Ossonoba. Santa Maria. al-Uqshunuba. Shantamariyyat al-Gharb. Harune.
What reads a bit like gibberish in dwarf language are some of the official names of the city of Faro over the millennia, depending on the current prevailing power.
Alone the sound already shows the heterogeneity of the different influences.
And yes, Faro has obviously experienced a lot.
Relics from the time of the first Phoenician settlements on the Greeks, Romans, as well as the Arabs and finally the Christians characterized the cityscape over time.
And it is precisely these Faro attractions that we devote to today’s blog article.
Faro was the (pre-) last destination of our 2017 Portugal road trip from Lisbon to Faro and back again.
All previous impressions can be found chronologically in the articles before, starting with Lisbon.
The history of Faro
Already 1,000 years BC Faro played a very significant role under the rule of the Phoenicians.
It gained even more importance later by the Romans.
In particular, the rich fishing grounds, as well as the trade in wine and oil pushed the economic relevance of the Faro region, then already better known as Osconoba.
Later in the 5th century, the Visigoths conquered the city and named it “Santa Maria“.
From the 8th century, more precisely 713 AD until the 13th century, the Arabs populated the area.
From this time numerous traces in and around Faro can be found.
Among other things, the massive city wall testifies to this era.
In 1249, the Crusaders conquered the city under King Alfonso III.
Later, in 1577, Faro became a bishopric and shortly before, in 1540, it even received the city law.
Like many other cities in Portugal, Faro suffered massive damage during the heavy earthquakes of 1722 and 1755.
One of the last major “highlights” Faro experienced, was in 1808 the occupation by Napoleonic troops.
Faro offers its visitors a potpourri of various beauties.
Beach, culture, nature, relaxation and adventure – in Faro and surroundings, everything is possible at the same time.
Below we give you a small overview of the probably most important Faro attractions.
The chapel of bones
Among the most impressive Faro attractions you find the Capella dos Ossos, the so-called Bone Chapel.
This small chapel, part of Nossa Senhora do Carmo, is completely adorned with the bones and skulls of more than 1,000 monks.
A total of 1245 skulls is covering the sacred building.
Upon entering, the following text is displayed:
“Pára aqui a considerar que a este estado hás-de chegar.”,
which means translated
“Pause for a moment, and consider that you will reach that state.“.
The historic center of Faro
The old town and historic center of Faro is a small gem.
Bright white houses line up boldly along the narrow streets of the city on the Algarve.
The picturesque old town itself is framed by the huge and largely well-preserved city walls, which, as already mentioned, come from the period of occupation by the Moors.
From the top of the still preserved bell tower you get an impressive view over Faro and the surrounding countryside.
Tour to the Ria Formosa Nature Park
If you like it the natural way, we recommend you a trip to the Ria Formosa Nature Park.
This is actually a saltwater lagoon surrounding the city.
The lagoon itself with its 170 km² (66 square miles) is one of the largest protected lagoons in Europe.
Numerous birds have their breeding grounds here and many wild animals can also be observed.
Different tours can be booked, depending on your wallet and / or time quota.
Biking, boat trips, catamaran tours, there is hardly a tour that does not exist.
The best way to get an overall view of the different destinations and tours is to check Viator and buy the ticket ideally in advance online.
Some of the tours have special online and early bird discounts.
Relaxing at Praia de Faro
The beaches around Faro attract many tourists from all over the world every year.
One of the most beautiful beaches nearby is the Praia de Faro.
It is also accessible by bus from the city.
The beach extends over a length of about 5 km and impresses with white-golden, velvety sand. Numerous bars and restaurants make even a longer stay a heavenly pleasure.
Incidentally, the Ilha de Faro, as it is called, is not really well known to foreign tourists.
Mainly, many Portuguese spend their holidays here. In this respect, this little idyll is a real insider tip among the Faro attractions.
The Estoi Palace
From our point of view, the ultimate insider tip for your Faro trip is a visit to the Palacio de Estoi.
We want to honor this with an extra article, because even if a stay in this beautiful antique splendor building and its gardens does not last a whole day, the impressions are even more enchanting and beautiful. More on that in our next and last article about our Portugal Summer Road Trip 2017.
Of course, Faro should be part of every Portugal road trip and especially your Algarve visit.
Not least due to its own airport, which is used by many so-called low-cost airlines from all over Europe, Faro makes an attractive destination for almost everyone.
This makes Faro the ideal starting point and / or destination for Portugal fans.
Faro offers a lot of antiquity, the nearby beach of Praia de Faro, its charming little old town and the endless little details that make up this place.
To discover Faro, we recommend at least one day, better two, or as the saying goes, all good things come in threes.
Then you can also conveniently take a tour to the National Park and visit the museums in the port of Faro.
Faro truly was a great finale of our Portugal road trip. In the next and last travel article we will give you a detailed insight into the beautiful Palacio de Estoi with its impressive tiles, gardens and fountains.
Until then, browse a bit in the gallery, where we collected all our Faro photos for you.
No need for Tarot, we are rocking Faro… sincerely greets your Hendrik
Dear reader, if you enjoyed reading our article, we would be very happy about a small donation.
Sincerely, Bird & Hendrik