Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Faro

Faro is the largest city in the Algarve and the gateway to southern Portugal. Lying on the coast, overlooking the shallow lagoons of the protected Ria Formosa Natural Park, this is a destination blessed with rich cultural wealth and a stunning location. Faro’s history is compelling. The Romans called it Ossonoba, and their legacy is tangible.

Cidade Velha

Exploring Faro’s compact Old Town is one of the most popular things to do and the ideal way to get to know the Algarve’s capital city. Encircled by dusty medieval walls built over Roman foundations, the vicinity is a veritable history book of visitor attractions, a pleasing page-turner that introduces the city’s venerable but sometimes turbulent past.

Sé (Cathedral)

Built on the site of an Arab mosque, Faro Cathedral was consecrated in the late 13th century, but successive facelifts have added Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque features that lend the building’s exterior a rather haphazard look. Its near destruction in 1596 after an attack by the English didn’t help either, but by the mid-1600s it was looking considerably more attractive, especially inside.

Museu Municipal

This outstanding and award-winning cultural showpiece benefits from its integration within the former 16th-century convent of Nossa Senhora da Assunção; the beautiful Renaissance cloister alone is worth discovering. Arranged chronologically, the permanent collection spans prehistory and the Roman, Moorish, and medieval periods, plus the 18th and 19th centuries.

Parque Natural da Ria Formosa

Faro is blessed with a subliminal natural asset – the beautiful and pristine Ria Formosa nature reserve. Following 60 kilometers of coastline from Praia de Faro to Cacela Velha, the park encloses 18,000 hectares of lagoons and marshland, saltpans, islets, and channels.

Land Train

The Comboio Turística, or tourist train, provides a novel way for tourists to discover Faro. Departing from Jardim Manuel Bivar in front of the marina, the land train trundles its way past the city’s most evocative landmarks and visitor attractions.