Praia de Faro – the complete guide
Praia de Faro (also known as Faro beach is a beach near the city of Faro, the capital of the Algarve. It is the most popular city beach around Faro.
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Praia de Faro is situated on an island called Ilha de Faro, also known as Península do Ancão. On one side of the island there is the sea and on the other side of the island there is the natural park of Ria Formosa. Access to Praia de Faro is through a narrow bridge, crossing the Ria Formosa. The beach is situated on the ocean side and stretches for about 5 kilometres.
The beach is quite clean and well-maintained. The gold-coloured sand is soft and fine. This makes walking barefoot on the beach possible, without shells hurting your feet.
The sea water is very clean, but swimming here can be a disappointing experience. Even in summer, the temperature of the sea water here is quite cold. If you do get in the water, it is good to know that is gets deep quite quickly. The waves can also be quite strong around here.
Praia de Faro can be reached via a narrow bridge. The part around the entrance is also the most developed. You will find many bars, restaurants and shops around here.
The beach is backed by dunes. This is very different from the cliff backed beaches that you can find in other parts of the Algarve.
Praia de Faro is a city beach. It is the closest beach to the city of Faro, and also the most popular. The beach is also just a couple minutes away from Faro Airport.
The proximity to the city of Faro means that there will be others enjoying the beach as well. Especially during the summer, it can get quite crowded. The beach is very popular as a day trip among the local population of Faro, but recently there has also been an increase in the number of tourists visiting the beach. Because of the proximity to the airport, Faro beach is also the perfect place to enjoy the sun for a couple of hours before your flight leaves.
Although it can be quite busy in the summer, people usually stay near the area of the bridge, because they don’t want to walk a lot. The further you go from the entrance (the bridge), the more quiet and unspoiled it will become. This means that even in the height of summer, it is possible to find a spot where you will see only a few people around you. There is even a part of the beach where it is possible to sunbath naked, as it is an unofficial nude beach. Just walk east (to the left when you arrive) to find some peace and quiet. If you would like to visit an even more quiet beach near Faro, go to Ilha Deserta.
There is a variety of water sports available on Faro beach, including surfing and kitesurfing. The waves and wind around here are good for these sports. On the side of Ria Formosa, you can rent jet skis and kayaks.
Watching the sunset from Faro beach is a wonderful experience. Many people stay on the beach long enough to enjoy the sunset.
Walking on the beach
Since the beach stretches for several kilometres, Faro beach is the perfect place for long beach walks. The best way to walk is to the east (on your left when you enter the beach). The further you walk from the entrance of the beach, the less people you will see. You can walk all the way to the end of the island, to a part called Barrinha. During the walk you will see the dunes on your left. This beach walk lets you enjoy the beauty of the beach more peacefully and is highly recommended.
Travelling to the Algarve this year? Dont’ forget to bring the Marco Polo Travel Guide.
The island on which Praia de Faro is situated, separates the ocean from the natural park of Ria Formosa. Behind the beach, on the side of the Ria Formosa, the nature is characterized by lagoons, sand banks and wildlife. There are for example several species of migratory birds that can be seen in this area. During low tide, you will be able to see fishermen going through the wetlands, looking for shell fish.
It is possible to swim in the lagoon of Ria Formosa, where you will usually see colourful boats in the water.
How to get there
The easiest way to move around in the Algarve is by car. If you don’t have one, make sure to rent a car. Praia de Faro is the only beach in Faro that is accessible by car. All the other Faro beaches can only be reached by ferry. When you are in Faro, you will see signs indicating the airport. Drive in the direction of the airport. When you arrive at the roundabout near the airport, you will see the beach sign indicating Praia de Faro. Otherwise you can enter the following address in your GPS: Avenida Nascente, Faro. You can park your car on Avenida Nascente. Since this is the closest to the beach, it can be difficult to find a spot here, especially in the summer. Otherwise, there is a big car park before the bridge crossing the Ria Formosa. Surely you will find a parking spot there. Parking in this area is free.
The beach can also be easily reached by bus from the city of Faro. In summer, there is a bus every 30-40 minutes from Faro during the day or every hour in the evening. Make sure you check the current bus schedule at the bus station. Take bus 14 or 16 from Faro city centre, via the airport. The trip from the centre to the beach takes about 20 minutes. A single ticket costs around € 2,30. It is not possible to buy a return ticket. The bridge to the Ilha de Faro is so narrow, that the bus has to stop halfway. This means you have to walk the last 200 metres in order to get to the beach. Watch out when you walk on the bridge: since the bridge is so narrow, pedestrians are very close to the cars driving by.
During the summer months, the beach can also be reached by a ferry service from the town of Faro. The ferry leaves from the Porta Nova pier, near the marina. The journey takes about 30 minutes.
There are several restaurants near Praia de Faro. Our favourite restaurants near the beach are:
- Wax Restobar. This restaurant is located right on the beach. The terrace is a great place to watch the sunset. Good value for money.
- Restaurante Ze Maria. This Portuguese restaurant offers good food in a lovely setting. They specialize in fresh fish and seafood. Located right on the beach.
- Restaurante O Rui. This restaurant is located near the access bridge of Praia de Faro. Their fish is amazing. Also, the staff is very friendly.
There are quite a few hotels near Praia de Faro. Our favourite hotels in this area are:
- Apartamentos Barracuda. This aparthotel has everything you need for a nice stay in the Algarve. The host is very friendly and gives a lot of information about the surroundings.
- Wax Hostel. This highly rated hostel overlooks the natural park of Ria Formosa and offers free private parking. It has a nice sun terrace. Rooms are clean and comfortable. The beach is right across the road.
- Luxury Beach Guest House. This guest house has nice rooms and is located right on the beach. They also provide several outdoor activities, including the possibility to rent a bike, which is a nice way to explore the surroundings.
After the busy summer season of last year, we recommend to book your hotel now, as it will probably sell out. Below you can find a map with the location of hotels in Faro. By changing the date of your holiday, the map will show you the current prices.
Exploring the natural park of Ria Formosa is one of the best things to do in the area of Faro. The best way to do this, is by going on an excursion. Some of these excursions you can already book online. See our recommended tours below.
The area around Praia de Faro is well developed, with many bars, restaurants and hotels nearby. There is also a variety of water sports that can be enjoyed around here. One part of the beach is for swimming, while the other part is more for water sports. The beach is also accessible by wheelchair.
Facilities in Praia de Faro:
- Restaurant: yes
- Bar/club: yes
- Toilet: yes
- Shower: yes
- Water sports: yes
- Sunbeds: yes
- Parking: yes
- Lifeguards: yes
- Blue Flag beach: no
It is also possible to explore Praia de Faro by bike. You can for example rent a bike from the Aeromar hotel near the beach. It costs around 15 euros to rent a bike for a day. With the bike you can cycle on the roads near the beach.
If you are curious to see how Faro beach looks like today, there is a beach cam that updates its image every couple of hours.