Faro, Portugal’s most underrated resort town
Often passed over as tourists head from the airport to nearby resort towns, Faro is well worth visiting in its own right. Full of wonderfully preserved sights and well-maintained parks and plazas, this is a city that deserves final destination status after a long flight.
Perhaps the most fascinatingly macabre attraction in Faro, the Capela dos Ossos is a chapel built from the bones and skulls of over a thousand monks. Located behind the Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Carmo church, this ghoulish sight is not to be missed.
A 16th-century convent now houses Faro’s Museu Municipal, an elegantly domed museum displaying some of the area’s most interesting artefacts. Notable pieces are a 3rd-century mosaic uncovered at a building site in 1976 and local Islamic relics from the 9th to 13th century.
Quietly meandering cobblestone streets and squares surrounded by medieval walls make up the Cidade Velha, or Old Town. Lucky tourists spot storks nesting in the bell tower of the ancient Sé, Faro’s cathedral flanked on either side by the town hall and the Bishop’s Palace.
When travellers have explored the city to their hearts’ content, they head to Praia de Faro, the town’s beach. The endless stretch of sand is a popular spot for windsurfing, sailing or just plain relaxing.
Palhacinho is basic in its decor, but the traditional Portuguese cuisine they serve makes up for this and then some. Generous and tasty portions of fish and meat attract locals and tourists alike.
For an atmospheric candlelit dinner, Se7e Pedras gets consistently rave reviews. A great selection of wines and sangrias, classic Portuguese dishes and acoustic live music create a warmly rustic ambience perfect for romance.