Faro is the southernmost city in Continental Portugal. Located in the Faro Municipality, has 50.000 inhabitants. It is the seat of the Faro District and capital of the Algarve region.
The city has a public university, the University of the Algarve, an international airport, Faro airport, a seaport, a marina, a railway station and complete inter-regional bus services.
Faro airport is very close to the Campus de Gambelas of the University of Algarve, and is not too far away from the city itself. In recent years the numbers of visitors travelling through the airport has increased as more low-cost airlines compete to offer cheap flights to the Algarve. The transport facilities to and from Faro airport with the centre of Faro include taxicabs and a bus line.
Gambelas Campus of the University of Algarve offers a pleasant academic environment not only with Portuguese students and staff but also including a large number of Erasmus and Erasmus Mundus Students from different countries. This promotes interesting cultural exchange experiences. Night life by Faro and the surroundings are quite enjoyable, including night walks and lazy strolls at the Praia de Faro close to the Ria Formosa lagoon. So, the proximity of Gambelas Campus to the Ria Formosa lagoon is an added value for living by.
Faro has a Subtropical-Mediterranean climate. Summers are warm to hot and sunny with average daytime temperatures of 27–35 °C (81–95 °F). The weather in the autumn and winter months is generally mild with temperatures around 8–17 °C (46–63 °F). Faro receives most of its rainfall over the winter months; rain is very rare between June and September. The annual average temperature is around 17 °C (63 °F) – 18 °C (64 °F) and the annual rainfall is around 500 mm (19.69 in). The average sea surface temperature is 15–16 °C (59–61 °F) in January rising to 22–25 °C (72–77 °F) in August.
The Ria Formosa lagoon is extensively used for recreational purposes and aquatic activities. There is an easy access to nature and landscape activities, where people can visit natural areas, appreciate the scenery and observe wild flora and fauna, including bird watching.
Ilha de Faro
The Ilha de Faro (Faro Island), also known as Faro Beach, is not truly an island, but a peninsula, whose correct name is Península do Ancão. Located on the western border of Ria Formosa, it has the access facilitated through a bridge, and can be made either by foot, by bike or by car. An extensive sandy area welcomes the visitor, with sea on one side and the lagoon on the other. Several sport practices are available at Ilha de Faro: surf, windsurf, kitesurf, paddle surf, sailing, rowing, kayaking, canoeing, skimming, bodyboard, diving, snorkelling, boat and sailing trips, etc…
Faro Beach Nautical Centre
It is a municipal sports complex designed for nautical practices, such as canoeing, sailing and windsurfing, in a context of training and recreation, and may also encourage different competitive practices. Because it is located in the heart of the Natural Park of Ria Formosa it presents itself as a privileged and unique place to the practice of nautical activities, in perfect harmony with the surrounding nature, being a relevant structure in terms of stimulating the citizens from Faro and other areas in their relation with nature, the sea, the beach and the Ria and the “natural vocation” of the Portuguese for nautical activities.
The Algarve is the perfect year round destination with excellent waves and fantastic weather. The West Coast is by far the best destination as it picks up the predominant northwesterly swells. It is famous for perfect peaks on beautiful beaches and its amazing coastline. The south coast tends to have nice waves during the bigger winter swells, but the further you get from the west coast the smaller they become. These two very different coasts turn the Algarve into a special surfing location. With one coast facing predominately west and the other south if there is any swell around, there will always be waves somewhere. The winter months are fantastic with comfortable water temperatures and sunbathing as well.
The Algarve is considered by many as one of the favourite European sites for diving. The sea conditions enable diving practically all year round, but the best times are Autumn and Spring, when the waters are quiet and the temperatures milder. The waters, rich in sea life, offer endless topics of interest for observation, investigation or photography. and allow to see the infinite detail of the Algarve’s fabulous underwater world, teaming with life.
Inland, the Barrocal region is known as the Orchard of the Algarve, as its limestone soil supports the majority of the almond, fig, orange and carob plantations which, during the spring, bathe the countryside with colour, as do the white country houses with colourful mouldings and decorative chimneys. Heralding the arrival of spring, almond blossoms bathe the Algarve in an unforgettable and dazzling show. A delicate mantle of pink and white extends throughout the Barrocal lands on the orchards of inland Algarve, where many villages retain their Arabic names.
To the North, the Algarvian uplands mark the boundary of the region. A mountain range with gentle contours, it is dominated by vast stretches of land and inhabited only by a diversity of wildlife. Here you can listen to silence and enjoy the true character of the region’s inhabitants.
The Serra do Caldeirão is the largest mountain range in the Algarve. From the Serra do Caldeirão, the Algarve emerges like an amphitheatre which descends gradually to the sea. The scenery is marked by gentle, undulating land covered in gorse bushes, rock roses and wild flowers, and white country houses, trimmed in blue, peeping out of valleys.
On the slopes facing the East, there are cork oak trees as far as the eye can see, painting the countryside a deep, vibrant green. Further on, there are two areas of exceptional beauty: the Fonte da Benémola and the Fonte Ferro. The Fonte da Benémola is a protected area with plant and animal life not commonly seen in the Algarve. The Fonte Ferro, on the other hand, is noted for its collection of regional plant species, such as the arbutus berry trees, brooms, heather, rock roses, French lavender, eucalyptus, pines and oleanders; and of animals, such as wild rabbits, partridges, thrushes and blackbirds. Sport practices in harmony with nature are also an attraction of this area, namely rafting, rappel, slide, climbing, caving, ballooning, paragliding and parasailing, biking, etc…
Via Algarviana is a pedestrian long distance path (300 km), classified as a Great Route (GR13). It starts in Alcoutim, by the Guadiana River, and ends at the Cape of S.Vicente, in Vila do Bispo, going through the mountains of “Serra do Caldeirão” and “Serra de Monchique”. It is implanted, mostly, on forest ground, with interesting natural values, and passes by several small rural villages.