48 Hours in Faro, Portugal
Near southern Portugal’s resort towns is a city that has retained its peaceful ambiance and traditional charm. Faro might not be a destination for most tourists, but hidden among its cobblestone streets and deserted beaches is a city worth visiting. Spend 48 hours in Faro for a peek into Portuguese history.
What to Do
Faro is located on the edge of the Ria Formosa National Park. This park is one of the seven natural wonders in Portugal. Its unique coastal salt-water lagoons are protected from the sea by five barrier islands and two peninsulas. You will witness an array of natural habitats, from marshes and tidal flats to dunes and woodlands.
The three sandbar islands make up Faro’s beaches, which are some of the least developed in the Algarve region. The best beach is Praia de Faro, a five-kilometer stretch of golden sand and blue waters that runs along Ilha de Faro. For a day trip, take a boat out to Ilha Deserta or Barreta Island, a deserted island forming part of Ria Formosa.
Where to Stay
For the best of both worlds, stay at Hotel Faro. This elegant hotel boasts views of the marina and Ria Formosa National Park, while still being in the city center. The sophisticated rooms, ranging from standard to suite, are spacious and bright. Enjoy dinner at the Ria Formosa Lounge Bar and Restaurant located on the hotel’s rooftop. Also located on the roof, a heated hydro-massage pool and solarium.
What to See
Make your way into old town through the Arco da Vila, one of three gates leading into the city’s old quarters. One of the most beautiful historical monuments is the Faro Cathedral, built in the 13th century. You won’t want to miss seeing the Capela dos Ossos, the bone chapel. Inside the small chapel you will find bones and 1,245 skulls from overcrowded cemeteries that have been incorporated into the design of the walls.