I am currently living in Lisbon but, I’m from Algarve, the southern region of Portugal, more precisely from the capital of Algarve, a small city named Faro.
Faro is located in the southern tip of mainland Portugal and isn’t very large nor absolutely gorgeous to be honest, it lacks some qualities that other more tourist friendly cities, like Albufeira or Vilamoura, have. But that is what makes it better! Algarve is a beautiful region, specially in the summer with its plethora of sandy beaches, but it turns into a chaotic season when everyone, from all over, come to the south. That doesn’t happen in Faro! At least in not so much. I recently managed to visit my hometown for more than a few days so I can finally start writing about it! And I though it would be best to start with an overall guide to what you'll find in the city! Besides the beach, the city itself is worth taking a look! And you can do so in one or two days.
Many of you may come by train, and since the station is located in the middle of Faro’s coastline, I’ll start from here:
Walking bit to the left of the station you’ll find Teatro das Figuras, the largest theater in Faro and a very unique and modern building, not easy to miss. See if any shows, plays or concerts interest you! Veteran tip: cross the train tracks and walk a little in the newly revamped Seaside Walkway.
View to the sea from the walkway.
Next to the theatre is Forum Algarve, Faro’s shopping center, there are larger ones in neighboring towns but this as good as you’ll need if you want to stop by to do some shopping, drink a coffee or see a movie.
In front of the theater there’s the Calouste Gulbenkian avenue, the largest in the city, and if you go up the avenue you’ll have a lot of different paths to take, to the left you find the road to Olhão, Estoi, and other close towns, in front you go up to the João de Deus High School, and to the right you’ll eventually find the São Luís Football Stadium and the Market, the best way to buy fish and sea food in Faro.
In front of the high school there’s 5 de Outubro Avenue, which is a good walk down, as you’ll have many trees to shade you from the sun, and at the end of the avenue you find Pontinha Square, where downtown Faro begins!
On your right there is Teatro Lethes, a much smaller and older theater but very beautiful on the inside, and in front you have the main street in downtown Faro, Rua de Santo António.
Follow Rua de Santo António and you’ll be greeted by many shops, restaurant, cafés and bakeries, until you reach the Docks. The docks is where the bulk of Faro’s movement is, either during the day or by night. Here you have many cafés to sit and relax with a great view of the sea, so I advise to enjoy it at the end of the day.
Sunset at the Faro Docks.
Near the docks is also where the Faro nightlife takes place, like in Largo da Madalena or Rua do Prior (also known as Crime Street, but don’t be intimidated, it’s not really an accurate name).
And finally, next to the downtown garden, Jardim Manuel Bivar, there is Arco da Vila, an archway which leads you inside the castle walls and into Vila Adentro, the old town.
In Vila Adentro you’ll see historical streets and buildings, like the Cathedral, or the Archeological Museum to even very good restaurants and bars to eat, drink and listen to music!
Live jazz at the Musician's Association, at Vila Adentro.
I hope you find this helpful! I’ll do more articles on my home town, there is a lot to say, and I still haven’t mentioned the beach or Ria Formosa!
The usual Faro citizen.
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