An Insider's Guide to Faro in Algarve

More than an airport, Faro in Algarve steals your heart again and again. It’s exactly why we’ve curated an autumn-friendly guide for you.

So when you’re not bodyboarding into the Benagil Cave with Algarve Beauties, you’re getting to know the real Faro.

Ready? Let’s explore!

Algarve Beauties Benagil Cave tour experience from faro .

Table of Contents

Faro Marina

Your first marvel, the Marina is a popular meeting point trimmed with cafes, where you can take a boat trip into the Ria Formosa.

Watch the world pass you by with a craft imperial at Boheme: Be Here For A Beer. Next door, Fresh Mix, does dangerously good ice cream for only 3 euros a cone.

Feeling fancy? Sail up to Hotel Eva’s rooftop bar – before the sun hits the horizon – for the best cocktails in town.

Mercado Municipal

If you’ve got an appetite, don’t skip the Mercado Municipal in the city centre.

Not only can you get the most fragrant coffee, but it boasts a teeming indoor market. Taste sunshine from fruit stalls with seasonal favourites from southern Portugal like peaches and persimmons.

Or zig-zag indoors to Lote 56, and stuff your cheeks. A wedge of corn cake with a bica? Yes, please!

Faro Old Town

Start your day with a café at Ponto Espresso outside Faro Old Town’s walls. Pair with a sweet and savoury pastry and you’re eating a traditional Portuguese breakfast.


Minutes away, the Old Town suits a post-breakfast wander. Travel through time under Porta Nova beside the Ria Formosa, or through the splendid Arco da Vila crowned with stork nests.


In a corner of town as legendary as the Romans, it’s crazy to think Faro survived a land-shattering earthquake too. So it deserves a place on your Portugal itinerary. 

Nossa Senhora Convent

Before it housed the municipal museum, Nossa Senhora was a convent. Today its hollow stone cloisters, lavished with columns, are straight out of Hogwarts.

Escape the crowds and peek out its domed bull’s-eye window at the statue of King Afonso iii: a king who made history for returning Faro city to the Portuguese people.

Nossa Senhora Convent Faro
Photo taken by: @micheile

Museu Municipal

Want to step into Faro’s past? You need to visit the Municipal Museum in the Old Town.

Once known as the ‘Faro Archaeological Museum‘, today it’s one of two municipal museums in the Algarve region.

Imagine a Romanesque Faro in a 1900-year-old mosaic; browse paintings once hung on temple walls between the 16th – 19th centuries; and, re-live Medieval Muslim legends of ancient kingdom, Iberia.

The museum is open weekly, except on Mondays. And you won’t spend all your savings: tickets start at 2 euros.

Faro Cathedral

Framed by sour-orange trees, one survivor is Largo Da Sé – Faro’s Church of Santa Maria. Behind whitewashed walls, you can find a religious sanctuary complete with an impressive azujelos mosaic.

Paying 2 euros is worth it for the bell tower alone with 360-views of Santa Bárbara de Nexe and the Ria Formosa lagoon.

Igreja de Santa Maria Faro
Photo by KOBU Agency on Unsplash

Carmo Church

Carmo Church is best saved for last. Stood on a sea of cobbled streets, its nata-yellow facade is hard-to-miss. Venture inside and you’ll find ornate, churchy decor typical of mainland Portugal. 

But its courtyard hides a grisly secret.

Made purely from skulls and bones, the chapel of bones is an eye-swiveler. Once a solution to overcrowding in the town’s monastery cemetery, it’s now a dark tourist attraction.

Forum Algarve

An all-in-one favourite, Forum Algarve shopping mall is perfect for a rainy day. As well as fashion favourites like Mango, Zara and Oysho, its multi-screen cinema satisfies cosy cravings. 

Hungry? Treat yourself to lunch at the worldwide food hall. From sushi to mega burritos and a refill for only 8 euros, Forum has cuisines for all moods.

And you can easily check your flight details, ditch heavy luggage in secure on-site lockers, and print tickets before your flight. 

From Faro’s bus station, the 16 bus to Praia de Faro stops at the shopping centre and Faro airport.

Ria Formosa Natural Park

A string of slender islands protects a maze of marshlands and dunes: welcome to the Ria Formosa Natural Park.

One of Portugal’s 7 natural treasures, it yawns from Vale do Lobo to just beyond Cacelha Velha, in the east. A whopping 60 kilometres of stunning beaches.

Reach this incredible place by hopping on the 16 bus to Praia de Faro from the bus station. While bike tours take you down the spine of the Ria Formosa, on the Ludo trail, into salt-flat territory.

Faro Beach

Faro Beach is one of 5 islands that make up the Ria Formosa including Ilha Deserta and Culatra Island.

With favourable public transport, you can take a 30-minute ferry from Faro Marina for 2 euros. Or escape the city roads with the 16 or 14 bus for 2.35 euros. Buses are about hourly from October onwards.

In autumn, sensational sunsets tint the ocean with pearly opalescence. So unsurprisingly, it’s a year-round destination for all.

If you want to lose the crowds but avoid getting stranded, rent a bicycle from Faro and travel the 6 kilometres with ease. It’s 100 percent worth the ride, taking you deep into the heart of the Ria Formosa lagoon: Faro glittering in the distance like a mirage.

Ilha Deserta Island

The most remote of the Ria Formosa’s 5 islands, Ilha Deserta is a 7-kilometre-long sand spit. A deserted island, it brushes shoulders with Ilha da Culatra and Ilha de Faro.

Best visited on rain-free days, you can reach its golden sand beaches from Faro with the Animaris ferry in high and low seasons.

Sunny days last throughout autumn so it’s worth a visit, year-round, for sun-seekers, walkers and nature lovers.

Ilha da Culatra

The car-free island, Culatra, is a novelty in Faro. A barrier island, it shelters the Ria Formosa lagoon from the Atlantic ocean.

Its tiny population, 700-strong, is spread across three villages: Hângares, Culatra and Farol. But it’s only the last two that are connected by a 30-minute boat trip from Faro. At this time of year, you can reach the island by water taxi from the marina.

Culatra Island
Photo by: Osvaldo Gago


Faro is so much more than a day trip.

Don’t you think?

You’ll be entertained from the second you leave Faro airport. Whether your Benagil Cave tour is today, tomorrow or next Tuesday.

What’s your favourite reason to visit Faro?