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Faro

faroExcellent beaches are within easy reach of Faro. In the summer it offers a lively nightlife scene, as thousands of travelers pass through on their way to and from the airport 6km west of the town.

Sacked and burned by the Earl of Essex in 1596, and devastated by the Great Earthquake of 1755, the town has few historic buildings. By far the most curious sight is the Baroque Igreja do Carmo near the central post office on Largo do Carmo. A door to the right of the altar leads to a macabre Capela dos Ossos (Chapel of Bones), its walls decorated with bones disinterred from the adjacent cemetery. This aside, the most interesting buildings are all in the old semi-walled quarter on the south side of the harbor, centered around the majestic Largo da Se and accessed through the eighteenth-century town gate, the Arco da Vila. The Largo is flanked by the bishop’s palace and the Sé itself, a miscellany of Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque styles (heavily remodeled after the Great Earthquake). More impressive is the nearby Museu Arqueologico, installed in a fine sixteenth century convent. The most striking exhibit is a third-century Roman mosaic of Neptune and the four winds, unearthed near Faro train station.

Information courtesy of Travelnow and Rough City Guides Lda.