Faro, Portugal is well known as a sun-worshipper's paradise; Portugal's southern coast boasts conditions that rarely drop below sweatshirt weather during the colder months, and are consistently perfect for ocean-side fun during the months that run from June through September. Of course, lovely weather and unspoiled beaches aren't all the capital of the Algarve region has to offer. Here, we'll take a look at some of the best things to see and do in Faro, Portugal.
Hidroespaco - Faro's premiere SCUBA diving company, Hidroespaco, garners rave reviews from seasoned divers and landlubbers alike. The company offers guided dives to haunting shipwrecks, stunning coral reefs, and coastal areas that are positively replete with undersea life. Even those who are a bit anxious about taking their first undersea adventure will feel at ease in the capable hands of the patient instructors at Hidroespaco.
Ilhas Desertas - This secluded island is the perfect place to go when you want to escape the summertime crowds. To get there, you'll take a ferry that leaves from a dock, which is a mere five-minute walk from old-town Faro. After a relaxing, forty-minute journey, you'll disembark onto an island nearly deserted, but for the seagulls and a few other lucky visitors. There's a restaurant here, but you can just as easily pack a picnic lunch. Don't forget the sunscreen, either.
Old Town Faro - Travelers on their way to the beach often overlook Faro's Old Town, but they're missing out on one of the best things to do in Faro! Here, you'll find winding cobblestone streets, stately old churches, plenty of shops and restaurants, and lots of lovingly restored 18th century Portuguese and Moorish-style buildings. In Old Town Faro, it's almost like you're stepping back in time.
Algarve Luxury Boot Camp - Picture yourself returning from your Portuguese vacation in fighting form, ready to take on whatever life throws at you. If you stay at Algarve Luxury Boot Camp, you will. This intense fitness camp helps those who would like to get in better shape to do so in style, with daily fitness activities, tailored meal plans, and top-notch wellness facilities. Your friends back home thought you were going to relax on the beach with a drink in your hand. Boy, will they be surprised.
Carmo Church - Are you a history buff who also happens to have a fascination with the macabre? You can't go wrong with a visit to Carmo Church. This lavishly decorated church doesn't look too different from other churches when viewed from the front, but venture through the garden in the back, and you'll arrive at the Capela dos Ossos. This chapel is decorated with the skeletons of more than a thousand former monks. It's frighteningly elegant, and certainly worth the low admission price.
Praia de Faro - This is one of Faro's most popular beaches, and with good reason, too. The beach stretches o nearly as far as the eye can see in either direction, and the water is a glittering, unbelievable blue. There are plenty of watering holes here, serving up delicious fare at affordable prices, and it's a wonderful place for people watching during the busy season. Kick back and enjoy the sun!
Things to Do in Faro
What's there to see in Faro, Portugal? Plenty, if you know where to look. Here, we'll check out some of the best tours and attractions that Faro has to offer.
Ponta da Peidade - This mysterious grotto is filled with intriguing caves, many of which can only be accessed by boat. Local tour guides offer excursions in the grotto, guiding visitors across its crystal-green waters in small, out-board motored boats. If you'd prefer, you can rent a kayak and explore on your own instead.
Centro Hipico Quinta da Suadade - There are many horse-mounted tours available in Faro, but those who are in the know tend to rate this one most favorably. Daily excursions take guests along the picturesque beach, up the sand dunes, and down to the grottoes. If you've ever dreamed of galloping down a sandy shore aboard a majestic steed, you won't be disappointed after this tour.
Novacortica - Industria corticeira S.A. - Looking to experience some of Faro's more quirky attractions? This three-hour tour through the underground catacombs, Capuchin Crypt and the Basilica of San Clemente showcases the best of Faro's underground attractions, like the crypt made from Chaupchin monks' bones and the Domitilla Catacombs where early Christians worshipped in secret.
International Sand Sculpture Festival - The Algarve is home to many festivals, but this one is unique. The exhibition is open to visitors from the months of May through October, so if you happen to be in the Faro District during that time, you should definitely check it out. Each year's festival has a different theme, so there's always something new to see. A truly magnificent festival.
Zoomarine Algarve - Who doesn't love dolphins? These majestic, intelligent creatures are always worth seeing. At Zoomarine Algarve, you'll encounter porpoises, sharks, seals, sea lions, and tropical birds. You'll get a wet and wild thrill ride, sliding down the water slides at the Zoomarine's world-class water park, Zoomarine Beach. When the Portuguese sun is beating down, this is definitely the place to go when you want to beat the heat.
Faro Archaeological Museum - Who doesn't love dolphins? These majestic, intelligent creatures are always worth seeing. At Zoomarine Algarve, you'll encounter porpoises, sharks, seals, sea lions, and tropical birds. You'll get a wet and wild thrill ride, sliding down the water slides at the Zoomarine's world-class water park, Zoomarine Beach. When the Portuguese sun is beating down, this is definitely the place to go when you want to beat the heat.
Teatro Lethes - You can think of the Teatro Lethes Theatre as "La Scala" in miniature scale, and you won't be far off. It might be a small venue, but it's no less majestic for its diminutive stature. Depending on when you visit, you may be able to catch a stirring dramatic or musical performance from some of Portugal's finest performers. But even if catching a show isn't in the cards, the theatre alone is still worth the visit.
What to Expect from the Weather in Faro
The year-round sunshine is certainly among the many reasons why travelers choose to spend time in Faro, Portugal. With generally warm summers and mild winters, it's no wonder. Let's take a look at Faro's weather and climate to determine the best time of year to visit Portugal based on its seasonal changes.
Faro's climate is classified as Subtropical-Mediterranean, which means that summers are hot and sunny, and that autumn, spring, and winter are typically quite mild and pleasant. As far as the weather goes, there really isn't a bad time to visit Faro. That is, unless you burn easily, in which case you may want to consider visiting during the off-season.
Average Temperatures in Faro
July is generally the hottest month in Faro, with average daytime highs in the range of 82 degrees, though much hotter days have certainly been recorded. August is a close second, coming in with temperatures that are just slightly cooler on average when compared to July. June and September also tend to be quite warm. Summer nights present yet another bonus of visiting Faro during the hot season. Temperatures in the evening rarely dip below the low 60s, so you're unlikely to need anything heavier than a windbreaker, even on the chilliest nights.
During the winter months, highs tend to be in the low-to-mid 60s during the day, with lows ranging from the mid 40s to the low 50s. Doesn't sound like much of a winter, does it? Faro is a perfect place to escape the snow shovel blues if you live in an area where harsh wint ers are generally the rule.
Spring and autumn in Faro are both quite pleasant: you'll find highs in the low 60s to low 70s during the day, and evening lows hovering in the 50s. As you can probably see by now, there really isn't a bad time to plan a trip to Faro.
How's the Water? In Faro, Just Fine
If you're planning on taking a dip in the ocean during your trip to Faro, you'll be happy to know that the ocean is perfectly pleasant nearly all year-round. Even in January, the average water temperature is a balmy 63 degrees, and in the summer, it hovers around 72 degrees.
When it Rains, it Pours
One potential drawback of visiting Faro during the winter is the rainfall. November and December are the rainiest months; each of these months receives an average of 100mm of precipitation. Visiting during the months of October, January, or February also increases the odds of encountering seasonal downpours during your stay. You'll still very likely to get plenty of sunny days, but be sure to bring an umbrella, just in case. During the summers in Faro, rain is almost unheard of. In July and August, your odds of encountering precipitation on any given day are one in thirty. We'll take those odds! June and September are nearly as dry. Springtime in Faro is beautiful, and while it's not quite as dry as the summertime, you'll still have plenty of time to get out and find some time in the sun.
Average Sunshine Hours
If you're looking to maximize your fun in the sun, May through August are the best months to visit Faro; they each average 12 lovely hours of sunshine per day. After August, the average daily hours of sunshine taper gradually down to a low of five hours during December and January, before rising back up through the spring.
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