The Capital


The Capital of Algarve

Faro, the Algarve’s administrative capital, is located in the south of Portugal.
The municipality comprises 4 parishes: United Parishes of Conceição and Estoi, Santa Bárbara de Nexe Parish, Montenegro Parish and United Parishes of Sé and São Pedro, having around 65.000 inhabitants distributed by 210 km2 and being around 30% of that area part of the Ria Formosa Natural Reserve.
The city is south bordered by a 19 km length dune, interrupted by openings that connect the sea to the Ria Formosa, forming 3 main islands.

Faro is a millenary city to be (re)discovered.
The pre-roman town called Ossónoba was one of the most important urban centers in the south of the Iberian Peninsula.
Today, due to its location, as well as for being a capital city, Faro has the most important infrastructures and public services existent in the Algarve region.

The airport early receives more than 5.000.000 tourists; the University is internationally acknowledged in Marine Sciences, Tourism Management Studies and Biotechnologies; the Algarve Central Hospital and 6 high schools are facilities that state Faro’s central position.

The council’s cultural and sportive dynamic is a strong allied to its capital role.
You may visit the islands by boat, however, one of them – Faro Island – is also accessible by car.
The islands are places of excellence where you can take a pleasant walk in the natural surroundings of the Ria Formosa Nature Park. You may also enjoy boat trips, bicycle rides, trail walks and bird watching along the Ria.

The local gastronomy, based in the Ria Formosa’s shellfish, the white sand and warm water beaches that in some locations is only inhabited by migratory birds, are amongst the natural features to be discovered.

A City with History 

After Portuguese independence in 1143, Afonso Henriques and his successors began an expansion into the southern Iberian territory occupied by the Moors. Following the conquest by D. Afonso III, in 1249, the Portuguese referred to the town as Santa Maria de Faaron or Santa Maria de Faaram. In the following years, the town became prosperous, due to its secure port and exploitation of salt. Consequently, by the beginning of the Portuguese Age of Discovery, the town was well positioned to become a leading commercial centre.

In the 14th century, the Jewish community began to grow in importance. In 1487, Samuel Gacon began printing the Pentateuco in Hebrew, the first book printed in Portugal. The Jewish community of Faro had long been a dominant force in the region, with many artisans and merchants contributing heavily to the economy and city development, but this level of prosperity was interrupted in December 1496 by an edict of Manuel I of Portugal, expelling those who did not convert to Christianity. As a result, officially, Jews no longer remained in Portugal. In the place of the Jewish village of Vila Adentro, the convent of Nossa Senhora da Assunção was founded and patronised by Queen Leonor, wife of the king.

Manuel I promoted the development and expansion of the city; 1499 had the construction of a hospital, the Church of Espírito Santo (or Church of the Misericórdia), a customshouse, and a slaughterhouse, all near the shoreline.




  • Faro Beach
  • Culatra Beach
  • Lighthouse Beach
  • Desert Island/ Barrier Beach
  • Saint Luis Barrier Beach