In search of the best day trips from Faro? With nearly endless sunshine, golden sand beaches, and an enchanting coastline, no one can blame you for wanting to see as much of the Algarve as possible!
Luckily, after traveling up and down the coast of Southern Portugal during my Algarve solo travel adventure, I know exactly where to find all the best places to visit near Faro. The best part? Most of these incredible locations are a quick and easy train ride away!
Faro, the capital of the Algarve, is located smack dab in the center of the region. It’s the perfect place to stay if you’re ready for a ton of day trips to enchanting towns like Tavira, Albufeira, and Lagos. Just an hour away from the Spanish border, you can even sneak in a visit from Faro to Seville!
From the deserted island of Ilha Barreta to the famous Benagil Cave and Ria Formosa- one of the seven natural wonders of Portugal- let’s explore the best day trips Faro has to offer!
FARO DAY TRIPS QUICK GUIDE
- Tavira: The Algarve’s most beautiful town
- Lagos: Home to the most breathtaking stretch of coastline, Ponta da Piedade
- Seville: Flamenco, tapas and Moorish palaces
- Albufeira: For world-famous beaches like Praia de Pescadores
- Carvoeiro: Algar Seco and Seven Hanging Valleys Trail
- Benagil Cave: A sea cave with its own skylight and beach.
- Ria Formosa: One of Portugal’s seven natural wonders
- Portimão: Fort of Santa Catarina and Praia da Roche
- Loulé: Charming medieval town with a Moorish castle
- Silves: See the ancient Silves Castle
- Sagres: Surfer’s paradise and westernmost point of Europe
- Ilha Barreta: A beautiful deserted island
- Vila Nova de Milfontes: Explore this enchanting town on the Vicentine Coast
- Olhão: The gateway to a land of luscious lagoons
- Costa Vicentina: A hiker’s paradise
MOST POPULAR DAY TOURS
- Ria Formosa Boat Tour: Experience one of Portugal’s seven natural wonders on a catamaran, stopping at a few of the islands.
- Benagil Caves Tour from Faro: Enjoy pick-up and a guided swim to Benagil Caves before heading to the famous Marinha Beach.
- Dolphin Watching Boat Tour: I saw so many dolphins up close on this boat tour. Definitely got my money’s worth.
Day Trip from Faro to Tavira
Tavira is one of the best places to visit in the Algarve! It’s also an awesome option for a day trip from Faro thanks to its close location and serious natural beauty.
Located near the Gilão River, Tavira is known as the most beautiful town in the Algarve. You’ll understand why as soon as you arrive: charming churches, old whitewashed buildings, cobblestone streets, and fishing boats floating in the water. It’s like a little slice of small town Algarve life, far from the busy resorts.
You can hop on a boat to Tavira Island, or check out Tavira Castle. Be sure to climb the Tower of Tavira to check out the Camera Obscura exhibit where you’ll be sent on an interactive 360-degree journey to discover the town’s heritage.
How to get from Faro to Tavira
Tavira is 20 miles (32 kilometers) from Faro. It takes approximately 30 minutes to drive, 40 minutes by train, and 40 minutes by bus.
Faro to Tavira by Train: To take the train from Faro to Tavira, you’ll board at Bom Joao station in Faro, heading towards Vila Real de Santo Antonio, and disembark at Porta Nova in Tavira. There’s a direct connection that typically costs between €2 to €4 each way. You can buy tickets online or at the station.
Day Trip from Faro to Lagos
Lagos is an amazing day trip from Faro, showcasing the best of the Algarve’s famous rocky coast. Get ready to be captivated by its enchanting old town and stunning beaches.
The top thing to do here is to visit Ponta da Piedade, a breathtaking headland filled with golden yellow rock formations and picturesque arches that jut out of the sea. Hands down one of the most Instagrammable places in Portugal!
Make sure to grab dinner at the cliffside restaurant O Camilo. I highly recommend trying their cataplana de marisco, a traditional Portuguese seafood dish cooked in a clam-shaped copper pot. It’s packed with fresh shellfish and all the fabulous flavors of the sea.
How to get from Faro to Lagos
Lagos is approximately 55 miles (90 kilometers) from Faro. It takes around 1 hour to drive, 1.5 hours by train and 2 hours by bus.
Faro to Lagos by Train: To take the train from Faro to Lagos, you’ll board at Bom Joao station in Faro, heading towards Vila Real de Santo Antonio, and disembark at Lagos station.
There’s a direct connection that typically costs between €11 to €18 each way. The Faro train station is a 10-minute walk from the city center, and the Lagos is 12 minutes from the city center. You can buy tickets online or at the station.
Day Trip from Faro to Seville
Seville is a delightful day trip from Faro with a balanced blend of history, culture, and beauty. Go on a tapas crawl, see a flamenco show or explore iconic landmarks such as the Seville Cathedral or the Royal Alcázar. Cap it all off with a stroll through the picturesque neighborhood of Santa Cruz.
You’re going to want to bring your camera because there are tons of Instagrammable places in Seville!
How to get from Faro to Seville
Seville is approximately 200 miles (320 kilometers) from Faro. It takes about 2 hours minutes to drive, and 3+ hours by bus. Currently, you’re not able to take a train from Faro to Seville.
Bus from Faro to Seville: There are a couple different bus services that operate routes from Faro to Seville. I traveled between these areas using Flixbus since it offers the cheapest price and few stops in between.
Day Trip to Albufeira
Albufeira, a premier resort town in the Central Algarve, is a mere 40-minute drive from Faro.
Known for its beautiful, golden beaches and lively nightlife, in Albufeira you can explore all the hidden corners of the enchanting Old Town, bask in the sun at the famous Praia dos Pescadores, or enjoy a thrilling boat ride to nearby sea caves.
How to get from Faro to Albufeira
Albufeira is approximately 30 miles (45 kilometers) from Faro. It takes 40 minutes to drive, 1-1.5 hours by train with bus connection and 45 minutes by bus. The bus is the best public transport option for getting from Faro to Albufeira.
Train: Taking the train from Faro to Albufeira requires a connecting bus or taxi as the nearest station is in Ferreiras, 3.5 miles (5.5 kilometers) from Albufeira city center.
Bus: You can take the bus from Faro to Albufeira with a direct route operated by Alsa. Board at the bus station, or Terminal Rodoviário, on Av. da República in Faro and disembark at the Albufeira bus terminal, a 10-minute walk from the city center and nearest beaches. Purchase tickets online.
Faro Bus Station Address: Avenida da República 9
Albufeira Bus Station Address: Rua Paul Harris 63
More Day Trips from Faro
Carvoeiro is a picturesque beach town in the heart of the Algarve. Its breathtaking landscapes and unique attractions like the Algar Seco and Seven Hanging Valleys Trail make it an ideal day trip from Faro.
Formed over thousands of years by the relentless force of the Atlantic waves, this network of caves and captivating rock formations includes natural pools, sea caves, and unique photo opps. Don’t miss the Boneca, a series of tunnels and caves that lead to dramatic cliffside views.
If you like to hike, a Carvoeiro day trip should definitely be on your Portugal bucket list so you can explore one of the most iconic trails in Portugal, the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail. Starts at Centeanes Beach, near Carvoeiro, and finish at Marinha Beach, winding past Algar Seco along the way. This moderately challenging hike is well-marked and about 3.4 miles (5.7 kilometers) each way.
Approximate distance: 1 hour | 40 miles (65 kilometers)
Benagil Cave is a newly popular day trip from Faro. Located along the stunning Algarve coast, this mesmerizing sea cave is a natural wonder that was pretty unknown until a photo of it went viral on Instagram.
Known for its natural skylight and the spacious golden beach inside the cave itself, it’s a pretty surreal spot. In fact, the only way to reach Benagil Cave is by swimming, kayaking, or boating to the openings. Getting to admire the sunlight filtering through the cave opening makes it worth putting up with the high-season crowds.
Approximate distance: 1 hour | 37 miles (60 kilometers)
BENAGIL CAVE TOUR
A kayak tour is by far the best way to see Benagil Cave and its sandy inner beach. I went on a boat tour and don’t recommend that since we basically popped in and out, spending less than 5 minutes there.
If you’re in Faro, you absolutely have to check out Ria Formosa, one of the seven natural wonders of Portugal! This stunning natural reserve has tons of secluded islands and wildlife to explore.
If you’re a birdwatcher, you’re in for a treat. Ria Formosa is a nesting ground for migratory birds like flamingos, cranes, and egrets.
Up for a little adventure? Hike the Ludo Trail and keep an eye out for wildlife in the saltwater swamps. You can also book a day tour to the nearby islands, go kayaking, or take a catamaran trip to get up close and personal with the diverse wildlife in this amazing area.
Approximate distance: 20 minutes | 7.5 miles (12 kilometers)
RIA FORMOSA BOAT TOUR
Discover one of the seven natural wonders of Portugal on an exciting boat trip from Olhao. Full of uninhabited islands and incredible wildlife, this area has a fascinating and extremely fragile ecosystem unlike any other in the world.
Portimão, located in the Western Algarve, is a bustling city famous for its sandy beaches and lively marina. Just an hour’s drive from Faro, it’s a perfect day trip destination.
There’s plenty to do here, from visiting the historical Old Town and exploring the Portimão Museum to trying local specialties like grilled sardines or polvo a lageriero at a waterfront restaurant.
Portimao’s historic center is also home to the Igreja Matriz, a 15th-century church that combines Gothic and Manueline architectural styles. A short distance away is the Fort of Santa Catarina, a historical fortification offering panoramic views of Portimão and the Atlantic Ocean.
For steadfast adventurers, check out the water sports at Praia da Rocha, one of the Algarve’s most famous beaches.
Approximate distance: 1 hour | 45 miles (70 kilometers)
Take a break from the beach and take a day trip to Loulé to discover the historical and cultural treasures of inland Algarve. With its Moorish castle, narrow medieval streets bustling with craft workshops, and the renowned covered market, Loulé offers a glimpse of authentic Portuguese daily life.
Approximate distance: 20 minutes | 10 miles (17 kilometers)
Silves, a charming town steeped in history, is an hour’s drive from Faro in the central Algarve. Famous for its well-preserved Moorish castle with red sandstone walls, Silves is a great fit for history lovers.
Wander around the narrow, cobbled streets, soak in the town’s medieval ambiance, or visit the Silves Cathedral, a former mosque, current national monument, and impressive example of Gothic architecture. A ticket for the Silves Castle costs under three euros, a total bargain.
With its fascinating past, picturesque setting, and relaxed pace, a Silves day trip is perfect for history buffs and those seeking a tranquil retreat from bustling coastal resorts.
Approximate distance: 1 hour | 45 miles (70 kilometers)
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Sagres is an exciting day trip from Faro, especially for anyone looking to surf some of the best waves in the world. (Or simply watch other people surf them!) Not only is Sagres one of the best beach towns in Portugal, it’s one of the top spots for surfing in Algarve.
While I’m not a surfer myself, my friend Whitney spent a few months learning to surf in Portugal and was kind enough to share everything she learned! If you’re looking for the best waves, Praia do Tonel is one of the most highly regarded beaches, sheltered by large cliffs and complete with a beach bar.
You can also explore the westernmost point of mainland Europe at Cabo São Vicente, historically considered the end of the world. You also won’t want to miss the impressive Fortaleza de Sagres, perched on a rugged headland south of Praia da Mareta, originally built to defend against pirate attacks from North Africa.
Approximate distance: 45 minutes | 38 miles (60 kilometers)
SURFING IN PORTUGAL
Like I mentioned before, there are epic surf towns in Portugal! This European gem is known as a surfing mecca thanks to its consistent surfing in Peniche, Ericeira, Nazare, and more! Plus, there are a diverse array of wave types, and a sunny year-round climate, with destination suited for all skill levels.
Whitney’s outlined everything you need to know in this epic guide to surfing in Portugal!
Ilha Deserta (Barreta ISLAND)
Just south of Faro, but accessible only by ferry or private boat, Ilha da Barreta is the place to go for unspoiled beaches and no crowds. Called Ilha Deserta (Deserted Island) by the locals, the island has no full-time residents, and most tourists stick to the more easily accessible beaches.
The beach on Ilha Deserta runs for five miles, with a boardwalk running along part of it from the ferry pier, but you won’t need to go far to find an empty patch of sand.
There’s also an eco-friendly cafe, Restaurante Estaminé, on the eastern edge of the island, beside the pier. It serves drinks, snacks, and meals, and rents sun loungers and umbrellas.
Approximate distance: The marina where you catch the ferry is about 1.5 miles (2.5 kilometers) from the city center.
How to get to Barreta Island
- Trip Length: The ferry journey takes approximately 45 minutes, offering stunning views of the Ria Formosa Natural Park along the way.
- Hours of Operation: In the summer, services start as early as 8:00 AM and run until 8:00 PM, with a ferry departing every two hours, but make sure to check the ferry schedules as they vary by season.
- Cost: A round-trip ticket costs about €10 for adults.
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Vila Nova de Milfontes
Vila Nova de Milfontes is a must-visit day trip destination from Faro. Nestled along the stunning Southwest Alentejo and Vicentine Coast Natural Park, it offers a captivating blend of natural beauty and coastal charm’s a great opportunity to check out Portugal’s western coast with its own version of dramatic beauty and seaside bliss.
With golden beaches, towering cliffs, and picturesque streets, Vila Nova de Milfontes is a paradise for beach lovers and nature enthusiasts. Filled with scenic hikes, checking out the nature and food scene in Alentejo is a fabulous way to spend a day in the Algarve.
Approximate distance: 2 hours | 85 miles (135 kilometers)
Olhão is one of the best day trips from Faro for anyone who wants a change of pace without going too far. This quaint village has a picturesque old town, lined with traditional white-washed houses and narrow streets, exuding the charm and history you’ve come to expect from Portugal.
A stop by the bustling fish market is a fun, albeit smelly, thing to do in Olhao. Many of the top restaurants in the Algarve head here to purchase the evening’s dinner. Say hello to tonight’s special!
Olhão is also the gateway to the stunning Ria Formosa Natural Park. You could easily combine the two locations into a single day trip, enjoying a seafood lunch before exploring mesmerizing lagoons on a boat tour.
Approximate distance: 15 minutes | 6 miles (10 kilometers)
PS: Wondering when to visit? Check out my guide to the best time to visit Portugal for a look at the weather during each season!
Costa Vicentina is one of the farther day trip destinations from Faro, but for avid hikers, this rugged, unspoiled coastline is well worth the trip! This region is famous for the Rota Vicentina, a network of walking routes that wind through the most picturesque parts of Alentejo and Algarve.
This is where you’ll find the Fishermen’s Trail, a famous long-distance trail that can take up to 14 days to complete in full! But don’t worry, there are plenty of smaller day routes that intersect this path, but can be completed in a few short hours.
Approximate distance: 2 hours | 85 miles (135 kilometers)
Getting Around THE ALGARVE
Navigating the Algarve can be an easy experience or it can be difficult. It all depends on where you want to go! Generally, I recommend taking the train to reach other towns and popular tourist destinations.
If you’re determined to reach more secluded beaches, hiking trails, or surfing spots, your best bet is to rent a car from Faro Airport, book private transport, or even an organized day tour.
TRAIN: Day trips from Faro by train offer a convenient, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly way to explore the hidden gems of Portugal and beyond. The next section outlines all the details you need to know!
DAY TOURS FROM FARO: There are tons of great Faro day tours that make getting around the Algarve a total breeze. Skip to this section to read more.
BUS: Buses are indeed a viable option for taking day trips from Faro, with numerous bus lines available that service both local and intercity routes. It depends where you’re going, but generally, I don’t recommend using a bus to get around the Algarve.
While buses are generally punctual and can take you to most of the popular Algarve tourist destinations, they’re better suited for travel within a city or town. Trains are going to be the faster option with stations conveniently located near tourist hotspots.
DRIVING: Renting a car is best for exploring the Algarve’s off-the-beaten-path locations or simply venturing at your own pace. The roads are generally well-maintained and easy to navigate.
Typical car rental costs vary, but on average, you can anticipate spending around €25-€40 per day, which is a small price to pay for the ultimate freedom and flexibility it offers. You’ll just want to make sure you’re staying somewhere that has parking available.
Day Trips from Faro by Train: Algarve Train Line
If you’re wondering Is there a train along the Algarve, then you’re in luck, because yes, there is a train that runs through Portugal’s Algarve coast!
Train Line: The Algarve train system primarily consists of a single line, the Linha do Algarve, which spans the entire region from Lagos in the west to Vila Real de Santo António in the east. While the route is not extensive, it conveniently connects most of the main towns in the region. Plus, the coastal views are simply phenomenal.
Popular Stops: The most popular stops along the Algarve line include Lagos, Portimão, Albufeira-Ferreiras, and Tavira. These towns are well-loved for their stunning beaches, picturesque old towns, and vibrant nightlife.
Journey Length: The duration of an average journey depends on the specific start and end points. However, a trip from one end of the line to the other, from Lagos to Vila Real de Santo António, takes approximately 3 to 3.5 hours without significant delays.
Price: Ticket prices are very affordable, making train travel a budget-friendly option. A single journey ticket can range from €4 to €6 depending on distance. However, prices may vary slightly depending on the time of year and seat availability. Please check the local train operator’s website for the most accurate and up-to-date information.
Day Tours from Faro, Portugal
For those seeking to explore beyond the city’s boundaries, Faro offers a multitude of organized day tours that promise a memorable experience. These tours, expertly curated and guided, provide an in-depth view of the region’s rich culture, stunning landscapes, and historical landmarks.
- Ria Formosa Boat Tour: Experience one of Portugal’s seven natural wonders on a catamaran, stopping at a few of the islands. This tour starts at the Faro Docks.
- Benagil Caves Tour from Faro: Enjoy pick-up and a guided swim to Benagil Caves before heading to the famous Marinha Beach.
- Dolphin Watching Boat Tour: I saw so many dolphins up close on this boat tour. Definitely got my money’s worth. This tour leaves from Faro Harbor.
CAN YOU DO A Faro to Gibraltar Day Trip?
Gibraltar is an intriguing location to visit where you can explore the famous Rock, observe the Barbary apes, Europe’s last wild monkeys, and take advantage of Gibraltar’s tax-free status. Plus, experience a unique blend of Spanish and British influences, stroll along the main street with its charming atmosphere, and savor tapas, open cafes, and cozy British pubs.
Unfortunately, you can’t logistically go on a day trip from Faro to Gibraltar. With a distance of 240 miles (385 kilometers), it takes almost 4 hours to reach Gibraltar from Faro by car. Currently, the fastest train route between these two locations takes almost 7 hours.
If you want to head from Faro to Gibraltar, you should be ready to plan to spend at least one day in Gibraltar.
Can you do a day trip from Faro to Lisbon?
While it is technically possible to complete a day trip from Faro to Lisbon, it is not something I recommend. The journey from Faro to Lisbon by train usually spans 3 to 4 hours one way, meaning that a substantial portion of your day will be spent in transit.
Given that Lisbon, Portugal’s hilly, coastal capital city, is full of enchanting attractions, from the historic Belem Tower to the vibrant neighborhoods of Alfama and Bairro Alto, it is a destination that truly deserves more than a rushed day visit.
A more relaxed stay in Lisbon allows plenty of time to appreciate its rich cultural heritage, indulge in delicious Portuguese cuisine, explore charming streets filled with traditional fado music, and soak in panoramic views from its many stunning viewpoints.
How much time do you need in Lisbon?
A couple days is the perfect amount of time to see all the best sights, try Portuguese cuisine, and explore outside the city. Plan your trip now with my 4 day Lisbon Itinerary.
Where else can you travel to from Faro?
When in Faro, you’re not just limited to exploring Portugal. I totally understand the desire to squeeze in all you can. There’s nothing I love more than checking another country off my travel bucket list! Let’s find out whether Spain and Morocco day trips are possible from Faro.
Day Trips from Spain to Morocco
Typically, train journeys from Faro to Spanish cities, such as Seville and Cadiz, take around 2 to 3 hours. Plus, since Portugal and Spain are both part of the Schengen area, you won’t have to worry about border control.
Driving from Faro to Spain is also possible with plenty of destinations within a 2-3 hour journey. While actual driving time may vary, the biggest advantage is that you can explore small villages and off-the-beaten track locations more easily by car. Just be sure to plan your route in advance as some roads may require tolls.
Day Trips from Faro to Morocco
Day trips from Faro to Morocco are technically possible, but due to the travel time, I definitely don’t recommend trying one. There is only one ferry, and it runs from Algeciras, Spain, to Tangier, Morocco. However, you must first get to Algeciras from Faro, which can take about 4-5 hours by car. The ferry journey itself lasts around 1-2 hours. The ferries from Algeciras to Tangier run multiple times per day.
There’s also a ferry that runs from Gibraltar to Tangier, but the schedule is highly irregular and it doesn’t run as often.
If you want to spend a few days in North Africa, you can fly from Faro to Morocco. Several airlines operate flights between Faro and different cities in Morocco, with Marrakech and Casablanca being the most popular destinations. The flight duration typically ranges from 2 to 4 hours, depending on the specific route and airline.
From the lively medinas to the jaw-dropping riads, Morocco is a destination like none other. If you’re headed to its busy capital, you’ll definitely want to be prepared. Get a head start with my 2 day Itinerary Marrakech for a visit you’ll never forget!
Things to Do in Faro
While there are plenty of amazing day trips from Faro, make sure you don’t neglect the town itself. Make sure you check out some of these fun things to do, even if you just have one or two days in Faro:
- Visit the Old Town (Cidade Velha): Steeped in history, Faro’s fortified old town is a must-visit. Wander through its cobbled streets and walk the medieval walls for breathtaking views of the Algarve coast.
- Arco Da Vila: Also located in the old town of Faro, this gorgeous old gate takes the shape of a symmetrical arch that’s one of the Algarve’s best Instagram spots.
- Praia de Faro: This is Faro’s main beach, known for its golden sands and crystal-clear waters. It’s perfect for sunbathing, swimming, or trying watersports.
- Bone Church: Carve out some space in your itinerary for a visit to the Capela dos Ossos, otherwise known as the Bone Chapel of Faro. This small chapel features an interior dressed entirely in human bones!
- Savor local cuisine: Faro’s restaurants and cafés serve a variety of local delicacies. Be sure to try the seafood, especially the clams (ameijoas) and the grilled sardines.
- Faro Municipal Museum: To get a deeper insight into Faro’s rich heritage, make sure to visit the Faro Municipal Museum. Established in a 16th-century convent, it houses a wide collection of artifacts dating back to Roman times, Moorish tiles, and a multitude of religious art.
What is the closest beach town to Faro?
Faro is a beach town, with incredible spots like Praia de Faro, located just outside the city center.
However, if you’re looking for another beach town close to Faro there are several great options including Olhão, Tavira, and Monte Gordo. All of these offer beautiful beaches perfect for sunbathing and swimming, as well as plenty of restaurants and activities. Olhão has particularly good
The closest beach town to Faro is Olhão. With its traditional Portuguese houses, bustling seafood markets, and proximity to the serene Ria Formosa Natural Park, Olhão is a delightful seaside retreat that’s just a short trip away from Faro.
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