Nestled on the southern coast of Portugal’s Algarve region, Faro beholds a natural beauty and old world charm that imprints itself on those who step foot. Often discounted as just an airport town, Faro has much more to offer for those who seize the chance to explore it.
Entering the town close to midnight, our taxi wound its way through a never ending maze of dark, narrow roads at speed towards the air, or at least we hoped. The engine roared and tires rumbled down sleepy side-streets, bare walled buildings pressed in from both sides and hints of decay could be glimpsed from the sparse street-lit patches. The taxi dropped us in front of a lone standing three-story villa house and sped off into the night. Made it.
We scouted the town out on foot to get our bearings, pleased that the furthest points on the map only took 20 minutes reach. Directly neighbouring on the waterfront, the marina encompasses everything new about Faro whilst the Old Town holds the keys to it’s rich heritage. Characterised by whitewashed walls, terracotta roofs and crumbling buildings, the walled Old Town gives visitors a taste of the past with a beautifully maintained Neo-Gothic cathedral & piazzas lined with orange trees. Contrasting this, the marina forms the contemporary centre of town dotted with cafes, bars & fish restaurants and home to the two main hotels in Faro. Just inland lies a handsome shopping district, semi-covered and paved with colourful tiles.
The Ria Formosa lagoon ticks the box for natural beauty. Nature lover or not, it is worth taking the ferry through the docile & serene waterway in order to reach the desert island. At the other end awaits a perfect deserted beach where you can lounge in almost complete privacy. Praia de Faro provides a more typical beach experience, with a long stretch of perfect sand and a promenade lined with bars & restaurants. We would recommend making the 15 minute bus journey before the crowds start to emerge, as we found out the hard, sweaty way.
Booked on a whim only the day before arriving, this trip was intended to test the Milky team’s ability to seek adventure on a budget. Faro made this easier than expected for us: flights were cheap, the weather was perfect, the locals were friendly and least of all, the food was incredible. Every cafe, restaurant & bar was stocked with fresh fish for a very affordable price. If nothing else from the above convinces you to consider Faro, just go for the fish.