre-booking car hire in Faro.

Roads can be quite busy, but if you want to see a bit more of the city and indeed the Algarve region then driving by car is an easy option. Driving in the Algarve region is far easier than in the rest of Portugal, there are more non-toll roads and road-signs are plentiful and relevant.

By boat edit

Main harbours: Portimão, Faro.

Get around edit

On foot edit

Downtown is small and close to the public transport options: the train and main bus stations being within 250 m of one another few hundred metres from the city centre. Walking is very viable for most visitors.

By bus edit

Regional buses are run by the Vamus Algarve that connects Faro with other cities in Algarve.

Local buses are run by the Proximo company. Buses 14 and 16 go around the city, to the airport and to the beach of Faro. Tickets can be bought from the driver for €2.70 (Jan 2024).

By e-hailing edit

Bolt and Uber cover the town.

By train edit

Faro lies on the Algarve rail line connecting Lagos to V. Real St. Antonio and it's feasible to use train for getting to nearby town especially to the east - Olhao (~10 minutes), Fuseta (~20 minutes), or Tavira (~40 minutes), see Get in - Train section and the train services operator Comboios de Portugal.

By car edit

It can be difficult to find a parking slot in the center. Most of the parking stations near the restaurants and shopping malls are payable. However, there is a free car park located alongside the bus station which is close to the Hotel Faro and a huge free car park located behind the old town heading in the direction of Olhao.

By boat edit

Regular ferries run to four destinations:

  • Faro beach (Praia de Faro) on a narrow peninsula by the airport. Large number of departures during high season, from 29th of October to 31st of December 5 times daily. Adult €2.15/€3.75 one-way/return.
  • Ilha Deserta dock next to Ilha deserta beach (Praia de Ilha Deserta) on the Ilha de Barreta island. Available as ferry (45 minutes) or shuttle (fast boat, 15 minutes). As of Nov 2023, there are altogether 11 daily departures. Adult €5 one-way for ferry and €10 for shuttle (when booking online in advance, shuttle has to be booked as a return trip; combining different boat types is possible).
  • Ilha do Farol and Ilha da Culatra docks in the respective small settlements on the Ilha da Culatra island. The settlements are about 3km apart via Praia do Farol beach or via a network of footpaths. Ilha do Farol: From 18th of May to 30th of September, 4-6 times daily, adult €3/€5 one-way/return. Ilha da Culatra: From 1st of June to 31st of August, twice daily, adult €3.50/€6 one-way/return.

The regular ferries are run by private operators, see the Faro municipality website for the summary of timetables.

It is possible to get to the islands also via various hop-on/hop-off, tour, or water taxi services. Tour operators have booths by the harbor at the Avenida de República. (updated Nov 2023)

See edit

 
Part of the ceiling of the Bone Chapel.
  • 1 Bone Chapel (Capela dos Ossos (inside Igreja do Carmo)) (within Igreja do Carmo church). This chapel is almost completely made of bones taken from a former monk graveyard. €2.    
 
One of the many streets of Faro's small but charming downtown.
  • 2 Old town (Centro Historico). A well-preserved section of town off the harbour with cobblestone streets and 18th century Portuguese and Moorish-influenced architecture. It is great place for a peaceful and almost private walk back in time in an area that has been virtually untouched by modernity.
  • 3 Cathedral () (within the old town). The view from the tower over the old town and the Rio Formosa is a highlight. €3.50.    

Do edit

  • 1 Ria Formosa National Park. In Faro and Olhão you have the possibility to enjoy and make the most of Ria Formosa through a boat trip, birdwatching tours, kayaking or other eco tours and other activities to discover the nature and wildlife of this Natural Park. Several companies offer packages and tours fit to everyone's needs. Ask at the tourist information or at your accommodation.    
  • 2 Faro beach (Praia de Faro). This beach is several kilometres long and so normally never gets crowded, even in the height of summer. Most of the beach is gently sloping though it can take a sudden dip in places. There are the usual beach-side stalls and a public lavatory, but no showers. Praia de Faro is just past the airport, the airport bus stops there. A lot of people with early check-outs and late flights seem to go there on their last day.
  • Faro Jewish Heritage Centre, Rua Leao Penedo (in front of Faro Hospital), +351 289829525. 09:30-12:30 and 14:00-17:00. Established in 1851, the Faro Jewish Cemetery is the only remaining vestige of the first post-Inquisition Jewish presence in Portugal. It served as a burial place for a thriving 60 family community (also known as "Little Jerusalem"). The Jews of Portugal were expelled by the Inquisition at the end of the 15th century and settled in Gibraltar and North Africa. After the devastating 1755 Lisbon Earthquake, their descendants were invited by the Marquis of Pombal to help rebuild the economy. Although the community is long gone, the Cemetery still remains to remind citizens and travellers of its former glory. The Faro Jewish Heritage Centre features over one hundred graves in Sephardi style, with beautifully engraved slabs instead of headstones. Although the land was purchased by the Jewish community in 1851, the first burial, that of Rabbi Toledano, dates back to 1838. Apart from the Cemetery, there is also a museum, housing many objects linked to the history of the Jews of Faro, like the furniture from one of the two former synagogues of Faro or the facsimile copy of Gacon's 1478 Pentateuch in Hebrew - the first book ever printed in Portugal! Free.
  • Football. SC Farense were promoted in 2023 and now play soccer in Primeira Liga, Portugal's top tier. Their home ground Estádio de São Luís (capacity 7,000) is 1 km northeast of city centre.

Buy edit

  • 1 Faro Municipal Market (Mercado Municipal de Faro), Largo Doutor Francisco Sá Carneiro. Stalls M-Sa 07:00-15:00, supermarket daily 08:00-20:30. Mid-size farmers' market with the usual local fare and a rather wide selection. A supermarket in an undergound floor and a few restaurants and cafès in the same building.
  • 2 Forum Algarve, N125 km 103 (2 km from downtown), +351 289 889 300, . Stores daily 10:00 - 23:00, hypermarket daily 8:00 - 23:00. A shopping mall built around a large couryard with a fountain; business-wise it has about 100 stores, hypermarket, a 5-screen multiplex cinema, a food court, and convenience services.

Eat edit

Budget edit

All these are in the city centre:

  • 1 Restaurante Travessa, R. de Santo Antonio 58. Good restaurant, from the service to the quality of the dishes. Despite being identified as "tapas" the servings are generous and sufficient. Good food with fresh products, variety and excellent service.
  • 2 100 Montaditos Faro, R. Ivens 16. A huge menu and self-service. Great sangria. 100 Montaditos is a Spanish classic. The Serranito campero snack is big and comes with potatoes.
  • 3 Chalet restaurante, R. 1 de Maio 21. In this place the food is fresh. An Asian restaurant to recommend that offers a wide variety of sushi. Very friendly owners and employees. Good variety of food.
  • 4 A Venda, R. do Compromisso 60. Portuguese tapas. The service is excellent, the food is tasty. A combination of Portuguese food with a twist, and very vegetarian friendly. The wine selection is great. The place and the staff are very nice and attentive.
  • 5 Modesto Tavern, R. do Castelo 2. Fantastic food and very nice staff. Very good octopus cataplana. Wonderful attention to you and your pet. Good fish. Great little restaurant. The food is delicious and the staff welcoming. Very friendly environment.
  • 6 Tasquinha Cruzeiro, Largo da Madalena 12. The food is well prepared. The service is very gracious. The fried calamari are nice. Local, nice cuisine.
  • 7 Namastey, Rua primeiro de Maio 13. Indian food. Friendly staff.

Mid-range edit

  • 8 Restaurante Taska - Comeres Algarvios, Rua do Alportel 38, +351 289 824 739. 12:00–15:00 & 19:00–23:00 daily. This is a typical Algarvian restaurant serving typical regional cuisine at average prices. They do not accept credit cards.
  • 9 2 Irmãos (2 Irmãos), Praça Ferreira de Almeida 15, +351 289 823 337, . 10:00–22:30 daily. Found in an old small corner house in the square opposite the Cathedral. International cuisine. They accept credit cards.
  • 10 Le Marquis, Sítio de Gorjões – Monte da Palhagueira, Santa Bárba de Nexe, +351 916 076 540, . W–Sa 12:00–15:00 & 19:00–22:00, Su 12:00–15:00, closed M. Wonderful building and position, inside decor traditional in style but table settings and modern food. The menu was impressive, something for every palette.
  • 11 Adega Nova, Rua Francisco Barreto 24, +351 289 813 433. 11:30–23:00 daily. Looks like a pub from northern Europe. Busy and lively restaurant with smoking and non smoking areas. Attentive, professional staff. Reasonably priced.

Splurge edit

  • 12 Villa Monte do Casal, Estrada de Moncarapacho á Estói, Cerro do Lobo, Estói, +351 289 990 140. A charming converted manor house in a comfortable rural hotel set back from the coast.. Credit cards accepted.

Drink edit

  • 1 Bar CheSsenta, Rua do Prior 24, +351 931 194 314. M–Th 16:00–04:00, F–Su 21:00–04:00. On the Rua do Prior which is the main bar and cafe street in Faro, this small bar is decorated with many photos of Che Guevara and attracts a 20s-30s crowd with reasonably priced drinks. They do karaoke on some nights also.

Sleep edit

Faro has a thriving trade in both package deal hotels and short-term apartment rental. If that fails, locals have become very comfortable renting out every scrap of space in their homes to desperate travellers. Book months in advance for the high season, many places are closed during the low season.

  • 1 Hostel Casa d'Alagoa, Praça Alexandre Herculano 27 (old town), +351 289 813 252, . First hostel in Faro. The only deserted beach during the summer in the Algarve is 30 min away by boat from Faro. 24-hour reception, BBQ area, breakfast, common room, Internet access, guest kitchen, linen included, luggage storage, outdoor terraced area and bike rental.
  • 2 Eva Senses Hotel, Avenida da República 1, +351 289 540 154, . 4-star hotel overlooking the harbour and the Cidade Velha. From about €110/170 low/high for double.
  • 3 Hotel Faro & Beach Club, Praça D. Francisco Gomes 2 (next to harbour), +351 289 830 830, fax: +351 289830829, . Check-out: 12:00. 4-star hotel with a pool, bar, and restaurant at the rooftop, and with a basic sauna and gym. The restaurant and the bar accessible for non-guests. Breakfast sub-par for the price level but with views of the lagoon over marina. From about €95/170 low/high for double.
  • 4 Ibis Faro Algarve Hotel, Rua Poeta Antonio Aleixo 204, +351 289 893 800, . Check-in: 12:00, check-out: 12:00.
  • 5 Hotel Mónaco, Rua João Baptista Severino Urb. Monte da Ria - Montenegro 8005-237, +351 289 895 060, . Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 12:00. Hotel Mónaco is the nearest hotel to Faro airport, Algarve University and Algarve Stadium. Low/High: €45/55 single, €52/70 double or twin.
  • 6 Faro Lounge Guesthouse, Avenida da Republica 72, São Pedro, +351 289 108 203. A cheap guesthouse in Faro. They offer dorms for 12 and 16 people.
  • 7 Hostel 33, Rua Miguel Bombarda 33, +351 96 972 13 60, . Hostel 33 is in a building in the old town area of Faro, offering accommodation in 4-, 6- and 8-bed mixed dorms; also, twin rooms available, each with a private bathroom and balcony, 24-hr open reception desk, Full Wi-Fi coverage, guest kitchen, outdoor terraced area.

Stay safe edit

Faro and the Algarve region are reasonably safe year round. Pickpockets are not unheard-of, however, especially near beaches at night, so be on your guard.

Not unlike other south European tourist meccas like Alicante or Mallorca, Faro attracts its share of poorly-mannered tourists (especially from the UK and the Netherlands) that go to Faro to drink and let loose. Though the police does a great job at maintaining order, do be careful at night.

Go next edit

This city travel guide to Faro is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.