Faro is the starting point for most of the Algarve itineraries and road trips, but is this city worth visiting?
I have said it before and I will say it over and over – I love historical cities in Portugal, and Faro is one of them. After falling in love with Lisbon, I decided to revisit Portugal every year and I fell in love with literally every place that I saw in this warm country.
My third visit to Portugal was a solo trip and I decided to start my adventures in Faro. I actually didn’t expect a lot from this city and thought it was just my quick stop before heading off to Lagos, but I was in for a surprise.
The time I visited Faro, the entire city was blooming with violet Jacaranda flowers and it made everything look even more special.
So, is Faro worth visiting? Read on to know my thoughts.
Faro’s Old Town is Pretty
Just like most of the Portuguese cities, even Faro has an old town and is super pretty. The old town is called Cidade Velha and is the historical center.
The main path is a romantic cobbled street with charming old buildings on each side. There are several open-air restaurants here that are perfect for a romantic meal on a summer evening, but I will talk more about that in the restaurant’s section.
I love that there are two arches – one at the entry of the Centro Historico and one at the end of it. The grander one is Arco da Vila and make sure you click a photo under it. Arco da Vila is actually a national monument.
The arch at the exit of Cidade Velha is Arco de Repouso, but it isn’t as special as Arco da Vila.
Faro Marina is Perfect for Sunset Walks
Faro may be too warm during the day but as the sun begins to set, the city glows. At the time of sunset, Faro Marina is the perfect place for a stroll because it is lively.
One can sometimes hear live music, and if you are lucky, you will get to experience Fado here. Most of the time the live music comes from musicians who are busking.
Walk around here and find a spot that you like. Most of the streets that end in Faro Marina area have restaurants and bars, so I highly recommend you enjoy a drink in one of those places.
Faro has Good Restaurants that are Affordable
I love eating in Portugal because everything is flavorful without being overwhelming. In that sense, I enjoyed every single meal in Faro.
Faro has an amazing food scene and I discovered some excellent restaurants that were affordable. I highly recommend Taberna Modesto in Faro’s old town which was suggested to me by a local and I loved it.
If you like international breakfast with good coffee, then I recommend Chelsea coffeeshop. You will of course get the typical Portuguese breakfast snack Pastel de Nata too, but this place has amazing eggs, avocado toast, and the like.
Faro has Historical Churches and Buildings
Like visiting churches and historical buildings? Faro has some interesting ones.
If you have time to visit just one church, let that be Igreja do Carmo. It is one of a kind because it is built with the skeleton remains of 1200 monks. Insane right?
Another interesting church that one can visit is Igreja de Santa Maria, which offers good views of the marina. Actually one of the locals recommended I go on top during sunrise for the view, but I refuse to wake up so early.
Experience the Culture
Faro is not touristy like Lisbon or Porto, so it feels like the real deal for experiencing Portuguese culture that isn’t so deeply affected by tourism or Instagram.
If you would like to experience Faro like a local, then visit Mercado Municipal, the municipal market in Faro. You will find fresh produce, flowers, fish, sweets, cheese, wine, and also some ready-to-eat pastries.
Another good way to experience the culture in Faro is by going to Fado recital. Fado is Portuguese Blues music and the sounds will transport you to another level of emotions. You can enjoy Fado recital near the tourism office in Faro for just EUR 5.
Faro is an excellent base for traveling in Algarve
Let’s address it – the only reason you will visit Faro is to travel further in the Algarve. No one travels to Faro to only see Faro. In that sense, Faro fulfills this purpose perfectly because it is an excellent base for traveling in the Algarve.
You can easily find direct trains to Lagos, Portimao, Albufeira, and many other destinations in the Algarve. If not trains, there are multiple buses that run many times a day and can take you to stunning spots in Algarve such as near Benagil, or all over Portugal and some will also take you to Spain.
So, is Faro worth visiting?
If you are flying to Portugal and would like to explore the Algarve, I highly recommend you spend at least one night in Faro before you head further. The city is small, stress-free and has so much to offer for those who seek historical cities that aren’t yet touristy.
So yes, Faro in Portugal is definitely worth visiting.