Every year, I go on a girls’ weekend. As these trips are now scientifically proven to improve your health, it’s absolutely essential I take one each year! Joking aside, the time to regroup, laugh with friends and be me is priceless. Last year, we went to Palma, Mallorca and this year we went to Faro. After much deliberation (and almost talking ourselves out of it – ridiculous, I know!) finally, we found a winning combination in Faro. Here are my ten reason to go to Faro on a girls’ weekend.
Sometime in cold and dark January, a Facebook post popped up in feed telling me it was sunny and 26 degrees in Portugal. At that point, I tagged my co-travellers! The Algarve is a particularly sunny place, with temperatures rarely dropping below 20 degrees. We went the first weekend in March, and all three days were beautifully sunny and the temperature peaked at around 20/21. Meanwhile, the temperature was single figures in the UK …
2. Easy to get to
We were out on an early EasyJet flight from LGW, and within two and half hours, we had landed in sunny Faro. Faro is popular with us Brits and at least five different airlines fly there from London and regional airports.
By early afternoon, we strolling the sun-filled Faro streets. Faro is a small place, but not lacking at all in character. Faro old town is full of cobbled streets, instagrammable doors and beautiful baroque buildings. It won’t take long to stroll around, but it really is worth it to soak up the plazas within the old town. Finish up with either a drink at the harbour or at the bar on the ancient city walls- this city is not short on views.
4. Food and Drink
Portugal is known for its delicious food, and Faro is no different. From pastel de natal and strong coffee for breakfast, seafood lunches and steaks for dinner, everyone was happy with the food. Obviously, all washed down with crisp white wines.
Our favourite restaurant in Faro was definitely Se7e Pedras. The restaurant has carefully curated menu, which showcases the best of Portuguese cuisine: Think fresh fish, meat and smaller tapas plates. I can wholly recommend the rasor clam risotto! Added to this, the decor is quirky and cool, and makes it really great place to eat.
We also sampled cocktails at the popular Columbus bar – they’re unusual and theatrical, expect mugs, copper tankards and plenty of extras, definitely worth a visit!
5. Bone Museum (The Capela dos Ossos)
I have an important caveat here, I didn’t actually visit here! We decided to visit on Sunday morning, and it wasn’t actually open … The chapel is open Monday to Friday 10:00-13:00 and 15:00-17:30, on Saturday it is only open 10:00-13:00 and the chapel is closed all day Sunday. It costs 2 euros and a visit takes about 20 minutes.
The chapel is decorated with 1200 skulls and bones, that were exhumed from a cemetery, basically to make room for more bodies within the cemetery! The bones are actually those of the monks who used to reside in Faro roughly 200 years ago. Truly macabre, but slightly fascinating too!
En route to the (closed) chapel, we did actually walk through the market. This was a wonderful market full of fresh produce – ideal if you’re self catering, or just to look and soak up the sounds, smells and sites. Faro is less touristy than I had imagined and this market really is used by locals.
7. Praia de Faro Beach
Faro has its own beach which is roughly 10k from the city centre. We got a taxi out there (Uber operates in Faro) but there is also a regular bus service there. You will find a 5km sandy stretch, with many bars and restaurants adjoining the beach. There is also a surf school operating, so not just a beach for catching the rays.
We enjoyed the most delicious sea food lunch here – just watch the waves, we may have got caught whilst posing for the ‘gram …
8. Boat trips
Within easy reach of Faro, there are three sandbar islands (Ilha de Faro, Ilha Deserta and the Ilha da Culatra), which shelter the mud flats of the Parque Natural da Ria Formosa. This are all accessible from Faro by a boat trip. All boast sandy stretches and a deserted feel, with the Ilha da Culatra still home to a small fishing community.
Ria Formasa is national, park which consists of salt water lagoons and mud flats. It is home to an abundance of wildlife including the highest concentration of sea horses! Apparently, at certain times of the year you can also spot flamingos here …
There are many apartments to rent through either Air BnB or Booking.com. We booked a great apartment in central Faro: The hosts could not have been friendly and not only picked us up from the airport, she also familiarised us with the area. It’s a great apartment, in the heart of the action!
Also, Booking.com have lots of great accommodation in the area
10. Day trips
Faro is the ideal base to make day trips to some of the other gorgeous beaches and towns within the Algarve. As we enjoy beaches, sunshine and food and drink, we chose to head out to Quinto do Logo, a resort approximately 20km from Faro. We found another stunning beach and of course, a delicious lunch.
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