Is Faro worth visiting?

Is Faro worth visiting

Nestled towards the East of the Algarve, Faro is a popular travel stop off as it has an airport with connections to UK and beyond. Faro has the advantages of great weather, accessibility and a good food scene. However, it might not be at the top of people’s list – Faro is small and has no beach. So, is Faro worth visiting? 

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How to get to Faro

Faro is very accessible, making it a great destination for a weekend getaway from the UK. Planes fly to faro from Birmingham, Manchester, London and Liverpool with Ryanair. From Faro airport jump in an Uber or taxi and it is only around 25 minutes to the centre of faro. Bolt is another great app as this taxi app is popular in Portugal. 

If you are travelling to Faro from another Portuguese city, there are trains that will take you all along the Algarve from Faro to Lagos. Trains also go right up to Lisbon and Porto from the Algarve. The trains are frequent and comfortable. You can book online with and also buy tickets at the station (most station staff will speak some English as they are used to tourists). 

You can also get around the Algarve and the rest of Portugal by bus. Rede Expressos is the Portuguese company that most people use. Flixbus is also a cheap option to get to other Portuguese cities and further afield, as the Flixbus will take you to Sevilla in Spain. 

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How long to spend in Faro

In a nutshell, it is possible to see the main sites of Faro in a day or two. The old town itself can be seen in just a couple of hours. If you wanted to spend two or three days in Faro it would be possible to include one or two day trips for example to Tavira or isle de Fuzeta.

Is Faro worth visiting? 

Faro is worth visiting as it’s a good example of a Portuguese fishing town that has great bars and restaurants and a relaxed atmosphere. Visiting faro will give you the opportunity to see some Portuguese architecture (for example Arco de Vila and chapel of Ossos). It is well situated for further travel with good connections. So in this sense it is definitely worth visiting Faro. I’ve been twice now and enjoyed both times.

Cons of visiting Faro

There are a couple of things to consider about what faro has on offer. Faro is a relatively small ‘city’ (feels more like a town to me!)

Not as much to do as Porto or Lisbon! 

Saying that, there is definitely not as much to see and do in Faro as there is in Porto or Lisbon, so if it’s a cultural holiday you are looking for then you may prefer to opt for one of those main cities. 

No Beach! 

Another thing to consider is that Faro itself is a city with no beach. There are beaches nearby but you will have to travel by bus or train to get to them. So in short, don’t book Faro if you are going for a beach holiday. In that case, go for Lagos instead, or book for one of the islands in Faro, or further down the coast (such as Quinta da Lago).

The Biker Festival

Whatever you do, avoid the biker festival dates like the plague! It is loud and pretty much constantly you will hear the revving of engines outside your hotel or apartment. Some 15,000 (or more!) bikers descend on Faro in July! Don’t go at that time….unless of course, you are a biker! In that case, you will be there revving your engine too!

Pros of Faro 

Faro has a great little historical centre, a couple of interesting buildings and a lively restaurant and bar scene. There are several other advantages including it’s good transport links and proximity to other interestesing towns along the Algarve.

Arch de Vila and the Historical Centre

Start your tour of the historical centre of faro at the impressive Arco de Vila, an ornate gateway to the city’s Old Town. Redesigned in the Neoclassical era by an Italian architect, the gateway dates back to the Moorish conquest of the city, with some ancient stonework still visible. Make sure that you look up, where you will be able to see storks nesting on the bell tower. 

Museum Municipal de Faro

Museum Municipal de Faro, also known as the Museu Arqueológico. Housed in a former convent within the old city walls, the museum details the interesting archaeological and architectural history of Faro. Dating back to 1540, the monastery-turned-museum also features exhibits from the city’s time under Roman and Moorish rule. This includes a breathtaking mosaic floor depicting the Roman God of Neptune that was discovered nearby. 

Chapel of bones 

Don’t miss the Baroque Igreja do Carmo, built in the 18th century. This stunning church is painted in the region’s favourite sunshine-yellow and white, while the interior features an eerie ossuary (Chapel of Bones) – quite the contrast! The skeleton lined vault was designed to remind worshippers of the transient nature of human existence. 

Ria Formosa 

Wildlife lovers and bird watchers, don’t miss the Ria Formosa natural park. the lagoon often host to many unusual species of migrating birds. Boat trips to visit the protected landscape can be arranged directly at the marina and usually last two to three hours. 

Faro Marina

Faro Marina is a great place to sit and have a drink or something to eat and see the boats. There are some great restaurants on the Marina including O Coreto, Santa Maria Petisqaria and Marisqueira Fara e Benfica.

Great restaurants in Faro 

Food is great in faro and there are a few places that I would particularly recommend in addition to the above restaurants at the Marina (which can sometimes be a bit pricey). One of my favourite typical Portuguese restaurants is 2 Irmaos and the best place to eat fish that I found was Tasca do Ricky.

Faro is well positioned to explore the rest of the Algarve 

The great thing about faro is that its location offers close proximity to the airport and also other nearby destinations that are great for day trips or onward travel. On my second trip I was able to venture to some of the surrounding areas and did Tavira and Loule as day trips. 

Overall verdict is Faro worth visiting?

Yes it is, but generally I would say go to visit for just a day or two to move on. If you base your whole holiday in the Algarve in Faro, you might be disappointed. If you have 10 days to spend in the Algarve then it’s possible to cover at least 3 destinations. Also, don’t favour Faro over Lisbon and Porto if you are looking for culture and architecture. The main cities offer a lot more in terms of sightseeing. However, if you are looking for a convenient place to hang out for a few days with some sunshine and local food, then Faro is perfect for that. 

Where to stay in Faro

Some of the best places to stay in Faro are:

  • Tilia hostel perfect for budget travellers and backpackers
  • 4k airport hotel perfect for the night before a flight (also has a nice pool)

Onward travel from Faro

Loulé – A colourful town with a castle and fantastic market, about 20 minutes inland from Faro. Both Loulé and Tavira are doable as day trips from Faro by train.

Tavira – In my opinion this is the most beautiful town in the Algarve. It is famous for its castle and Churches (including the church of Misericordea). There is. Beautiful view of the river from the Roman bridge.

Portimao – Portimao is a popular tourist destination due to the beautiful beach – Praia de Rocha. It also has. Nice historic old town.

LagosLagos is a surfers paradise and has fantastic beaches both walkable from town and also many beautiful more remote beaches that are accessible by car in the surrounding areas. It’s a popular tourist city with an interesting local museum and a nearby zoo.

Further reading….

if you enjoyed this article on ‘Is Faro worth visiting?’ then you might also like to read more about travel in Portugal….