Many holidaymakers will only pass through Faro on their way to a resort but they are missing out. The town has plenty to see and do including the marina, many parks and traditional squares and a historic old town with many beautiful museums and churches.
Faro is also home to around 8,000 students and has a vibrant nightlife, and theres a strong theatre scene too. Although the shopping centre and high-rise apartments may make it feel like a big city, the centre of Faro is compact and easy to walk around.
Top 5 cultural activities
- Faro Cathedral - Admire the intricate gilded carving, decorated tiles and works of art inside before climbing the tower to get a great view of Faro
- Milreu Ruins - The ruins of this Roman villa offer an insight into Roman life and theyre surrounded by beautiful countryside too
- Trem Gallery - This attractive gallery houses temporary exhibitions by local and international painters, photographers, installation artists and sculptors
- Museu Municipal - Housed in a splendid domed 16th-century building with exhibits including a 3rd-century mosaic, Islamic homeware and works by Faro painter Carlos Filipe Porfírio
- Paco Episcopal - This 18th-century building, with its pointy red roof and multi-coloured hand-painted tiles, houses exhibitions of sacred art. Its worth visiting just to admire the beautiful interior too
Top 5 Faro must-sees
- Cidade Velha - The picturesque Old Town is made up of winding cobbled streets and squares in a range of architectural styles. Enter through the neoclassical Arco da Vila and wander down the orange-tree-lined Largo da Sé towards the cathedral
- Ilha Barreta beach - Its only a boat ride away from Faro, but this 10km strip of sand feels incredibly uninhabited and remote.
- Praia de Faro - A much busier beach than Ilha Barreta. You can go windsurfing here or have a snack and a drink in one of the beachside cafes
- Ria Formosa National Park - This nature reserve, which covers more than 50km of coastline, is particularly popular with birdwatchers - its home to species including the little bittern, purple heron and white stork, as well as the Portuguese water dog
- Forum Algarve - This shopping mall, built around a central square, has a good selection of shops, cafés and restaurants.