When to fly
Faro is always packed with sun worshippers in summer, especially during July and August. As a favoured family destination, the beaches are busy during half-term breaks in spring, autumn and around Easter. Liberation Day is celebrated on the night of the 24th April with music and festivities which carry on to the 25th.
An International folklore festival, FolkFaro, is held in August, which sees a variety of entertainment throughout the streets of Faro.
During the first two weeks of September, the Festas do Concelho / Comemorações do Dia da Cidade commemorates the time in history when Faro was given city status. This is celebrated through sports events, concerts and exhibitions.
The shoulder seasons of spring and autumn (excluding the school half-term weeks) are great times to look for cheap flights to Faro. The weather is still warm, and there are fewer tourists. For a late autumn or early winter (October to early December) visit, make sure to bring rain gear.
Why visit Faro?
Faro is the gateway to the Algarve which is a long stretch of soft, golden beaches, shimmering blue seas and almost endless sunshine. The Algarve's popularity with tourists ensures great competition among airlines and there is no shortage of cheap flights to Faro.
The Ria Formosa is a large lagoon system protected from the sea by 37 miles of beaches and sand dunes. The natural park - pink flamingos are a highlight - is made up of two peninsulas and five barrier islands. As far as Faro is concerned, this region includes the Ancao peninsula and Barreta and Culatra islands. Praia de Faro and Praia da Culatra are two of the most popular beaches. In the summertime, there is a regular boat service to Culatra.
Other sights include Faro Harbour where you can watch the fishermen at work, the cathedral and museums - municipal and maritime. The Arco da Vila archway marks the entrance to Faro's Old Town, an atmospheric quarter with shops and restaurants.
If culture is what you’re after pay a visit to the sublime Archaeological Museum, housed in a 16th-century convent. If you’re feeling brave, walk under the cloisters and inspect the gargoyles. Continuing the spooky theme, Carmo Church in Largo do Carmel has a ghoulish Chapel of Bones. Its walls and ceiling are covered with the bones and skulls of monks’ bodies removed from the cemetery in 1816.
Driven by Faro’s student population, Rua Conselheiro Bivar and Rua Infante Dom Henrique, and the narrow alleys that branch off them, are the places to party. There are dozens of bars and clubs in this area. Galeria Bar Patrimonio on Rua do Prior, Bar dos Arcos on Travessa dos Arcos and Cruzeiro on Largo da Madalena are all worth checking out. Head down to the main shopping area, which is in the heart of town along the Rua Santo Antonio and the Rua Francisco Gomes to pick up some great bargains.
Faro’s southern location gives it a mild Mediterranean climate. Summer temperatures are usually in the mid-20s and rain is rare. Winters range from the upper single digits to mid-teens with most of the rain between October and January.Getting from the Airport to the CityFaro Airport (FAO) is located only 2.5 miles away from the city and can easily be reached by bus, which takes about 20 minutes. Taxis are also available, some of them 24 hours a day. Taxi ranks are located outside the terminal or you can call for one in advance.
Getting around Faro
The easiest way to get around is by hailing a taxi. Faro doesn’t have a metro, but you’ll be able to get around easily on foot. Head elsewhere in Portugal on the many connecting trains and buses or rent a car for more freedom in exploring the area.
Faro insider information
- The capital of the Algarve is often only visited by people passing through on their way to the resorts of the coast. However, the town has enough of interest to keep holiday makers entertained for at least a few days.
- The oldest part of the town, that nearest the beach, is still surrounded by the old city wall. The Arco de la Villa is the oldest and most impressive gateway leading into the town. The neo-classicist arch is a huge monument and was inaugurated in 1812. Today, it is just as impressive. Nearby, the cathedral is also worth a visit. The original cathedral on the site was built in the 13th century, but the one standing at the moment was rebuilt in the 18th.
- From the top of the tower are stunning views out across the town and sea. Faro is set on the Formosa Lagoon, with endless islands of sand and long stretches of beach to explore.
- Visit the nearby Ilha de Faro, which is linked by a road to the mainland, and enjoy one of the least crowded beaches in the whole of the Algarve.
- The town of Tavira is an easy day trip away. It’s a quaint, old town well worth visiting and the journey there is also pleasant – passing orange and fig groves. The town has four beaches as well as two golf courses.