Itinerary for a weekend in Faro
Faro is a fantastic place to visit for a weekend break given its close proximity to the airport and there are more than enough things to see and do! Some ideas of how to fill a weekend in Faro are set out below.
Half Day Trip around Ria Formosa Natural Park
With Ria Formosa Natural Park on your doorstop, it did not take any convincing to go on a 3 hour boat trip (25Euros) around the park. We stopped off at Ilha Deserta (the deserted island) which is the Algarve’s quietest and most isolated beach and Ilha do Farol, a sandy beach island with a couple of beach bars and a lighthouse built in 1851. You wear life jackets so it is perfectly safe and they also provide blankets if it is a little windy!
Ria Formosa expands to 66 kilmometres with 5 islands in between Farol and Ilha Deserta with over 250 species of bird and 75 different fishes from sting rays to sharks and seahorses ! Be warned that a tour can be delayed or cancelled due to the high tide which can alter the water height by 4 meters.
Our tour guide was informative and stopped at different spots along the way. We visited Ilha Deserta first where only one person lives who apparently visits his wife only on Fridays and just spends the rest of his time with fishermen! Beautiful deserted island but no need to spend more than 30-40 minutes having a wander around – there are some tours where you can get a boat just there and back from around 10Euros.
Ilha Do Farol is still pretty quiet but is lovely to walk along the beach and by the lighthouse before doing a circle to one of the few bars that are open for a beverage. You spend around one hour here before heading back to Faro.
Opposite the marina and across the road is the entrance to the Old Town via the beautiful Arco do Vila gate. Just meander through the cobbled streets which will lead up to the gothic Se Cathedral and the Paco Episcopal Palace where there are also gorgeous lemon trees.
The Old Town itself is surrounded by the ancient city walls so we just wandered around the perimeter and ended up at O Castelo (the Old Castle) for food and drink and some gorgeous views.
You can climb to the top of Se Cathedral for only 3.50Euros for beautiful views, although sadly I messed up the weekend timings and was an hour too late – gutted! The opening times are (February to November) Monday to Friday from 10 to 6 and Saturdays 9-1.
In the newer town there are a variety of shops, bars and restaurants so don’t miss out on this part either.
We wanted to chill out so didn’t venture any further but I was told that Taveria is meant to be a cute harbour town which is worthy of a day trip.
East London Girl: Things to do in Faro