Faro--Its Sights, Its Life

Portugal, Faro Guide (A): Faro--Its Sights, Its Life

Enjoyed by all ages, this walk combines historical and contemporary points of interest, giving you a feel for the city, its history and people. Explore the medieval walls of the Old City, a chapel of human bones, the marketplace, and Alameda Garden, where you can feed the pigeons and peacocks that roam freely. Visit intricately tiled and gilded churches and a museum where you can enter into a world of Portuguese legends.
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Walk Route

Guide Name: Faro--Its Sights, Its Life
Guide Location: Portugal » Faro
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Article (A))
# of Attractions: 9
Tour Duration: 3.0 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.3 km
Sight(s) featured in this guide: Doca de Recreio de Faro (Faro Marina)   Igreja de São Pedro (St. Peter´s Church)   Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Carmo (Church of Our Lady of Carmo)   Mercado Municipal (Municipal Market)   Jardim da Alameda João de Deus (Alameda Garden)   Arco do Repouso (Gateway of Rest)   Museu Municipal (Municipal Museum)   Sé de Faro (Cathedral of Faro)   Arco da Vila (Gateway of the City)  
Author: Joy Hardwick
Author Bio: Born (but not bred) in Alabama, I fell in love with travel during childhood. Growing up in Dubai, and later, Egypt, I developed a passion for experiencing different cultures. I prefer the backpacking style to 4-star hotels and tour buses, as I believe it provides more room for exploration, giving you a real feel for a place. For the past 16 years, I have been living in Portugal with my 10-year-old daughter. I hope to share some of the jewels which I have found here.
Doca de Recreio de Faro (Faro Marina)

1) Doca de Recreio de Faro (Faro Marina)

At the heart of the city, Faro Marina is the perfect point of reference to orient yourself. If you stand at the top corner of the marina, with your back to the marina and facing the roundabout, in front of you to the right is the square known as Jardim Manuel Bivar, where during the summer, open air market stalls line the center. Further along, at the end of the square, is the Arco da Vila, or archway leading into the historic Old City; next door to the arch is the tourist office. Along the side...
Igreja de São Pedro (St. Peter´s Church)

2) Igreja de São Pedro (St. Peter´s Church)

Spurred by the growth of towns during the Portuguese Maritime Expansion of the 15th century, and the continuing commercial and urban development of the 16th century, Faro was elevated to the status of "city." It was during this period of growth and commerce that the Igreja de São Pedro was built in the late 16th century. The simple façade of this church hides a surprisingly ornate and splendid interior, adorned with intricate wood carvings gilded with gold brought over from Brazil....
Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Carmo (Church of Our Lady of Carmo)

3) Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Carmo (Church of Our Lady of Carmo)

This early 18th-century church, in both aesthetic and religious terms, is one of the most important buildings in the Algarve. Founded in 1712 by the Bishop Dom António Pereira da Silva, the first stone was laid in February of 1714, and five years later, in 1719, the church, now ready for service, was blessed by the Bishop Dom José Pereira de Lacerda. In July of this same year, a procession carried the image of Nossa Senhora do Carmo from the Capela da Esperança, or Chapel of Hope, to the...
Mercado Municipal (Municipal Market)

4) Mercado Municipal (Municipal Market)

The Mercado Municipal houses the city´s traditional open-air market, with its stalls of fresh meat, fish, produce, and other typical Portuguese fare, like cheeses, olives, chouriços, bread, and other sweet and savoury goods. Through the 1990s, supermarkets still were few and far between, and daily shopping for the evening meal still was done at the city market. Although supermarkets have spread like plague in the past decade, these municipal markets still exist today and many continue to do...
Jardim da Alameda João de Deus (Alameda Garden)

5) Jardim da Alameda João de Deus (Alameda Garden)

Popular with both the younger and the older generations of Faro, the Jardim da Alameda is a beautiful garden, recreational area, and mini arboretum. As you enter through the rear gate of the garden, you will find a children´s playground area and toilets on your right. Past the playground, at the end of the park is a mini golf course; a real bargain at under 1€ per person. Almost directly ahead of you as you enter the park is an especially dense area of foliage, with stone floors and benches...
Arco do Repouso (Gateway of Rest)

6) Arco do Repouso (Gateway of Rest)

This ancient arch, dating back to the Arab Age of the 12th century, provides access into the medieval walls constructed by a Muslim prince as a defense against Christian invasion. Around this archway are some of the wall´s oldest sections, constructed by the Portuguese King Afonso III as improvements on the Moorish defenses after the city was reclaimed by the Portuguese in the second half of the 13th century. Two legends surround the naming of the Arco do Repoouse, or Gateway of Rest. The first...
Museu Municipal (Municipal Museum)

7) Museu Municipal (Municipal Museum)

The Museu Municipal is housed inside the 16th-century Convento de Nossa Senhora da Assunção (Our Lady of the Assumption Convent), which had fallen into disuse in 1834 after the extinction of the religious order. Having been used as a cork factory in the 20th century, by 1960 work had begun to adapt the building to a museum. The museum is composed of both permanent and temporary exhibits. Of especial interest among its permanent exhibits are the ancient Roman artefacts displayed in the exhibit...
Sé de Faro (Cathedral of Faro)

8) Sé de Faro (Cathedral of Faro)

The Sé, or city cathedral, has its origin dating back to the 13th century, although at that time it had not yet been elevated to the status of cathedral; it served only as a church, known as the Igreja de Santa Maria. Although no archaeological proof exists, it is generally believed that this building was erected on the foundations of an ancient mosque. In any event, the origins certainly date back to the 2nd half of the 13th century, when the Christians took back the city from the Moors. The...
Arco da Vila (Gateway of the City)

9) Arco da Vila (Gateway of the City)

The Arco da Vila, or Gateway of the City, is the last stop on this tour and brings us back to the Jardim Manuel Bivar and Faro Marina. As with the Arco do Repouso, the Arco da Vila dates back to the Arab reign of the 12th century, although the baroque façade of the arch, which we will see as we exit the Old City, in no way resembles the original 12th-century entrance. The arch we see today, constructed in the second half of the 18th century, exists thanks to the will of Bishop Dom Francisco...