I needed a break; a weekend away or a crazy solo getaway.
So, back in March, I started to search for cheap tickets somewhere warmer than just 10 C degrees (you know living in the UK, sunshine is a rare thing to see). I did my usual thing and began searching Skyscanner, looking for cheap weekend tickets.
The weather in South Portugal looked much more enticing than the upcoming rainy weekend in Derby. So after a quick search, I came across a return ticket to Faro for £48, and after searching Booking.com and finding a lovely little B&B for £50, I was set. What made this trip even better was the fact that as I had used someone else’s referral link, Booking.com refunded me £25, making my stay even cheaper! *If you would like to save on your next trip, check out my referral link for Booking.com*.
And with that, My first official solo weekend away was booked, I couldn’t wait.
Things to see and do in Faro
I had a total blast in Faro. Honestly, it was one of the best holidays I’ve had, and what’s more, I actually enjoyed my own company! From getting lost one evening trying to find my B&B, meeting Marta – my new Polish friend, enjoying an ice cold beer at the Ilha Deserta, falling over while trying to do headstands and even being let to drive a boat! What made Faro, was as a solo female traveller, I felt very safe even during the evening.
You can watch my weekend in Faro in a one-minute long video 🙂
The city centre of Faro is small, but it packs a lot in. Faro Marina is one of the things you won’t want to miss. It has lovely waterside cafes to relax in while you watch yachts silently bobbing up and down in the harbour, or you may want to pop round the corner to the Porta Nova Pier, where boats take you out to enjoy the birdlife and beaches of the Ria Formosa Natural Park. There is Faro’s Maritime Museum which contains some interesting displays relating to Portugal’s Age of Discovery, and even a big Faro sign located at the top one of the streets. It is also a pleasant walk from there to an Old town.
Cathedral with a view overlooking the city
The cathedral was built over remnants of a Roman temple, Visigoth church and then a Moorish mosque and was completed in the 13th century. The cathedral was damaged by the English in the raid of 1596, destroyed by an earthquake in 1755 and then rebuilt. Bear in mind that the cathedral is open only from Monday to Friday from 10am to 5.30pm for public and tourists, so when I went to Faro, unfortunately, I wasn’t able to visit it.
Chapel of Bones
Do you like creepy stuff? If you do, then this is the place for you! With 1000’s of human bones decorating the walls and ceilings, it offers an unforgettable experience! The bones were taken from Faro’s cemetery back in the 19th century, along with all of the monks’ belongings who served the city. The chapel is open Monday to Friday 10:00-13:00 and 15:00-17:30 on Saturday. The chapel is closed on Sundays.
Strong wind, big waves, peaceful surroundings and the sound of nature. This is how I would describe Ilha Deserta. An Island, where no one lives and the only people are the visitors and the restaurant workers – which is also the only place where you can find toilets and refreshments. The whole beach stretches for about seven kilometres covered by sand mixed with small shell fragments. If you are looking for a quiet beach, without people, this is the place to go. Also, Ilha Deserta is home to plenty of animal species such as birds and lizards. There is also a walking trail on the island made from wood for those who want to explore the fauna and flora even more.
The ticket by ferry cost about £9 return and is an approximately 45-minute journey. For those who are not very patient, there is a speed boat option for 10euros/one way.
I loved my trip to Ilha Deserta. I could just sit at the beach on my own for hours watching the waves crashing into the shore, listening to the birds and enjoying the sun and wind stroking my skin. Truly a unique experience from this uninhabited island.
Where to eat and drink
Epicur Wine Bar
Going to Faro on my own I wanted to treat myself with wine and a light dinner. It was also my first official solo trip, so it had to be unique. You know, there is always a reason to celebrate! I contacted Epicur Wine Bar due to their five-star reviews on Tripadvisor and Daniel – the owner was helpful and made sure I had space right at the bar.
The place was wonderful. It is quite small, but good things come in small packages! I was well looked after by Diego and his colleague; they kept me entertained even though the place got full.
They treated each customer with respect, and all the tapas looked delicious. I ended up having salmon served with some bread and olive oil accompanied by Dona Maria Rose wine from Alentejo. It was a beautiful evening, and I enjoyed talking with the local people and getting to know their customs.
I can thoroughly recommend this place if you ever go to Faro and want to try some local wines filled with a local atmosphere. You can also buy wine by the bottle, but unfortunately, as I was flying with only one small bag, I wasn’t able to take it through security for Carl to try some!
The good thing about solo tripping is that you can go whenever you want, you can take a wrong turn, and no one (except you) will tell you off. Or you can stop at any breakfast place without asking someone what they fancy to eat! Wondering around Faro at 8am with an empty tummy lead me to this little Café Place. Checked Tripadvisor, again, excellent reviews, I was sold. It was the best chia pudding I’ve ever had! The waitress there looked after me and even let me take some videos, as I was the only customer there this time in the morning, I just sat there, by the window and truly enjoyed the moment. People who love food are always the best people 😉
The only restaurant at Ilha Deserta. The only place where you can get bottled water, coffee, food and ice cold beer, which was my decision. There is nothing better than having an ice cold beer on a warm summery day (Although it wasn’t quite yet summer), it was still hot. Because this is the only restaurant at Ilha Deserta and people like to spend an entire day on the island, the cost of food and drink is high. I paid 4 euros for a 400ml beer, not even a pint! I had my own water bottle, but unfortunately, the tap water is undrinkable, so make sure you bring your own if you don’t fancy paying 1.30e for a 300ml bottle.
Snack bar Pirata
A very cheap place at Praia de Faro overlooking the beach on the west coast, where you can enjoy the sunset with a glass of local wine for 2euros and some light snacks.
Travelling to and from the Airport from both the city as well as Praia de Faro beach is very easy. There is a bus service which runs from the beach, through the Airport, and to the city centre and back again. The bus runs just outside of the terminal, and it cost €2.35 per ride. There is no option to buy in advance or multiple tickets for multiple trips. You have to pay for each ride. You can jump on either bus number 14 or 16 called Proximo. The journey takes about 20 minutes from the Airport to the city centre, and from the Airport to the beach is about 5 minutes.
I stayed in a Bed and Breakfast Place called LemonHouse, as mentioned earlier the place cost me as a single occupant £50 for two nights, but I had a referral link which saved me half – you can also use my referral link and save £15 from your future booking.
It was clean, I had my own little terrace, and I shared the bathroom with the other two rooms on the floor. The house has 3 levels, and each of them has its own private bathroom for that floor.
There is full use of the kitchen which was handy on my second night as I bought some food in a local supermarket and prepared both dinner and breakfast the following morning by myself.
If you don’t fancy staying at B&B, you can also check some of the major hotels in Faro, which I included below:
Hotel Quinta do Lago
Hotel Faro & Beach Club
Eva Hotel Faro
Personally, I would definitely come back to Faro for another weekend, although I did and saw everything I wanted to. It is a beautiful little place and spending an entire weekend in Faro is more than enough. There are a few cocktail bars and other wine places along with some fancy restaurants.
The weather in South Portugal is really nice although it can get very windy, people are friendly, and the whole city has got such a lovely warm atmosphere!
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