Faro and Surroundings

Image galleries of the city of Faro, capital of the same-named Portuguese district and the Algarve region, and its surrounding places Estoi, Santa Bárbara de Nexe and São Brás de Alportel

Faro is situated on the western edge of the natural reserve of the Ria Formosa. The Peninsula de Ancão, better known as Ilha de Faro, is the westernmost link in the chain of islands and peninsulas separating the lagoon from the open sea of the Atlantic Ocean. When the planes approach Faro, International Airport, the third largest in Portugal, passengers get a stunning aerial view of this magnificent landscape. The origins of the city of Faro date back to the 7th century B.C., during the Phoenician colonization of the western Mediterranean coast. The name of the village was then "Ossónoba". In 1540, Faro was elevated to a city and in 1577 the seat of the Bishop of the Algarve was transferred from Silves to Faro. The 1755 earthquake and subsequent tsunami did not devastate Faro in the same way that it did Lagos, which then was the capital of the Algarve. For this reason, the following year, the administrative power was shifted to Faro. The village of Estoi north of Faro is renowned for the rococo palace Palacio de Estoi, built by the former Earl of Estoi. After a phase of restoration and opulent remodelling, this splendid building now houses the Pousada de Faro. Close to Estói, Milreu Ruins are amongst the most important remains of the Roman presence in the Algarve, classified as a national monument. Santa Bárbara de Nexe with its attractive rural scenery is a popular residential site among ex pats and also a popular area to own a second home. The surrounding hills offer wonderful panoramic view to the sea. São Brás de Alportel is located in the interior of the Algarve, north of Faro and within the fertile area of the Barrocal in front of the hills of the Serra do Caldeirão. By the 16th century, the village already had a convent, and from the 17th century, the bishops of the Algarve chose São Brás as their summer residence. In the 19th century, the city was an important economic centre. Cork plantations advanced commercial development and made São Brás the largest producer of cork in Portugal and worldwide. Today  São Brás is an independent municiüpality.