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More than just the gateway to The Algarve, Faro, the region's capital, is also far more than just another resort and party town. It offers the usual mix of accommodation, but many of the best places to stay in Faro can be found in the surrounding countryside.
With a reputation for 300 sunny days a year, many travellers just pass through on their way to the beach, or the golf course, but there's a lot to this very Portuguese feeling town. It's has a beautiful, medieval old town with a warren of tiny lanes to explore, a wealth of pretty parks and plazas and a very nice marina. And of course the nearby beaches - both on the islands of the Ilha de Faro and the more au naturel coves and lagoons of the Parque Natural da Rio Formosa.
Early summer is especially lovely here, though if you time your visit for mid to late August you'll get to appreciate some of the lively, colourful treasures of the annual folklore festival.
For those who want to explore The Algarve, Faro makes an excellent off-season base. With the added bonus of having beautiful whitewashed Iberian and Moorish architecture which is particularly spectacular while photographed under the sunlight of a Portuguese winter. While some of the best places are closed in the low season there are still plenty of excellent choices.
Faro itself is also known for some unusual vehicles - this is a town of many unexpected, but pleasurable discoveries waiting to be made.
What Not To Miss
- Take the ferry across to the small Ilha Deserta, a stunningly scenic spot that's ideal for an afternoon walk before stopping off for something to eat in the beachside restaurant.
- Meander around the picturesque Old Town and marvel at the beautiful architecture all around.
- Faro Cathedral and Carmo Church both feature impressively ornate interiors that are definitely worth checking out.
- Or, if you fancy learning about the area's rich history then head to the Museo Municipal de Faro.
If you're coming in the busy summer months then be sure to book ahead as the best places to stay in Faro get quickly filled up!
Best places to stay in Faro
The old town dates from the 9th Century and if you're here for the history, stay within the old medieval walls which were originally built on top of a Roman forum.
- Or else stay somewhere like Pousada de Faro, an 18th century Rocco palace replete with original ornate decor in the public spaces, but more modern style rooms with all the necessary mod cons.
Visit the local produce market for the taste testing, then run the gauntlet of the appetising delis, Rua de Santo Antonia boutiques and outdoor cafes to the marina. Eat at Faro e Benfica.
- Stay at Fazenda Nova, a traditional Portuguese villa cum modern sanctuary. Also a perfect spot for a couple's hideaway.
- Faro is only 7kms from the beach, via bus 14 or 16, but if you stay at the Hotel Quinta do Lago you'll be even closer. This luxurious spot is also known for its championship golf course and choice of excellent restaurants.
- Another of Faro's unexpected treasures is its macabre Chapel of Bones, the walls of which are covered with bones.
- We're definitely not suggesting this would be one of the best places to stay in Faro, however, if you like something unusual, try Vila Monte, a small, Moorish style resort with first class facilities. As well as a riad and orange groves, you'll also find a driving range and gourmet cuisine.
For Outside Faro
- Located in nearby Olhao, Convento offers charming traditional accommodation in creamy hues and boasting its own outdoor swimming pool. With just 9 rooms and no kids under 16 allowed, it's also a lovely spot for a romantic retreat.
For An Apartment or Villa
If you'd prefer the privacy of a self-catering option then browse through the wide variety available online with our partner Booking.com.
- Faro is nicest weather-wise in the summer, with the average daily temperature rising to 24°C in July and August. However, this is peak season, so for a quieter and potentially cheaper alternative consider coming in May, September or October.
- International visitors can fly into Faro Airport, located 4km west of the city, before taking the bus or the train into the centre of town.
- Ryanair and Jet2 fly direct from Stansted to Faro, whilst easyJet and British Airways go from Gatwick.
- For car hire prices, we recommend you visit our online partner Rentalcars.
Still not sure?
Best Hotels in Faro
Pousada de Faro 63 rooms from £95Faro, Algarve
An historic 18th century Rococo palace in the village of Estoi, ten kilometres from Faro. Now a comfortable hotel with a swimming pool, spa and restaurant O Visconde serving Portuguese specialities. The original ornate rooms are paired with contemporary furnishings, bedroom suites are luxurious.Restaurant - The restaurnt serves typical Portguese dishes such as Gaspacho, Tuna Carpaccio and Cataplana FishPalace - The palace was built by Jose Franciscio da Silva, Viscount of EstoiSit-out Terrace - Hot sunny terrace and shady parasols by the swimming poolSights nearby - Well located for major sights.