What to see in Faro

You will be spoilt for choices on what to see when planning a visit to Faro (Portugal). Here is an exclusive list of the top tourist spots in the area.

What to see in Faro

You will be spoilt for choices on what to see when planning a visit to Faro (Portugal). Here is an exclusive list of the top tourist spots in the area.

An underrated destination, Faro is actually a hidden gem of a town. It has a mystical heritage that supports its overall charm as a tourist destination. The town is also a great getaway for nature lovers and beach freaks.

In fact, the pristine beaches of Faro are great to simply laze around in the sun away from the usual crowds and debris of other popular beaches. You can plan an exclusive holiday with your family or as a couple and find activities and spots to see, that are perfectly matched for the core idea of your visit.

You can plan a single day trip or a week-long vacation. However, you should arrange your itinerary accordingly. The extensive cultural background and history of Faro is uniquely reflected in the natural sights and architecture of the old town. If you are planning a short trip, it is suggested you plan to explore the delightful cityscape and the historic centers. Enter the Arco Da Vila gate and walk up the quaint cobbled streets to the Se Cathedral for some gothic inspiration or head over to the Convento de Nossa Senhora convent to soak up culture at its finest.

You can also plan a sweet picnic and a visit to the Ria Formosa natural park. Explore the simple fishing community villages and spot rare migratory birds along the mud flats of the region.

However, if you are planning a longer vacation to Faro, the following list can give you some serious vacation sightseeing goals. Simply follow the list in any order according to your preference and discover Faro in all its amazing glory.

Cathedral of Faro

Most definitely, the shining centerpiece of Faro, the Cathedral of Faro (Portuguese: Sé de Faro) was fully finished around 1251. However, the place sustained heavy damages during the earthquake of 1755. The current structure is a combination of Gothic, baroque and renaissance architectural influences. You can climb on to the tower to view the entre walled town and incredible estuary islands.

The Se cathedral is also the location for the Museu Capitular, a wide range of chalices, incredible relics and the collection of priestly vestments. You can also visit the 18th-centrury shrine in the cathedral boundaries. This shrine is uniquely built entirely of bones.

Faro Jewish Heritage Centre

This spot is simply extraordinary in its mysticism and the gruesome history it marks. This is a Jewish cemetery, which holds the all of the last vestiges of the very first Jewish presence in the area since Inquisition. The 76 beautifully etched marble gravestones are accompanied with a quaint museum and a synagogue, which has a fully reconstructed wedding. Antonio, the knowledgeable and efficient caretaker of the cathedral, guides the very interesting tour through the spot.

The Heritage center might be a little difficult to spot, tucked as it is behind the huge football stadium. However, you can easily find directions from anybody in the town and simply follow the cypress grove, which stands about kilometer off the center.

Church of Saint Francis

Witness the dazzling beauty of the white facade with intricate woodwork and an authentic 18th-Centruy baroque styled interior. The interiors of the Church of Saint Francis  (Portuguese: Igreja de São Francisco) features decorative tiles depicting the glorious life of Saint Francis.

Each tile is a work of art in itself. Apart from this, the monastery of the Igreja is also the current center for the Algarve’s school of tourism and hospitality.

Arco da Vila

You can also enter the town’s Cidade Velha through the Arco da Villa. Its founder Bishop Francisco Gomes, who oversaw the rebuilding of the city after its huge devastation during the 1755 earthquake, influences the neoclassical touches of the architecture of the Arc.

You can access the Tower of the arc through the tourist office where you can find a unique exhibition on the architecture of the building and admire the sprawling views of Faro’s glory.

Arco de Repouso

Take the medieval structure of Arco de Repouso or the Gate of Rest when leaving the Cidade Velha with your car hire Faro. The trip will take you through the oldest sections of the town.

The structures along this section off the town wall have a distinctive Moorish influence and were reconstructed by Afonso III after he overtook Faro from the Moors.

Museu Municipal

The Museu Municipal is housed within the cathedral boundaries of the Renaissance Convento de Nossa Senhora. The 16-th century cathedral was once a prominent Jewish quarter. The highlights of a trip through the Museu will include Islamic artefacts ranging from the 9th to 13th century and the Mosaic of the Ocean, which dates back to the 3rd century.

You can also find the work of Carlos Filipe Porfirio who was one of the most noted painters of Faro. The paintings are all depictions of the local legends of the town. For the literary fanatics, a collection of informative pamphlets written in English document the entire collection and history of the exhibits of the museum the museum also hosts cultural evenings with regular performances of fado (a traditional song of the region).

Capela dos Ossos

Quite possibly one of the blackest reminders of the horrors of history, the Capella dos Ossos is entirely constructed of the bones and the skulls of more than 1000 monks. It signifies as a reminder for devout of the earthly impermanence of life. It is definitely a remarkable sight.

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