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Is Faro Worth Visiting? (Pros & Cons to Visiting This Algarve Hidden Gem)

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If you’ve found your way here then we’re presuming that you’re thinking about booking a trip to Faro but you’re not sure and wondering is Faro worth visiting?

We spent a good few days in Faro and we absolutely loved it so we want to share our experience with yourselves and give you honest information so that you can decide for yourselves if it is worth visiting.

In this guide, you will find information about where Faro is located and about the Algarve, we’ll also share what Faro is famous for and most importantly the reasons why you should and shouldn’t visit Faro.

Faro Old Town

Where is Faro?

Faro is a small town and the capital of the Algarve region in Portugal. Due to its location, there are plenty of day trips to smaller towns in the Algarve from Faro.

Despite being only a small town, Faro also has its own airport which is not too far from the Old Town either.

Where is Algarve Portugal Located?

Faro is located within the Algarve region of Portugal which is in the Southern area of Portugal.

It is an incredibly historic area of Portugal with plenty of coastline destinations for you to enjoy. If you’re planning to rent a car whilst you’re in Portugal then this is a great area for you to explore.

As the Algarve offers some of the best beaches in Portugal, it is unsurprising that it is a popular holiday destination for tourists. There are 16 different municipalities within the Algarve so tourists will have plenty of choice on places to visit within this region.

Liam walking across the bridge in Faro

What is Faro Famous For?

Whilst Faro is an upcoming town for tourists to visit, it did also used to be more commonly known as a fishing village.

Originally called Ossonoba, this was the main port for fish, minerals and agricultural products. Some of the settlements date back to the 4BC which means that Faro holds a lot of important history for Portugal.

One of the lagoons in Faro

Whilst, there is not anything in particular that Faro is famous for, it has always been an important area of the Algarve and wider Portugal.

If you’re interested in learning more about this then you can read a summary on Faro’s extensive history here.

Reasons to Visit Faro

1. Beautiful Old Town

Some of the beautiful old city in Faro.

One of the main reasons why you would want to visit Faro is to explore the beautiful old town that it has to offer.

In fairness, Faro’s Old Town is close to the top of our list to visit Europe. Whilst there isn’t a huge amount to do within the Old Town, we just really enjoyed the atmosphere whilst we were exploring.

There is something about Faro’s Old Town where you just want to follow some of the windy off-the-beaten-track paths and see where you end up.

You’ll wander through cobblestoned passageways dating back to Roman times, sample plenty of cute Portuguese cafes and take in the beautiful sights.

Whilst we were visiting Faro, we took some time to just sit back, relax, enjoy a drink and take in the atmosphere and vibe of the town. 

2. Plenty of incredible restaurants

If you’ve never tried Portuguese food before then you are absolutely in the right place to sample some. Whilst the food in Faro is different from what you would have in Lisbon, it is absolutely delicious and unique in its own right.

There are plenty of amazing restaurants within Faro Old Town for you to try that you won’t be short of choice. Some of the restaurants that we enjoyed the most include Restaurante Sol e Jardim and Faro’s The Old Tavern.

Image from The Old Tavern which is our favourite restaurant in Faro.

Both had really different atmospheres and were really good choices. We found that Restaurante e Sol was in particularly a great choice for a more formal dinner whereas The Old Tavern was a lot more relaxed and casual. The Old Tavern is a perfect spot if you’re looking to enjoy a beer or some tapas.

3. Beautiful Beaches

It goes without saying but as Faro is located right near to the coast, there are some stunning beaches for you to enjoy.

Rio Formosa Lagoon which shows the stunning golden sandy beach and fishing boats.

Whilst we were there, our favourite beach was Praia de Faro which we actually found accidentally after we had a mishap getting from the airport to the Old Town (please don’t ask how we managed this!).

There are lots of different beaches to choose from so the best advice we can give you is to go out and explore to see if you can find which of them are the best beaches in Faro.

4. Stunning Natural Beauty

Another highlight of visiting Faro is that there is so much natural beauty consistently around you.

In particular you will want to take a visit to the Rio Formosa National Park in Faro. This is an area filled with marshlands, canals and beaches that attracts a lot of different wildlife.

This is a beautiful natural spot to visit and definitely one of the main highlights of going to Faro. There is so much natural beauty within Faro that you really will need to see it for yourself to know what we’re talking about!

5. Amazing Places to stay

We find that Faro has a lot of different accommodation options for people to stay in.

If you’re a solo or budget traveller, there are a good amount of choices for hostels. For anyone travelling as a group, there are options for villas right by the beach or you can look at hotels for groups.

The living room area in Casa Algarbe in Faro.

There are also lots of different great choices for couples looking to enjoy a romantic getaway to Faro. To celebrate a special occasion you’ll find plenty of boutique hotels that are affordable in Faro too!

We stayed at Casa Algarbe which suited our needs perfectly because it was affordable, the room was clean and the beds were comfy. As budget travellers, there was also a communal kitchen so that we could cook our own food if we wanted to.

If we went back to Faro, whilst we really enjoyed our time at Casa Algarbe, we would most likely splash some more cash and stay at AP Eva Senses.

The reason for this is that we visited there for some drinks on their rooftop and it was absolutely stunning so we know that this is where we would want to stay next time.

6. Lots of Activities

Even though there are not a huge amount of things to do within Faro itself, there are a lot of different day trips that you can go on.

Whether you want to take a day trip to the infamous Benagil caves, head out on a boat trip for the day to see the dolphins or explore some of the activities within Faro’s Old Town.

One of the olden doors in Faro Old Town which is slightly decaying but has a really rustic look.

We find that Faro offers a really unique variety of activities and this is definitely one of the best reasons to visit. If you enjoy water activities, sightseeing, food tours etc. there really is something for everyone here!

7. Delicious Portuguese dishes

We mentioned in a previous reason to visit Faro that there are a lot of different restaurants to try in Faro and the cuisine is slightly more unique than if you were to visit say Lisbon.

We also found that the food is much cheaper in Faro whereas areas such as Lisbon can be expensive. We particularly enjoyed visiting the Old Tavern in Faro as we found that in particular, we enjoyed the Portuguese style tapas dishes.

If you’re visiting Faro then one dish in particular that you want to try before you leave Faro is Cataplana. This is a Portuguese stew that is very popular around the Algarve area and something you can’t miss out on.

We found that vegetables were often served with our meals and they were very different than what we are used to at home. When we have vegetables in the UK, they are usually steamed or boiled with water whereas in Faro, your vegetables will generally be pickled which is very different than what we’re used to.

As you are very close to the Coast, you will also find that there are plenty of fresh seafood dishes for you to try which in our opinion is what makes Faro absolutely worth visiting!

8. More traditional

Liam walking through one of the arches in Faro's Old town admiring the beauty of the old city.

Even though Faro has started to become a more popular destination for tourists, it still has that off-the-beaten-track charm about it.

We found that there weren’t a huge amount of tourists around when we were visiting and we were able to enjoy a lot of what Faro had to offer with less crowds.

Due to the history that Faro has to offer, you will find that it is much more traditional than say Lisbon or Porto as an example.

9. Less touristy

Another highlight of visiting Faro is that whilst it is an upcoming destination with tourists, you will find that it is much less touristy than some other areas of Portugal.

The one thing that we really liked about Faro was that even though there were enough things to do, the town itself doesn’t necessarily pander to tourists either.

With this in mind, depending on the season that you choose to visit, you will find a lot less tourists than some other parts of Portugal such as Lisbon.

Reasons not to visit Faro

Whilst we absolutely loved Faro, there are also a few reasons for why this may not be the place for you to visit. Below we’ve shared some of the cons to visiting Faro so that you can make a decision on whether this is the best place for you in Portugal.

1. Not a lot of tourist attractions

There are a fair few things to do in Faro but you will find that this will only keep you occupied for 2 days in Faro. If you’re planning to take trips out to other areas of the Algarve then you will absolutely be able to extend your itinerary to 3 or 4 days.

However, there is definitely not as much for tourists to do and explore because it is only a small town. When comparing Faro to Lisbon, you will find a list as long as your arm for things to do in Lisbon whereas Faro, there is only a small handful of tourist attractions for you to enjoy.

If you’re like us and enjoying being on the move constantly, we would recommend spending either a day or two in Faro. Alternatively, if you’re looking to take a few days to relax and enjoy a couple of drinks then Faro could work very well for you.

Some of the beautiful street art in Faro old town.

2. Only good for a short trip unless driving

As we mentioned in our last point, there aren’t many tourist attractions in Faro so if you’re wanting to mostly visit for sightseeing, we would recommend only spending a few days here.

If you’re planning to rent a car whilst you’re in Faro though, this does open up a lot more options for you. You will be able to visit wider areas of the Algarve and really get to know a more traditional side of Portugal.

3. Very quiet in low seasons

Whilst travellers are still learning about Faro, especially as flights are often quite cheap, during low seasons, you won’t find as many other travellers.

Amy & Liam on one of the bridge close to Faro Old Town.

This can be a particularly tricky destination for solo travellers on a budget as you will want to travel out of peak seasons. However, if you’re travelling during a low season to Faro, it may be much harder to meet new people and have those spontaneous experiences that you would have in busier, more touristy parts of Portugal.

4. Not for party travellers

Faro does have some good nightlife but we wouldn’t necessarily recommend it as a party destination for travellers.

The vibe in Faro is much more relaxed and generally you would be enjoying a few casual drinks at an outdoor bar or watching some live music.

There are a few clubs that you can enjoy if you are planning to stay out late in Faro but it definitely has a much more relaxed atmosphere than Lisbon where drinking is involved.

Two pints of Sagres at the Old Tavern Faro.

If you’re a party traveller then you definitely want to visit Lisbon instead of Faro as this is probably one of the most exciting places we’ve been for nightlife.

Is Faro worth visiting?

In our opinion, Faro is absolutely worth visiting. If you’re looking for a budget trip away or want to explore a different area of Portugal then you’ve definitely come to the right place.

If you’ve visited Lisbon before then you’ll know that Lisbon is quite expensive but with Faro as it is less touristy and has set peak and off peak seasons, you will be able to budget much better.

Rio Formosa Lagoon in Faro with some beautiful bright yellow flower at the forefront of the image.

Not to mention that Faro is stunning with lots of natural beauty for you to enjoy and warm temperatures all year round.

If you’re not certain on whether you should visit Faro then this is your sign telling you to book the flight and go!

When you’re planning your trip to Faro, don’t forget to check our other Faro resources below for tips and tricks to make it the best trip possible.

Faro Resources

Portugal Resources

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