The Algarve region is one of the most beautiful places in Portugal. From the beach town of Faro to the capital city of Lisbon, Portugal has something to offer for everyone. Check out this blog post to get the best tips & tricks & create the perfect Portugal itinerary!
The Algarve region in Portugal is one of the most beautiful and sought after regions in the country. In today’s post, I talk about my travels in Faro & Portugal. As well as give my top tips and tricks!
Before we start, head over to my Instagram to see more pictures + videos in my highlights!
Some things you should know:
- The weather gets very very hot there. Make sure you pack sunscreen and carry water bottles with you wherever you go!
- Driving in Portugal is pretty easy compared to in Mykonos for example. We did rent a car from SIXT. Driving on the highway was easy, driving in Faro was a little hectic due to the small streets but very manageable!
- Uber is available and it is crazy cheap! We used it all the time in Lisbon and never paid more than €7 for a trip for both of us.
- There are flights from Frankfurt and we flew from Hahn. We flew to Faro and then came back from Lisbon!
When to visit Portugal:
We went late August and it was the perfect weather to spend some time at the beach in Faro. I remember it getting pretty hot in Lisbon. It gets warm from May up until October and hotel rates are relatively cheap. However, just like any popular tourist destination, it can get pretty crowded but that shouldn’t stop you from enjoying what Portugal has to offer. Swimming is still possible in early fall as well!
At the end of this post, there is a map with all the places I mentioned!
We only spent one night in Faro and we stayed at Maria’s Rooms because it was the cheapest option. This is a whole apartment and the family still lives there and they’re renting out the rooms. Keep in mind that if you’re planning on booking this accommodation! It was clean but not the most comfortable.
I did, however, do some more research on other available accommodations in Faro and found the following:
- Hotel Ibis Faro: This hotel has really high ratings and it’s close to the city centre, airport and beaches which is perfect! It is rated #1 on Trip Advisor and it is reasonably priced too.
- Faro Urban Downtown Guest House: This downtown guest house is located in the centre of Faro! It has really good reviews and its a perfect pick if you want a relaxing holiday roaming around the city and going to the beach.
- Holiday Inn Express: Looking for a place exactly by the beach? Then this is the one for you!
- We stayed at the Lisbon Old Town Hostel. It is located super close to the centre and the price is worth it! Our room was a private room and it was a super cute and comfortable room. I highly recommend you checking this out!
- Host Bell Rooms & Suites: I remember doing research and was close to booking this place. It is located in a good district and they also have an airport shuttle! Private rooms are also an option.
- Holiday Inn Express: Holiday Inn Express is a chain of hotels located all over Europe. This hotel looks really pretty and the reviews speak for themselves!
Where to eat in Lisbon:
- Deutos da Se: We didn’t eat out much as we mostly ate from small cafeterias here and there. However, we did go out on a date night while we were there. Deutos has live music and really delicious food! I highly recommend checking this out!
- Restaurante India Gate: We accidentally stumbled upon this one and we loved it! It was close to our hotel and we were so full after finishing eating a three-course meal, that walking was a struggle! That’s how you know the food is good.
Lisbon has a lot of cafeterias all over the city. There was one close to our hostel that had the most delicious Pasteis De Nata (Portuguese Egg Tarts). We went there every day for breakfast! Be sure to check out local cafes for some delicious Portuguese treats.
As for Faro, we only ate a random Italian restaurant by the beach so I can’t give you any personal recommendations. However, there are some really good reviewed restaurants. The promenade is dotted with all kinds of restaurants and so is the city centre!
What to do in Faro:
Faro is a seaside town so obviously it’s main attractions are the beaches. The beach we went to is called Praia dos Pescadores. The translation in English is Fisherman’s beach! This particular bay is located in front of the Old Town so you can easily go get something to eat or buy a souvenir (which is what we did). It is a very popular beach and it is very crowded. We paid for two sunbeds and spent the afternoon sunbathing and swimming.
Before stopping by the beach, I recommend you going up the viewpoint and take pictures like we did! You will see a flight of stairs and just go up and from there, you’ll be able to see the whole bay.
Our stay in Faro was only for a day so we didn’t get to see that much of the city. I did some research and found the following sights to see in Faro if you’re planning to stay longer than us:
- Faro Cathedral – dates back since the 11th century!
- Arco da Vila – this is a gate, kind of like the one in Lisbon
- Cidade Velha & Faro Old Town – Cidade leads to the old town which is night and day from the main part of Faro
- Igreja Da Carmo – another cathedral which dates back to the 18th century
- Faro Municipal Museum – the second oldest museum in the Algrave region
- Milreu Roman Remains – this was a lavish Roman villa and there are remains open to the public
- Palacio de Estoi – a grand palace located close to the Roman ruins. It looks really pretty from the pictures!
What to do in Lisbon:
Before I start with the list on sights to see in Lisbon, I recommend taking a free walking tour. These tours are usually done by students or locals and you can find them holding an umbrella and standing in front of popular sights. We just walked up to a group in front of the main gate in Lisbon and our tour guide was a Czech student living in Portugal. You don’t pay for the tour but you are encouraged to give a small tip at the end of the tour. We paid her €10.
Let us get on with the list of what to do!
▷ Visit Praca do Comercio: Praca do Comercio is a historical landmark located nearby the Tagus River. The tour guide went into great detail regarding the history behind the gate. Prior to the gate, the King built a palace, however, in 1755 an earthquake hit Portugal and the palace was destroyed. In an effort to rebuild the city, the King built this square by the river.
The translation of Praca do Comercio is Square of Commerce. The square now symbolized it’s new function in the economy of Lisbon.
below images are in slider mode.
▷ Santa Justa Lift: This lift was built way back in 1902. It is the fastest way to get from the Baixa neighbourhood to the Bairro Alto district. The hills in Lisbon were always an obstacle for travellers and that is why this lift was built. It stands 147ft tall and it is open for tourists. The price for the lift is €5.15 and they’re open from 7 am – 11 pm. One fun fact: the lift can carry 20 people up to the lift but 15 people down.
▷ Go to the Amoreiras 360 degree view: This is the best rooftop view of Lisbon. You go to the Amoreiras shopping mall, pay €10 and you can sit down and admire the view of Lisbon. It is definitely worth it!
▷ Walk around the pretty streets of Lisbon: I simply adored the colourful buildings and the charm this city has to offer. What struck me the most is that one second you are in a road just buildings, and then you’re in a beautiful garden that has a lot of history.
Lisbon is a city of hidden spots and colourful gems!
▷ Ponte 25 de April: When I first saw this, it is almost as identical as the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. we didn’t actually get on the bridge but walked around the area and took some pictures!
▷ Igreja de Sao Domingos: This church is classified as a national monument and at one time, it was the largest church in Lisbon. Furthermore, back in the day, it used to host Portuguese Royal weddings. Right next to it, there is a peace monument suggesting that symbolizes that Lisbon is a peaceful European city.
PS: Lisbona, Belt ta’ Tolleranza is in Maltese!
▷ Rossio Railway Station: We were a little confused when the tour guide took us here but then she made us look at the intricate details. Rossio was designed in the 1800s. It is situated in one of the main squares in Lisbon and it connects Lisbon to Sintra.
▷ Take a ride on the colourful Trolleybuses: You can’t go to Lisbon or Portugal and not at least go on the trolleybuses once. You see them all over the city and I was so excited to get on one! We got one from our hotel to go to the viewpoint. The tram system in Lisbon has been operating since the 1800s. Ever since then, it became an icon in Lisbon!
There are of course more things to do in the city. I wish we had more time in this beautiful city so we had more time to see more things. Here are some other recommendations of what to do and see:
a) Lisbon Cathedral
b) Tower of Belem – Belem is a beautiful district in Lisbon!
c) Jeronimos Monastery – a beautiful Gothic monastery
d) Carmo Convent
e) National Sanctuary of Christ the King – This is a Catholic monument overlooking the city of Lisbon. It was inspired by the statue in Rio, Brazil. The motivation behind the construction of the sanctuary was as a plea to God to release Portugal from entering WW2.
f) Take a day trip to the beautiful city of Sintra.
Again, this was one of the places I wished we had time to visit but we were limited with time. Make sure you take the time to visit!
And that brings an end to this post. I really hope you enjoyed it as much as I did writing it. Do not forget to follow me on my social media for updates and on where I am in the world & pin the below image to your Pinterest boards!
Until the next one.
Yours Truly, Rebecca.