There is no better place to fall in love than Faro. The labyrinthine alleys of the old city provide a wonderful place to start: get lost among the vibrantly tiled streets, savour fresh seafood and enjoy a slow glass of Vinho Verde as you watch the sunset over our remarkable coastline.
At Formosamar, we encourage all visitors to venture out of the city to discover the true magic of the region. The Ria Formosa Nature Park has something for every couple; whether you prefer to relax on golden sands or explore by bike, boat or kayak. You may even like to take some dating inspiration from our local wildlife…
Curious? Read on for our top romantic recommendations for your Faro trip! Do get in touch if you have any questions.
1) Take a walk through Faro’s historic centre
Start your journey with a photo together framed by the Arco da Vila, Faro’s magnificent medieval arch. A slow stroll down the Rua de Santo António offers more great photo spots as it is lined with brightly coloured tiles.
You can’t miss Faro’s stunning Sé Cathedral, which provides a cool retreat from the midday sun. It was rebuilt during the 17th century in the Mannerist style; a perfect artistic reference for a romantic holiday! Mannerist artists specialised in sensuous and elegant portrayals of the human figure, which you will see in the Chapel of Santissimo Sacramento: a perfect space for a reflective break together.
Pick up the pace with a visit to the vibrant Mercado Municipal, where you can stock up on delicious local produce. We especially recommend the Algarve oranges, oysters, figs and almonds (these last three of course being well-known aphrodisiacs).
As evening approaches, the Porta do Sol square offers a lovely sunset spot with its views over the Ria Formosa. Alternatively, the Jardim Manuel Bivar is a place where local couples enjoy the scents of the evening flowerbeds and the gentle sound of the fountains.
To experience Faro’s real natural landscapes, however, we recommend getting out of the city…
2) Explore the beauty of the Ria Formosa
The Ria Formosa (literally, beautiful river), is a natural park that consists of a series of islands, lagoons, and beaches. It is one of the most important protected wetlands in Europe and counted as one of the 7 Natural Wonders of Portugal.
The best way to explore this enchanting coastal landscape is by boat, as most of the islands are otherwise inaccessible. Our Boat trip to Deserta and Farol Islands will take you to some of the most beautiful beaches in the area. In fact, Ilha Deserta literally means deserted island, and this beach is an especially secluded, pristine space to relax on the sands.
Other peaceful, golden-sand beaches are the Praia da Ilha do Farol and the Praia da Ilha da Barra. For a sunset you will remember forever, take our Ria Formosa sunset boat tour.
3) Explore Faro’s soulful Fado music
Fado is Portugal’s most romantic music genre. Lyrics often use Portugal’s stunning natural landscapes to illustrate stories of love. There is a tradition for couples to ask for a personalised Fado to be written for them, and there are local musicians who will offer this beautiful homage – just ask at Faro’s museum. For a taste, here are some translated lyrics from one of the most well known Fado songs, Mariza’s Quem me dera:
Quem me dera / Abraçar-te no outono, verão e primavera
I wish to embrace you in autumn, summer and spring
O meu amor é ….tão grande e resistente como o embondeiro
My love is…. as big and strong as the baobab
Por ti, eu vou onde nunca iria
For you, I’ll go where I would never go
Por ti, eu sou o que nunca seria
For you I am what I would never be
For live performances, Faro’s Fado houses offer a more intimate setting than those in Lisbon or Coimbra. Apart from the Fado houses, performances also take place at the museum itself, and it is worth checking if your visit coincides with Faro’s Fado festival.
4) Get romantic inspiration from Faro’s wildlife
The Ria Formosa provides a home to some of the most diverse aquatic wildlife in Portugal, which offers inspiration for every kind of romantic adventure!
For those looking for a life-long love, we have the White Stork and Black Winged Stilt. Both of these mate for life, despite taking long, solo migratory journeys. They also share responsibilities for incubating and caring for their chicks.
For those into a more polyamorous love, we have to point you to the dolphins. To witness these wonderful, playful animals up close, join one of our Algarve Dolphin watching trips for a really special experience.
Our local bottlenose dolphin males offer a fantastic acrobatics display while courting, and the species lives in pods, where adults make long-lasting social bonds and share responsibilities for caring for offspring.
For those seeking to dazzle a new partner, take your cue from the courtship displays of the Great Crested Grebe. On our Birdwatching boat tour in the Algarve, we provide an expert, locally informed tour of this fabulous birdlife, where you can catch rare sights of Little Egrets, Oyster Catchers, Flamingos, and, of course, the beloved White Storks!
Something you may not know about storks is that they recycle their nests, year after year, offering an inspiration for sustainability not only for love but also for the planet. At Formosamar we are proud to follow the storks and hold the National Tourist Agency’s eco-stamp.
5) Learn some romantic Portuguese phrases for your Faro trip
Did you know that Portuguese has two essential words about love that do not exist in English? The first is apaixonar (a-paish-o-nar) which means to fall in romantic love with someone, and the second is saudade (sao-dad), which means a deep feeling of missing a person you love. Learning some Portuguese is essential to make your trip extra special! Here are some phrases to start you off:
If you are a woman, “I am in love with you” – Estou apaixonada por ti (eshto apashonada poor tee)
If you are a man, “I am in love with you” – Estou apaixonado por ti (eshto apashonado poor tee)
“I miss you” – Sinto saudade (Sinto são-dad)
“I love you” – Eu amo-te (eyou amo-tee)
We hope this guide to romantic things to do in Faro has inspired a few readers to start planning their own romantic trip to onf the best parts of the Algarve. Do get in touch if you have any questions, or for more local advice. We would love to hear about your romantic Faro story, be it inspired by storks, dolphins, or the lilting melodies of a local love song!