Faro is the provincial capital of the Algarve, and is located in the center of the 100 km. sandy stretch of Portugal’s southern coastline. It is the gateway city for many people who arrive in the Algarve through the international airport that is located on the outskirts of town.
Faro’s history dates back to Roman times, when the city was known as Ossonoba. Visitors can explore the old part of the city, or Cidade Velha, to learn more about the town’s historic past. You enter the old town through the Arco da Vila, built by order of Bishop Francisco Gomes, who oversaw the reconstruction of Faro after the earthquake in 1755. In the middle of the square you will find the Sé (Cathedral), which dates back to the end of the 13th C. While its exterior may seem simple, inside you will find decorated azulejos (tiles), intricate gilded carving, and other works of art. Housed in the 16th C. Nossa Senhora da Assunção convent is the Museu Municipal, which contains Portuguese, Spanish and Italian paintings, and other artifacts from the region.
If you are looking for some down time and want to relax on a sandy beach, then head to the Porta Nova pier located on the waterfront, located outside of the old town. There you can hop on a ferry that will take you to one of the ilhas (sandspits) beaches that can be found surrounding Faro to enjoy a day in the sun.
Photo credit: © Algarve Promotion Bureau
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