While many visitors to Portugalâ€™s popular Algarve see Faro as just a stop-off on their way to one of the holiday resorts along the coast, this fascinating city is so much more than that. For starters, its rich history, dating back to pre-Roman times, is well worth exploring.
While looking out the window during a Faro Airport transfer, many visitors catch a quick glimpse of the impressive historic architecture and charming narrow streets of the Old Town, which is lined with lovely restaurants and bars. If youâ€™re keen to explore, why not let yourself be further enchanted by the Algarveâ€™s beautiful capital city?
The History of Faroâ€™s Old Town
The Old Town, which first originated in Roman times, was a walled section of the city and housed a forum, market place and several temples.
The Romans were replaced by a succession of invaders, including the Germanic Visigoths and the Moors, before the Portuguese claimed Faro as part of their territory.
Although there are still marked signs of its Roman and Moorish past, many of the buildings in the Old Town, including its original walls, have been replaced.
An earthquake in 1755 led to a reconstruction of the city in the eighteenth century. Thanks to gold imported from Brazil, Faro was exceedingly wealthy when this restoration effort was launched. Consequently, the surviving buildings from this period tend to be elegant and imposing, and are an impressive sight to behold during a stroll around the compact Old Town.
Arco da Vila
One of the best places to see Faroâ€™s architectural layers of history is at the Arco da Vila, an impressive nineteenth-century gateway built into a much older Moorish portico. It makes the entrance to famous cobbled street Cidade Velha suitably quaint!
Set in a sixteenth-century convent which survived the earthquake, this fascinating local museum charts the history of the region from prehistoric times to the power it acquired in the nineteenth century.
Parque Natural da Ria Formosa
The beautiful natural park of Ria Formosa, which is renowned for its many lagoons and mud flats, surrounds the city. If youâ€™d like to catch a panoramic view of this natural gem, why not climb to the top of the cityâ€™s cathedral? Donâ€™t forget your camera!
Faro Cathedral is another architectural representation of the cityâ€™s history. It was built on the foundations of a Moorish mosque in the thirteenth century, and has been renovated and decorated in a variety of styles throughout its history. Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque features fight for your attention, but it is the interiorâ€™s stunning chancel, which is decorated with azulejos panels, which is most impressive.
Igreja da Nossa
To fully appreciate this regionâ€™s wealth in the eighteenth century, you only need to pay a visit to the dominant Igreja da Nossa. This Carmo Church boasts twin towers, an imposing faÃ§ade and an interior gilded in Brazilian gold, serving as a fitting monument to Portuguese power at this time.
How to Get There
Since Faro Airport is in the hub of the Algarve, it has a wide variety of flights arriving from the UK on a daily basis. It can get very busy during tourist season, so itâ€™s best to avoid the chaotic queues for public transportation and pre-book a Faro Airport transfer instead.
If you arrange a private Faro Airport transfer with Shuttle Direct before you leave home, one of our drivers will meet you in the arrivals area and take you directly to your hotel. It doesnâ€™t get more hassle-free than that!
Lukas Johannes is a driver for Shuttle Direct, the number one provider of shared and private airport transfers all over Europe and northern Africa. If you’re looking for the most affordable Faro Airport transfer, Lukas and his colleagues can make sure that you and your luggage get to and from the airport swiftly and safely.
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