A guide to Faro, Algarve, Portugal

Faro, algarve, Portugal

A guide to Faro, Algarve, Portugal

Faro, the provincial capital of the Algarve, is a popular destination and stopping point for thousands of tourists visiting the resorts of the Algarve. The town of Faro is a historically rich and culturally vibrant place that is also attractive for its highly regarded shops, restaurants and buzzing nightlife. Faro combines a modern outlook with traditional architecture and is a truly classic Portuguese fishing port. Its attractions range from its famous medieval walls to the Ria Formosa Natural Park and the beach is only a few miles away.

A Brief History
Faro’s foundation hails back to the Palaeolithic age, millions of years ago, where the Ria Formosa lagoon attracted people who dwelled there. Gradually, a permanent settlement arose which grew into a town called Ossonoba which became a strategic point for the Roman Empire. Archaeologists and historians believe that this Roman town was the predecessor to Faro. Through the coming centuries Faro changed hands a number of times as well as its name becoming Santa Maria and Harune before settling on Faro. Faro became a prosperous town over several centuries due to its position as a safe harbour from which trade brought in plenty of finances for the town to expand. Over the 15th and 16th centuries, King Manuel constructed numerous facilities for the town from hospitals and churches to welfare institutions. In subsequent periods, the town slowly but steadily grew and grew with battlements and defences arising in the 17th and 18th century. The most recent spurt of expansion occurred in the period since 1965 when the new international airport in the area brought in a new and lucrative tourist trade. Faro and the surrounding areas became tourist hotspots and this trend has continued on to today.

In Town Attractions
Faro offers travellers an insight into an authentic Portuguese provincial town. One of the most visited and unique areas of the town are the old district which is still surrounded by the walls built by the Romans in the 9th century. Within these ancient walls lies historic architecture such as the 13th century Cathedral and 18th century Episcopal palace. Another interesting monument is the nearby 16th century convent that has been transformed into an archaeological museum. Furthermore, the so-called ‘golden’ Nossa Senhora do Carmo church is often hailed as the best example of gold-leaf woodwork in Portugal. It also contains Faro’s most famous attraction which is the rather sinister and macabre chapel whose walls are lined with the bones from over 1200 monks. By the boat basin next to the Praca de Dom Franciso Gomes is situated a Naval Museum which explains the maritime history of this coastal town.

As well as a deep and fascinating history, Faro is home to an array of charming shops as well as highly rated restaurants. It also boasts a vibrant nightlife and provides all the services and facilities expected of a modern, upcoming town.

Surrounding Attractions
One of the many qualities of Faro is its proximity to a range of attractions that lie just outside its walls. Faro is home to the Ria Formosa lagoon, which is a protected National Park and nature reserve. The lagoon covers over 170 square kilometres of land and, over the spring and autumn migratory periods, hundreds of different species of birds can be spotted on the lagoon, stopping on the their way north or south.

A short distance north of Faro’s walls lays the village of Estoi where ancient Roman ruins and a pink Roccoco palace can be visited. Estoi also boasts other historic points of interest such as its 16th century parish church and, a little further north, lays a Bronze Age hilltop fort. Faro is also only a few miles from the beach and can be easily reached by numerous transport routes.

Further Faro Hotels Information

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