Day 1 in Faro
Welcome to Faro! Upon arrival, you will go through customs and immigration. Should you opt to purchase a transfer to your hotel; a representative will be waiting for you as you exit immigration. Make your way to Faro and arrive at your hotel. Check in and do not give in to jet lag! There is so much for you to see and do!
Start your sightseeing at Faro Cathedral, the seat of the Diocese of Faro. One of the oldest buildings in town, Faro Cathedral has been a town landmark for over 700 years. Learn more about Faro`s history by viewing the exhibits at the Museu Municipal de Faro. Experience Faro`s Medieval history up close by viewing sections of the old town walls: the Arco do Repouso was a key entry point into the old city, and nearby you can see a larger span of the original city walls (the Muralhas de Faro). View the stunningly beautiful Revivalist design of the Palacete Belmarco, and end the day at the even more ornate Arco da Vila.
Day 2 in Faro
Wake up bright and early and visit the Igreja da Misericordia, a unique church featuring a mix of architectural designs and hand-carved accents. Take some time to view folk art originating from the Algarve at the Museu Regional do Algarve. Enjoy a picnic lunch at the city`s largest urban park and garden, the Jardim da Alameda Joao de Deus. After lunch, you will be dazzled by the Igreja do Carmo, yet another church with a breathtaking altar and chapel. Stop by the Palacete Guerreirinho, an elaborate Neoclassical mansion located on a busy city block, for a quick viewing on your way to a show of your choice at the Teatro Lethes, the oldest theatre in town.
Day 3 in Faro
The sea is an important factor in the history, economy and culture of Faro, and you can learn about the sea`s impact on the area at the local Maritime Museum. Just a short trek away is Faro Marina, where you can buy a ticket for a ferry and experience the various islands of Ria Formosa Natural Park. First stop is Faro Island, adjacent to the local airport, which also has the most developed beach, called Faro Beach. If you are looking for a more secluded place to enjoy the sun and sand, consider visiting either Barreta Island (where Cabo de Santa Maria, mainland Portugal`s southernmost point, is situated) or Culatra Island, both relaxing options.
Additional Days in Faro
Traveling northeast about 40 miles, the town of Vila Real de Santo Antonio is the southeasternmost town in Portugal, and the last town in the Algarve before crossing the border into Spain. It was one of many cities across the country which were planned from scratch after the devastating 1755 earthquake destroyed much of the country. The fortress of Cacela was built at the same time, in order to protect the Portuguese border from any attacks by the Spanish. The city was planned on a grid system, and thrived for many years as a prime outpost in the Algarve`s fishing industry. Today it plays a new role as a tourism haven, as people from all over Europe visit the old fortress and the city`s beautiful beaches. The beaches in particular are changing shape fast, with many hotels and even a couple of casinos moving beachside.
Just ten miles northwest of Faro, the city of Loule offers history buffs some of the most exciting sights in all of the Algarve. A settlement was first built in the area now known as Loule in the Paleolithic era, and has been a continuous settlement since the time of the Romans in the second century before the Common Era. The current city boundaries (based on the city`s Medieval-era walls) date from the eighth century and the rise of the Moors. Loule Castle was built in the eighth century, and is now preserved and open to the public as a national monument; preservation has also been undertaken on what remains of Loule`s city walls. Visit Loule during the winter carnival, the June Mediterranean music festival and bazaar, and the August "White Night" which transforms the city into one buzzing party.
Northwest of Faro by approximately 40 miles, the city of Silves is full of history and sights to be seen. The capital of the Algarve before Faro, Silves was founded in the eighth century by the Moors, who incorporated the settlement into the nearby Caliph of Cordoba. An important center of science and learning, Silves was described as the `Baghdad of the West`. After the Portuguese retook the town in 1242, its importance declined, but Silves`s fortunes were reversed in the twentieth century with the advent of national and international tourism. In 1910, city officials began a preservation of Silves Castle, which was first built in the third century before the Common Era. Later, the remnants of the city`s walls were also restored, and the local government has funded a number of archaeological excavations in the area. People visiting Silves come for the history and stay for the charm.
Your Last Day in Faro
Depart your hotel and head to the airport for your return home. We recommend that you purchase a private transfer; if so, a representative will meet you at the hotel in time to take you to the airport for your flight out.