Faro Cruise Port
Faro is the most southerly city in Portugal and its temperate climate and stretches of golden sandy beaches make it a particularly popular cruise destination. During the summer months, the area can become quite crowded with party goers flocking to the city to enjoy its varied nightlife. Over the winter, however, it adopts a more tranquil ambience. As you sail into the dock you are greeted by the picturesque town with its white-walled buildings shimmering in the sunshine. There is plenty to see and do in the area and its colourful history is evident, with its architecture showcasing Iberian and Moorishs influence brought about by years of trade with Africa to the south. Faro was first founded by the ancient Romans and was a popular trading port right through until the 16th Century. There are a wide variety of historical and cultural sites reflecting its varied past, as well as some more modern attractions and activities to enjoy.
Sightseeing in Faro
Throughout history, Faro and its surrounding areas have been an important trade route and the city has been influenced by many cultures as a result. The town is filled with an eclectic mix of architecture, from palatial structures built to house the bourgeois to religious monuments and quaint houses. With so many interesting buildings to see, and boasting over 200 kilometres of coastline featuring pristine beaches and natural parkland waiting to be discovered, there is something for everyone to enjoy. The city's other major highlights include:
Read More Municipal Museum
The Municipal Museum holds an extensive collection of artefacts and artwork, as well as an impressive 30 foot mosaic floor dating from Roman Times. The building that houses the museum is an old 16th century convent and is worth taking a look at, even if you don't fancy going inside to see the collection.
Past the historic old town lies the Carmelite Church which houses the Chapel of Bones. The walls of the chapel are literally lined with the bones of past monks. It was designed by the Carmelite monks themselves, who displaced a cemetery in the process of building their chapel. They decided to display the hundreds of bones of their predecessors and as you walk through the chapel doors you are greeted by the neatly placed rows of skeletons.
Ria Formosa Natural Park
Nature lovers will appreciate the Ria Formosa Natural Park. The city of Faro lies in the heart of this ecological paradise. The park is made up of lagoons and wetlands and it is definitely worth waiting until high tide to take a boat ride through its areas allowing you to observe some of its aquatic birds alongside an array of luscious flora and fauna. You might prefer to traverse the area on foot, though going as part of a tour or hiring a private guide is advisable.
Shopping in Faro
If you are looking for traditional crafts from the area then you will find a wide variety of boutiques nestled down the streets surrounding Rue de Santo Antonio and the Galerias Faro. The area is famed for its lacemaking, weaving and embroidery. The best place to pick up a bargain though is in one of the city's markets. Situated in the heart of the city, the daily market sells clothing and household items alongside foods and crafts. There are also a number of gypsy markets where the women can be seen making baskets and mats out of palm leaves. Flea markets pop up across the city and are well worth a visit for some unique pieces to take home with you.
Eating out in Faro
There is a great choice of restaurants located in the centre of the city as well as dotted along the beach, catering for a range of budgets and tastes. If you are in the mood for some of the area's best fish and seafood dishes then make your way to Camané. Nestled on the waterfront it offers relaxed day time beachside dining within an informal atmosphere, which then turns in to a fine dining restaurant in the evening. Freshly caught fish and seafood are the order of the day and the restaurant prides itself on using the freshest and most delicious ingredients.