Looking for all the best things to do in Faro Portugal? You have come to the right place! Faro is the capital of Portugal’s southern region of Algarve. It is an amazing seaside city that offers a perfect blend of history, culture, beach life, and outdoor trekking adventures.
The heritage dates to Roman times, and the old town of Faro is a maze of narrow streets, Portugese tiles, and charming squares made in a different era. The locals of Faro are kind and welcoming and the city has a vibrant energy that’s hard to resist. If you are looking for where to stay in Faro, these hotels come very recommended.
Other top Faro Attractions are the many beaches. Praia de Faro is a long strip of golden sand filled with happy families, while Ilha do Farol and Praia da Quinta do Lago are a bit quieter with a younger crowd.
The culinary scene is also noteworthy, with fresh seafood being a staple of Faro’s cuisine. Traditional dishes like grilled sardines and octopus salad are must-tries for foodies. You will love dining at one of these many restaurants with a view in Faro!
Things to do in Faro Portugal
- Faro Old Town
- Forum Algarve
- Algarve Life Science Center
- Igreja de Santa Maria
- Visit the Chapel of Bones at the Church of St. Francis
- Jardim da Alameda João de Deus (Botincal Garden)
- Faro Marina
Recommended Tours to Book in Faro Portugal
- Walking & Food Tour of Faro
- Faro Things to See Walking Tour
- Slip & Slide Waterpark
- Dolphin & Whale Watching Tour
- Bird Watching Tour
Beaches in Faro
- Praia de Faro
- Ilha do Farol
- Ria Formosa Island Hopping Boat Cruise From Faro
- Kayak in the Ocean
- Boat Ride to see the Benagil Caves from Faro
Day Trips & Things to Do near Faro
What to See in Faro Old Town
Faro Old Town is full of so many amazing things, you could spend days walking around. One of the best places to see in Faro’s old town is the Faro Cathedral. It was built in the 13th century with Gothic architecture and stands proudly in the middle of the town square.
You also can’t miss the Arco da Vila, the monumental archway that you pass under as you enter the old town.
Largo da Se is also worth a visit. This is the old town Faro town square and has been a hot spot for locals for hundreds of years. Pop into Cafe Santa Maria for a quick coffee or full lunch. It has a marvelous view of the cathedral and the Largo de Se area. It is great for people-watching with a few Sages too.
Frequently Asked Questions About Faro Portugal
- Is Faro worth visiting?
- What is Faro Portugal Famous for?
- Is there a lot to do in Faro Portugal?
- How many days in Faro is enough?
Next up is to make a stop at the Forum Algarve. This large shopping center is one of the top things to do in Faro Portugal. It opened back in 2001 and has over 100 stores spread out in an open two-floor market. There are Portuguese retailers, international shops, restaurants, grocery stores, and a movie theater.
The Forum Algarve stays open all year long and is a great way to beat the heat in the summer. This is a great place to treat yourself and buy all the best souvenirs. If you are looking for the best things to do in Faro Portugal for shoppers, the Forum is the perfect place to spend a few hours!
Igreja de Santa Maria
Up next is another beautiful and historic church in Faro. The Igreja de Santa Maria was originally built as a Muslim mosque back in the 13th century but was converted around the 16th into a church. The inside is just as impressive as the outside, and yes you are allowed to tour it.
The Igreja de Santa Maria is still an active church and they regularly hold mass and other religious ceremonies throughout the year. This beautiful church is in the center of the old town square, you cannot miss it.
Find the Igreja de Santa Maria here at Largo da Sé 11, 8000-138 Faro, Portugal!
Ilha do Farol
Next up for things to see in Faro Portugal is the lovely island of Ilha do Farol. You can find it right outside of the Formosa National Park and can reach it by ferry or private boat tour from the Marina. The name, Ilha do Farol comes from the tall lighthouse on the island that has helped guide ships ashore since the 20th century.
Spend your time here relaxing on the shore, biking around the island, climbing the lighthouse, or enjoying the view from a seaside cafe. The ferry to Ilha do Farol leaves every 3 hours and will cost 5 euros. The ferry ride to Ilha do Farol takes about 30 minutes to get across, with stunning views the entire time. Most people visiting Portugal will just do day trips back and forth to see this beautiful island.
Praia de Faro
There are plenty of beaches to check out around Faro, but one of the most popular is Praia de Faro. Which is located on Ilha do Farol. This long stretch of beach has a soft sandy shore and gentle waves.
Stop by Praia do Quinta for some beachside snacks. They are located right in front of the Praia de Faro and serve both Portuguese and Mediterranean dishes. You can stop by for breakfast lunch or dinner and grab a seat on the patio.
You will also see on Praia de Faro lots of little beach huts where you can rent kayaks, paddle boards, and even jet skis by the hour! Check out this beautiful sandy shore is one of the best things to do in Faro Portugal.
Algarve Life Science Center
Up next is one of the most educational activities in Faro Portugal, the Algarve Life Science Center. There are interactive exhibits that are fun for both adults and children. There are several different types of displays from biology to astronomy.
The Algarve Life Science Center always has displays featuring the local marine life and is a wonderful way to connect to the Algarve. The staff speaks English, and a lot of the displays are already translated and ready for viewing.
Be sure to check out the live animal pool where you can see and touch starfish and other local marine life. Book your stop today the tickets are very reasonably priced.
The address for the Algarve Life Science Center is R. Cmte. Francisco Manuel s/n, 8000-250 Faro, Portugal.
Where to Stay in Faro
Visit the Chapel of Bones at the Church of St. Francis
For unusual things to do in Faro, the Chapel of Bones should be at the top of your list. Built back in the 18th century by monks who wanted somewhere precious for meditation and prayer. These bones are said to be a reminder of how no one can avoid death and are supposed to make you think differently about your life.
The interior of the Chapel is lined with skulls and human bones. They are lined up perfectly and spiral around the room. There is a small fee to enter the church during the day, and visitors are asked to be respectful and quiet.
Head here to find the Chapel of Bones in Faro – Largo do Carmo 21, 8000-148 Faro, Portugal.
Day trip to Loule Castle Town
Taking a day trip to Loule is only about 10 miles (17 km) from Faro. The easiest way to get there is by car or bus. The bus runs several times a day and should be as little as 2€. The top attraction in Loule is the huge castle that sits up on the hill, you seriously cannot miss it.
The views from the castle are almost just as impressive as the walls themselves. Another hot spot is the Loulè market! But before you head there walk around the white-washed homes and storefronts in the old town. Then make your way to the market to find fresh produce, and all things Portuguese that make for the best souvenirs.
The market itself is also a stunning piece of architecture with colorful arches and domes. If you are looking for places to visit in Faro Portugal, Loulè never disappoints.
Jardim da Alameda João de Deus (Botincal Garden)
Sometimes you need to stop and smell the roses, and the Jardim da Alameda João de Deus in Faro is just the place for that. Located right in the heart this park get its name from Faro João de Deus, a famous Portuguese poet. It’s a perfect place to relax, read a book, have a picnic, or enjoy a walk in the shade.
One of the highlights of Jardim da Alameda João de Deus is the beautiful fountain in the center of the park. Here you can find benches and shaded areas to get out of the sun. Or if you want to be a bit more active there is a small lake with paddleboat rentals.
You may get lucky and see a pop-up art show. And there are a number of statues and sculptures, including a bust of João de Deus himself. Or lay out on the lush green lawns, smell the colorful flowerbeds, and gaze up at the tall tropical palm trees.
Jardim da Alameda João de Deus also offers several useful amenities. Including bathrooms, playgrounds, and two small cafés where you can enjoy a pick-me-up! And if you get lucky you may see one of the colorful peacocks walking around.
Visit Lagos from Faro
One of the most popular towns to visit in the Algarve is Lagos. It should take you about 15 minutes to get to Lagos from Faro, and if you have the time it is always worth the trip. There are buses that run to Lagos from the bus station all day long, and it is so easy to catch one.
Some of the best beaches are in Faro, especially the wooden stairs and heart-shaped beaches, ya you know the ones! They are all in Lagos! Enjoy a day of beach hopping before checking out one of the many restaurants on the Lagos beaches!
The nightlife is specially lit in Lagos too! Take a bus or grab to the city center and get ready for n amazing night you will never forget! Lagos is definitely one of the best things to do near Faro if you are looking for a day out on the town! If you are thinking about staying here for a few days there are many wonderful hotels on the beach to choose from!
Ria Formosa Island Hopping Boat Cruise From Faro
There is no doubt that some of the best places to visit in Faro are on this amazing 4 island tour. After meeting your captain and skipper in the Faro marina you will board a gorgeous catamaran and get ready for a day to remember. Your first adventure will be cruising through the Ria Formosa channels, keep your eyes peeled for sea birds.
Your first island to explore is the Ilha Deserta. This is a hot spot for snorkeling in crystal clear waters with colorful fish swimming all around you.
Next up is the popular Ilha do Farol beach. You can swim and snorkel again here, or get to shore to check out the beautiful lighthouse.
Last but not least is the Ilha da Culatr. Here you can explore the colorful seaside houses and narrow streets of the island’s charming fishing village. You can pick to enjoy a delicious seafood lunch at one of the island’s many seafood restaurants, or relax on the beach and soak up the sun.
If that isn’t already enough on your back to Faro to see the oyster farming in the Hangars! This boat tour of the Ria Formosa Islands is one of the very best things to do in Faro Portugal!
Book your spot today: GetYourGuide.com
Visit the Nearby Town of Albufeira
Another one of the best places to visit near Faro Portugal is Albufeira! Here you can enjoy over 26 beaches, shopping, an epic marina, and so much more. The old town Albufeira Square is the perfect area to spend a day exploring.
Fishermans Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Albuferia, with a long sandy shore, lifeguards, shops, restaurants with a view, and bathrooms! There is also amazing nightlife here in the newer section of town called “the strip”. There are all types of bars, clubs, and cafes for the perfect night out.
Plus, Albufeira is always one of the best faro places to visit because it is just far enough to make it feel like you are on a real day trip, but in reality, it’s only about an hour! There are plenty of places to stay in Albufeira right on the beach!
One of the top things to see in Faro is the big Marina. It is located right out of the old town square and is where the ferry leaves to go to Ria Formosa Nature Park. Head here for a fun day in the sun admiring the yachts and fishing boats from a seaside cafe You can also rent boats, jet skis, and kayaks from here.
Another major attraction in the Faro Marina is the Maritime Museum. Here you can learn from the displays of Portugal’s age of discovery in the 1400s. You can explore the entire museum in about an hour and it only costs 1€! The Maritime Museum would be one of the best things to do in Faro Portugal when it rains.
Food Tour of Faro
Another way to explore Faro’s old town is with a walking food tour. Your local foodie will take you on a 3-hour journey while sharing fascinating history about the ancient part of the city. You will visit 4 of the restaurants where the locals go to eat drink and relax.
You can taste up to 10 traditional mouth-watering dishes, plus a drink at each stop! The restaurants do have gluten and lactose options available and try to cater to all dietary restrictions. This is one of the best things to do in Faro Portugal if it is your first trip to the Algarve or want to learn more about this amazing culture.
See if your days are available: GetYourGuide.com
Kayak in the Ocean
Join in on a half-day or full-day kayaking tour and discover the beauty of Faro! The experienced guides will take you on a journey through the Ria Formosa lagoons and islands. No previous kayaking experience is necessary, and all the equipment you need is provided.
As you paddle along the calm waters, you’ll be amazed by the stunning scenery surrounding you. Enjoy your day as you stop at secret beach spots, explore hidden caves, and take a refreshing dip in the clear waters. All you need to do is book your date and you are all set! Kayaking is one of the best things to do in Faro Portugal for all ages!
Check rates here: GetYourGuide.com
Faro Things to See Walking Tour
The best thing to do in Faro Portugal when you arrive is to take a self-guided walking tour! This will not only help you get a better grip on your surroundings, but you will also learn the deep history of the Algarve.
The tour begins at the Largo de São Sebastião where you’ll be transported back in time to the Roman and Moorish eras. Follow the prompts as you wind through the cobblestone streets and try to solve the cryptic messages.
All you need to participate in this self-guided tour is a smartphone and comfy shoes. No app or downloading is needed! They will send you a link and you are ready to go. Once you purchase this amazing tour, the link is valid for up to 90 days! So book today and plan to have an amazing day doing all the best things in Faro!
Book your tour: GetYourGuide.com
Slip & Slide Waterpark
If you are looking for the best Faro tourist attractions for kids, the Slip and Slide waterpark is always a good idea. Take a ride on the thrilling water slides, including the Kamikaze, the Black Hole, and the Tornado.
There is also the aqua tube slide, where you race to the finish. Or, try your balance and agility on our Wipeout-style obstacle course. Or for a more relaxing experience, grab a tube and float down the lazy river.
And then layout in one of the many cabanas as your children have the time of their life. The Slip and Slide park also has massage tents, and a full restaurant and bar to enjoy. Skip the lines and grab an entrance ticket today. All you have to do is activate it at the park!
Grab your ticket now: GetYourGuide.com
Dolphin & Whale Watching Tour
Another fun way to spend your day in the sun is with a whale and dolphin watching tour. The best time to see these marvelous animals is with an early morning cruise when they are at their most playful. Turtles, sharks, and seabirds are always known to be spotted in the waters.
This is a more installment cruise and the speed boat only sits about 12. Your experienced guide will take you to the dolphin’s favorite spots and although they can not guarantee that you will see dolphins they have a 90% success rate!
Bring your sunscreen, and sun hats, and get ready to enjoy one of the best things to do in Faro City!
Book Your Dolphin Tour Today: GetYourGuide.com
Boat Ride to see the Benagil Caves from Faro
If you do not already know about the Benagil caves in the Algarve, you have to put it on your list of things to do near Faro Portugal! These natural caves and coves are one of the most special natural wonders in Portugal.
The Bengail cave is famous for its huge dome-shaped roof with a hole in the top. In the right light the sunlight that filters through, creates a magical and unreal atmosphere.
The boat tour leaving from the Faro marina takes about an hour to reach the Benagil caves and the ride along the coast is almost as pretty as the caves itself. Once you arrive you will have almost an hour to explore inside the caves and the shoreline.
After you explore the Benagil Caves your next stop is the nearby famous Marinha Beach! This is the beautiful beach in Lagos with the heart-shaped cliffside. You will have an hour to explore Marinha Beach and its walking paths. Spending your day on the water is one of the best things to do in Faro Portugal for the whole family.
Book a boat tour to the Benagil Caves: GetYourGuide.com
Bird Watching Tour
There are over 300 different species of birds in the Algarve region alone! And the best way to see them all is with a bird-watching tour through Rio Formosa nature reserve on a solar-powered boat! Meet your boat captains at the bird-watching stand and get ready for a day out on the water.
The Rio Formosa is full of shellfish and has a self-regenerating ecosystem. This helps to provide plenty of meals for the migrating birds throughout the year. The helpful tour guides will provide binoculars and knowledge of the wetlands throughout your tour. The only sounds you will hear are the birds singing and the boat gliding through the water.
If you are looking for Faro Portugal things to do a bird-watching tour is always a good way to spend an afternoon. You do not need to have any previous birdwatching experience the guide will help you every step of the way!
Check your dates here: GetYourGuide.com
Silves & Wine Tour of the Algarve
Next up is a tour for all the wine and castle lovers! The Algarve is known to have velvety red wines and scenic landscapes, and on this guided tour you will get to experience the best of both worlds.
The stops include the Silves Cathedral, and the Grand Castle of Silves, which is one of the best-preserved castles in all of Portugal. Then your final stop is at the Quinta dos Vales’ vineyard to taste the world-famous wine paired with local bread and homemade olive oils.
You will be walking around a bit so be sure to wear comfortable clothes and wear sun protection. You are going to love spending your day with a knowledgeable guide and seeing and tasting some of the best things to do around Faro!
Book your spot today: GetYourGuide.com
Is Faro in Portugal worth visiting?
Yes! Faro is worth visiting! There is so much to do in Faro that you could never get bored. And it is very close to the rest of the beach towns in the Algarve! The old town and marina have many activities during the day and night. There are also family-friendly activities and plenty of places to enjoy seaside dining and dancing.
What is Faro Portugal famous for?
Faro Portugal is famous for many things.
- Ria Formosa Natural Park: A protected lagoon area located near Faro and is one best things to do in Faro Portugal.
- Praia de Faro, Ilha Deserta, and Praia da Quinta do Lago.
- Old Town:
- Narrow cobblestone streets, iconic architecture, and ancient castle walls.
- Archaeological Museum:
- With local Roman and Moorish artifacts.
- Fresh seafood, traditional Portuguese dishes, and local red wines.
- The Festa da Ria Formosa, Faro International Motorcycle Rally, and Festival F.
Is there a lot to do in Faro Portugal?
Yes! There is so much to do in Faro Portugal! Many people use Faro as a home base to explore the rest of the Algarve too. There are beautiful beaches, historic churches, amazing culture, and a vibrant nightlife. You will not regret any of the time you spend in Faro Portugal.
How many days in Faro is enough?
The number of days spent in Faro depends on so many factors. 7 days is enough time to see the town of Faro, and the nearby Algarve towns as well. If you wanted to just stay in Faro, you could see everything in 3 days.