Our Hotels in Faro
Browse hotels in Faro
Although it's the capital of the famed Algarve region – and the main transportation gateway – this little city is often overlooked despite its many delights. The pace of life is a touch slower here, and the city has a quieter, more down-to-earth feel than some of its energetic neighbours like Albufeira, Lagos and Portimão.
There's no missing the vast Ria Formosa, a huge sea lagoon with barrier islands, salt marshes and sand dunes, which defines the Faro coast and is a haven for flamingos, along with hundreds of other bird species. This natural oasis sets the scene for a water-lover's holiday (think sailing, kayaking and more), but if history is your thing, Faro has plenty of that, too. Faro's old town centre tells a story of Roman and Moorish influence through centuries-old buildings and well-worn cobbled streets.
Whatever your fancy, you'll have a comfortable base when you visit Faro, Portugal. Hotels in Faro city centre, economic rooms for families and solo travellers, and even hotels with a pool – discover the best options from Accor.
What to do in Faro
Best Beaches and Islands near Faro
With its beautiful coastal setting, it's no wonder that holidays in Faro revolve largely around the beach. The main draw is Praia de Faro, a peaceful stretch of white sand with calm waters, backed by easygoing cafés and local snack bars for relaxing after a day in the southern Portuguese sun. Those keen to learn how to surf in Faro are in luck, as the break here produces consistent, gentle waves that are ideal for beginners, and there are surf schools offering lessons nearby.
At the edge of the Ria Formosa a number of barrier islands offer the chance to enjoy beautiful, remote beaches without big crowds, or indeed… anyone else at all.
Ilha de Barreta (Ilha Deserta) is the most untouched of the lot, with only limited ferry services during summertime months, meaning you'll need to hire a water taxi or have your own boat to get there. Ilha do Farol and Ilha da Culatra can be reached via ferry from Faro in summer, and also from nearby Olhão (all year). Even though it's called an island, Ilha de Faro is a peninsula connected to the mainland by bridge, and home to the city's main beach, Praia de Faro. Dolphin-watching and kayaking tours depart from Faro Marina, where there are relaxed eateries to grab a bite to eat with a lovely view of the boat-dotted harbour.
If you're planning a road trip in the Algarve, Faro is a great jumping-off point for excursions to charming Portuguese cities, including historic Lagos. The journey from Faro to Lagos takes about an hour by car (but factor in extra time for visiting beach resorts such as Vilamoura and Albufeira along the way). Expect to be greeted by glorious golden beaches, rugged cliffs and the dramatic Ponta da Piedade sea pillars, not to mention incredible sea caves in the area.
You'll want to take a detour on the way to Lagos and visit the intensely popular, photogenic Benagil Cave, known for the striking hole in its roof. The cave is accessed by boat tours, although in summer these can be in extremely high demand. Feeling energetic? Hire a kayak or stand-up paddleboard to visit the cave – you'll have plenty of company.
Faro Old Town
Aside from the wonderful waterscapes and dreamy, deserted beaches, tourism in Faro is concentrated on the old town area, which is surrounded by well-preserved city walls. The star of the show here is the neoclassical, early-1800s Arco de Vila, a grand arch with a rare, Moorish horseshoe gate inside. It's a must to walk through the arch into the historic town centre, where rows of white buildings recall Faro's Moorish past.
Large parts of Faro have been rebuilt over the years, after various conquests and a raid by English soldiers who set fire to city landmarks and churches in 1596, including the Igreja de Santa Maria. This medieval cathedral also suffered significant damage during two earthquakes in the 1700s, but today is a major tourist attraction for its charming design and pretty blue azulejo tiles.
Another much-loved church is the stunning Igreja do Carmo, with its gilded wood carved altars and collection of Baroque statues. Here, you'll also come across an intriguing, if not somewhat morbid, bone chapel home to monk skulls beautifully arranged and incorporated into the walls. For a dose of fresh air and perspective, head up the steps to the church's rooftop lookout, where panoramic views extend over the city, marina and lagoon.
Museums in Faro
Culture buffs are in luck as there are a handful of great museums in Faro, starting with the Museu Municipal de Faro, which displays archeological relics spanning Roman, Islamic and medieval eras of the city's past, plus many interesting paintings, inside a former convent. Call into the two-floor Museu Regional do Algarve for exhibits on the wider region's history, arts and folklore – don't miss the rooms recreated to represent a traditional house in a bygone time. For families with young ones, there's plenty to engage with at the Centro Ciência Viva do Algarve, a life-sciences museum with a hands-on touchpool aquarium and various interactive exhibits focused on understanding the natural world.
Nightlife and Restaurants in Faro
In Faro old town, restaurants mostly serve up Portuguese cuisine and regional dishes from the Algarve, such as feijoada (a stew of meat and beans) and leitão (roasted suckling pig). With its coastal expanse, it's no surprise that seafood is a big deal here, with local specialities including fish soup and razor clam risotto. Many popular cakes and desserts are made with figs and almonds, and there's even fig brandy to try. Another Faro favourite is Medronho, a strong fruit brandy made from the fruit of arbutus (wild strawberry) trees.
Faro is a university town with a young crowd hitting the old town's bars and clubs to let off steam. Although it doesn't quite compete against its party-town neighbours, the nightlife here can certainly be lively, with plenty of student haunts, sports bars and dance spots. Whether it's a vibrant Irish pub or a low-lit cocktail bar, Faro has plenty of late-night options to suit your mood.
Best Hotels in Faro, Algarve
The city's somewhat unusual layout means some of the best places to stay in Faro may not necessarily be in the city centre – it's going to depend on what's most important to you. Dreaming of a lagoon view? Or perhaps a near-deserted barrier island? Knowing if you'd prefer easy access to the main beach, or just a quick ride to and from the airport to finish off your Algarve adventure, will help you decide where to stay in Faro.
Searching for a Faro airport hotel? Accor has an ibis just 3 kilometres from the airport, which is reachable via car in 15 minutes, or on bus routes 14 and 16 (disembark at Pontes de Marchil). This conveniently located Faro accommodation is the ideal pick of family hotels in Faro, thanks to its summertime outdoor pool, relaxed terrace dining and buffet breakfast.
Getting to and from Faro
Faro is the gateway to the Algarve, quite literally, as it has the only airport in the entire region. Reached by bus in 20 minutes from the city centre, Faro Airport offers international and domestic flights connections. Quick beach trip before jetting off? It's on the cards if you want it – Praia de Faro is only a 5-minute bus ride from the airport. Whether you're newly wed honeymooners, travelling on a budget or a family of five, Faro has something special to offer you, with plenty more on its doorstep – the whole of the Algarve to discover, in fact.