Top 10 Faro Road Trips
The Algarve is an incredibly popular holiday destination amongst brits and most people tend to fly into Faro Airport, due to its central location and the frequency of flights. There is heeps to do within the city itself but it is also perfectly located to explore the stunning Algarve region.
From its sandy white villages to roman ruins and morish fortresses, there is so much to see within the region. However, it is also close enough to the spanish border to make the day trip to Seville a possibility. Hire a car in Faro and set off on the adventure to the 10 terrific destinations that we have collated below:
- Ria Formosa
- Praia da Quinta do Lago
- Estoi and Milre
- Salema and Boca do Rio Nature Reserve
Before telling you where to explore, here’s a few savvy driving tips to help you on your way.
Driving in Faro
Firstly, we would recommend driving particularly carefully in Portugal, as they are notorious for overtaking on blind corners or on hills. There are two main roads in the region: the highway, the A22, is the fastest road but you do have to pay a toll. Most rental companies install a device that automatically pays the toll and then charges you at the end of the rental.The other is the national N125 which is a free road and takes slightly longer.
Speed limits in Faro and the rest of Portugal are as follows: 120 km/h on the motorways, 100 km/h (60 mph) for expressways, 90 km/h (50mph) on other roads and 50 km/h (30 mph) for built-up areas. Speed traps are common, so don’t be tempted to break the speed limit, even although you’ll probably see local drivers doing so.
Start your engines for our 10 epic road trips from Faro – let’s roll!
The stunning town of Tavira sits on the Gilao river and is composed of old whitewashed buildings, pretty churches, cobblestone streets and little fishing boats that float on the river. This idyllic town is the perfect place for a stroll and a delicious meal. Take a look at the ancient roman bridge and the castle ruins and you have done all the sightseeing there is to do. Just outside the town you will also find the impressive waterfall :Pego de Inferno, which is not a well known tourist attraction but a lovely place to have a calm swim and enjoy the view.
Getting there: The journey from Faro is about 35 minutes by car via the A22 motorway.
The market town of Loulé is renowned for its a historic covered market where you will be able to purchase a wide selection of items, including local handicrafts such as handbags, shoes and metalwork but also food and drink from the region. The town is a refreshing visit as it is not packed with tourists due to its slightly inland location. The town also has a Moorish castle and a labyrinth of narrow medieval streets.
Getting there: Loule is about 10 miles from Faro and the journey will take you about 40 mins.
Despite being in Spain, this beautiful city is an easy commute from Faro. The city of Seville was once controlled by the Moors and they have certainly left their mark. There are so many beautiful sights to visit in the city, including the largest Gothic cathedral in the world, as well as the Alcazar royal palace, one of the filming locations in Game of Thrones. The city is incredibly atmospheric, being the birthplace of flamenco dancing, and it is most definitely worth spending the day there, wandering the streets of Santa Cruz and feasting on tapas.
Getting there: The drive between these two fine cities is only around 2 hours or 125 miles.
4. Ria Formosa
Ria Formosa are a series of salt water lagoons and sandy barrier islands between the coast and Atlantic ocean. It is an excellent spot to check out the birdlife, as it is a vital nesting ground for many migratory birds, including flamingos or cranes. The area also has an excellent supply of seafood, such as octopus, oyster and crab. For the diving/ snorkeling fanatics amongst you this is one of the best locations to do so.
Getting there: The easiest and cheapest way to get there is by driving to Olhao and then getting the ferry across.
Olhoa is an isyllic old fishing town, which is still functioning as one of the largest fishing ports in the region. It is most worth the visit, especially on the way back from Ria Formosa, as it has the most delightful seafood, as well as a norther African aesthetic, due to its white buildings with flat terracotta roofs. The red brick market is full of the most delicious fresh fish and seafood.
Getting there: The drive to Olhao is less than 10 km from Faro and should take you less than 20 minutes along the N125.
6. Praia da Quinta do Lago
This destination is a stunning long stretch of golden sand which merges into the wetlands, making the ideal environment to host a plethora of bird life, including hundreds of flamingos. There is a 1000 foot footbridge that stretches across the marshland and connects the beach to the mainland.
Getting there: The drive from Faro is about half an hour despite being geographically close to eachother as there is no direct road that connects the two.
7. Estoi and Milre
These two villages lie right next to one another and have two marvelous sights to visits. Firstly is the Pink Palace in Estoi, the Azulejos-tile Palacio de Estoi, which is the finest example of Rococo architecture in the Algarve region. Just outside of the village you can find Roman ruins , Milre which were once a grand roman villa and working farm. You can see the ruins of the temple as well as the various rooms, including a selection of mosaics.
Getting there: Estoi is located about 10km due north from Faro, the journey should take about 20 minutes via the EM522.
The small town, which used to be the region’s capital, is worth a visit due to its impressive red sandstone fortress that sits atop the hill and dates back to the 8th century, as well as its statuesque cathedral, which was once a mosque. The winding streets of the Old Town are also picturesque and there are plenty of good restaurants.
Getting there: The journey takes about 45 minutes via the A22.
Sagres, is more wild and rugged than the rest of the Algarve and is the surfing hotspot. This destination is truly stunning with the rugged cliffs and crashing waves. There is also the gorgeous fishing harbour of Baleeira nearby, where you will see the brightly coloured fishing boats and the local fishermen at work. Sagres also has its very own Fortress which protects its very own 16th century chapel, as well as a giant stone compass.
Getting there: The journey is a bit longer, with Sagres being the most western point of the Algarve, and takes about an hour and a half via the A22.
10. Salema and Boca do Rio Nature Reserve
If you want to get away slightly from the tourist hotspots, head to Salema fishing village where you will find several unspoilt beaches which are surrounded by a nature reserve with a clifftop walk that leads all the way to the village. The village is more peaceful than a lot of the other Algarve villages and is fronted with a line of traditional fishing houses.
Getting there: The journey from Faro to Salema takes an hour and a quarter west down the A22. It is the perfect stop over on the way back from Sagres.
There you have it an eclectic mix of daytrip to complete from Faro in order to make the most of your holiday in the Algarve. Rent a reliable vehicle from Enjoy Car Hire and set off on an adventure to remember!