Faro is the administrative centre of the Algarve region
The city has both Roman and Arab ruins, but most of the attractive older buildings have been built after the earthquake of 1755. During the 500 years of Moorish occupation the city, then named Ossónoba became an important trading port. Faro took over the role of the administration for the whole Algarve.
The old part of Faro, still surrounded by Roman walls, is attracting tourists from all over the area. You can still see the open square that once used to be the Roman Forum. Interesting buildings are the 13th Century Cathedral, the Episcopal palace and the 16th Century Convent, now turned into an archaeological museum.
At the sea side Faro is surrounded by the Ria Formosa, a nature reserve of 17.00 hectares and stopping place for migrating birds.
The airport of Faro is connecting the Algarve with most European capitals by direct flights and handles several million passengers a year.
The Ilha de Faro, whose correct name is Península do Ancão, is located on the western border of the Ria Formosa, stretching from Ancão beach near the world famous Quinta do Lago golf resort to Faro. It is known as Faro Island, despite being a peninsula.
The next island to the east, separated by a narrow water channel, is Ilha da Barreta, also known as “Ilha Deserta” (Desert Island) because it is uninhabited. This Island is adjacent to Ilha de Faro on the eastern side. It can only be reached by boat from Faro and stretches over a distance of 10 km. The island is completely uninhabited and the ideal place to observe the unique flora and fauna of the Ria Formosa.
Watch the promotional video of Faro: