The next destination on our itinerary after Lagos was the capital of the Algarve region – Faro. We made our way to Faro with the last train of the day and arrived quite late at our hostel. With some recommendation from the hostel staff, we made our way to the city centre and that’s when we realised that we were in the middle of something special.
Generally the term, “The city that never sleeps” applies to NYC, Berlin, Shanghai etc., but to my pleasant surprise, Faro fell into the same category. We spent the first few hours wandering about the old town of Faro, ending up in a street full of people sitting outside bars and enjoying a cool summer’s night. A small bar away from the hustle and bustle of the main street stood out for the quality of the artist on the night.!
What does Faro offer?
- The Old Town: Walk around the historical centre starting at the Arco da Vila which is an archway leading to the old town and also containing remains of the original city walls built by the Moors. The main site is the Se Catedral de Faro which overlooks the port to the south.
- Museo Arqueologico/Museo Municipal: The museum presents the history of Faro, the origins of the city and its development under various rulers. There are also some pieces of art, Islamic Moorish artefacts and a large mosaic tile display called “Mosaic of the Ocean”.
- Ilha do Farol: This is one of the islands in Faro which can be accessed via a ferry (note the departure time of the last ferry from the island to the mainland). Small streets leading up to the beach are lined with traditional Portuguese homes.
- Praia de Faro: The main beach of Faro, but crowded with tourists’ lies around 25 minutes away from the city and accessible by a bus from the main bus terminal. The advantage is this beach has a lot of restaurants and bars compared to the island of Farol which has one small restaurant.
Other sites and things to do:
The Capela dos Ossos (Bone Chapel) is a fascinating chapel located behind the Igreja do Carmo church and contains 1245 skulls. I couldn’t visit this as it was closed but sounds interesting, although some find it gory!
Take a walk along the marina, lot of benches to sit and relax during the night – get some alone time with a cool salty breeze blowing inland.
Delicacies: On our third night in Faro we visited a traditional Portuguese restaurant where I ended up eating a mushroom risotto :D, although it was great, I would have loved to have eaten something from the Algarve region. But my friends did enjoy some authentic dishes of Sea Bass and Octopus.!
Faro is well-connected through its international airport (chiefly used by lost cost carriers) to many destinations in Europe and it also has good connections via bus to Sevilla in Spain and also within the country, mainly to Lisbon.
Places to Stay:
Many hostels are available in Faro, although I would definitely recommend the place where we stayed. It is close to the main city centre and also the old town. Along with free breakfast the hostel has a big common room, a kitchen and an outdoor sitting which was a perfect place to meet fellow travellers.
Personal Recommendation: Casa d’Alagoa located at Placa Alexandre Herculano 27, Faro, Portugal.
I will always remember Faro for its vibrant yet not so crowded nightlife, the second night we were lucky enough to witness a free concert wherein we heard some typical Portuguese music along with some African influences. It was quite a site to see hundreds of people dancing away at the plaza right next to the marina and I would love to revisit that night for all that it offered – great music, friendly people and an amazing atmosphere.
Wandering around Faro after the concert, we found another live band playing in a corner of the old town hidden away from all the hustle and bustle of the central square. One of my closest friends’ being a guitarist himself requested the band for an opportunity to play (my bet was that he was trying to impress someone ;)) and ended up performing his rendition of the classic Friends theme song “I’ll Be There For You”.
This post is dedicated to him, who’s too lazy to plan anything – Child.!
Until the next destination – Saude :D!