Things to do in Faro

About Faro

Key attractions include the Old Town (Cidade Velha), showcasing medieval architecture, the picturesque Faro Marina, and the Palácio de Estoi with its stunning rococo details. The Ria Formosa Natural Park is also a must-see for nature lovers.
Families can visit the Algarve Living Science Center for interactive exhibits, enjoy the beaches at Ilha de Faro, and spend a fun day at the Parque Aventura with rope courses and zip lines.
Hiking in the Ria Formosa Natural Park, kayaking through its lagoons, cycling in the countryside, and bird watching are among the top outdoor activities in Faro.
Exploring the Museu Municipal de Faro, visiting the Carmo Church and its haunting Chapel of Bones, or experiencing a traditional Fado performance are excellent indoor activities.
Best Faro tours often comprise visits to Ria Formosa Natural Park, guided historical walks through the Old Town, and boat tours around the Faro islands.
The Museu Municipal de Faro and the Maritime Museum hold the top spots among museums in the city, offering both historical and marine educational experiences.
For rainy days, a visit to the Museu Municipal or participating in an indoor cultural cooking class are great ways to explore the city's offerings.
Short Faro tours include self-guided audio tours of the Old Town, a quick boat tour to see the city's coastline, or a visit to the architectural landmark Arco da Vila.

Best Things to Do In Faro

Discover the enchanting city of Faro, a hidden gem in the Algarve, with a myriad of cultural highlights and historic sites.

Faro: Museu Municipal de Faro

What is it?
An insightful museum showcasing the region's history, culture, and archaeological finds.
Why you should go?
Located within the confines of a beautifully preserved 16th-century convent, the Museu Municipal de Faro houses a rich collection of artifacts that narrate the history of the region from prehistoric times to the present. The museum exhibits range from Roman mosaics and Moorish ceramic tiles to maritime instruments and religious art, offering a diverse perspective of Faro’s cultural evolution. A visit here stands out among the Faro activities for history enthusiasts and curious minds eager to understand the Algarve’s multifaceted past.

Faro: Cape St. Mary Lighthouse

What is it?
The southernmost point of mainland Portugal, marked by an iconic lighthouse.
Why you should go?
For a sense of adventure among the things to do in Faro, a journey to Cabo de Santa Maria Lighthouse provides spectacular ocean views where the Atlantic meets the skies. Situated in the Ria Formosa Natural Park, it offers a tranquil escape from the city bustle. Visitors can enjoy a scenic hike or bike ride to reach the lighthouse, making it a perfect spot for those seeking a peaceful encounter with Faro's natural landscapes and a picture-perfect sunset view.

Faro: Old Town Faro (Cidade Velha)

What is it?
A historic area filled with cobblestone streets, quaint cafes, and architectural wonders.
Why you should go?
Cidade Velha, the Old Town of Faro, is a labyrinth of winding alleyways opening up to charming plazas, each telling a story of the ages. This is where visitors can truly immerse themselves in the history of the city, with each turn revealing vestiges of Roman, Moorish, and Christian influences. Highlights include the medieval Faro Cathedral and the stately Bishop’s Palace. It’s a delightful place to visit in Faro for those looking to capture the essence of the city's storied past.

Faro: Marina de Faro

What is it?
A vibrant marina, offering waterfront dining, leisure activities, and scenic views.
Why you should go?
The Marina de Faro is a lively hub of activity where seafarers and land lovers alike gather to enjoy the Mediterranean lifestyle. The marina provides a beautiful backdrop for an afternoon stroll or a chance to indulge in fresh seafood at one of the many restaurants overlooking the yachts and boats. For those considering what to see in Faro, the marina offers a unique perspective of the city's connection to the sea and its maritime heritage.

Faro: Estádio Algarve

What is it?
A modern sports complex that has played host to major international football matches and events.
Why you should go?
For sports enthusiasts pondering over what to do in Faro, the Algarve Stadium presents an opportunity to experience the excitement of Portuguese football culture. The stadium with its iconic architecture and advanced facilities is a testament to Faro's commitment to sports and leisure. Visitors can catch a game, revel in the exhilarating atmosphere, or even take a behind-the-scenes tour on non-match days, adding a unique twist to the traditional Faro excursions.

Faro: Ria Formosa Natural Park

What is it?
A stunning lagoon system with a rich array of wildlife and picturesque islands.
Why you should go?
Sweeping across 60 kilometers along the Algarve coast, Ria Formosa Natural Park is an ecological haven, marked by a complex maze of marshlands, barrier islands, and saline waters. As one of the most important wetlands for aquatic birds in Portugal, the park not only promises incredible birdwatching opportunities but also serves up activities such as kayaking, boat tours, and guided walks. The calm, meandering waterways contrasted against the vibrant blue of the sky make for an unforgettable experience for nature enthusiasts and photographers alike.

Faro: Faro Cathedral

What is it?
A historical cathedral with a rich blend of Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque architectural elements.
Why you should go?
Standing proudly at the heart of Faro's Old Town, the Faro Cathedral, or Sé de Faro, encapsulates the city's rich tapestry of history and belief. Ascend the belfry for sweeping views of the city and the sea, and explore the ornate interior complete with gilded carving, azulejo tiles, and intricate organ pipes. It stands as a beacon of tranquility and offers insight into the religious history of Faro, making it a staple in the list of things to do in Faro.

Faro: Arco da Vila

What is it?
An iconic archway and gateway to Faro's fascinating historical centre, the Cidade Velha.
Why you should go?
Arco da Vila is not only a portal into the Cidade Velha, but also a gateway to the past. This architectural gem represents the Neoclassical style and stands on the site of a medieval gate that was part of the original Moorish walls. Venturing through the Arco da Vila offers a tangible connection to Faro's layered history and leads visitors into a labyrinth of cobblestone streets lined with aged buildings, offering a charming exploration for history buffs and culture enthusiasts.

Faro: Mercado Municipal

What is it?
A bustling market featuring local artisanal goods, fresh produce, and vibrant energy.
Why you should go?
The Mercado Municipal stands as the focal point of daily life in Faro. Offering an authentic slice of Algarvian culture, the market's lively stalls brim with the freshest seafood, colorful fruits, and handcrafted goods. It's an ideal destination to engage with locals, sample traditional treats, and pick up unique souvenirs. The sensory experience of sights, scents, and sounds all contribute to the robust charm that makes Mercado Municipal an unmissable spot for visitors seeking the pulse of Faro life.

Faro: Palácio de Estoi

What is it?
A palatial 19th-century residence with lush romantic gardens and rococo style decór.
Why you should go?
Just a short journey from the city center, the Palácio de Estoi invites visitors into a world of historical opulence and grandeur. Restored to its former glory, this pink-hued palatial estate represents the extravagance of the Rococo period, surrounded by intricately designed gardens where classical statues stand amidst fragrant blooms. The palace's interiors are adorned with decorative frescoes and ornate details, creating a window into the luxurious past of Portuguese aristocracy and offering a serene escape from the urban tempo of Faro.

TOP-5 Tours in Faro for First Time Visitors

  • Explore the heart of the Algarve starting with a visit to the Arco da Vila, often regarded as one of the essential things to see in Faro, featuring a blend of architectural styles and compelling history.
  • Stroll through the Cidade Velha and uncover ancient Roman ruins juxtaposed with medieval architecture, a testament to the diverse places to visit in Faro over the centuries.
  • Take in the serene beauty of Ria Formosa Natural Park, one of the best Faro activities, where nature's sounds guide visitors through lush landscapes and coastal ecosystems.
  • Embark on a historical journey to the Faro Cathedral, climbing up the tower for panoramic views, an experience that tops the what to do in Faro list for many travelers.
  • For fun things to do in Faro, enjoy the vibrant market life in the historic Mercado Municipal, exuding the flavors, sounds, and pulse of local culture.

Fun things to do in Faro with kids

Faro is an excellent destination for family holidays, offering a range of engaging and educational activities for children. A top pick is the interactive Maritime Museum, where kids can learn about the nautical history of the Algarve through exhibits of sea life and model ships, as well as partake in hands-on activities. The museum's proximity to the Marina de Faro means families can also enjoy leisurely walks and dining by the water. Another must-visit is the Centro Ciência Viva do Algarve, a science center that brings learning to life with its engaging exhibits about the environment, local ecosystems, and more, perfect for sparking a young explorer's curiosity. For outdoor fun, the expansive Ria Formosa Natural Park provides a unique opportunity to discover indigenous plants and animals, go on boat tours, and observe the park's diverse bird species – an enjoyable and educational Faro excursion for the entire family.

Things to do in Faro with family

Encapsulating a mix of cultural charm and natural beauty, Faro offers families a treasure trove of activities. One can’t-miss attraction is the Parque Aventura, brimming with excitement for all ages with its tree-top rope courses and zip lines. It creates an exhilarating atmosphere as families cheer each other through the courses. A visit to the nearby Ilha de Faro provides a splendid beach day where building sandcastles, splashing in the gentle waves, or simply soaking up the sun can be enjoyed by all. For those interested in Faro's wildlife, the Ria Formosa Natural Park is another family-friendly destination that provides immersive experiences such as boat tours and guided walks, facilitating both learning and discovery amidst stunning landscapes. These attractions collectively offer the best Faro activities for families looking to blend adventure and relaxation with quintessential Algarvian experiences.

Free things to do in Faro

Venture through Faro without spending a cent while still unlocking the city's rich offerings. A stroll down the cobblestoned Rua Dom Francisco Gomes leads you through Faro's historic downtown, allowing you to witness the mesh of traditional Portuguese architecture and vibrant street life. Another impressive site is the Arco da Vila, where one can marvel at the old city gate and the remnants of the Moorish wall for a peek into the city's past, a staple among the places to visit in Faro. Don't miss the chance to sunbathe and enjoy the tranquil shores of Faro Beach, easily accessible and ideal for a peaceful day at the sea. The Quinta do Lago, with its scenic trails and bird watching opportunities, offers another communion with nature's splendors at no cost. These attractions stand testament to the variety of things to do in Faro that require no more than your presence and desire to explore.

Cheap things to do in Faro

Delving into the charm of Faro doesn't have to strain your wallet. The Museu Municipal de Faro presents a cost-friendly cultural expedition, housing fascinating archaeological and historical exhibits within the walls of a 16th-century convent; its modest entry fee makes it a smart addition to any budget-friendly itinerary. Another economical choice is a visit to the Palácio de Estoi. While a full tour may come at a fee, the public areas of its lush gardens and the intricate exteriors can be enjoyed at a little to no cost, offering a glimpse into the elegance of 19th-century craftsmanship. For a blend of leisure and learning, a walk through the Jardim Manuel Bivar unfolds with sights of Faro's marina, open-air sculptures, and historic architecture, culminating in a relaxing sojourn in the city center. Offering more than just a glance, these cost-conscious options form an enriching list of things to do in Faro.

Things to do in Faro for couples

In Faro, romance is found in the city’s unique blend of historical allure and natural beauty. Couples seeking a tranquil retreat should venture to Ilha Deserta, offering pristine beaches and secluded spots ideal for a peaceful picnic or a sun-soaked day together. For an intimate cultural experience, exploring the neoclassical Arco da Vila at dusk provides a romantic backdrop, leading to the charming streets of the Cidade Velha, full of cozy restaurants and historical sites under the soft glow of street lamps. Wine aficionado pairs will savor a visit to a local winery, where tasting the region's bold wines surrounded by rolling vineyards stands out as a memorable and affordable Faro activity. Together, these experiences weave an enchanting itinerary, showcasing the best things to do in Faro for couples looking to cultivate connection amidst picturesque settings.

Things to do in Faro at night

As the sun sets, Faro reveals its vibrant nightlife and myriad of evening activities. Begin with a twilight wander around the Cidade Velha, where ambient lighting sets the historic architecture aglow, offering a mesmerizing evening stroll through the city's ancient heart. The streets come alive at night, with local musicians often performing beneath the Arco da Vila, adding to the romantic and culturally rich atmosphere. Next, Faro's marina becomes a center of nocturnal activity, with its array of bustling bars and eateries, inviting couples and groups alike to relax with a drink while soaking in the oceanfront ambiance. Finally, for those seeking entertainment, joining a Faro tours experience like a live Fado performance exemplifies a night in Faro – the soulful melodies of Portugal’s most heartfelt musical tradition providing an unforgettable experience. These attractions highlight just a sample of Faro's after-dark offerings, perfect for nocturnal adventurers.