By admin | | Posted in: Pine Cliffs
Pine Cliffs is a relaxing resort that manages to have plenty to do for the whole family, while still maintaining a tranquil atmosphere. Of course, occasionally, some people prefer an atmosphere that is a little bit less than tranquil. While there are no truly big cities in the Algarve, the biggest is Faro, and it’s a magnificent place to visit if you’re looking for a slightly more urban vibe for a day or an evening. Most visitors to the area only see Faro airport, and this is a real shame, because it’s a city that has a lot more to offer than just a point of transit. There’s a huge number of shops (both boutique and high street), restaurants, cafes, bars and historical points of interest that make it a worthy destination for a day trip from Pine Cliffs.
The best place to start exploring is the Cidade Velha, which is Faro’s old town. It’s full of charming cobbled streets and tree lined avenues that are very pleasant to explore. The main pint of interest is the old Cathedral. While the outside is architecturally unspectacular, the interior is decorated with incredibly ornate carvings and traditional Portuguese decorated tiles. There are also a number of notable works of art inside. It doesn’t look special from the outside, but the inside is stunning.
Even more stunning, however, is the view from the tower. There are plenty of stairs, so this activity isn’t suitable for those with mobility problems, but if you can handle the climb then the view is definitely worth it. If you’ve got an architectural eye then you may notice the distinctive pyramid structures on the roof of the Episcopal Palace opposite, as well as on a number of other structures around the city.
Away from the old town, the other part of Faro you should definitely visit is the marina. This isn’t so much for the marina itself (although there are a few nice restaurants and bars in the area) but for Porta Nova pier, where you can get a 30-minute ferry to some beautiful beaches nearby. Even if you don’t want to visit the beaches, it’s still worth taking the time to go out on the boat and see the city from the sea. You might even spot some of the native wildlife.
The other big attraction in Faro is the shopping. While there are beautiful designer boutiques in Pine Cliffs and other areas, Faro is the only place in the Algarve where you’ll find a big, modern shopping center. This is a great place to visit if you’re looking for something particular that you can’t find in the smaller shops. It’s notable for containing perhaps the only ice rink in the Algarve, although of course the rink is only operational in the winter months.
Faro is a fantastic place to visit if you want to see how a real Portuguese city runs, as opposed to a town that relies primarily on tourism. If you want to get to the heart of Portuguese culture on your trip, it’s an essential.