Things to do in
Faro

The Algarve’s capital charms explorers with its walled old town, eclectic architecture, and nature reserve.

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Our most recommended things to do in Faro

Faro: Deserta Island and Farol Island Catamaran Boat Trip

1. Faro: Deserta Island and Farol Island Catamaran Boat Trip

When you’re in Portugal make sure to experience this exciting catamaran boat to Deserta and Farol islands that will take you through the spectacular nature of the Ria Formosa. Come see why this region was elected one of the 7 Natural Wonders of Portugal. Depart from the Marina of Faro sailing slowly through the channels of the Ria Formosa to fully enjoy the beautiful landscape. Along the tour you will see birds like the Grey Heron, the White Stork and many other birds that use this area as a feeding habitat. As you approach the islands and beaches you see the lighthouse of Culatra Island where you make our first stop. Looking around, one can observe the hard work of the people in the oyster and clam farms. A closer look towards the coastline and you will notice the market of the city of Olhão - an important fishing town. And off toward the ocean you can glimpse one of the most important sea entrances of the Ria Formosa. The next stop is Farol Island. Here, you can enjoy a walk around the streets of this small but friendly community. When passing by the lighthouse, go on until the very end to admire an extensive beach of fine white sand washed by calm warm waters. Leave the Farol Island and make your second stop at Deserta Island. This island is also known as Barreta Island. Here lies the most southern point of Portugal - the Santa Maria Cape. In this second stop you can choose to explore the fauna and flora of the island by an easy walk or simply enjoy the sunshine and bathe in the clear waters of the beach.

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From Faro: Ria Formosa Faro Islands Catamaran Tour

2. From Faro: Ria Formosa Faro Islands Catamaran Tour

Sail to the beautiful Ria Formosa Natural Park by catamaran, with regular departures scheduled from Faro. The journey follows the Ria Formosa channels and includes stops at the magical islands of Farol and Deserta. Don't forget your swimsuits and towels - there will be plenty of breaks for swimming! The guide on board will provide information in Portuguese, English, French, and Spanish. The modern catamaran has a capacity of up to 11 passengers and provides a pleasant and comfortable way of exploring the islands.

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Algarve Coast: Dolphin Watching & Cave Tour

3. Algarve Coast: Dolphin Watching & Cave Tour

The Algarve coast brings to mind pirate adventures, and pristine beaches. Today you will explore the coast between Albufeira Marina and Capvoeiro beach on a luxury boat that offers you the chance to swim, relax, and maybe even see a dolphin or two! Begin with a relaxing ride through the caves and rock formations that make this landscape so unique. Then head out to sea in your search for the dolphins who call these waters home. Your boat is the perfect vessel for dolphin exploration, and these playful and fun animals are truly a sight to behold! Your expert guide will share with you interesting facts and history on this memorable trip.

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From Faro: 4 Islands, 4 Stops in Ria Formosa Catamaran Tour

4. From Faro: 4 Islands, 4 Stops in Ria Formosa Catamaran Tour

Enjoy a tour on a comfortable Catamaran, taking in the fauna and flora of the Natural Park of Ria Formosa. Cross the channels of the park and stop for 45 minutes at Deserta Island, where you will the opportunity to take a swim. Then, proceed to Farol Island where you will have another 45 minutes to discover its lighthouse and take photos. Sail to Hangares and see the culture of oysters and the military reserve. Lastly, arrive at Culatra Island where you will have 1.5 hours of free time to explore the traditional fishing village. You will also have the option to have lunch in a typical restaurant on Breech Island where the main course varies between fresh fish or seafood.

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Faro: Dolphin and Wildlife Watching in the Atlantic Ocean

5. Faro: Dolphin and Wildlife Watching in the Atlantic Ocean

Discover different species of cetaceans, birds and other marine life on this exciting experience in the Algarve. Leaving from Faro, cross through Ria Formosa Natural Park towards the Atlantic Ocean. Enjoy the views of the Barrier Islands (Deserta and Culatra) or the marshlands as you cruise to the coastline. Once you reach the water, spot wildlife such as dolphins, whales, and porpoises, and if you're lucky maybe come across a pod of orcas or fin whales. You will also see birds such as gannets and shearwaters flying overhead. When it comes to fish, spot species such as ocean sunfish, blue sharks, and tope sharks, as well as a few marine turtles. A team of two marine biologists will help you find as many species as possible during your time on the ocean, and give you facts and information about the fauna and the surroundings.  After spotting a group of dolphins, enjoy 30 minutes free to watch the group. Feel free to ask any questions regarding dolphins and other marine life to one of your guides and take the opportunity to learn more about how biologists collect data for scientific research on dolphin populations. Once your observation time is over, return to Ria Formosa and cruise back to Faro.

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Albufeira: MiniGolf Adventure Park Entry Ticket

6. Albufeira: MiniGolf Adventure Park Entry Ticket

Located in the heart of Albufeira, MiniGolf Adventure Park promises fun and entertainment to all who visit. With unique facilities, the conditions are perfect for you to perfect your game. Work your way around the 20-hole course, with magnificent waterfalls in the background. If you have never played mini-golf before, now is your chance to learn. Enjoy the beautiful surroundings while relaxing and having fun with family and friends.

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Loulé: Quinta da Tôr Winery Tour with Wine Tastings

7. Loulé: Quinta da Tôr Winery Tour with Wine Tastings

Visit Quinta da Tôr, a local family-owned winery in Algarve, and learn more about wine making as well as what makes it so special in the Algarve region. Taste 4 different wines from the winery with traditional bread and olive oil from the region. Algarve is known for its amazing beaches, golf courses and famous caves, but for some years now the wineries have become one of the highlights of the region, gaining recognition both nationally and internationally. During your tour of the winery you will not only see the facilities of the winery, but also learn more about the unique climate here: the low temperatures in the winter and high temperatures in the Summer, which allows Algarve to have a good and balanced maturation of the 7 grapes that its land has to offer (Touriga Nacional, Sirah, Carbernet Sauvignon, Aragonez, Siria, Arinto, Chardonnay). After your tour, indulge in a wine tasting with 4 different wines selected around your choice of wine class and type. Select from the groupings: Classic Wines, Oaky Wines, Brave Wines, and Golden Algibre Wines. Taste the regional bread and olive-oil with your wine.

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Faro: Ria Formosa Natural Park Segway Tour & Birdwatching

8. Faro: Ria Formosa Natural Park Segway Tour & Birdwatching

Explore the plant and animal wildlife outside Faro on a 1.5-hour trip through the nearby Rio Formosa Natural Park. There, you will take a Segway tour of the reserve and spend time bird watching at Ludo, a natural reserve near Faro Beach, located inside the park. This area is a stopping place for hundreds of different birds during the spring and autumn migratory periods. The entire park is a protected area and home to several marine species and birds. It is a very special and quiet place where you can be in direct contact with nature. After pick-up, you will be taken to the park and given a Segway to use. This 2-wheeled electric vehicle uses the equilibrium of its driver to propel forward. Once you have been instructed how to operate your Segway, you will head out on the paths and trails in the park and discover the beauty and tranquility of this reserve. As you ride along, your guide will point out various animal species for you, exposing you to the natural and protected life of the region.

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Lagos: Lagos Zoo Entrance Ticket

9. Lagos: Lagos Zoo Entrance Ticket

Enjoy a day of fun for all the family with an entrance ticket to Lagos Zoo. See animals from more than 350 species, including monkeys, crocodiles and snakes. Stroll around the enclosures of the small but beautiful venue, where 200 botanical species from 5 continents are a feast for the eyes. Get up close to tame animals at the children's petting farm, where you can feed the goats and pigs for a small fee. Let your children let off steam at the playground and avail of the on-site snack bar and souvenir shop. Relax with a picnic lunch on one of the zoo's many seats and watch the animals as you eat. Go to Restaurante O Cangalho at the entrance for a more substantial meal, and sit in the beautiful outside area to enjoy a wide variety of traditional dishes.

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Ria Formosa Natural Park Kayak Hire from Faro

10. Ria Formosa Natural Park Kayak Hire from Faro

Paddle through the Algarve's famed blue waters in a kayak. The Rotomod sit-on-top kayaks are stable, safe, comfortable, and easy to use, making them the perfect way for you to explore the waters of the Algarve. You don’t need any experience to get the most out of your very own kayaking adventure. Various types of kayaks are available for rent. The first is the Rotomod Ocean Duo, a comfortable double kayak that can seat up to 2 adults and 1 child, making it ideal for both families and solo travelers. There is also the Rotomod Ocean Quattro, perfect for families. This kayak can seat up to 2 adults and 2 children, although it works best with 2 adults and 1 child. The Rotomod Tango is a heavy duty solo kayak, ideal for bigger paddlers or people travelling with a lot of heavy gear. If you don’t have that much gear, then the Toromod Mambo might be for you, with excellent maneuverability from this solo kayak. Just for your safety, your kayak hire will also include light paddles and comfortable safety vests.

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Frequently asked questions about Faro

What top attractions are a must-see in Faro?

Planning Your Visit

  • How many days to spend in Faro?

    You could spend up to one week or even 10 days in the area. Faro is a great place to base yourself, in order to explore not only its cultural riches but also those of the region. Miles of beaches and a unique natural reserve are at your fingertips.

  • Getting around

    It's very easy and fun to explore Faro's old town. If you plan to explore the surrounding region, it's best to have a car and enjoy your independence. You can also find affordable train connections, however, to towns in the surrounding area.

  • Where to stay in Faro

    There are accommodations just outside Faro's old city walls. Though, if you're looking to stay seaside, you'll find hotels in small towns along the Algarve coastline.

  • Getting to Barreta Island

    There are four daily departures by boat to Barreta Island. It takes about 1/2 an hour to reach it and costs only 10€ round-trip.

Good to know

  • Language
    Portuguese
  • Currency
    Euro (€)
  • Time Zone
    UTC (+00:00)
  • Country Code
    +351
  • Best time to visit
    The weather is warm enough to swim from April to October, so planning when to go depends on how hot and crowded you want the city to be. July and August offer hot temperatures, but also bigger crowds.

Other Sightseeing Options in Faro

Want to discover all there is to do in Faro? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Faro

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 4,422 reviews

We had an excellent trip. The solar boat was fantastic, because it's so quiet we were able to get close to birds that would otherwise be disturbed and because of being relatively low down it was very good for taking pictures of the birds. We were even able to get relatively close to a feeding Osprey which was an absolute highlight for us. The guide was very knowledgeable and easily spotted birds we would have missed. Overall the trip was really relaxing and enjoyable. Can only recommend this trip to anyone who wants to see a bit more of the Ria Formosa and the wildlife within it. 5 out of 5 stars!

The tour was was well run and Guilherme a knowledgeable captain and guide. Good observance of Covid measures. The weather was not great but the direction of travel was adjusted slightly to minimise choppy seas. There was ample time to spend on each island and observe the differences. An excellent opportunity to compare how the island beaches compared to those of the mainland.

Had a wonderful time kayaking with Luis in Ria Formosa. He was very knowledgeable about the wildlife in the lagoon and we could tell his love for nature and the sea. We had a picture-perfect morning despite the recent rains in the Algarve, saw a great variety of birds, and did not want our kayaking tour to end.

We had a fantastic experience with the Ocean Vibes team. They are scientists who have a passion for marine safety and safeguard. We were so happy to contribute to their research. We saw beautiful dauphins even in November! Thank you Ocean Vibes!

What an amazing initiative and tour guide. Unlike all of the other touristy activities, really caring about the habitat they help you explore. 10 out of 10.