Introducing the city

£1.00 | 1.14 €

GBP | EUR

Gasoline £1.19 | 1.35 €

One-way ticket £1.85 | 2.10 €

Beer £0.88 | 1.00 €

Main Course £5.71 | 6.50 €

About the Faro District

In the heart of southern Portugal, the Faro district has desert-island beaches, a 13th century cathedral, a laid-back student vibe and some of Europe's best seafood.

If you like the idea of escaping to a remote island paradise (à la Robinson Crusoe) but don’t fancy the whole, death-risking shipwreck thing, then Faro in southern Portugal may have the answer. As well as plenty of bars, galleries, restaurants and sights, this coastal university-city also benefits from being next to Ria Formosa National Park, dotted with otherworldly beaches and pristine islands.

Faro’s Old Town (Cidade Velha), is surrounded by ancient city walls; the main square (Largo da Se) is home to the small but perfectly formed 13th century Cathedral of Faro, where as other Old Town hotspots include the little streets around Praca Alfonso III (great for tiny bars and Portuguese seafood restaurants), the 18th century Episcopal Palace and the Municipal Museum.

The Algarve region can be divided into three fairly distinct areas - East, West and Central Algarve. Central Algarve is known for its luxury golf courses and party-central Albufeira; West Algarve for cliffs and historic Sagres and East Algarve for long sand dunes and little villages. If it's beaches you're after, Faro is actually one of the best places to stay; to the south of the city lies Ilha da Barreta, otherwise known as Ilha Deserta – if you visit you’ll see why. Part of the National Park, this stretch of coast is only reachable via boat; once there it's like having your very own slice of island paradise. Just make sure you don’t get stranded – unless your Bear Grylls skills are up to scratch.

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Weather

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When Should You Visit?

June or September are best for warm, sunny days with fewer crowds.

The Faro district has a subtropical Mediterranean climate with warm to hot summers and mild winters. The coolest month is January with an average temperature of 12 degrees Celsius and the warmest is July at 24 degrees Celsius; the wettest month is November.

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Travioor top tips

Train Travel
Museums
Seafood

Insider Info

  • If you plan to explore the coast, use Faro’s railway, which connects up different Algarve towns.

  • Several of Faro’s museums are free on Sunday mornings and closed on Mondays.

  • Many restaurants offer cheap, daily menus (menu do dia); keep an eye out for Cataplana de Marisco (seafood casserole) or Arroz de Marisco (seafood rice).

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Food and drink

Main Course £5.71 | 6.50 €

3-Course Meal £26.37 | 30.00 €

Cappuccino £1.03 | 1.18 €

Beer £0.88 | 1.00 €

The Scene

Meals usually begin with small starters (couvert) made up of bread, olives, pâté and vegetables. You'll generally be charged for these (often only a few euros). If you don’t want it, it’s fine to refuse this course. Traditional Portuguese soups (fish, vegetable or gazpacho) are other entrée alternatives. Given Faro’s proximity to the sea, seafood features very heavily on the region’s menus. Good options to look out for are robalo (sea bass), atum (tuna) and salmonete (red mullet). Other dishes you may come across are feijoada (meat and bean stew) or frango piri-piri (spicy chicken). Make sure you order a glass of vino verde (green wine), which is produced using home-grown Portuguese grapes.

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History

Faro District’s Story

Faro’s Ria Formosa lagoon was home to Palaeolithic peoples from around the 4th century BC and in the subsequent centuries it grew in size and prosperity as travellers across the Mediterranean began to use it as a commercial hub. Between the 2nd and the 8th century it came under Roman rule, before being invaded by the Byzantines, the Visigoths and finally the Moors in 713.

After 500 years of Moorish rule, Faro eventually joined with Portugal when King Alfonso III defeated the Moors in 1249. Since then, the city has become a major trading centre and is the capital of the entire Algarve region. Its varied mix of people – including Jews, Muslims and Catholics – and large student population, has helped it become the vibrant and diverse city that it is today.

Language

Oi | Hello
Obrigado | Thank you

Portuguese

Portuguese is the official language spoken in Faro, although some people also understand Spanish. Major tourist attractions and guides are available in several languages. If you’re interacting with locals, you’ll find many, especially the younger generation, will speak English. The following phrases may be useful:

  • Please: Por favor
  • Excuse me: Com licença
  • Do you speak English?: Você fala inglês

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Need to know

+351 Dialling Code
112 Emergency Services

Get The Low-Down

  • You can catch buses and trains to Lisbon from Faro's centre.
  • Tipping is generally expected in Portugal.
  • There are plenty of beaches nearby which can be reached by car or bus – Lagos is particularly popular.

 

VISA INFORMATION

Find out about the visa requirements for Portugal here.

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Travioor Recommends

1. Ilha Deserta

Catch the public ferry to Robinson Crusoe worthy Ilha Deserta, a pristine, deserted stretch of beach with turquoise waters and golden sand.

2. Old Town

Get lost in the petite Old Town (Cidade Velha), home to ancient city walls and Faro’s 13th century Cathedral.

3. Nightlife

Party with the town’s student population at one of the many bars or clubs along Rua do Prior.

4. Local Seafood

Sample local seafood and regional specialities; a popular favourite is bacalhau (dried salt cod) or Algarve stuffed squid.

5. Ria Formosa

Get active – Faro’s national park, Ria Formosa (and the surrounding region) is great for hiking, biking, dolphin-watching, water sports and more.


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