Faro for Nature Lovers: Wildlife, Reserves, and Botanical Gardens

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With about 100,000 inhabitants, Faro is mostly known for its airport, the main gateway to the Algarve. It is a city quite far away from the overcrowding suffered by other cities in southern Portugal, so if you are looking for a quiet atmosphere, it is a good choice.

However, the city of Faro is perfect for all types of travellers, from young people who go to study at the University of Algarve (and attend the various university parties), to couples on romantic trips, to those who enjoy nautical tourism, and also those who seek a city with historical buildings.

Faro’s eco-friendly accommodations and lodges

The Ria Formosa is one of the main attractions this summer, but there are other suggestions in Porches and Faro. The pool is guaranteed in all, it remains to choose one with salt water or with a privileged view of the sunset.

Roots Hotel Apartments

One of the most surprising hotels in the Algarve this summer opened on June 17th. Let’s get to the point: the pool. The one at Roots Hotel Apartments is different from any other in the region because it has salt water and – “ta nan nan nan”- a waterfall that seems to take you to Gerês or Spain, where one of the most Instagrammable waterfalls is located.

AP Cabanas Beach & Nature

The hotel is aligned with the planet and with a location that owes respect to nature and in that sense the unit has already opened with several measures implemented: A+ energy classification, 100% renewable energy, a system to reuse river water, use of thermal energy and 100% of the lighting will be high performance LED. The Ria Formosa is also highlighted in the kitchen of the fine dining restaurant and rooftop bar, where it is the view that stands out. In addition to all this, there is a pool where it is worth staying late to watch the sunset.

3HB Faro

June was a great month for hotels and for the Ria Formosa. In addition to the AP Cabanas Beach & Nature, 3HB Faro also opened with a view of the most beautiful estuary in the Algarve. We dare say that this hotel has one of the best sunsets in the Algarve, all you have to do is climb up to the rooftop, with an infinity pool and a bar to accompany the hot summer days with a cocktail.

Pousada Vila Real de Santo António

The narrative you will take away with you after your vacation at this pousada will have snippets about the lodge’s three swimming pools – one of them located on the Rooftop of the main building, with drinks to enjoy at sunset – the interior courtyard in the style of a Moroccan Riad and about the meals taken in the restaurant of Mediterranean gastronomy, with a wood-fired oven from which pizzas are served (from 11€). However, in the restaurant, you can also ask for a tasting of regional appetizers (14€), which include mackerel with olives and almonds and tuna with sweet potato and coriander. 

Butterfly gardens and insect sanctuaries in Faro

In Butterfly Garden you can observe exotic species of butterflies of different sizes and colors while learning about the metamorphosis of these creatures.

The tropical garden is approximately 300 m² and is home to several species of butterflies from all over the world, from Central America to Asia. This new area is also home to more than 70 species of plants, where it is possible to witness the fascinating life cycle of these beautiful insects, specifically the pollination process.

With a butterfly garden, a Jurassic river, a family train and a giant wheel, among other fun attractions, Zoomarine also includes summer camps where emotions go hand in hand with environmental education.

Faro’s nature photography hotspots and tips

Faro lies on the edge of the Ria Formosa Natural Park, a series of saltwater lagoons and wetlands that are a haven for migratory birds and wildlife. 

  1. Ria Formosa Natural Park
Free Algarve Landscape photo and picture

The Ria Formosa Natural Park is a protected area that stretches from Quinta do Lago in the west to Cacela Velha in the east for an approximate length of 60 km. Most of the animal species found in this sanctuary are difficult to observe, with the exception of birds. The Ria Formosa is of crucial importance since it represents a resting area for migratory birds, a wintering place for aquatic birds and a nesting place for those that arrive in the spring or make this place their permanent habitat. 

Tip: taking this catamaran trip through the Ria Formosa islands is a must for lovers of nature and beautiful landscapes!

  1. Estói
Free Estoi Faro photo and picture

The Palácio de Estói is a monumental ensemble composed of a palace and garden spaces, located in the village of Estói, in the municipality of Faro. It is a unique example of the rococo architectural style, dating from the second half of the 18th century. The main body occupies the upper part and is framed by large gardens, divided by landings where there are ponds, fountains and statues. The staircases are decorated with tiles and nearby are visible busts of political, literary and historical figures. In 1977 it was classified as Property of Public Interest. 

Tip: the best way to get there is to rent a car, so having a rental car will help you a lot to get to know Estoi.

  1. Tavira
Free Tavira Portugal photo and picture

For those who like quieter destinations, Tavira is the ideal choice. Here the presence of tourists is not as felt as in other urban centres, which ends up having some influence on the way it still preserves its historic centre. The main places of tourist interest are the castle, the main church, the municipal museum, the medieval bridge, and the Gilão River, which divides the city. Enjoy the tranquillity of this river in one of the many terraces that can be found along the waterfront. 

Tip: by taking a city tour in Tavira with lunch, you’ll get to know the city’s stories alongside a guide; besides tasting typical local food.

  1. City of Silves
white and brown concrete building

The city of Silves is located near EN124, about 15 km north of Portimão. Built on a hill beside the Arade River, Silves was once an important civil, commercial and cultural centre, enjoying the status of capital of the Algarve, extending its influence beyond its borders. The reddish-coloured castle, built in the 11th century by the Muslims, is the city’s major landmark. It is the largest castle in the Algarve. 

Tip: buy this boat tour to Benagil Caves in Portimão, which has one of the most exuberant sceneries in all of Europe.

Most people choose to hire a car Faro as a way to get to Faro because it is more practical and faster, and you can find the best car hire prices with Rental24.co.uk. Faro is about 270 km from Lisbon (2h 30m trip) and 550 km from Porto (4h 40m trip). This is if you always go by the freeway. If you are a fan of road trips, choose the scenic coastal road of the Costa Vicentina or the mythical Estrada Nacional 2 that connects Chaves to Faro through the interior of the country. You won’t save time, but you’ll save on tolls and you’ll wash your eyes with the scenery.

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