Faro offers newlyweds a peaceful ambience and traditional charm centred around the scenic, walled Old Town as well as one of the least developed beaches in the Algarve.
Walk around the historic Old Quarter (or Cidade Velha), encircled by medieval walls and overlooking the Ria Formosa. Discover a maze of narrow cobbled streets lined with inviting cafés, shops and a treasure trove of buildings dating back to the 13th century.
Visit the 13th century Sé (cathedral), a delightful blend of Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque styles. Inside the cathedral discover gilded and lacquered woodcarvings, inlaid marble and polished azulejos (glazed, blue tiles) surrounding the Capela de Nossa Senhora dos Prazeres.
The Museu Arqueológical is situated in a former convent: stroll along the secluded Renaissance cloisters past a remarkable collection of animal gargoyles.
Pop into the 17th century Igreja de São Francisco, home to stunning azulejo (tile) panels depicting the life of St Francis.
Admire a unique 11th century horseshoe gate believed to have been built by the Moors, nestled within the magnificent 18th century Arco da Vila. Check out the 17th century Nossa Senhora do Pé da Cruz chapel, which overlooks a pretty square, and ponder the remains of the original Roman walls dotted with Byzantine towers.
Probably the most bizarre attraction in Faro is the Capela d'Ossos (Chapel of Bones), a 19th century chapel completely lined with human skulls and bones – of more than 1000 monks.
Nearby stands the Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Monte do Carmo do Faro, an 18th century church containing a gilded baroque altar.
Faro offers a choice of beaches just a short distance from the city.
All the beaches around Faro are located on islands, part of the natural park of Ria Formosa.
The only island that can be reached on foot or by car is Praia de Faro. The other islands can only be reached by boat. From Faro you can also visit Ilha da Culatra and Ilha da Armona. Boats leave from Cais das Portas do Mar, situated close to Faro marina.
The best beaches in Faro, include…
Considered the main beach of Faro, Praia de Faro is a 5km (3mi) stretch of soft, golden sand that extends along the seaward side of the Ilha de Faro.
On one side is the Atlantic Ocean and on the other side is the Ria Formosa.
As a city beach, Praia de Faro is popular with local residents and may get crowded, especially during summer. However, the further you walk away from the bridge, the more quiet and unspoiled the beach becomes. You can also sunbath naked on a section designated an unofficial nude beach.
Praia de Faro is access via a narrow bridge. The area around the entrance is also the most developed, where you can find several bars, restaurants and shops.
Praia de Faro is perfect for long beach walks and is backed by dunes. To the east, you can walk all the way to the end of the island, to a area called Barrinha.
Praia de Faro is good for surfing and kitesurfing. Watersports equipment for hire, include jet skis, kayaks and body boarding.
There is a direct bus service from Faro city to Praia de Faro.
For an even more quiet beach near Faro, head to Ilha Deserta.
Leave the crowds behind on this soft, white-sand beach that stretches for around 7km (4mi) along Ilha Deserta (Deserted Island) – the only uninhabited island in the Algarve.
Ilha Deserta is one of the five barrier islands of the Ria Formosa. The other four islands being Culatra, Armona, Tavira and Cacela. The island is typically peaceful and idyllic and perfect for a day trip from Faro.
Also known as Ilha da Barreta, Ilha Deserta is the perfect spot to enjoy unspoiled nature, take long beach walks in peace and quiet to the sound of the Atlantic Ocean in the background. The sea is clean and very clear. The only structure on the island is a restaurant.
A wooden walking path, called the Santa Maria boardwalk, offers easy access along the sand dunes from where you may spot native birdlife.
You can stroll all the way to the southernmost point of continental Portugal at a spot known locally as Cabo de Santa Maria (Santa Maria Cape).
Santa Maria Cape is part of the beach, and is located about 2km (1.2mi) from where the ferry boat arrives. It is marked with a wooden structure. You can reach it either along the beach or via the boardwalk.
Ilha Deserta is one of a few beaches in Portugal that is officially classified as an naturist beach. This section of the beach is situated on the western side of the island, about 30 minutes walking from the ferry dock.
Most of the day-trippers stay on the part of the beach near the restaurant and sunbeds. There's also a pier, with a small lighthouse.
Ilha Deserta is only accessible by boat, which transits several times a day. There are no roads or cars on the island.
Faro offers a good choice of hotels to suit all budgets, including the following…
Hotel Faro & Beach Club
Location: Praça D. Francisco Gomes, Faro
Ave nightly price: AUD150 per room
Description: Located in downtown Faro just a 5-minute walk from the train station and the bus terminal, this modern hotel overlooks the old town, marina and the Ria Formosa Natural Park. Free WiFi is available throughout the hotel. Hotel Faro & Beach Club offers spacious rooms filled with natural light, some of which open onto a balcony. All rooms come with a TV with cable channels and a minibar. The private bathrooms include free toiletries. A fresh buffet breakfast is served daily. For other meals, guests can enjoy the view from the rooftop-terrace restaurant, Ria Formosa, which offers Portuguese specialties. Faro Old Town is just a 3-minute walk away. Here guests can visit the Sé Cathedral and the Archaeological Museum. The pedestrian shopping streets of Faro's downtown are around the corner and Faro International Airport is 7 km away. During the Summer season Hotel Faro features a free shuttle service to Faro Beach, where the hotel's Beach Club is located, as well as the boat transportation. This boat service is available for a surcharge, to the pristine beaches of the Deserta, Farol and Culatra Islands allowing a unique experience through the untouched canals of the Ria Formosa Natural Park.
Location: Avenida da Republica 1, Faro
Ave nightly price: AUD140 per room
Description: Hotel Eva is centrally in Faro and offers a roof-top pool and a health club with sauna and Turkish bath. The airport and beach are only 9.7 km away. The spacious rooms of The Eva Hotel have a work desk and minibar. Some rooms have a sea view and offer a balcony with views of the marina or the Ria Formosa Natural Park. Guests can enjoy room service. The panoramic Harune Restaurant and pool bar offer a charming setting for local dishes and exotic cocktails. For total relaxation, guests can visit the Day Spa for a comfortable massage or beauty treatment. The marina in front of the hotel offers boat access to the Ria Formosa Natural Park. Faro Train Station is a 5-minute walk away and offers a direct connection to Lisbon in 2.5 hours. The historic center of Faro is a 5-minute walk away.
Location: Rua Baptista Severino - Urbanização Monte da Ria, Faro
Ave nightly price: AUD72 per room
Description: Featuring an outdoor swimming pool surrounded by a terracotta deck and green lawns, Hotel Monaco is within a 7-minute drive of Faro International Airport and the University of the Algarve. Minibars are featured in Monaco’s guest rooms. The rooms are decorated in warm colours, with dark-wood furniture and modern paintings. Guests of Monaco Hotel can enjoy a buffet breakfast at Restaurant Primavera, or sip a drink at the hotel's stylish bar. Massages, body or face treatments are also available. Set in a quiet area of Montenegro, the hotel is only 5 km from Faro Beach, and the Ria Formosa Lagoon is also nearby. Free public parking and a shuttle service to the airport, to the Faro town and to the beach (seasonal). This shuttle service is subject to confirmation and availability. The reception will provide additional information about the shuttle service.
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Anytime is good for an Faro honeymoon, with little rain and lots of sunny days throughout the year.
The peak travel months are July and August; these are also the hottest months of the year, with the temperature averaging 28°C (82°F) but often reaching the high 30°Cs
During peak season, advance bookings are generally necessary at the top hotels, while low season travel brings great hotel deals with savings of up to 70 per cent.
Spring and autumn are splendid alternatives to a peak season summer holiday (although the water may be somewhat chilly).
Find more climate info: Algarve Weather Guide…
Faro – the largest city in southern Portugal and the provincial capital of the Algarve – is located 45km (28mi) east of Albufeira and 309km (192mi) southeast of Lisbon.
The most convenient route to Faro is by air to Faro International Airport (FAO), also known as Algarve Airport, located 4km (2.5 mi) west of Faro.
Faro Airport receives daily flights from all major European cities, including London. Faro is just a 45-minute flight from Lisbon.
Taxis and buses run frequently between the airport and Faro city centre, taking around 7 minutes.
More information about how to get to Faro…
Latest update: Faro Honeymoon Guide: 23 December, 2019
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