Old Town, Faro
Faro's Old Town is, to use that hackneyed phrase, a little gem. It's small, quiet and wonderfully atmospheric. You enter through the 18th century Arco da Vila ( main photo on the Introduction page) walk uphill through impeccably cobbled streets framed by elegantly balconied houses ( photo 2) and arrive at the Largo da Se.Further on is the Praca Alfonso 111, where the Muncipal Museum stands and off these squares in every direction are little streets and lanes which just beg to be explored. You can walk from one end of the Old Town to the other in about 30 minutes and leave by the other Arch, the Arco da Repouso, emerging by the edge of the water on the Largo da Sao Francisco.
What's special about this part of town is that there are no postcards or souvenir shops, just a few bars and restaurants and in parts an almost rural atmosphere ( photos 3 & 5). I do appreciate that it might look a little different in high season but on the second week of February it was an absolute joy.
Faro’s main attraction is its quaint old town surrounded by Walls which date back to Roman times, visitors can wander and enjoy some architectural sightseeing and brush up on their history. It really is beautiful. l
The Old Town of Faro is its best feature, with lots of tiny streets still surrounded by Roman walls. In the centre is a beautiful square, Largo da Sé, that used to be the Roman Forum. It's lined with orange trees and on one side is a 13th Century cathedral, an 18th Century Episcopal palace and a 16th Century convent that is now the Faro Museum of Archaeology. There is also a small cafe.
Many of the buildings in the Old Town are in need of repair but this gives it charm. Children play outside and cats and dogs wander around and you can't help thinking that life here hasn't changed much at all in centuries. To service the dwellings, vehicles do enter the area but have to pull their wing mirrors in to get through the narrow arches in the old city wall.
Within the medieval walls of the small Cidade Velha or old town is what little of Faro survived the Earl of Essex era.