Faro itinerary. See how to spend two days in Faro, The Algarve, Portugal including Ilha Deserta, Faro Beach, and the best places to eat.
If I had to describe Faro in one sentence, it would be “a historic city with access to golden beaches and an incredible culinary scene”. Faro has managed to keep the balance of an authentic old town while providing a variety of modern bars, cafes, restaurants, and attractions to keep you entertained for days.
Faro hosts the major airport in the south of Portugal and is the gateway to the Algarve. If you only have two days in the Algarve, then I would recommend spending them here. For a longer Algarve itinerary, you can easily travel from Faro to Albufeira and Lagos.
Whichever Algarve itinerary you choose, bring your bikini and a hungry tummy. You are in for a treat because Faro is full of surprises. Here are my recommendations for a two-day Faro itinerary.
How to spend 2 days in Faro
Breakfast at Porta Doze Guesthouse
Your culinary journey in Faro starts at Porta Doze Guesthouse. My friend, Tamara, and I stayed here for three nights during our trip to Portugal. Porta Doze is a cozy bed-and-breakfast located in the center of town and just a block away from the bus terminal.
Each morning the lovely Vânia would prepare a delicious breakfast from local ingredients. What made this even more special was how personalized she made the experience. After asking about our preferences, Vânia customized the meals to suit our tastes. For Tamara, it would be a plate of fresh fruits, yogurt, and granola served out on the terrace in the sun. For me, it was bread with cheese and jam sat down next to my laptop in the dining room. (I promise that I did sit out on the terrace at least once!).
And if that wasn’t sweet enough, there would always be a pastry like the “Pastel de nata” (a Portuguese egg tart) with coffee or tea.
Exploring the city center
After your glorious start to the day, step out, and go exploring! Faro has shaded shopping streets, a cute marina, and a number of museums. You don’t have to wander far to find the perfect cafe or maybe even ice cream.
Another site worth visiting is the Faro Cathedral. Located within stone walls, it has a courtyard filled with orange trees (very reminiscent of Valencia, Spain) and restaurants. For a small fee, visitors can enter the church and climb to the top for views out to the sea.
Have you ever wanted to visit a desert island? Well, here is your chance! Ilha Deserta is an uninhabited island with nothing but a restaurant and a few beach huts. The entire island can easily be walked around in less than an hour. It is also home to the most southern point of Portugal!
The beach on the south side is the perfect place to relax in peace. I recommend bringing a towel, sunscreen, bottle of water, and a good book. After you’ve finished enjoying the sun, stop in at the restaurant for a cold beer while waiting for your boat ride back to the mainland.
Dinner at A Venda
A Venda was recommended by Rui, one of the owners of Porta Doze Guesthouse, as a good-value, local restaurant. The interior has a retro-design with crocheted placemats and mismatched furniture. There was a relaxed vibe and friendly staff who are happy to help with suggestions.
Tamara and I shared five small plates of food (pratinhos), a bottle of wine, and a dessert. The price was really reasonable for the amount of food that we had. In fact, I wished I had ordered more!
Get your beach towel out again, because it is time to hit Faro Beach. From Porta Doze Guesthouse, it’s just one block to the bus terminal and then a short bus ride to the beach. In fact, it’s the same bus that takes you to Faro airport. So simple!
If you love the beach as much as I do, you will want to spend hours here just listening to the waves with your eyes closed, taking photos, or sleeping in the sun.
Drinks at Hotel Faro
Another local recommendation from Rui was to see the sunset from the Hotel Faro rooftop bar. We came up here one evening and ordered cocktails while watching the sun go down. Even after dark, the view is magnificent with all the harbor lights. The cocktails aren’t too overpriced however weren’t very strong, so you might be better off ordering a glass of wine or beer. Either way, it’s a great way to start your evening in Faro.
Dinner at Portas de São Pedro
I am still raving about the food that I ate at Portas de Sao Pedro. This was one of those magical experiences where you stumble across a restaurant that looks good and it turns out to be amazing. We shared a bottle of wine, four dishes, and a dessert. I even accidentally ate octopus (I am not a fan of seafood) without realizing it, and loved it!
Our waiter was so much fun, chatting about life as a local in Faro and bringing different types of liqueurs to try for free. There was a lot of laughter and jokes shared, then at the end of the night, they took our photo for the restaurant. When you visit, let me know if we made the wall!
Where to stay in Faro: Porta Doze Guesthouse
Location: Rua Miguel Bombarda 12, 8000 394 Faro – Algarve
Porta Doze Guesthouse is your home away from home in Faro. A four-bedroom family hotel with two shared bathrooms, a terrace, dining, and lounge room. You will find yourself looking forward to your time here, as much as exploring outside.
Whether it’s curling up on the sofa with a magazine, sitting out on the terrace with a coffee, chatting in the kitchen with a glass of wine, singing along to one of the records, or taking a luxurious hot shower – Porta Doze Guesthouse is to be savored.
My friend and I stayed in the Citrus Room with twin beds, a wardrobe, table, and chairs, as well as its own private terrace with street view. The rooms are big with plenty of space to spread out.
I also loved all the windows which can either be opened up to let the light stream in or closed at night for a peaceful rest. Extra blankets and a heater are available for the cooler months. As well as a fan for summer.
The decor is minimalist and modern, with personal touches everywhere you look. Even those who don’t usually appreciate interior design will be impressed. The owners, Rui and Joana have a knack for design.
My travel budget for Faro (2020 update)
Faro Travel Costs
All costs are quoted for one person and in the local currency (EUR). See below for the average daily spend per person including currency conversion to USD and AUD. I always try to find and negotiate the best prices to share with my readers. If you know of a better deal, tell me about it in the comments below.
Accommodation: Porta Doze Guesthouse provides bed and breakfast living in the Algarve. For a truly homely experience, this guest house offers four bedrooms for groups of families, friends, and couples. See the current price of accommodation or look at other accommodation options in Faro.
Food: Porta Doze Guesthouse serves breakfast each morning to their guests. They also have an “honest bar” where you can purchase drinks and snacks at your own convenience.
Day 1 – Bread rolls and ham from the supermarket for lunch (€1.49), beer on Ilha Deserta (€3.50), dinner with a bottle of wine at A Venda (€16.50).
Day 2 – Bread rolls and ham from the supermarket for lunch (€1.49), Snickers bar at Faro Beach (€0.90), cocktails at Hotel Faro (€16.00), dinner with a bottle of wine at Portas de São Pedro (€20.00).
Transport: Return boat ticket to Ilha Deserta (€15.00), return bus ticket to Faro Beach (€4.50).
Average daily spend: €39.69 each* ($41.98 USD and $55.25 AUD as of 8 March 2017) excluding accommodation and snack purchases from the Porta Doze Guesthouse honest bar.
*This daily amount could be reduced by skipping the wine and sticking to water.
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