This Portuguese port city is the capital of the Algarve province, which attracts many tourists by its wonderful beaches, reserved areas and developed infrastructure. Located in the south of Portugal, next to Cape Santa Maria, on the beautiful coast of the Ria Formosa Bay, it could be reached by any means of transport, including even air transport.
Most often, people come here because of the province’s temperate climate and because of a large number of beaches. In addition, there is a huge Ria Formosa Natural Park, where the tongues of sand are stretched for dozens of kilometers. There are many lagoons and islands in the park as well. The main attractions of Faro are located inside the fortress walls, which have remained since the Roman times. In the center of the Old Town, which is called ‘Largo da Sé’, there is a quiet square, lined with orange trees. Near this square you will find the seminary of the XVIII century and Paço Episcopal (the palace of the bishops), which is, unfortunately, prohibited for public access.
The area of the city is not really vast and with the help of car rental at Faro Airport it would be easy to watch the most interesting places of the city within a couple of days. In order to make the stay in Faro just perfect- here are some useful tips for you.
- First of all, though, most locals know English well, they would be very happy to hear visitors addressing them in Portuguese. Before the trip, it is better to learn several short phrases, this will be certainly appreciated by the locals.
- If you have decided to use the municipal transport- the most optimal and popular with tourists is to travel by bus. The routes number 14 and 16 would take you to almost all city attractions. Buying tickets is possible directly from the driver. However, in the historical part of the city, it is best to go on foot- it will allow you to appreciate the local sights in full variety. The center of Faro is perfectly adapted for walking.
- Fans of scuba diving should come to Hidroespaco center, where the trips to the best places for this kind of activity are organized. Novice divers could take a few skill lessons from the experienced divers, and in the center you may rent any equipment necessary for diving. In addition, there is another place, where the same services are provided- it is the Udiving Center, where a huge selection of different activities is offered to customers.
- If you are travelling by car, you should take into account that it is very difficult to find a place to park in the central part of the city. As a rule, there are paid parking lots near the shopping and amusement centers. Nevertheless, there is always a chance to find a place at the largest free parking in Faro, which is located near the pier.
- Due to the fact that the weather in the south of Portugal is almost always fair and sunny, you may travel here at any time of the year. The summer is hot, most suitable for the lazy beach holidays, but if you are a fan of active pastime and hiking, it would be best to come in autumn or spring.
- If you wish to try the most popular national food, it is better to visit the port area. Exactly here, numerous fish restaurants are located, where, for a very reasonable price, the guests are offered a large selection of true national dishes.
- Talking about the tips in restaurants and cafes, they should amount to 10 – 15% of the total sum at the bill. The tips are sometimes included in the total amount of the bill at the prestigious, expensive restaurants. For good service in small street cafes, you may just round up the amount at the bill to any convenient number of tips left.
- Basically, the peak of the tourist season in Portugal is considered the second half of spring and the first half of autumn. The tourists are recommended to book a hotel room in advance, if they are coming at this period of time, (especially those, who come for a vacation together with a large company and wants to save on the accommodation).