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All About Portugal | January 18, 2021

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Faro, Portugal: Algarve’s capital

Marina view, Faro Portugal, by Maia Coimbra
Clara Campos

Faro, Portugal, is the Algarve’s capital, is a thrilling city waiting to be discovered, famed for its amazing beaches and the breathtaking Ria Formosa lagoon.

Faro, the Algarve’s capital, has been attracting inhabitants since the Palaeolithic age. Therefore it is no wonder that centuries later, namely during the 8th B.C. century, a settlement – Ossonoba – was established here. The city gained importance during the Roman occupation and the Visigoths gave the place an Episcopal See.

History of Faro, Portugal

During the 8th century, Ossonoba, as much of the Portuguese territory, was under the Moorish rule and it was considered the most important town in the southwest of the Iberian Peninsula.

One century later, after becoming the capital of an independent princedom that did not last for long, Ossonoba changed its name into Santa Maria. Later on, the designation of Haruné – which is the origin of today’s name of the city – was added to Santa Maria.

The Moorish domain ended in 1249 when Faro was conquered by the troops of King Afonso III. The city was once more renamed, becoming Santa Maria de Faaron or Santa Maria de Faaram. During the following years the town prospered due to its geographical position. Its harbor and the trade of salt and other products from the inland that was intensified with the Discoveries. The Jewish community then existing in Faro also played an important role on to this boosting of the trade.
Faro square, by mickpix

Photo by mickpix

Under the rule of King Manuel I are build an hospital, the Misericórdia Church, a Costumes House and an abattoir.

In 1540, Faro, Portugal, is granted the title of city which didn´t not stop the head of the dioceses being transferred to Silves in 1577. Nevertheless, Faro grew during the 17th and 18th centuries. During the Portuguese Restoration War (1640/1668), a new defensive wall ring was built that compassed the inhabited area and some agriculture fields, forming a semicircle that ended on the Ria Formosa lagoon.

The 1755 earthquake that devastated Lisbon also damaged severely the majority of the Algarve’s coastal area. Faro was no exception as several buildings were completely destroyed. After the recovery of the city, Faro stayed inside its walls for a long time and it was only with the advent of tourism of the last decades that it started growing once more.

Getting to Faro

The airport of Faro has contributed for this development as it helped to boost tourism. The increasing number of flights to Faro, especially during summer, shortened the distance between the major European cities to the Algarve. Besides, the strategic position of the city makes it perfect to discover the entire region. To do so, you just need to hire a car in Faro Portugal or at the airport and hit the road.

For those coming from Spain, the best way is to follow the Via do Infante as it is much safer and faster than the EN125, even though is one of the Portuguese roads with electronic tools.

If you are coming from Lisbon, you may cross Tagus River by the 25 de Abril bridge, take the A2 and go straight ahead right until the Algarve. On the other hand, if you choose Vasco da Gama bridge to cross the river, drive along the A12, then take the IP1 (direction Évora) until you reach the cross road that takes to the A2.

However, if you are coming from further north, coming from Coimbra or Oporto, for instance, by the A1, you don’t need to face Lisbon’s traffic. Take the A10 and then the A13, following the direction of A2/A6/A12. Next, follow the indication of the A2/Alcácer until converging with the A2.

More on Faro

Where is Faro Portugal

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Faro: 37.019355, -7.930440

Main image credits

Photo by maiacoimbra

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