CASA DA RIA FORMOSA - WHAT TO VISIT AND OTHER RECOMENDATIONS

Claudia
CASA DA RIA FORMOSA - WHAT TO VISIT AND OTHER RECOMENDATIONS

Faro Islands

Accessible via regular ferry service departing from Faro or Olhão, the island of Farol is one of those forming the sandy barrier between the sea and the Ria Formosa estuary and forms part of the Natural Park. The small village of Farol is home mostly to fishermen or cultivators of shellfish in the Estuary. The island itself is a touch of paradise with its endless, practically deserted, sands bathed by a gentle and clear sea
26 locals recommend
Ilha do Farol
26 locals recommend
Accessible via regular ferry service departing from Faro or Olhão, the island of Farol is one of those forming the sandy barrier between the sea and the Ria Formosa estuary and forms part of the Natural Park. The small village of Farol is home mostly to fishermen or cultivators of shellfish in the Estuary. The island itself is a touch of paradise with its endless, practically deserted, sands bathed by a gentle and clear sea
Part of the Ria Formosa Natural Park, the Ilha da Culatra is one of the island-barriers separating the sea from the estuary. Accessible only by the ferry service departing from Olhão or Faro, the Beach is free of any motorised vehicles ensuring peace and tranquillity prevail to create the perfect ambience for those seeking to rest on open sands bathed by a calm sea. The transparency of the waters here ensures visibility of around 15 metres, ideal for divers. In Culatra, a former fishing village, there are restaurants specialising in the famous razor clam rice or the caldeirada fish stews that so successfully combine the many types of fish that prosper in the waters here.
47 locals recommend
Culatra Island
47 locals recommend
Part of the Ria Formosa Natural Park, the Ilha da Culatra is one of the island-barriers separating the sea from the estuary. Accessible only by the ferry service departing from Olhão or Faro, the Beach is free of any motorised vehicles ensuring peace and tranquillity prevail to create the perfect ambience for those seeking to rest on open sands bathed by a calm sea. The transparency of the waters here ensures visibility of around 15 metres, ideal for divers. In Culatra, a former fishing village, there are restaurants specialising in the famous razor clam rice or the caldeirada fish stews that so successfully combine the many types of fish that prosper in the waters here.
For those arriving from the west, Ilha de Faro or Praia de Faro is the first island-barrier that separates the sea from the Ria Formosa estuary marking the beginning of the Natural Park. Accessible by car over the narrow bridge that connects with the main road to Faro, the Beach is thus in close proximity to the international airport. This inhabited island is not only home to many of the best restaurants for tasting the wonderful razor clam rice dish, one of the best appreciated local dishes, but also a full range of support infrastructures for its huge expanse of sandy beach.
24 locals recommend
Ilha de Faro
24 locals recommend
For those arriving from the west, Ilha de Faro or Praia de Faro is the first island-barrier that separates the sea from the Ria Formosa estuary marking the beginning of the Natural Park. Accessible by car over the narrow bridge that connects with the main road to Faro, the Beach is thus in close proximity to the international airport. This inhabited island is not only home to many of the best restaurants for tasting the wonderful razor clam rice dish, one of the best appreciated local dishes, but also a full range of support infrastructures for its huge expanse of sandy beach.
The mostly southerly point of the Portuguese mainland, the Ilha da Barreta or Deserta is one of the island-barriers of the Ria Formosa Natural Park forming a divide between the marshes and the sea. Accessible only via ferry service (available between June and September) from Faro or Olhão taking about 20 minutes, the trip may be pleasurably spent bird watching looking out for any of the various protected species. With its huge sandy expanse and clear waters, the Ilha da Barreta Beach is a true paradise free of any development beyond beach support infrastructures, which include activities such as sailing, windsurfing or boat excursions.
34 locals recommend
Barreta Island
34 locals recommend
The mostly southerly point of the Portuguese mainland, the Ilha da Barreta or Deserta is one of the island-barriers of the Ria Formosa Natural Park forming a divide between the marshes and the sea. Accessible only via ferry service (available between June and September) from Faro or Olhão taking about 20 minutes, the trip may be pleasurably spent bird watching looking out for any of the various protected species. With its huge sandy expanse and clear waters, the Ilha da Barreta Beach is a true paradise free of any development beyond beach support infrastructures, which include activities such as sailing, windsurfing or boat excursions.

What to visit in Faro

Walk the cobbled streets of Old Town Faro and encounter centuries-old architectural sights, Roman passages, cozy cafes, and a museum with archaeological findings. The site features the oldest horseshoe arch in Portugal and a 16th-century convent. Note the many houses decorated by flowers as well as the meandering paths and alleys; take a stroll down the shopping lane at the town center. You can have a meal at one of the typical Algarvian restaurants, or just grab a coffee along the riverfront. Choose to start, finish, or center your holiday on a trip to Old Town Faro by using our Faro holiday builder tool.
17 locals recommend
Faro Old Town
17 locals recommend
Walk the cobbled streets of Old Town Faro and encounter centuries-old architectural sights, Roman passages, cozy cafes, and a museum with archaeological findings. The site features the oldest horseshoe arch in Portugal and a 16th-century convent. Note the many houses decorated by flowers as well as the meandering paths and alleys; take a stroll down the shopping lane at the town center. You can have a meal at one of the typical Algarvian restaurants, or just grab a coffee along the riverfront. Choose to start, finish, or center your holiday on a trip to Old Town Faro by using our Faro holiday builder tool.
The old part of Faro, known as the Vila Adentro, is surrounded by a wall that is oval in shape and dates back to the Roman period about two thousand years ago. The wall underwent major alterations and enlargement between the 9th and the 11th centuries during the period of Arab occupation, and it has two “albarrã” towers dating from this period which protected the entrance to the Arco do Repouso (Arch of Rest) where, legend has it, King Afonso III rested after the city had been taken from the Moors in 1249. Also dating from the Arab period is the entrance with a gateway in the shape of a horseshoe arch which can be seen inside the Arco da Vila. Also of interest are the two octagonal towers which were built by the Byzantines a century before the Muslim occupation of the city. Since the early 19th century, the main entrance into the historical part of the city has been the Arco da Vila, an interesting example of neoclassical art which was designed by the Italian architect Francisco Xavier Fabri. It contains a niche with a statue of St Thomas Aquinus and it was classified as a national monument in 1910. Despite the damage caused in the 16th century by earthquakes and attacks by English privateers, as well as the destruction caused by the great earthquake of 1755, the walls have survived until the present day and some restoration work has been carried out in recent years.
Casa do Arco do Repouso - Muralhas de Faro
7 Beco do Repouso
The old part of Faro, known as the Vila Adentro, is surrounded by a wall that is oval in shape and dates back to the Roman period about two thousand years ago. The wall underwent major alterations and enlargement between the 9th and the 11th centuries during the period of Arab occupation, and it has two “albarrã” towers dating from this period which protected the entrance to the Arco do Repouso (Arch of Rest) where, legend has it, King Afonso III rested after the city had been taken from the Moors in 1249. Also dating from the Arab period is the entrance with a gateway in the shape of a horseshoe arch which can be seen inside the Arco da Vila. Also of interest are the two octagonal towers which were built by the Byzantines a century before the Muslim occupation of the city. Since the early 19th century, the main entrance into the historical part of the city has been the Arco da Vila, an interesting example of neoclassical art which was designed by the Italian architect Francisco Xavier Fabri. It contains a niche with a statue of St Thomas Aquinus and it was classified as a national monument in 1910. Despite the damage caused in the 16th century by earthquakes and attacks by English privateers, as well as the destruction caused by the great earthquake of 1755, the walls have survived until the present day and some restoration work has been carried out in recent years.
Located in Vila-Adentro, in Largo da Sé, the Igreja Matriz de Santa Maria was built after the Christian Reconquest, by Dom João Viegas, Archbishop of Braga, who, for that purpose, sent the Dominicans Frei Paio and Frei to Faro Peter. Some time later, it was handed over to the Military Order of São Tiago, which carried out several interventions, with the two Gothic chapels and the first floor of the tower opposite the main façade, marks of the 15th century. In 1577, it became the seat of the episcopal seat, with the Bishop and the Cabido coming from Silves. In 1596, this temple was ruined, due to invasions by the English troops of the Earl of Essex, who sacked and burned the entire city. The columns and respective arches were rebuilt, and several chapels were kept, which were remodeled in the 17th and 18th centuries. The earthquakes of 1722 and 1755 also motivated important construction campaigns. The Bishops and the Chapter, as well as the Confraternity of Santíssimo, Almas and Nossa Senhora do Rosário dos Pretos, promoted the ornamentation of the chapels themselves. In the Cathedral of Faro, one of the best sets of carvings and sculptures in the Algarve can still be seen.
13 locals recommend
Cathedral of Faro
11 Largo da Sé
13 locals recommend
Located in Vila-Adentro, in Largo da Sé, the Igreja Matriz de Santa Maria was built after the Christian Reconquest, by Dom João Viegas, Archbishop of Braga, who, for that purpose, sent the Dominicans Frei Paio and Frei to Faro Peter. Some time later, it was handed over to the Military Order of São Tiago, which carried out several interventions, with the two Gothic chapels and the first floor of the tower opposite the main façade, marks of the 15th century. In 1577, it became the seat of the episcopal seat, with the Bishop and the Cabido coming from Silves. In 1596, this temple was ruined, due to invasions by the English troops of the Earl of Essex, who sacked and burned the entire city. The columns and respective arches were rebuilt, and several chapels were kept, which were remodeled in the 17th and 18th centuries. The earthquakes of 1722 and 1755 also motivated important construction campaigns. The Bishops and the Chapter, as well as the Confraternity of Santíssimo, Almas and Nossa Senhora do Rosário dos Pretos, promoted the ornamentation of the chapels themselves. In the Cathedral of Faro, one of the best sets of carvings and sculptures in the Algarve can still be seen.
Without doubt the most macabre of Faro's many attractions is the Capela dos Ossos (Chapel of the Bones), a minuscule ossuary chapel lovingly decorated with the bones and skulls of over 1000 human skeletons. The chapel forms part of the beautiful 18th century Igreja da Nossa Senhora do Carmo (Our Lady of Mount Carmel) Church, with its whitewashed Baroque exterior and richly gilded interior. Towards the back of the church, on the right hand side, a small door leads to a walled garden and this is where the Capela dos Ossos is found. The bones and 1,200 skulls which adorn every surface of the ossuary belong to the Carmelite monks who once served in the adjoining church, whose skeletons were exhumed from the nearby graveyard in 1816. The chapel is intended to serve as a reminder of the simple, holy lives of the monks who once lived here and the fact that life is fleeting. An inscription over the door reads:"Para aqui a considerar que a este estado has de chegar" (Stop here and consider that you too will reach this state). The overall effect is peaceful and humbling rather than being ghoulish. Check opening times if you want to view the ossuary as it is usually closed to tourists at lunchtime and at weekends, or whenever Mass is being celebrated. There is a charge of around €2 to visit the bone chapel.
6 locals recommend
Capela dos Ossos
21 Largo do Carmo
6 locals recommend
Without doubt the most macabre of Faro's many attractions is the Capela dos Ossos (Chapel of the Bones), a minuscule ossuary chapel lovingly decorated with the bones and skulls of over 1000 human skeletons. The chapel forms part of the beautiful 18th century Igreja da Nossa Senhora do Carmo (Our Lady of Mount Carmel) Church, with its whitewashed Baroque exterior and richly gilded interior. Towards the back of the church, on the right hand side, a small door leads to a walled garden and this is where the Capela dos Ossos is found. The bones and 1,200 skulls which adorn every surface of the ossuary belong to the Carmelite monks who once served in the adjoining church, whose skeletons were exhumed from the nearby graveyard in 1816. The chapel is intended to serve as a reminder of the simple, holy lives of the monks who once lived here and the fact that life is fleeting. An inscription over the door reads:"Para aqui a considerar que a este estado has de chegar" (Stop here and consider that you too will reach this state). The overall effect is peaceful and humbling rather than being ghoulish. Check opening times if you want to view the ossuary as it is usually closed to tourists at lunchtime and at weekends, or whenever Mass is being celebrated. There is a charge of around €2 to visit the bone chapel.
Faro Municipal Museum was the second museum to be created in the Algarve. In 1894, on the 500th anniversary of the birth of Infante Dom Henrique (Henry the Navigator), Faro inaugurated the Museum Archeologico Lapidar Infante D. Henrique dedicated to the heroe of Sagres. In 1912 the museum’s collection was transferred to the Church of the Old Convent of “Santo António dos Capuchos” and there it remained until 1969, when the move to the museum’s current site began.The museum’s archaeological collection is the most significant, with artefacts from pre-historical, roman and medieval periods. The most important objects are those from the roman period which include a mosaic from the 2nd/3rd centuries, the busts of Emperor Hadrian and Agrippina and a collection of epigraphs of Ossonoba.The high quality painting collection from the 16th to 19th century is mainly composed of religious works of art, originating from ancient temples in the Algarve. Also the 20th cent. painting by Carlos Porfírio about legends of the Algarve is very important. The Museum has been a member of the Portuguese Museum Network since 2002. It was awarded with the prize for the best Portuguese Museum in the triennial 2003/05 by the Portuguese Association of Museology.
20 locals recommend
Archaeological and Lapidary Museum Prince Henry the Navigator
20 locals recommend
Faro Municipal Museum was the second museum to be created in the Algarve. In 1894, on the 500th anniversary of the birth of Infante Dom Henrique (Henry the Navigator), Faro inaugurated the Museum Archeologico Lapidar Infante D. Henrique dedicated to the heroe of Sagres. In 1912 the museum’s collection was transferred to the Church of the Old Convent of “Santo António dos Capuchos” and there it remained until 1969, when the move to the museum’s current site began.The museum’s archaeological collection is the most significant, with artefacts from pre-historical, roman and medieval periods. The most important objects are those from the roman period which include a mosaic from the 2nd/3rd centuries, the busts of Emperor Hadrian and Agrippina and a collection of epigraphs of Ossonoba.The high quality painting collection from the 16th to 19th century is mainly composed of religious works of art, originating from ancient temples in the Algarve. Also the 20th cent. painting by Carlos Porfírio about legends of the Algarve is very important. The Museum has been a member of the Portuguese Museum Network since 2002. It was awarded with the prize for the best Portuguese Museum in the triennial 2003/05 by the Portuguese Association of Museology.
The Roman ruins of Milreu (Portuguese: Ruinas Romanas de Milreu) are the remains of an important Roman villa rustica located in the civil parish of Estói in the municipality of Faro, Portugal, classified as a Monumento Nacional (National Monument). The Milreu ruins constitute the most prominent and well preserved evidence of Roman presence in the Algarve. They are mainly composed of the remnants of a once luxurious villa with annexed thermae and several surrounding buildings, including a temple, mausoleum and industrial and commercial structures.[1] The archaeological site still preserves part of the once exuberant mosaics (mostly maritime motifs) that decorated the floor and walls of the villa. A 16th century house is also located in the area, alongside an interpretation centre.[2]
14 locals recommend
Roman Ruins of Milreu
14 locals recommend
The Roman ruins of Milreu (Portuguese: Ruinas Romanas de Milreu) are the remains of an important Roman villa rustica located in the civil parish of Estói in the municipality of Faro, Portugal, classified as a Monumento Nacional (National Monument). The Milreu ruins constitute the most prominent and well preserved evidence of Roman presence in the Algarve. They are mainly composed of the remnants of a once luxurious villa with annexed thermae and several surrounding buildings, including a temple, mausoleum and industrial and commercial structures.[1] The archaeological site still preserves part of the once exuberant mosaics (mostly maritime motifs) that decorated the floor and walls of the villa. A 16th century house is also located in the area, alongside an interpretation centre.[2]

Very interesting for children

“Knowing+, Eating well, Walking better” Physics, Geology, Food, Meteorology, Volcanism, are some of the scientific areas that you can get to know better when visiting this exhibition. Come experience the feeling of an earthquake, see a live tornado, find your weight on other planets, find out how many calories are in a pizza and much more! “Da Ria à Rua” This permanent exhibition at the Centro Ciência Viva do Algarve focuses on the ecosystem of the Ria Formosa. In addition to including several interactive support modules on the theme of the Ria Formosa and coastal ecosystems, this exhibition focuses on the “palpário” where visitors, with the support of trained monitors, can interact with animals that are usually found in the intertidal zone da Ria Formosa, and discover and understand the specificities associated with their life cycle and the way they relate to the environment.
Algarve Live Science Center
“Knowing+, Eating well, Walking better” Physics, Geology, Food, Meteorology, Volcanism, are some of the scientific areas that you can get to know better when visiting this exhibition. Come experience the feeling of an earthquake, see a live tornado, find your weight on other planets, find out how many calories are in a pizza and much more! “Da Ria à Rua” This permanent exhibition at the Centro Ciência Viva do Algarve focuses on the ecosystem of the Ria Formosa. In addition to including several interactive support modules on the theme of the Ria Formosa and coastal ecosystems, this exhibition focuses on the “palpário” where visitors, with the support of trained monitors, can interact with animals that are usually found in the intertidal zone da Ria Formosa, and discover and understand the specificities associated with their life cycle and the way they relate to the environment.
This vast garden, between the dock, the Arco da Vila and the beginning of Rua de Santo António, is one of the most striking spaces in the city. With palm trees, esplanades and large walks, it is a meeting point for the people of Faro and a privileged place to enjoy some of the landscapes of the Ria Formosa, with the island of Faro in the background.
7 locals recommend
Jardim Manuel Bivar
7 locals recommend
This vast garden, between the dock, the Arco da Vila and the beginning of Rua de Santo António, is one of the most striking spaces in the city. With palm trees, esplanades and large walks, it is a meeting point for the people of Faro and a privileged place to enjoy some of the landscapes of the Ria Formosa, with the island of Faro in the background.
The largest landscaped space in the city is the Jardim da Alameda João de Deus. In the space, different plant species can be appreciated, namely some centuries-old trees and animals. In the Garden there is also a small waterfall, a lake and you can enjoy various recreational facilities, mini golf, children's playground, multi-sports and geriatric park. The façade of the slaughterhouse stands out, a good example of neo-Arab revivalism that serves as access to the Municipal Library of Faro.
Jardim da Alameda João de Deus
The largest landscaped space in the city is the Jardim da Alameda João de Deus. In the space, different plant species can be appreciated, namely some centuries-old trees and animals. In the Garden there is also a small waterfall, a lake and you can enjoy various recreational facilities, mini golf, children's playground, multi-sports and geriatric park. The façade of the slaughterhouse stands out, a good example of neo-Arab revivalism that serves as access to the Municipal Library of Faro.
A privileged place for recreational sports, in an aquatic environment, and enjoyment of the magnificent Ria Formosa, coordinated by a dynamic, innovative, experienced and very friendly team!
Centro Nautico da Praia de Faro
25 Av. Nascente
A privileged place for recreational sports, in an aquatic environment, and enjoyment of the magnificent Ria Formosa, coordinated by a dynamic, innovative, experienced and very friendly team!

Other cities or places to visit

In Olhão, it is mandatory to visit its market, located in the gardens next to the Ria Formosa. The first Mercado de Olhão dates back to 1866. It was just a shed, based on twenty-six columns of masonry, 26m long and 11.50m wide. The project was awarded to construction worker João Baptista Pepe, a native of Olhão, who took responsibility for completing the work on July 31, 1866. Its location was significantly close to the current buildings. In 1912, the construction of new buildings for the fish and vegetable markets began, a project that would be inaugurated four years later, in 1916. Unique in the entire Algarve region is the open-air market, on Saturday mornings, next to the fish and vegetable markets, where farmers and producers from the municipality of Olhão, and neighboring municipalities, exhibit and sell their products , providing those who visit them with an unequaled mix of tones and smells.
68 locals recommend
Olhão
68 locals recommend
In Olhão, it is mandatory to visit its market, located in the gardens next to the Ria Formosa. The first Mercado de Olhão dates back to 1866. It was just a shed, based on twenty-six columns of masonry, 26m long and 11.50m wide. The project was awarded to construction worker João Baptista Pepe, a native of Olhão, who took responsibility for completing the work on July 31, 1866. Its location was significantly close to the current buildings. In 1912, the construction of new buildings for the fish and vegetable markets began, a project that would be inaugurated four years later, in 1916. Unique in the entire Algarve region is the open-air market, on Saturday mornings, next to the fish and vegetable markets, where farmers and producers from the municipality of Olhão, and neighboring municipalities, exhibit and sell their products , providing those who visit them with an unequaled mix of tones and smells.
The racy, cosmopolitan lifestyle of the world's leading tourist centres. A long ribbon of fine, golden sand tucked between the blue of the sea and the bold ochres of the cliffs. The splendour of tiles in a chapel that is itself a work of art. The changing greens of the orchards and the woods of the hills. An endless variety of decorated chimneys, carefully wrought in a filigree of whitewashed stone and art. Wide open spaces where it is possible to rediscover the meaning of solitude and listen to the silence of nature. With all this and more, Loulé municipality is a place of sunshine and colour, fun and excitement.
67 locals recommend
Loulé
67 locals recommend
The racy, cosmopolitan lifestyle of the world's leading tourist centres. A long ribbon of fine, golden sand tucked between the blue of the sea and the bold ochres of the cliffs. The splendour of tiles in a chapel that is itself a work of art. The changing greens of the orchards and the woods of the hills. An endless variety of decorated chimneys, carefully wrought in a filigree of whitewashed stone and art. Wide open spaces where it is possible to rediscover the meaning of solitude and listen to the silence of nature. With all this and more, Loulé municipality is a place of sunshine and colour, fun and excitement.
Beautiful empty beaches with sands that seem to go on forever. Fields of orange trees, heavy with the scent of blossom. Then hills of fig and almond trees and houses with dazzling whitewashed walls and distinctive chimneys decorated to resemble the fine tracery of lace. And last of all, the great open spaces of the hills, whereeagles soar, birds sing and flowers bloom. This is just a hint of the charms of Tavira and its municipality, an invitation to come and find out more.
142 locals recommend
Tavira
142 locals recommend
Beautiful empty beaches with sands that seem to go on forever. Fields of orange trees, heavy with the scent of blossom. Then hills of fig and almond trees and houses with dazzling whitewashed walls and distinctive chimneys decorated to resemble the fine tracery of lace. And last of all, the great open spaces of the hills, whereeagles soar, birds sing and flowers bloom. This is just a hint of the charms of Tavira and its municipality, an invitation to come and find out more.
In Lagos, everything seems to invite you to the beach and the simple pleasures of life. But there are also stories of sailors and pirates, the result of a relationship with the sea that is maintained in the colourful trawlers that still bring fish to the market, and the Marina where yachts from all over the world are moored. This connection to the sea had its high point in the 15th and 16th centuries, because it was in Lagos that Henry, the Navigator fitted up the caravels that would set out for the coast of Africa, launching the Portuguese Age of Discoveries, and it was from here that Gil Eanes sailed, the navigator who demonstrated that the world did not end at Cape Bojador and that the sea was not filled with monsters. His name was given to the square where a controversial statue by João Cutileiro evokes King Sebastian, who made Lagos the capital of the Algarve, a privilege maintained until 1755. It was also from here that this King set out for the battle of Ksar el-Kebir, from which he never returned; this caused Portugal to lose its independence to Spain, which was only restored in 1640. The people kept waiting for him to return one foggy morning, a feeling of hope in a saviour that was etched on the Portuguese soul and to which the name "Sebastianism" was given. Although built on the site of earlier constructions, some of the main monuments are from this era, such as the Governors’ Castle. Or the City walls and the Ponta da Bandeira Fort, which protected the town from invaders, particularly buccaneers, and which today offer beautiful views over the houses and the sea. It was also in Lagos, under the arcades of Praça Infante D. Henrique, that the first slave market in Europe was held, in a space now transformed into a cultural centre for exhibitions and the sale of handicrafts. But there is much more to see. Stroll through the streets of the historic centre to discover the charm of this ancient city. Notice the stonework of the doors and windows, the wrought iron balconies and the patios that provide coolness in summer. See the Church of Santo António, with its surprisingly rich interior full of gilt carvings and tiles that offers a curious image of the saint whose name the church bears with the rank of Lieutenant-General, a promotion that this church earned for serving as the chapel for the Infantry Regiment. Beside it, the Municipal Museum has an interesting collection of archaeology and sacred art. One can’t help delighting in the local cuisine. Fish and shellfish are the main ingredients for a number of delicacies: from snacks with clams, barnacles, octopus or roe, soups and açordas (bread casserole), or specialties such as carapaus alimados (skinned marinated horse mackerel) and stuffed squid. Sweets are another highlight, especially dom-rodrigos (egg and almond sweets), a recipe from the nuns of the Convent of Nossa Senhora do Carmo. From the long Avenida dos Descobrimentos you can enjoy the city's profile and the busy and lively Marina. This avenue leads to the sea and the beaches, which are amongst the most beautiful in the Algarve, and often praised by international bodies and magazines. To the east is Meia Praia, a sandy beach about five kilometres long, ending at the Ria do Alvor. On the other side, there is a succession of smaller beaches with clear waters, to which the rocks carved out by erosion have lent a stunning beauty. These are the beaches of Batata, Pinhão, Dona Ana and Camilo, accessible from the city centre. Further ahead is Ponta da Piedade, the highlight of the region: a series of rock formations with impressive jagged shapes and excavated caves that are best enjoyed on a boat trip. Canavial, Porto de Mós and Praia da Luz complete the range of beaches, which also include many sandy coves that are hard to get to, some only accessible by sea. They are small havens waiting to be discovered.
24 locals recommend
Lagos
24 locals recommend
In Lagos, everything seems to invite you to the beach and the simple pleasures of life. But there are also stories of sailors and pirates, the result of a relationship with the sea that is maintained in the colourful trawlers that still bring fish to the market, and the Marina where yachts from all over the world are moored. This connection to the sea had its high point in the 15th and 16th centuries, because it was in Lagos that Henry, the Navigator fitted up the caravels that would set out for the coast of Africa, launching the Portuguese Age of Discoveries, and it was from here that Gil Eanes sailed, the navigator who demonstrated that the world did not end at Cape Bojador and that the sea was not filled with monsters. His name was given to the square where a controversial statue by João Cutileiro evokes King Sebastian, who made Lagos the capital of the Algarve, a privilege maintained until 1755. It was also from here that this King set out for the battle of Ksar el-Kebir, from which he never returned; this caused Portugal to lose its independence to Spain, which was only restored in 1640. The people kept waiting for him to return one foggy morning, a feeling of hope in a saviour that was etched on the Portuguese soul and to which the name "Sebastianism" was given. Although built on the site of earlier constructions, some of the main monuments are from this era, such as the Governors’ Castle. Or the City walls and the Ponta da Bandeira Fort, which protected the town from invaders, particularly buccaneers, and which today offer beautiful views over the houses and the sea. It was also in Lagos, under the arcades of Praça Infante D. Henrique, that the first slave market in Europe was held, in a space now transformed into a cultural centre for exhibitions and the sale of handicrafts. But there is much more to see. Stroll through the streets of the historic centre to discover the charm of this ancient city. Notice the stonework of the doors and windows, the wrought iron balconies and the patios that provide coolness in summer. See the Church of Santo António, with its surprisingly rich interior full of gilt carvings and tiles that offers a curious image of the saint whose name the church bears with the rank of Lieutenant-General, a promotion that this church earned for serving as the chapel for the Infantry Regiment. Beside it, the Municipal Museum has an interesting collection of archaeology and sacred art. One can’t help delighting in the local cuisine. Fish and shellfish are the main ingredients for a number of delicacies: from snacks with clams, barnacles, octopus or roe, soups and açordas (bread casserole), or specialties such as carapaus alimados (skinned marinated horse mackerel) and stuffed squid. Sweets are another highlight, especially dom-rodrigos (egg and almond sweets), a recipe from the nuns of the Convent of Nossa Senhora do Carmo. From the long Avenida dos Descobrimentos you can enjoy the city's profile and the busy and lively Marina. This avenue leads to the sea and the beaches, which are amongst the most beautiful in the Algarve, and often praised by international bodies and magazines. To the east is Meia Praia, a sandy beach about five kilometres long, ending at the Ria do Alvor. On the other side, there is a succession of smaller beaches with clear waters, to which the rocks carved out by erosion have lent a stunning beauty. These are the beaches of Batata, Pinhão, Dona Ana and Camilo, accessible from the city centre. Further ahead is Ponta da Piedade, the highlight of the region: a series of rock formations with impressive jagged shapes and excavated caves that are best enjoyed on a boat trip. Canavial, Porto de Mós and Praia da Luz complete the range of beaches, which also include many sandy coves that are hard to get to, some only accessible by sea. They are small havens waiting to be discovered.
Alte is a small village located in the central Algarve at the northwest end of Loulé’s municipality. The village makes for a lovely daytrip, and a good option for those wanting to steer clear of some overcrowded nearby areas. Alte is famous mostly for its natural features, the water springs and waterfall. It’s also considered one of the most typical villages in Portugal, and with less than 2.000 inhabitants famous for its slow pace of life. Alte is also one of the best places to contemplate some traditional Algarve architecture.
37 locals recommend
Alte
37 locals recommend
Alte is a small village located in the central Algarve at the northwest end of Loulé’s municipality. The village makes for a lovely daytrip, and a good option for those wanting to steer clear of some overcrowded nearby areas. Alte is famous mostly for its natural features, the water springs and waterfall. It’s also considered one of the most typical villages in Portugal, and with less than 2.000 inhabitants famous for its slow pace of life. Alte is also one of the best places to contemplate some traditional Algarve architecture.

Other Tours

Boat trips to the caves from Armação de Pêra to Benagil. Tours by experienced Captains and on small modern boats that allow you to get inside the caves. The embarkation takes place at Fisherman's Beach and you will visit stunning caves and wild beaches such as Praia da Marinha, the Captains Cave until the world famous Benagil Cave.
87 locals recommend
Benagil Caves
87 locals recommend
Boat trips to the caves from Armação de Pêra to Benagil. Tours by experienced Captains and on small modern boats that allow you to get inside the caves. The embarkation takes place at Fisherman's Beach and you will visit stunning caves and wild beaches such as Praia da Marinha, the Captains Cave until the world famous Benagil Cave.
Experience the natural beauty of Ria Formosa on a walk of the salt pans, marshes, and pine woodlands of the protected habitat of many species of birds. Ria Formosa is one of Portugal’s Seven Natural Wonders, and you’ll soon discover why. You’ll enjoy a tour of this sacred land, and discover the natural beauty and wildlife that is protected here. On this tour you will explore the protected areas of Ludo and Quinta do Lago. These two areas are extraordinary places for birdwatching, in fact, some of the best birding spots in the Algarve. As you walk past the marshlands, you’ll enjoy stunning views of the lagoon. If the tide is out you’ll be able to see local people working on their clam farms, important economic activity. Enjoy incredible views over the saltpans and learn about the traditional salt extraction methods used in the Algarve. The region is famous for the quality of its salt which is known here as white gold. Keep your eyes peeled for amazing birdlife like the colorful Greater Flamingo and many other birds which are common species in these parts. You’ll be walking in one of the best bird watching spots in the Algarve. Ludo and Quinta do Lago are well worth discovering.
7 locals recommend
Ludo Hiking Trail
1 M527
7 locals recommend
Experience the natural beauty of Ria Formosa on a walk of the salt pans, marshes, and pine woodlands of the protected habitat of many species of birds. Ria Formosa is one of Portugal’s Seven Natural Wonders, and you’ll soon discover why. You’ll enjoy a tour of this sacred land, and discover the natural beauty and wildlife that is protected here. On this tour you will explore the protected areas of Ludo and Quinta do Lago. These two areas are extraordinary places for birdwatching, in fact, some of the best birding spots in the Algarve. As you walk past the marshlands, you’ll enjoy stunning views of the lagoon. If the tide is out you’ll be able to see local people working on their clam farms, important economic activity. Enjoy incredible views over the saltpans and learn about the traditional salt extraction methods used in the Algarve. The region is famous for the quality of its salt which is known here as white gold. Keep your eyes peeled for amazing birdlife like the colorful Greater Flamingo and many other birds which are common species in these parts. You’ll be walking in one of the best bird watching spots in the Algarve. Ludo and Quinta do Lago are well worth discovering.

Other Recomendations

This market is the ideal place for fresh fish and seafood in Faro. The region's gastronomy is very based on fish, seafood, fruit and bread, so this is where many of the citizens go to buy food, looking for the freshest and best of the many options. This is a modern market, it was rebuilt and restructured to house not only the marketing area, but also some cafes, shops, services and a small shopping center.
30 locals recommend
Faro Municipal Market
52 Largo Dr. Francisco Sa Carneiro
30 locals recommend
This market is the ideal place for fresh fish and seafood in Faro. The region's gastronomy is very based on fish, seafood, fruit and bread, so this is where many of the citizens go to buy food, looking for the freshest and best of the many options. This is a modern market, it was rebuilt and restructured to house not only the marketing area, but also some cafes, shops, services and a small shopping center.
Located on the western entrance of Faro, just 5 minutes from the airport, Forum Algarve is one of the largest shopping centres in the region. With 100 shops, 20 restaurants, 5 cinema screens, an Hipermarket and a parking area for 2.300 vehicles, it is a landmark project that has rapidly become an obligatory stop for many thousands of local consumers, as well as tourists. Forum Algarve´s architectural concept was inspired by the regional lifestyle, in an open-air space that makes the best of the Algarve´s sunny days. The materials used in its conception replect Faro´s history and traditional style. The shopping centre has prestigious brands with renowed names like, Lacoste, Gant, Zara, Cortefiel, Sportzone, C&A, Nespresso, Fnac, Samsung e GMS Apple Store, as well a medical clinic and a pharmacy. The Cinemas NOS have 5 screens with the most modern sound and image technology, and the movies are all displayed in the original language. As a completion of its commercial and leisure aspects, the Shopping Centre also has 20 restaurants ready to satisfy the most demanding gastronomic needs, from international fast-food to typical Portuguese cuisine. For the comfort and convenience of tourist visitors of Forum Algarve, the service of flight information, check-in point to print the flight tickets, train and bus tickets and lockers are provided.
32 locals recommend
Forum Algarve
32 locals recommend
Located on the western entrance of Faro, just 5 minutes from the airport, Forum Algarve is one of the largest shopping centres in the region. With 100 shops, 20 restaurants, 5 cinema screens, an Hipermarket and a parking area for 2.300 vehicles, it is a landmark project that has rapidly become an obligatory stop for many thousands of local consumers, as well as tourists. Forum Algarve´s architectural concept was inspired by the regional lifestyle, in an open-air space that makes the best of the Algarve´s sunny days. The materials used in its conception replect Faro´s history and traditional style. The shopping centre has prestigious brands with renowed names like, Lacoste, Gant, Zara, Cortefiel, Sportzone, C&A, Nespresso, Fnac, Samsung e GMS Apple Store, as well a medical clinic and a pharmacy. The Cinemas NOS have 5 screens with the most modern sound and image technology, and the movies are all displayed in the original language. As a completion of its commercial and leisure aspects, the Shopping Centre also has 20 restaurants ready to satisfy the most demanding gastronomic needs, from international fast-food to typical Portuguese cuisine. For the comfort and convenience of tourist visitors of Forum Algarve, the service of flight information, check-in point to print the flight tickets, train and bus tickets and lockers are provided.
The Mar Shopping Algarve is a new shopping centre outside Faro, in Loulé. It is the Algarve largest shopping centre and the most modern one in Portugal. Fashion, beauty and interior design brands are on two levels. Many brands here offer showcase stores (large shops receiving priority new products and new interior fittings). The main ready-to-wear brands are H&M, Primark, Zara, C&A, Mango, Tezenis or Lefties. There’s an Ikea, Casa and the French brand Maisons du Monde too in Loulé. There are many outdoors restaurants with terraces too. On the same site as Mar Shopping Algarve is the Designer Outlet Algarve, a shopping mall for outlet stores. Luxury brands like Calvin Klein, Guess, Gucci, Pepe Jeans, Lacoste, Ray Ban, Puma and even Tommy Hilfiger offer reductions (30 to 70%). Walking in the shopping centre is like walking in a charming Portuguese village; it is a very pleasant place to do good business.
34 locals recommend
MAR Shopping - Algarve
34 locals recommend
The Mar Shopping Algarve is a new shopping centre outside Faro, in Loulé. It is the Algarve largest shopping centre and the most modern one in Portugal. Fashion, beauty and interior design brands are on two levels. Many brands here offer showcase stores (large shops receiving priority new products and new interior fittings). The main ready-to-wear brands are H&M, Primark, Zara, C&A, Mango, Tezenis or Lefties. There’s an Ikea, Casa and the French brand Maisons du Monde too in Loulé. There are many outdoors restaurants with terraces too. On the same site as Mar Shopping Algarve is the Designer Outlet Algarve, a shopping mall for outlet stores. Luxury brands like Calvin Klein, Guess, Gucci, Pepe Jeans, Lacoste, Ray Ban, Puma and even Tommy Hilfiger offer reductions (30 to 70%). Walking in the shopping centre is like walking in a charming Portuguese village; it is a very pleasant place to do good business.

Bars and restaurants

Wax Restobar is the perfect spot for a relaxed summer afternoon with the taste of Mediterranean cuisine in Praia de Faro.
16 locals recommend
WAX RestoBar
16 locals recommend
Wax Restobar is the perfect spot for a relaxed summer afternoon with the taste of Mediterranean cuisine in Praia de Faro.
Located on the island of Faro and with a privileged view over the Ria Formosa, the Elements Restaurant & Cocktail Bar has to offer you a unique experience! Enjoy this wonderful view accompanied by a seafood meal.
Elementos
25 Av. Nascente
Located on the island of Faro and with a privileged view over the Ria Formosa, the Elements Restaurant & Cocktail Bar has to offer you a unique experience! Enjoy this wonderful view accompanied by a seafood meal.
Excellent quality, great service and fair price... not to mention the location :) - Praia de Faro
9 locals recommend
Restaurante Zé Maria - José Maria Dos Santos
9 locals recommend
Excellent quality, great service and fair price... not to mention the location :) - Praia de Faro
Praia de Faro, right on the sea, above average quality is a fair price for the Algarve
O Rui
2 Avenida Nascente
Praia de Faro, right on the sea, above average quality is a fair price for the Algarve
A "must go" in the city of Faro. Restaurant with a family atmosphere, but not without the refinement. Exceptionally prepared food, great service even in high season. Extremely helpful and attentive staff. Very affordable prices given the quality of the food.
7 locals recommend
Restaurante Cidade Velha
7 locals recommend
A "must go" in the city of Faro. Restaurant with a family atmosphere, but not without the refinement. Exceptionally prepared food, great service even in high season. Extremely helpful and attentive staff. Very affordable prices given the quality of the food.
The Tertúlia Algarvia restaurant, in Faro, is more than a simple dining space, promoting an encounter with the Algarve's culture through events and a shop with regional products, as well as workshops and cooking demonstrations. Tuna moxama, Algarve fried squid, grilled tuna belly with coriander syrup and chicken soup with chickpea à Algarve are some of the dishes on the restaurant menu, where the cataplanas stand out , octopus, fish and seafood or pork with clams. For dessert, the honey cake or one of the regional pies (carob, almond or orange) are good options.
14 locals recommend
Tertúlia Algarvia
15 Praça do Afonso III
14 locals recommend
The Tertúlia Algarvia restaurant, in Faro, is more than a simple dining space, promoting an encounter with the Algarve's culture through events and a shop with regional products, as well as workshops and cooking demonstrations. Tuna moxama, Algarve fried squid, grilled tuna belly with coriander syrup and chicken soup with chickpea à Algarve are some of the dishes on the restaurant menu, where the cataplanas stand out , octopus, fish and seafood or pork with clams. For dessert, the honey cake or one of the regional pies (carob, almond or orange) are good options.
The bar-restaurant “O Castelo”, between the walls, in the heart of Faro's old town, is a fabulous spot to enjoy the Algarve's gastronomy and the sublime view of the Ria Formosa. The restaurant “O Castelo” is charming and at the same time relaxing, a mandatory stop to relax, listen to music and have a drink. With a privileged location, “O Castelo” brings together, in the same space, sunsets, theme parties, fado, jazz, concerts, bar and restaurant and good mood. A late afternoon with Ria Formosa is one of the best experiences in the Algarve. Sitting on the restaurant's terrace, the sunset on the Ria Formosa becomes magical, accompanied by delicious delicacies, then it becomes truly incredible. The restaurant's menu is an honor to some of the typical Algarve delicacies. Cosmopolitan space, a stunning spot to watch the sunset where you can taste flavors from one of the most beautiful regions in Portugal. It is not surprising, therefore, that the Ria Formosa, which frames the entire scene, makes all the difference when it comes to comforting the stomach.
8 locals recommend
*O Castello" Restaurant & Bar
11 R. do Castelo
8 locals recommend
The bar-restaurant “O Castelo”, between the walls, in the heart of Faro's old town, is a fabulous spot to enjoy the Algarve's gastronomy and the sublime view of the Ria Formosa. The restaurant “O Castelo” is charming and at the same time relaxing, a mandatory stop to relax, listen to music and have a drink. With a privileged location, “O Castelo” brings together, in the same space, sunsets, theme parties, fado, jazz, concerts, bar and restaurant and good mood. A late afternoon with Ria Formosa is one of the best experiences in the Algarve. Sitting on the restaurant's terrace, the sunset on the Ria Formosa becomes magical, accompanied by delicious delicacies, then it becomes truly incredible. The restaurant's menu is an honor to some of the typical Algarve delicacies. Cosmopolitan space, a stunning spot to watch the sunset where you can taste flavors from one of the most beautiful regions in Portugal. It is not surprising, therefore, that the Ria Formosa, which frames the entire scene, makes all the difference when it comes to comforting the stomach.
Absolutely extraordinary. Fantastic food and excellent quality!
Restaurante Mósse!
73 R. Teófilo Braga
Absolutely extraordinary. Fantastic food and excellent quality!