Faro Airport Guide
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Faro Tourist Activities

The city of Faro covers an area of approximately 78 square miles, and is inhabited by about 60,000 people. Central Faro is where many of the most popular tourist sights can be found, and features a number of traffic-free streets paved with pretty mosaics. The harbour-front is another very popular area of the city, with a wide selection of waterfront cafés and restaurants. Pricy yachts anchored in the harbour provide a very pretty picture from many of the cafés. The historical gems of the city are mostly found in the Old City, or Centro Historico, such as the 17th century Igreja do Carmo Church. This church is no ordinary building, as it features a most unusual attraction, known as the Chapel of Bones. Locals refer to it as the ‘Capela dos Ossos’, and it is given this name because its gardens are decorated with human bones and skeletal remains of former monks. The bones were collected from the church’s cemetery. There is even a charge for tourists to enter the church building.

The beaches of Faro and nearby have to be mentioned, as they are the reason why the majority of visitors flock to the Algarve. The main beach of Faro is known as the Praia de Faro, and is one of the best in the region. It features a more sheltered lagoon area that is loved by children and adults alike. The beach is found on the south-western side of the city and is very well developed with many lovely cafés, bars and restaurants, as well as gift shops. There is also a ferry available from this area during the summer, which takes passengers to the beaches between Faro and Olhao, such as the Ilha da Culatra and the Ilha Deserta. Another popular boating attraction is a trip to the Ria Formosa natural reserve. The cruise is approximately two and a half hours, and leaves quite frequently from the jetty in the Old City district. The cruise boats also stop at an island along the way.

An attraction in Faro popular amongst younger visitors is the Viva Science Centre, or the Centro Cienca Viva. It is an indoor family attraction, filled with many intriguing hands-on activities and exhibits. It is also educational, allowing children to learn more about scientific principles while having fun. Some of the Viva Science Center’s main features are a flight simulation and a real rock pool, complete with starfish, crabs and small fish.

When spending some time away from the beaches, visitors thoroughly enjoy the small collection of museums located within Faro. The three most popular are the Municipal Museum of Archaeology, the Maritime Museum (Museu Maritimo) and the Regional Museum of the Algarve (Museu Regional do Algarve). The first museum mentioned is found in a beautiful 16th century convert, one of the oldest in Portugal, and features various historical statues and artifacts from the Roman era. There are also items from the Baroque and Renaissance time periods, such as paintings and an impressive mosaic of Neptune and the four winds. The Museu Maritimo is found nearby the harbor, and features an interesting collection of model naval ships and other boats. Visitors will also learn about the local fishing techniques used and Portuguese memorabilia on display. Of interest found in the Regional Museum of the Algarve are hand-made lace works and models of Portuguese fishing nets. This museum celebrates the local handicraft of the Algarve region.

Although Faro has much to offer, there are many marvellous areas nearby, which are within easy driving distance of the city, and are wonderful day outings. One of the most popular towns in Algarve is Lagos, found just 89 km, or 55 miles to the west of Faro. The major A22 toll free highway provides easy access to this town in just over an hours drive. Lagos features some wonderful beaches, such as the Meia Praia, or half beach, which is one of the largest bays in Europe. Other beaches are the Praia Solaria and the Praia da Batata, which is a small beach located between two cliffs, and small music festivals are often held here in the summer. The Forte da Ponta da Bandeira is another popular attraction in Lagos, as well as the Lagos Zoo and the Ponta da Piedada lighthouse. Alte is nearer to Faro, about 55 km, or 34 miles to the northwest of the city, and is well known as one of the most charming villages in the Algarve. It features whitewashed houses and cobblestone alleyways.

Other towns within driving distance of Faro are Sagres, a village dating back to the nineteenth century, Serra de Monchique, a mountain range towards the west of the Portuguese Algarve, and Silves, known for its Moorish castle dominating the town centre. It also has an impressive cathedral that was built in the fifteenth century. Lisbon is perhaps one of the most popular places to enjoy a holiday in Portugal, and is famous for its surfing conditions. It also has a lovely zoo, aquarium and a theme park.

With all these attractions and many more, visitors and tourists flock to Faro Airport to begin their holiday at the sandy beaches. A tourist information centre can be found at the end of the Jardim Manual Bivar, nearby the Bishop’s Palace, and next to the Arco de Vila. Information on tourism can also be provided at Faro Airport.