Today, the Algarve's capital is often famed for its beaches and sun-soaked streets, which have an alluring charm despite their ramshackle appearance. Built into the stone walls of the old town is a rich historical tapestry that captures the imagination. Once a booming Roman port then the cultured capital of an eleventh-century kingdom (and notably the home of Portugal’s first printed works), Faro has a fascinating story to tell. Explore some of the city’s main attractions to discover its captivating history. |
Historical Gems at Every Turn in the Cidade Velha
A great way to start your stroll back through history is to begin with the city’s ancient foundations: the Muralhas de Faro. These medieval walls encircle the old town and function as a stony record that allows visitors to flick through the pages of time.
Begin with the Moorish Arco da Vila, a grand entrance that leads you into a maze of ancient cobbled streets lined with fragrant orange trees. The Cidade Velha is the perfect place for an aimless amble, and with all streets leading to Largo da Sé, the location of Faro’s imposing cathedral, there’s no danger of getting lost. Wander further and you’ll discover the Museu Municipal, an alluring sixteenth-century convent repurposed to house artefacts from the various periods of Faro’s rich history. Next, you’ll stumble across a sensational view of the placid Parque Natural da Ria Formosa, providing a glimpse into the Algarve’s natural world.
A journey through time can be thirsty work, but you’re never far from an inviting cafe or local restaurant. There are a number of places dotted throughout the historical neighbourhood that provide the perfect pit stop for you to soak up the scene around you.
For self-proclaimed history buffs, this award-winning cultural complex is a treasure trove of historical gems. To begin with, it integrates the original structure of the sixteenth-century Nossa Senhora da Assunção with more contemporary architecture.
The impressive collection is arranged chronologically, allowing visitors a look at the Roman, Moorish and medieval periods. While the assortment of Roman artefacts preserved from the nearby Milreu ruins takes centre stage, you’ll also find beautifully-preserved pieces that date back to the time of the Arabian knights.
However, it’s the magnificent Roman floor mosaic that is the museum's star attraction. Featuring the fiery gaze of Neptune, it dates from the third century AD; this showstopper piece conjures up imaginings of myth and legend.
Parque Natural da Ria Formosa
As briefly mentioned before, the story of the Algarve's capital is not all in the bricks and mortar. The nearby natural world of the Ria Formosa Nature Reserve is an ancient ecosystem itself: an extensive 60 kilometres of glittering coastline amassing 18,000 hectares of lagoons, marshland, islets and channels. The park is one of the most significant wetland habitats in Europe and is an unmissable daytrip for nature lovers.
How to Get There
There are a number of affordable flights and, with the option of a Faro Airport transfer available, getting to paradise has never been easier. To make your journey entirely hassle-free, we recommend pre-boking said Faro Airport transfer to your accommodation so that your holiday can begin the minute you step off the plane.
What are you waiting for? There’s a whole history book waiting to be opened in Portugal’s southern city. Pack your bags and being your journey!
Lukas Johannes is a driver for Shuttle Direct, the number one provider of shared and private airport transfers in various countries across the globe. If you’re looking for an affordable Faro airport transfer, Lukas and his colleagues can make sure that you get to and from the airport swiftly and safely.
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