Are you planning a trip to the Algarve and wondering is Faro worth visiting? Well this article is for you. We go through absolutely everything you need to know about visiting Faro and answer all the important questions like is Faro safe, is Faro expensive, and what is there to do in Faro.
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- Before we answer the question ‘Is Faro worth visiting’ here is some background
- Is Faro expensive?
- Do I need cash in Faro?
- What language do they speak in Faro?
- Is Faro easy to get to?
- How long should I spend in Faro?
- Is Faro safe?
- Is Faro worth visiting compared to other Portuguese cities?
- Is Faro worth visiting compared to other popular Algarve destinations?
- Can I use public transport in Faro?
- What is there to do in Faro?
- Is Faro worth visiting for solo travellers?
- Is Faro worth visiting for couples?
- Is Faro worth visiting for families?
- Is Faro worth visiting for foodies?
- Is Faro worth visiting for the nightlife?
- Is Faro worth visiting for nature lovers?
- Is Faro worth visiting for history buffs?
- Is Faro worth visiting for culture lovers?
- Is Faro worth visiting in the summer?
- Is Faro worth visiting in the winter?
- What to pack when visiting Faro?
- What should I know before visiting Faro?
- So Is Faro worth visiting?
Before we answer the question ‘Is Faro worth visiting’ here is some background
Located in the Southern part of Portugal Faro is the capital of the Algarve region. It’s sort of the gateway to the Algarve as there is an international airport where many European flights land.
Faro is a popular tourist destination, but can sometimes be overlooked in comparison to some of the other popular destinations in the Algarve like Albufeira and Lagos.
Is Faro expensive?
We didn’t find Faro too bad when it came to costs. Particularly when you compare it to other European cities it is actually relatively cheap.
Between the two of us we spent around €200 per day in Faro. This didn’t include accommodation. This did however include buying souvenirs, eating out, going for cocktails, and paying for tourist attractions.
We found eating out was good value for money in Faro, with a main meal costing around €12 each. Alcohol was also cheap with house wine by the glass coming it at around €4 and cocktails costing €8 on average.
A small bottle of water ranged between 0.40 cents to €1 depending on where we purchased it. And beer you might be pleased to hear is incredibly cheap with some places selling it for under €3.
Accommodation can be a little bit more expensive, but again this depends on where you stay and the standard of accommodation. We stayed in a 4 star hotel right near Old Town and this cost us €162 a night with breakfast included.
Do I need cash in Faro?
A common question we get is do I need cash in Faro. We were actually a little bit surprised at how much cash we needed during our trip in Faro and the Algarve as a whole. We are so used to just tapping our card to pay for things, and a lot of places allow this, but a large number of places don’t.
You should carry cash on you as many restaurants, bars, and even shops operate cash only businesses. It’s also useful for tipping when doing things like tours or eating out.
Faro like the rest of Portugal uses the Euro, and cash machines are pretty much everywhere. If you can, try and use a cash machine associated with a bank to withdraw money as these often mean less fees.
What language do they speak in Faro?
The official language spoken in Faro is Portuguese. If you are an English speaker however you should get by very easily. The majority of people do speak English, which makes sense considering it is so touristy. You also get a few French or Italian speakers in Faro, in case you wanted to test out other dialects.
Is Faro easy to get to?
Faro is a popular tourist destination with a large international airport. The majority of flights to Faro arrive from within Europe. Therefore if you are flying from Asia or the United States you might be better off flying to Lisbon and then getting an internal flight or even the train or bus to Faro from here.
The Airport is close to the centre of Faro, and an Uber cost us around €7 to get to the centre. This is probably the quickest and easiest way to get to your hotel. There is also the option to get a bus.
How long should I spend in Faro?
Faro is a small but relaxed city. A lot of people use it as a gateway to the rest of the Algarve. But it’s a pretty cool place to explore in it’s own right. We would say that you need at least 3 days to explore Faro, and then an additional day or two if you are planning any day trips.
If you are planning an Algarve itinerary you can read this post for more information.
Is Faro safe?
We found Faro to be a really safe place. It’s very tourist orientated and the locals are very friendly and welcoming. Even at night we never felt unsafe here. It’s one of those places where you should take your standard precautions and make sure you keep your wits about you. But all in all as a tourist you should be ok.
Is Faro worth visiting compared to other Portuguese cities?
Faro is definitely worth visiting compared to other Portuguese cities. It is the gateway to the Algarve and so much natural beauty in Portugal. Plus the food here – particularly the seafood is fresh and delicious.
Faro is a lot smaller than the likes of Lisbon or Porto so it’s great if you are seeking a relaxed sun filled holiday.
Is Faro worth visiting compared to other popular Algarve destinations?
Before we visited the Algarve we heard a lot of people say that Faro is great to fly into, but then you should leave. We don’t think that is true. Faro is a really beautiful place and holds its own against other popular spots in the Algarve.
The Old Town is beautiful, and it has gorgeous beaches, and nightlife. It’s less touristy than Albufeira in our experience, although probably not as beautiful as Lagos when it comes to beaches. That being said Faro is perfect if you want a mix of city exploration, and time spent by the beach.
Can I use public transport in Faro?
You certainly can use public transport in Faro, although it is a very walkable city so chances are you might not need this. Additionally a lot of people tend to rent a car or travel via Uber in Faro, so again this means there isn’t a lot of need to use public transport.
What is there to do in Faro?
Wondering is Faro worth visiting for tourist attractions alone? Well here is a list of some of the best things to do in Faro to help you decide.
Enjoy the beaches
A trip to Faro is not complete without spending a bit of time at the beach. Praia de Faro is one of the top spots to sunbathe and take a dip.
Ria Formosa National Park
The Ria Formosa National Park is a section of marshes, white sand banks, pine forests and freshwater lakes. It’s basically a 60km tidal lagoon that you have to explore. You can hop on a boat from Faro and explore the area which is well worth it.
Explore the Old Town
For us the Old Town is the gem of Faro. There is so much to explore down the cobbled streets. This is also where a lot of the bars and restaurants are located. Make sure you take the time to just wander around.
Igreja da Sé
This is a great place to visit if you want to get some cool views of Faro. The interior is beautiful but the main attraction has to be the bell tower and the views from here. Entry is €5 and you can explore the church, bone chapel, museum, and bell tower as part of this.
Igreja do Carmo
This is a must see in Faro, especially if you want to see the super spooky bone chapel. This is the main bone chapel in the city although there is a much smaller one at Igreja da Sé as mentioned above. The church was built in the 18th century in the baroque style. It’s filled with stain glass windows and incredibly intricate carvings.
The real highlight that is Capela dos Ossos or the Bone Chapel. It’s essentially a small chapel behind the main church with walls that are lined with the bones and skulls of Carmelite monks. The idea here is to act as a reminder that life on earth is short.
Go Dolphin Watching
One of the best day trips that you can do from Faro is a dolphin watching tour. Tours are usually around 2 hours, and you get the opportunity to see dolphins in their natural habitat. We didn’t think we would see any, but we did, which is quite common apparently.
Is Faro worth visiting for solo travellers?
Faro is a great place to visit if you are planning on travelling solo. It’s a relatively safe place, with a lot to see and do. There are several tours or day trips you can book onto as well if you are wanting to spend some time with others.
Is Faro worth visiting for couples?
We visited Faro as a couple and absolutely think it is worth visiting for a romantic break. It has all the makings for a perfect couples break such as a picturesque old town, beautiful beaches, top quality food, and some pretty cool bars. It’s also very relaxed so is perfect if you want an escape where you can chill out and spend time together.
Is Faro worth visiting for families?
Faro is a great place to visit if you are travelling with kids. It’s incredibly family friendly with hotels, restaurants, and much more all catered towards kids. There is a lot to do as a family, such as exploring the Old Town, or just enjoying time at the beach.
Is Faro worth visiting for foodies?
I was pleasantly surprised at how awesome the food was in Faro. There are so many top quality restaurants and Portuguese tapas bars to enjoy.
Seafood is a common theme when it comes to food in the Algarve, so make sure you try some squid, monkfish, and sardines when visiting. Seafood Cataplana is another dish that you should try. It’s named after the dish used to cook the food, and is kind of a seafood stew with potatoes.
And let’s not forget the Portuguese custard tarts either!
Is Faro worth visiting for the nightlife?
The Algarve as a whole is known for it’s pretty crazy nightlife, and Faro is no different. There is basically a little something for everyone. If you want to sip wine and eat cheese then you will find something. Likewise if clubbing is more your thing you will definitely have a great night out in Faro.
Also it is worth noting that alcohol isn’t as expensive in Portugal as other European countries. It’s not taxed as highly as say the UK so you definitely get more bang for your buck.
Is Faro worth visiting for nature lovers?
Considering that Faro is located in the heart of the Ria Formosa Natural Park we would say it is a pretty great place for nature lovers. The Park is formed by a series of sandpits that create a lagoon which separate the city from the Atlantic. You also have the Praia de Faro a 5km beach with the sea on one side and the lagoons on the other.
If you want to further experience nature you can scuba dive or paraglide in the beautiful surroundings that are Faro.
Is Faro worth visiting for history buffs?
we happen to think that Faro is a great place to go if you are a history buff. The Old Town is the perfect place to go to learn all about the history of the city, and marvel at the architecture. There are also some great museums and churches to visit in Faro that are perfect for the history lover in your life.
Is Faro worth visiting for culture lovers?
There are some parts of the Algarve that I wouldn’t recommend at all for a culture break. Faro is a little bit different though. Yes it has a party element, and yes there are tons of tourists, but it has a strong cultural identity that is very much evident.
The old town is a fantastic place to go if you want to experience some culture in Faro, there are a number of museums, and if you are lucky you can even catch a Fado show.
Is Faro worth visiting in the summer?
Summer in Faro is peak tourist season. The weather is hot and dry, which is perfect for enjoying the beaches, and sipping cocktails at some of the cool bars. Temperatures average between 17 – 30 degrees Celsius although it isn’t unusual for it to get into the mid- late 30s.
July and August are the hottest and most popular months to visit Faro, which also means crowded beaches, restaurants and bars. We personally think June is a better month to visit just before peak tourist season.
Summer is a great time to visit the city and take advantage of the beaches and natural beauty it has to offer.
Is Faro worth visiting in the winter?
Faro is very much marketed as a summer destination, but is Faro worth visiting in the winter? Well winters in Faro are quite mild averaging between 8 and 17 degrees Celsius. It is more likely to rain in the winter months, but even then it’s nothing compared to the likes of London for example.
If you are looking to get away from the cold dark winters in Northern Europe a trip to Faro is a great place to go for a little more sunshine and warmth. Considering it is way milder than the summer months it’s also a great time to go hiking and explore some of the natural beauty.
What to pack when visiting Faro?
What you pack for your trip to Faro will of course depend on the time of year you visit, but here are some must haves.
- Sun cream, hat, sunglasses
- Layered and cool clothing
- Comfortable walking shoes
- A small backpack to carry everything around
- Swimming costume and towel
What should I know before visiting Faro?
Here are some things we think you need to know before you visit Faro.
- If you are visiting in summer make sure you are prepared for the heat.
- August is peak tourist season so make sure you book tours and restaurants well in advance.
- Just relax! One of the best things about Faro is that it is great at a chilled pace. Take your time and enjoy it.
So Is Faro worth visiting?
So you have mad it to the end, and want to know is Faro worth visiting. We personally think it is. I really loved visiting Faro on our recent trip to the Algarve. In fact it was one of my favourite spots due to its beautiful Old Town, incredible food, and natural beauty. People tend to overlook Faro in favour of places like Albufeira and Lagos, and whilst they are beautiful, Faro is certainly worth a visit in its own right. Even if you don’t stay in Faro for long you really should try and visit.
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