Faro : An intro to the Algarve
Faro is a very relaxed and tranquil city. Very often the transit point where visitors arrive and move on to holiday in the Algarve or other parts of Portugal and Spain. In this article we try to show you what you can expect to find in a 48 hour stop over here. Some day we hope you ll return to this beautiful location and book a exclusive holiday apartment, or holiday villa, from one of the many holiday rentals in this area.
Faro is not just the capital of Algarve but it’s an extra special city, full of history and culture and surrounded by idyllic island beaches and the stunning Ria Formosa nature reserve. Praia de Faro which we will talk about later is in this area. The number 16 Airport bus runs here every 30 minutes.
During the 9th century Faro was the capital of a short lived princedom, ringed with defensive walls and later the name changed to Santa Maria then to Harune.
Wasn’t until the middle of the 13th century Faro finally became a Portuguese territory, completing the Christian reconquest of Portugal. In 1540 Faro was made a city and in 1577 became the site of the Episcopal Sé when the Bishop of the Algarve moved from Silves to Faro.
Faro has a glorious, almost rain-free summer climate , with temperatures in the low seventies tempered by sea breeze. Visitors can get rid of the bulk of the summer arrivals, and can enjoy the medieval passageways and streets in relative peace.
Start your 48 hours.
To start your 48 hours, visit Igreja do Carmo with its twin bell towers proudly perched at the centre of the square. This 18th-century church features the earliest example of Rococo architecture in the Algarve.
In the area behind the church which is a garden Calepa dos Ossos is located. This area was used as a burial ground for the monks and human skeletons can still be found.
Followed by this, carry on past Jardim Manuel Bívar and step into the Vila Adentro which is the old town through the monumental Arco da Vila , one of the three gates leading into the city’s oldest quarters, and a striking neoclassical structure in its own right.
You can make your way up Rua da Municipio until you see the medieval Se Cathedral , with its gloriously ornamented golden altar from the 17th and 18th centuries and a grand pipe organ. The building was partially burned down in 1596, during the invasion of the English troops under the Earl of Essex, and rebuilt in the 18th century. Down the side street from the Cathedral is the Museu Municipal, tracing the city’s cultural heritage, from its Roman rule and Muslim occupation to the Christian conquest in the 16th century.
Make a right as you exit the museum and take a break to soak in the old-town atmosphere, sipping a Super Bock or a light Vinho Verde. Pass the archway and turn right onto Largo de São Francisco, skirting the remains of the ancient walls that once enclosed the city.
Praia de Faro
The city’s main beach, Praia de Faro (Faro beach) is a good relaxing point to enjoy the cool sea breeze. This area is a good choice for villa holidays. There are many holiday villas similar to the typical Algarve villas dotted along the coast. Most with there own private pools. You can also explore the city centre and peruse the chic boutiques and shops along Rua de Santo António and neighbouring streets.
A former 17th-century Jesuit college turned tiny Italianate theatre, Rua de Lethes doesn’t need a ticket to browse the inside of the theatre, as long as there is no performance. Then take a cappuccino, overlooking the marina.
Faro fine dining
The city is full of fine dining restaurants candlelit wine bars. You can enjoy a classic Portuguese cod dish with sautéed onions and potatoes or got for romantic dinner.
Faro’s night life thrives from the fact that it it full of night clubs. The bustling party scene thrives along Rua de São Pedro, Rua Conselheiro Bívar and Rua do Prior. But for something a bit more laid-back, try O Castelo in the old town, a new live music bar with extensive views towards the Ria Formosa. I hope you enjoyed your 48 hours here and will be tempted to return here for a more extended holiday.
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