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Particularly attractive is the old part of the city surrounded by the Roman walls that date back to the 8th century. Inside a spacious open square that was once the site of the Roman Forum. A 13th Century Cathedral that faces the 18th Century Episcopal palace. Another nearby building worth a visit is the 16th Century convent now the home of the city’s archaeological museum. Covering periods when the Arab Moors occupation ruled.
Next to the small harbour/marina bordering the Praça de Dom Francisco Gomes is the small naval museum. Displaying intricate detailed scale model ships boats and galleons, showing the maritime history of a navy and working life in Portugal.
There is also the Faro Jewish Heritage centre, which consists of a cemetery and a small museum. It still has strong active connection today with Portugal offering repatriation to the Jewish people after their exile. Much of Faro is now a thriving one with everyday shops restaurants and nightclubs to cater for those who live in the city centre. Faro is also the home of the Ria Formosa lagoon nature reserve. Over 17.000 hectares, a stopping place for hundreds of different species of birds. During arrival in the spring mating season, then migrating in autumn period.
The beach is a bit of a trek being 7 Km distant from the city. A long sandy beach reached by crossing a wooden bridge it is not far from the airport. Faro holds many annual events and fairs and well worth contacting the tourist office to see what’s on during your visit.
Well worth a short trip inland is nearby town of Estoi with it’s palace built at the end of the 18th century by a local aristocrat from the Carvalhal family. Considered a fine example of neo-classical architecture, its interior has more of a French and Italian feel. Paintings of cherubs on wall and ceilings the furniture of the Louis 16th style. Estoi palace remained in the Carvalhal family until 1893, when sold to a wealthy chemist and landowner from Central Portugal. The new owner had the palace restored and augmented by Portugal's pre-eminent architect of the time. He did such a good job it earned the owner the title of Viscount of Estoi in 1906. The palace passed down through the family until falling into disrepair. In 1987 it was purchased by the Municipal Council of Faro.