City trips

By Frank
March 12, 2023

What was the Algarve like before resorts, golf courses and pubs sprang up on this coast with its year-round sunshine and golden beaches? Head east and north from Faro and you'll find out.

  • Tavira, situated on the River Gilão, is probably the most beautiful town in the Algarve and exudes an authentic Portuguese charm. There are only a few large hotels, there are many churches, fishing boats crowd the river and everyone has time to dawdle. Embark on a journey of discovery through different historical eras, from Phoenician excavations and Islamic decorated doors to Renaissance and Baroque ornamentation. But it is the colors that fascinate and impress: dazzling white walls, brilliant azulejo tiles, fiery red pantiles. The former capital of the Algarve gains its charm from its pleasant little streets, old houses with the typical "quatro aguas" roofs, many churches and nice restaurants as well as the famous Roman bridge over the river Gilao.
  • Loulé is a city of contrasts: mountains meet the sea and ancient monuments merge with modern buildings. It is located 16 km northwest of Faro and only 7 km from our CASA KALU. Right in the city center is the local market, a Moorish-inspired building that has been supplying the locals with fresh produce for more than a century. From fresh fish to local handicrafts, there are many stalls worth visiting at this colorful market. Saturdays are the best day to visit the market as there are more stalls open and the market extends into the streets. Other interesting sights include the Conceição Chapel and Loulé Castle.
  • Faro is a historically and culturally rich city that offers a variety of fascinating tourist attractions. Unfortunately, Faro is often overlooked as it is only recognized for its airport, but if you spend time in Faro, you will discover a charming and authentic Portuguese city. The delightful historic center (Cidade Velha) of Faro is surrounded by an old city wall and is home to a Gothic cathedral, the Paço Episcopal Palace and pretty cobbled streets. Outside the city walls is a modern city center with pedestrian zones, picturesque squares and a variety of restaurants and bars. South of Faro is the Parque Natural da Ria Formosa, the mudflats and a series of saltwater lagoons that are a haven for migratory birds and wildlife. Along the seaward side of the Ria Formosa are three sandbar islands where Faro's pristine beaches are located.
  • The inland town of Silves - the former capital of the Algarve - is a good destination for day trips in the western Algarve. The historic town center, with its charming cobblestone streets framed by orange and lemon trees, is dominated by a well-preserved medieval castle. A coffee in one of the small, traditional cafés will make you feel like you're a million miles away from the hustle and bustle of the Algarve's coastal resorts. From the castle, you have a magnificent view over Silves and the surrounding area.
  • Olhão is a coastal town in the Algarve that emerged from the fishing industry in the seventeenth century. Olhão, just 10 km east of Faro, is still one of the most important ports in the Algarve. The first canning factory was established here in 1882, sparking a trend that spread in both directions along the coast, with canned tuna and sardines quickly becoming the Algarve's main source of income. The waterfront fish market is still the main attraction of Olhão. The market is a picturesque and energetic place, selling local produce such as fruit, honey and vegetables, as well as a wide variety of fresh fish from the region.
    Olhão's old town has a distinctly Moorish character, with square, whitewashed houses, flat terraced roofs and box-shaped chimneys. The church of Nossa Senhora do Rosário dates back to the seventeenth century.
  • Querenca, Salir & Alte. These are three more villages that are undoubtedly worth a visit. Characteristic of these villages are the typical whitewashed houses, their Moorish chimneys, cobbled streets and beautiful views over the Serra to the sea. You will also find small nature reserves in this region that are ideal for a nice walk.

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